What does “chake” mean? – ¿Qué significa “chake”?

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“Chake” is a word of warning in Guaraní which translates as “be careful” or “beware.” Some people choose to pronounce it “cha” (shall) “ke” (K-mart) while others say “ha” (Halloween) “ke” (K-mart). You´re especially likely to hear it called out by mothers warning their children of all sorts of dangers … “chake moto!” (beware the motorcycle!) “chake auto!” (beware the car!) “chake pora!” (beware the ghost!). My personal favorite use of “chake” is in the song Pitogue by Escucha Karaoke (you can hear the song here). The chorus is “Chake el pitogue, chake el pitogue, chake el pitogue que te va cantar” (beware the pitogue, he´s going to sing to you). The pitogue is a yellow and black bird whose call is commonly believed to announce a pregnancy. For teenagers (and their parents) the pitogue´s song is definitely worthy of a “chake!”

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“Chake” es una advertencia en Guaraní que significa “ten cuidado.” Algunos lo pronuncian “cha” (shamán) “ke” (que) mientras que otros lo pronuncian “hake” (jaque mate). Las madres paraguayas suelen usar la palabra con frequencia al advertirles a sus hijos sobre una variedad de peligros… “¡chake moto!” “¡chake auto!” “¡chake pora!” El uso de “chake” que más me gusta es en la canción Pitogue de Escucha Karaoke (puedes oirla aquí). El coro dice “Chake el pitogue, chake el pitogue, chake el pitogue que te va cantar.” El pitogue es un pájaro amarillo y negro cuyo canto, según la creencia popular, anuncia un embarazo. Para los adolecentes (y sus padres) el canto del pitogue definitívamente se merece un “¡chake!”


Posted in Guaraní - Guaraní Tagged with: , , ,
One comment on “What does “chake” mean? – ¿Qué significa “chake”?
  1. Graham Kreicker says:

    Hi Natalia,

    You have my correct e-address (gkreicker@gmail.com), but the new Discover Paraguay installments are still going to my old e-address (kreicker@sunflower.com).

    Are copies of your new book available in the U.S.? I’d like to mention it at the Kansas Paraguay Partners Borad meeting on Saturday. It would be nice to get a copy for our outgoing President. And, other members might like to have a copy.


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