More than 7,000 distinct languages are spoken all around the world—far more than most people realize. Many of these languages are small and endangered, spoken by only a few hundred or thousand people, found in remote parts of Asia, Africa, the Americas, and beyond. The world’s languages are divided up among several language families—Ethnologue has identified 142 different families. But not all languages belong to a language family. The global linguistic landscape is dotted with language isolates, single languages that linguists have not been able to place in any extant families—and one of them is Warao.
Spoken by around 33,000 native speakers, Warao is one of the bigger indigenous languages in South America, and its status as a language isolate makes it unique among the mosaic of vibrant South American indigenous tongues. A hypothetical relationship between Warao and the extinct Timucua language of northern Florida has been posited but remains unconfirmed. Despite Warao’s relatively large speaker base, the language is classified by UNESCO as endangered, threatened by the larger languages in the region, in particular Spanish. Regrettably, most translation agencies ignore Warao, but at TranslationServices.com, we’re proud to give Warao the attention—and high-quality translation services—it deserves.
Would you like to check out a free quote for our Warao translation services? Then send us a message!
Warao: one of the world’s most unique languages
As is common with indigenous languages in South America, Warao transcends the national borders of the continent, with most speakers living in Venezuela but smaller communities also found in Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad. More specifically, the homeland of the Warao people is the Orinoco Delta in northeastern Venezuela. Linguists have identified three Warao dialects: Guanoco, Chaguan, and Mariusa.
Language isolates are inherently unique, with linguists unable to derive concrete ties to other languages in the area. But Warao is particularly unique, as one of the only languages in the world to use a default word order of object-subject-verb. Less than 1% of world languages use this as their default word order, with another example being the Mizo language of northeastern India. Warao is otherwise characterized by complex morphology, with suffixes attached to verbs to indicate tense, aspect, negation, and more. Person is not marked on verbs, with Warao using independent pronouns instead. The language features two copulas (the equivalent of “to be”), with one denoting momentary states and the other incorporating the element of time to indicate a sustained state.
Our Warao translators can handle a wide range of translation jobs.
When your first language is as unique as Warao, it’s easy to be proud of it. Most ethnically Warao people speak their ancestral language, with many in the easternmost parts of the Oricono Delta monolingual in Warao—so it was simple for us to find native Warao speakers with a burning passion to help clients translate to and from their one-of-a-kind language. Our Warao translation team works with texts both from English to Warao and from Warao to English, so we can help you with both directions.
Our Warao translators are happy to work with all sorts of documents you might like to have translated to or from Warao. For example, if you lead an organization that you’d like to set up in the Oricono Delta, our translators can help you convert texts into Warao to spread the word among the local Warao-speaking populace. If you’re a researcher interested in learning more about the Warao people and their unique way of life, our translators can set you up with questionnaires in Warao. If you’d like to boost the literacy rates and prosperity of the Warao language by translating great books, stories, and poems into Warao, our team can help you with that, too. And, of course, if you want to share Warao tales with the wider world, we’d be happy to translate them into English.
Whatever your Warao translation needs, we’ll do our best to accommodate them. Tell us all the details in a message today!