Monday, February 04, 2008


My daughter, Jackie, is studying the Guarani language. This will be her fourth language to learn...but the first one she has to STUDY and learn as an adult!


She shared the following phrases which relate to telling time. As you notice, the language is very specific and visually descriptive in telling time. The same is true in most all tribal languages. The Ye'kwana language is very similar in this aspect. The way to ask what time it is in the Ye'kwana language is to ask, "Where is the sun?".

Ko'embota - "The dawn that is about to happen."

Ko'eguy - "The first moment of dawn."

Ko'eju - "The dawn when the sky is gold"

Ko'ejupyta - "The dawn when the sky is gold with red. Or orange."

Ko'eti - "The white dawn."

Ko'esoro - "The dawn, which is the beginning to all the sounds of the day."

Ko'esaka - "The dawn, all clean and bright."

Ko'emba - "Right in the middle of dawn."

Kuarahyrese - "The moment in which the sun appears over the horizon."

Pyharevete - "The first hours of the morning."

Pyhareve - "The hours in the morning which follow the very first hours of the morning." (No, I'm not kidding.)

Pyhareve Asaje - "The middle of the morning"

Asaje - "The siesta, a little before, and a little after the last hours of dawn." (Again, I'm not kidding.)

Asajepyte - "The middle of the siesta. Noon."

Ka'aru - "The first hours of the evening."

Ka'arujere - "The hours of the evening following the first hours of the evening."

Ka'arupora - "The middle of the evening."

Ka'aruete - "The little evening." (??????)

Kuarahyreike - "When the sun starts going down. Dusk."

Pytupara - "Night when there is still some light."

Pytumby - "The night when it starts getting darker."

Pytumbaite - "The really dark part of night."

Pyhare - "Night."

Pyharepora - "Very night."

Pyharepyte - "The middle of the night."

Why do you think the tribal languages are so descriptive and precise in regards to telling time?


CaraqueƱa said...

I've never thought about that before, Rita. Why do YOU think so, you who understands the tribal person better than most?

Mountain Mama said...

I don't know either but I think it's an interesting question.
Your daughter is to be congratulated. Knowing so many languages is quite a feat. As for myself, I speak English, but not perfectly. I also know pig latin if that counts.

Liz said...

Because they don't have watches?

Hey, I hardly know how to tell time in my own language, I have to think it over in English.. (don't ask, my head cannot process numbers but in Spanish)

groovyoldlady said...

I dunno. It's not like that in Haiti. If you're running on Haitian time, you get there when you get there and it's over when it's over.

Here? Clocks everywhere. But saying "6:00am doesn't have the same ring as "The moment when the rooster crows at the sun which has just broken the horizon on a non-cloudy day in March."

redneck preacher said...

Arg, that all sounds like work.

Could it be because the indigenous peoples have a different concept of time than we? We look at time as the event while they may look at it as something that happened during the event. Hence all the descriptions for a sunrise.

How’s that for psychobabble?


Sarah Joy said...

My guess is that's the only way to tell time. My question is, why do you need to ask someone where the sun is?

Jungle Mom said...

sara joy, You can point to where the sun will be, or where it was, in order to tell them what time something happened or will happen.

WomanHonorThyself said...

always a joy to learn another language!..gracias amiga!

Pat said...

My thoughts were the same as Liz---they do not have clocks, so thus, the sun is a point of reference (time of day)....everyone who can see the sun can tell time!!

BTW, you know I would LOVE to help Josh and the family....maybe Pam can pray us there, too!!LOL

FeathersMcGraw said...

How interesting! Awesome! My guess is because they live mostly without a roof, no?

B Wiens said...

You frequently mention your daughters blog and I would love to read it, but it is for invited readers only. How do I get invited??