Mbayá love poem



Yotaga paga elegi

Adinoenita, iyobate igote

Yoguidi me yemani

Translation Mbayá by Juan Manuel González Bréard
PhD student in Letters "la Universidad Nacional del Nordeste de Argentina"
He works at the Instituto de Investigaciones Geohistóricas (IIGHI-UNNE/CONICET)
Mbaya love poem

Book of poetry "La Glace"
Original version
French poem

Explanations given by Juan Manuel

Cadiguigo = Tu espíritu, imagen, alma = Your spirit, image, soul,

Yotaga paga elegi = Mi palabra más hermosa = My most beautiful word,

Adinoenita, iyobate igote = Apróntate aquella se va, desaparece = Get ready that one goes, disappears

Yoguidi me yemani = Es mi último te amo = This is my last I love you!

This translation in Mbayá, seems to me to be the closest to what the archives of the Jesuit Sánchez Labrador contain, and for the title I suggest "niguigo", which if it does not mean mirror, means image or spirit.

Sánchez Labrador, is the Jesuit who documented mbayá, and he does not mention the word mirror anywhere in his grammar. In his dictionary, which dates from the same period (mid-eighteenth century), there is a neologism for "glasses", which he presents as follows: "ligecoga lelegaichi" "mirror of his eyes". "lelegaichi" would be a mirror! However this word is a neologism proposed by the Jesuit and not by the community, and the Jesuit also notes "ligecoga libiago" "companion of the eyes" to say glasses.

Thus, the mbayá-eyiguayegi community would not have a word for mirror, but in "niguigo" and "caduveo niwigo", we have spirit or image.

Currently, to say "mirror", the Kadiwéu or Caduveo use the word "noleeGaxi" which sounds like "lelegaichi"... I will investigate this relationship.


Gadiwigo etadi mida noleeGaxi

YotaGa libinienigi

Pida adinoeni, niGidaa iale

“Gademaa” owidijegi

Above is the Caduveo (Kadiwéu) translation proposed by Juan Manuel González Bréard.

Mbayá language

I am very proud to present my little love poem translated into a now extinct language mbayá (mbaya), a Guaicuruan language that was spoken in the Gran Chaco in three countries: Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, as well as in Kadiwéu, the language that descends from it, which is spoken today in Brazil by less than 1,500 people.

The mbayá language also called (Mbayá-Eyiguayegi, Mbayá-Guaycurú, Guaycurú, Eyiguayegui, Eyiguayegi, Kadiwéu, Ejiwajigi, Caduvéo, Mbaya-Guaikuru, Cadiuéu, Ediu-Adig, Kadiweo, Autonym: Goniwoladi ejiwajegi), is the waykuruan language of the Mbayas who are Guaycurús.

This language was spoken in the Mission of Belén in the middle of the 18th century, in present-day Paraguay (in the present city of Belén, a city in the tropics).

Currently in Brazil, in Porto Murtinho, Mato Grosso do Sur, there are those who recognize themselves as Ejiwajegi, but are known as Kadiwéu. The language of the Kadiwéu-Ejiwajegi is related to that of the Mbayá-Eyiguayegui, but these two varieties are different.

Only one of these two languages is currently spoken "kadiwéu", the other "mbayá" is extinct. Both constitute the northeast branch of the Guaycurú language family.

In Asunción they were known as Mbayá or simply Guaycurú, but when the city that was invested by the Jesuit José Sánchez Labrador, in the middle of the 18th century (between 1760 and 1767), they were referred to him with the name of eyiguayegui, so the monk called them mbayá-eyiguayegi.

The word mbayá can be related to the Guaraní word mbocayá (mbokaja) which means palm or palm tree. And according to Sánchez Labrador, Eyiguayegui (Ejiwajegi), means "los que pertenecen a la palmera eyigúa o eyiguá" = those that belong to the eyigúa or eyiguá palm.

If the word caduveo was proposed in the 19th century by Guido Boggiani, it should be noted that mbayá is not recognized as being caduveo (kadiwéu) or other synonyms. On the other hand, caduveo (kadiwéu) was recognized as mbayá in the 19th century.

After José Sánchez Labrador, the missionaries noticed the proximity between the Mbaya, Mocobi, Yapitalaga and Abipona languages.

The Guaycurús, like their neighbors, were hunter-gatherer peoples, therefore nomads who lived by fishing, hunting, and gathering roots and fruits.

Their nation was organized in Caciques, ie in groups that had a territory on which they moved. Fixing territorial limits is very difficult because these nomads who moved permanently changed place by interpenetrating each others.

The Mbayá Nation (Guaycurú) included seven main groups: The Eyybegodeguis (those of the North); The Guetia Degodis, (those who inhabit the mountain), which separates them from the Chiquitos; The Cadiguegodis, who lived near a ravine called Cadiguegui; The Lichagotegodeguis (those of the red earth), living near the Tarciri river; The Enacagás, (those who are hidden), perhaps because of one of their beliefs that they came out of the earth), they lived near the Mboimboi river; The Gotocoguegodeguis, (those of Cañaveral), who lived between Yguariy and Mboimboi; The Apachodegoguis who lived in the Campo de los Avestruces.

The Spaniards describe them as very brave, dignified, strong, tall and slender, and apart from them no nation could defeat them. The men are naked, and the women cover their pelvis. Women leave their heads bare, tearing their hair. Men do the same except for a tuft, which is among the Mbayáes the distinctive emblem of boys.

They also describe them as loving drunkenness, and wars with the Abipones, the Frentones and the Chiriguanos, and this, because of customs related to dignity.

For them, as for their neighbours, this word dignity was important. From an early age, they had to show their strength and bravery through ordeals of self-inflicted injuries, without showing their pain. These ordeals were compulsory to become part of the nobility.

Other Guaicuruan language
Poem translated into Mbayá (528 languages)