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A Few Words in Wayuunaiki

Wayuunaiki, or the Wayuu language, is of the Arawak language group. Pronunciation is similar to Spanish, except that the “r” and “rr” have a sound between that of an “r” and an “l”; and “sh” is pronounced as in English. The language reflects the matrilineal aspect of Wayuu society. Many familial relationships are distinguished between that by way of the mother and that by father, for example ashi (paternal uncle) and alaüla (maternal uncle). Another fascinating feature of the language is it has 21 terms for the position of the sun.

Kasashi punuria ► What’s your name?
Tanoria ► My name is
Jamaa pia? ► How are you?
Watta’a mal ► Good morning
Anas aipa’a ► Good night
Ounshi way’a ► See you later
Miyaasüütaya ►I’m thirsty
Oushutaya jamü ► I’m hungry
Wüin ► fresh water
aa ► yes
nnojo ► no
ei ► mother
ashi ► father
jierü ► woman
toolo ► man
alijuna ► a non-indigenous person
kusina ► from other indigenous nation

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