Episode 15: Chendales & Chisme

It’s episode 15, and we’re going to be moving on with chendales and using them with adjectives. Today’s adjectives are usually used when talking about people. So you can understand a little more of that gossip! And by the way, the word for gossip is chisme. That’s an important one to know.

When you take just an adjective, you might use it in one of two ways. You might use it in the chendale construction that we’ve been studying, or you might just latch it on the back of a noun. Let’s look at the difference for a second.

Let’s use the example, porã. If I wanted to say, "You are pretty", I would use the chendale structure, Ne porã. Remember how we said that chendales are quasi-verbs? This is because when you use a chendale, you are implying the verb “to be”, which includes, am, is, are, etc. “She is pretty” is Ha’e iporã. That’s a chendale.

But you can also just tag on an adjective on the back of a word if it’s just describing something in the sentence, just tagging along. For example, “My pretty friend is dancing.” In this example, “pretty friend” would be amiga porã. In Guaraní, like in Spanish, you put the adjective behind the noun it’s describing. So “My pretty friend is dancing" would be Che amiga porã ojeroky. If you said, Che amiga iporã ojeroky, that would be, "My friend is pretty is dancing." That’s no good.

When the point of your sentence is to say that something is something, then you use the chendale. For example, “My friend is pretty” is Che amiga iporã. But if there is another verb in the sentence, you’re just going to throw the adjective on the back. Such as in "My pretty friend is dancing", the verb is dancing.

It’s like in greetings, when people say, Mba’e la pórte. That breaks down to "What is the situation? Pórte means situation. And when you respond, Iporã, you’re saying, "It is good."

***You might also have cause to say Ivai la pórte. Which means, "The situation is bad." Sometimes people just throw that out when they're talking about their problems.***

So let’s practice that.

What would be, “These clothes are ugly”?
Ko ao ivai.

What would be “I’m going to wear my ugly clothes”?
Che aguerahata che ao vai.

Another thing you’ll hear vai with is the word for road, tape, to mean the road is all muddy and whatnot.

So how would you say, "This road is muddy and whatnot."
Ko tape ivai.

How would you say, “I’m going to go on the muddy road”?
Ahata tape vaire. (You’ll remember that -re from Episode 13.)

How would you tell someone to go on the nice road?
Eho tape porãre.

And how would you say, “This road is nice”?
Ko tape iporã.

So hopefully you get the distinction. We’ll practice it a little bit more in the episode.

Let’s move on and check out some other adjectives that you use with people.

Let’s start with a favorite, fat. One of my favorite Paraguayan past times is listening to them talk about how fat I am, their daughters are, they are, etc. No American euphemisms here, thick-skinned, big-boned, nahániri. You are fat. And the word for fat is kyra. Che kyra is “I am fat”. Again, that “am” is just implied in the structure of the chendale. How would you say, “You are fat.” Nde kyra. How would you say, “You’re super fat.” Nde kyraiterei.

Let me pop in a side note here that we didn’t mention in the last episode, that iterei can also mean, "too", as in, you’re too fat, excessively fat. So iterei can be a good thing when latched on to nice adjectives, like pretty, nice or hard-working. Or it can be a bad thing if latched on to bad adjectives, such as ugly, expensive, or, fat. If you think about it, we use “too” for good and for bad, like this. “Aw, she’s just too cute.” Or “Ugh, that’s too expensive.” Like that.

So, if someone’s daughter is reaching for that extra slice of pizza, her mother might slap her hand and say, Nde kyraiterei. “You’re too fat.” Like I said, they don’t sugarcoat much in this country.

Kyra, by the way, can also be used to describe food. Just today we sat down to lunch, and there was grease floating on the plate. Oscar complained to his mom that her food was ikyraiterei. “Too fatty.”

Let’s move on to some other adjectives. If we’ve got fat, then we should get on to skinny, for after the diet. The opposite of kyra is piru, skinny. If I wanted to say that after my diet, “I will be skinny,” it would be, Che piruta. Or if a farmer wanted to complain that his cow was too skinny, he might say, Che vaka ipirueterei. How would you say, “Mariela is skinny.” Mariela ipiru or Ipiru Mariela.

With chendales, it’s common to hear the chendale first and then the thing or person you’re describing, just for effect. You might hear, Iporã che ermána, for “My sister is pretty.” Or Ikyra che vaka for “My cow is fat.” So here’s a little weirdo quirk of Guaraní. When you want to say “them” at the end of a sentence, you don’t use ha’ekuéra, you say hikuái. It’s like in English if you wanted to say, “Crazy, those guys.” You would say, “Crazy, hikuái.” In the dictionary they say it’s for him or her, too, but they say here that they only use it for them. So, in this format, if I wanted to say, “They are fat,” I might say, Ikyra hikuái. I know, it’s weird. End of side note.

Actually, let’s learn the word for crazy. It’s tavy. Using that structure I just talked about, how would you say, “Phh, crazy, those guys.” Phh, Itavy hikuái. Nde tavy is “You’re crazy.” It can also mean ignorant or like, without culture, is how my host mom explained it to me. You will hear all the time this phrase: Nde tavymaiko. So what does that mean? Let’s break it on down. Nde is you. tavy is crazy. ma is already or now. and iko is that question word. In it’s meaning, it’s kind of like, “What are you crazy?” How would you say, “Guarani is super crazy”? Guaraní itavyeterei.

Another thing people say about other people is that they are ñaña. This means, bad or mean. Vai means bad in other ways, but ñaña is used mostly for people. I once had an awesome fight with a four-year-old who said, Ne ñaña, to me. So I said, Ne ñaña. And he said, Nde. and I said Nde! And then I didn’t give him any of my gum. You’ll notice that ñaña is nasal, so you use the ne in front of it instead of nde.

If you want to make a chendale more of a temporary thing, you can use it with hína. For example, if your friend is usually a nice person, but she’s being a little snappy today, you can just say, Ne ñaña hína. This is like, “You’re currently being a jerkface,” instead of “You are mean,” as more of a general statement.

Here is a very important one jopara’ed from Spanish, which is guápo or guápa. Here you’ll see a little bit of the Spanish influence, where adjectives for men usually end in o, and adjectives for women usually end in a. If you’ve studied Spanish elsewhere in the world, you might know guápo as handsome, but in Paraguay, it means to be hardworking. If I pass my neighbor and she’s raking her lawn, I’ll give her a Nde guápa. And, it’s a fun little joke to respond, Che guápaite. "I’m totally hard-working!" On the guápa, you add that ite that we talked about. But notice again that it’s not, Che guápa ... ite. It’s combined to Che guápaite. It’s kind of weird, because we never tell people, oh you’re so hard-working, in English. But we tell people the opposite a lot, that they’re lazy and worthless.

Now we’re going to look at some words, some cross dressers. They can be chendales or regular verbs, depending on what they’re wearing.

One of these cross-dressers is another word jopara’ed from Spanish, which is vale. Vale means to be worth something. You might hear someone say that money No vale nada, that their money isn’t worth anything, maybe because you need a thousand Guaraníes to buy a pack of gum. Or with people, it’s just like hard-working or worth something, a synonym of guápo. So if someone sees me washing the dishes, they might say Nde guápa or Nde vale, they’re pretty much the same thing. How would you say, "Pedro is hard-working." Pedro ivale. When used with chendales, it’s an adjective.

However, when used with the regular driver cars, vale can be a verb. It means to be worth something too, or to cost something. For example, I just heard the other day, Mbóy ovale. Remember that mbóy means “how much,” so Mbóy ovale means “How much does this cost?” How would you say, “How much does this cheese cost?” Mbóy ovale ko kesu.

You might also hear the phrase ovaléma. Which translates to mean, “That's enough already.” If I’m adding spices to the food and overdoing it, my host mom might say, Ovaléma and smack the spice out of my hand. Or you might use this when someone’s annoying you or when the kids are fighting. Ovaléma! Enough already!

Another verb cross-dresser that likes to swing both ways between chendale or a verb is jopy. Jopy means to squeeze, like with lemons to make juice. It can also mean to put one's nose to the grindstone. If I’m working on something and I really need to get it done, I might say, Ajopy hína. ***Jopy can also be used to press, as in to press a button.***

When you use it in a chendale, as an adjective, you’re describing someone that squeezes every bit of money, like a penny pincher. For a simple definition, it means cheap. Ha’e ijopy means “He’s cheap.” So, Ha’e ojopy means “He squeezes.” And Ha’e ijopy means “He’s cheap.”

And here’s a good one, drunk, another cross-dresser. The root of this is ka’u. Take a second and think which one would be “He is drunk,” like as in the temporary, and which one would be “He is a drunk,” like an alcoholic but without the meetings. That root again is ka’u... The right answer is that “He’s drunk” is Ha’e oka’u and “He is a drunk” is Ha’e ika’u. "I’m drunk" would be Che aka’u or "I’m a drunk" would be Che ka’u, using the chendale structure. Hola, Che Paulita. Che ka’u. Hola Paulita.

How would you say, “My sister is drunk already.”
Che ermána oka’uma.

How about: “He’s is totally drunk.”
Ha’e oka’uete.

How would you say, “You are a drunk.”
Nde ka’u.

And what does this mean? Nde reka’umaiko.
Are you drunk?

One way I remembered ka’u as “to be drunk” is that it sounds like ha’u, the word for to drink. Che ha’u, and that’s why che ka’u.

One more side note about ka’u is something that uses that -re we talked about in Episode 13. Remember how I said that sometimes -re means “because of”? Well, people will talk about crazy stuff that someone did while they were drunk, for example, “Martin mooned a whole bus of old ladies, ka’úre.” That ka’úre means “because he was drunk," or "bein’ all drunk.” Ka’úre he’i...Ka’úre ajapo. ***Ka’úre hapeguare, ndoikéi. "If I was drunk, it didn’t happen." ***

So those three cross-dressers we just went over, vale, jopy, and ka’u, are some examples of a few roots that you can use as verbs or as chendales. Those are the only examples of all the ones we’ve gone over so far that can do that. So it’s not like you can take any chendale and use it like that. You would never say Che akaigue. That’s always che kaigue.

And we’re going to end this episode with an important caboose that you will use with adjectives. This is -va, only they don’t pronounce the v, like usual. And when you put it on the back of an adjective, it means, "the one that is or the person who is that thing." If you were using this with porã, for example, porãva, that would mean, "who is pretty or that is pretty". “I’m looking for clothes that are pretty,” would be, Che aheka ao iporãva. “I want to buy cow that is fat” would be Ajoguase peteĩ vaka ikyráva. How would you say, “Do you know my friend that is skinny?” Nde reikuaa che amiga ipirúva?

Sometimes there are two ways you might hear something. For example. If you want to eat some nice, fresh mandioca, you could express it in two ways. You could say, I want to eat mandioca that is nice, which would be Che ha’use mandi’o iporãva. Or you could you a more simple sentence like I want to eat some nice mandioca. That could be Che ha’use mandi’o porã. The two works

And there’s one other construction you should know. It’s a way to say someone is the most something. The prettiest. The fattest. The most hard-working. Here’s an example of it. Che ermano la iguapovéva. It starts with a subject Che ermáno, my brother, la is the, and in this case, with the chendale, it’s translates to is that. So, my brother is the. then with the adjective, in this case guápo, and then ve meaning more, or in this case, most. Then va, that or who which is. So, mixing all that together, you get “My brother is the most hard-working." There’s a very classic Guaraní polka song that uses the word chika, which means girlfriend, and starts, Che chika la iporãvéva. "My girlfriend is the prettiest".

How would you say, “My cow is the fattest.”
Che vaka la ikyravéva.

My sister is the prettiest.
Che ermána la iporãvéva.

And that reminds me to remind you that chendales can be mixed all up with the cabooses. For example, “I want to be fat” would be Che kyrase. “He will be skinny” would be Ha’e ipiruta. He will be more skinny would be Ha’e ipiruveta. You can just mix them all in there.

Ok, let’s do a little review.

  • With adjectives, you can put them in the chendale construction to mean that someone is something. Or you can just put them behind an noun in a sentence with another verb.
  • Hikuái is the word you use for “them” when you want to add it on the back of a sentence.
  • Fat is kyra.
  • Skinny is piru.
  • Ñaña means bad or mean.
  • Tavy means crazy or ignorant.
  • Guápo or guápa mean hard-working.
  • Some other words are cross-dressers that you can also use as chendales or as verbs
  • Such as vale, which is the same as guápo when used as an adjective. But you can also use it to mean “to be worth something”, using the regular verb driver cars. Also, you can say Ovaléma to mean “Enough already!”
  • jopy, which as a chendale means to be cheap, or as a verb means to squeeze
  • ka’u means to be a drunk as a chendale or to be drunk for the moment as a verb
  • You can use -va on the back of adjectives to mean, the one that is or the thing that is that adjective. But you’re not really going to pronounce that v.
  • You can use la before an adjective and véva after it to mean that something is the most of that adjective.

Now we test your skillz:
1. I want to be skinny.
Che piruse.

2. I’m hard-working but my sister is lazy.
Che guápa pero che ermána ikaigue.

3. That’s enough!

4. Who’s the most drunk?
Máva piko la oka’uvéva?

5. My shoes are too ugly.
Che sapatu ivaieterei.

6. He wants to dance with my skinny friend.
Ha’e ojeroky che amiga pirundi.

7. You guys are fat already.
Pende kyrama.

8. We’re drunk already.
Ñande jaka’úma.

9. I’m going with my mean sister.
Aháta che ermána ñañandi.

10. Vanessa is super cheap.
Vanessa ijopyeterei.

Guaraní first...

1. Oscar iguápo.
Oscar is hard-working.

2. Melissa iñañaeterei.
Melissa is super mean.

3. Che acenase sushi pero che amiga ijopy hína.
I want to eat sushi for dinner but my friend is being cheap.

4. Ani reka’uti.
Don’t get drunk.

5. Mariela la iporãvéva.
Mariela is the prettiest.

6. Ikyraiterei hikuái.
They are super fat.

7. Ha’e opurahéi vai ka’ure.
He sang badly being all drunk.

8. Fernando la iguápoveva.
Fernando is the most hard-working.

9. Nde kyra che ra’a!
Dude you’re fat.

10. Che ha’use mandio porã.
I want to eat some nice mandioca.

And a practice conversation:
Hola Oscar. Nde reikuaa piko moõ oho che vaka?
Nde vaka ikyrava?
No, la ipiruva.
Héẽ, no. Rehekama tapére?
Héẽ. Che vaka la iñañavéva.
Itavy, hikuái. Reipota aheka avei?
Gracias, che ra’a. Nde guápo.

-Hey Oscar. Do you know where my cow went?
-Your fat cow?
-No, the skinny one.
-Oh yeah, no. Have you looked in the street already?
-Yeah. My cows are the worst.
-They're crazy. Do you want me to look too?
-Thanks dude. You're hard-working.

New Words from this Week
  1. piru: skinny
  2. kyra: fat
  3. ñaña: mean
  4. tavy: crazy
  5. guápo/a: hard-working
  6. vale: adj. hard-working; v. to cost or be worth something
  7. jopy: adj. cheap; v. to squeeze or press
  8. ka’u: adj. a drunk; v. to get drunk
  9. hikuái: them (used at the end of sentences)
  10. -va: that is, who is, which is

Other words mentioned:
chika/o: girlfriend/boyfriend
chisme: gossip
pórte: situation

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