Browsing All Posts filed under »Language«

My best laid plans

January 25, 2012


I’m in Paraguay again! I flew in on the same plane as Apocalyptica, who are apparently a cello-metal rock band.  They were in the economy cabin like the average person.  I respect that.  (Or maybe they just couldn’t get first class tickets?)  The dude with the drums almost asked me how to fill out the […]

Paraguayan fart jokes

February 7, 2011

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I often bother Paraguayan friends to explain the meanings behind expressions that are new to me.  One of my friends sent me the following email to help my education along (I can’t take credit for being the Canadian described in the email, but I often end up in conversations like this one).  First, the original […]

Hierarchy of language

November 8, 2010

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As I’ve mentioned earlier, Paraguay has two official languages, Spanish and Guaraní.  Guaraní is an indigenous language (most mestizo Paraguayans are the result of intermixing between indigenous Guaraní and Spanish colonizers), so you would think that there is more respect for indigenous languages and cultures in Paraguay than elsewhere.  In my experience that only seems […]

Learning Nivacle

November 4, 2010


One of my tasks in the field is to try to pick up Nivacle so that I can at least have basic conversations with the members of my study communities.  There’s no ‘Learn to Speak Nivacle’ book.  I’m learning with the aid of a Spanish-Nivacle dictionary (written by Jose Seelwische), random lessons from people in […]


October 29, 2010

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To follow-up on my Re-learning Spanish post, here are some of the uniquely Paraguayan expressions and manners of speech that I’ve caught onto during my travels. “Nderasore!”  A Guaraní word that’s used a lot like “No way!” or “Shoot!” (and stronger variations thereof) in English.  The literal meaning of the word in Guaraní is ‘maggot’. […]

Re-Learning Spanish

September 13, 2010


When I first arrived in Paraguay I thought my Spanish was horrible.  The first time I thought my Spanish was horrible was in the airport in Sao Paulo (Brazil) when I was talking to a German fellow who had lived in Paraguay many years.  Not far into our conversation, I realized I couldn’t understand a […]