In the month of April, we added three more indigenous languages to the Amara language selector, and corrected the name of one. Read on to learn about Santali, Ho, Guarani and Paraguayan Guarani!
Santali (sat) and Ho (hoc)
While there are 22 languages officially recognized by the Indian Constitution, It’s hard to know how many languages are spoken in India – the 1961 Census of India identified 1,652 of them! We’ll probably be adding them to Amara for many years to come, but this month we took a small step forward with two indigenous languages of India: Santali and Ho. These two languages are both in the Munda subfamily of languages, and are mutually comprehensible.
Since the Latin alphabet has existed since ancient Rome, English speakers don’t need to think about what alphabet to use when we write. That’s not true for Santali or Ho, since neither have had a written script for very long. The most popular Santali script was published in 1939 (OI Chiki script), and the unique alphabet for Ho (Warang Chiti) was developed in the 1950s! Nowadays, depending on the region, different alphabets are used. For example, Santali in Bangladesh is the 5th most widely-used writing system in the world – the Eastern Nagari script – and Ho is often written using more established scripts, including Devanagari, Oriya, and even the Latin alphabet.
Santali and Ho speakers, let us know if the script you’re using to subtitle in Amara needs better support! We want to make sure you can make subtitles in any alphabet you want.
Curious what Ho and Santali sound like? Listen to the Ho language origin myth and Santali children’s story below. There are no English translations yet – but Santali and Ho speakers, comment or go ahead and add these videos to Amara if you want to subtitle them!
Guarani (gn) and Paraguayan Guarani (gug)
Guarani is one of the most widely-spoken indigenous languages in the Americas. It is the national language of Paraguay, alongside Spanish. Regional variants are also spoken in northeastern Argentina, southeastern Bolivia, and southwestern Brazil. Unlike other indigenous languages in the Americas, Guarani has a large group of non-native speakers – in everyday conversation in Paraguay, most people mix Guarani words and phrases with Spanish in everyday conversation. The combination is called “jopará.” Since the modern alphabet for Guarani was standardized in 1950, we can now make subtitles!
While there aren’t many resources for learning Guarani from English, you can hear what it sounds like in this video made by Wikitongues. Spanish speakers are in luck though – learn greetings in Guarani in the video below!