Saint-Exupéry's ‘Little Prince’ Can Speak Aymara Now

Portada de "Prinsipi wawa". Imagen ampliamente difundida en línea.

Cover of “Prinsipi wawa”. Image widely shared online.

For the first time, Aymara speakers will be able to enjoy in their native tongue Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's book “The Little Prince”, the story of the encounter of a pilot whose plane breaks down in the middle of the African desert and a mysterious boy.

According to estimates, Aymara has about 2.2 million speakers who hail from the Central Andes, in areas of Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. Aymara becomes one of more than 240 languages into which The Little Prince has been translated since it was originally published in 1943.

The Aymara translation was carried out by college professor Roger Gonzalo Segura:

Bajo el título de “Pirinsipi wawa”, la traducción de esta novela universal corrió a cargo del profesor de quechua y aymara de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) Roger Gonzalo, quien aseguró a Efe que el trabajo le tomó alrededor de dos años.

With the title “Pirinsipi wawa”, the translation of this universal novel was in charge of Quechua and Aymara professor from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) Roger Gonzalo, who told Efe news agency that the translation took him about two years [to be completed].

According to Gonzalo, he had no difficulties telling the story within the Aymara world view:

“En el mundo [aymara] tenemos muchísimas historias para imaginar, incluso asustarnos. Hay animales y seres que no existen y muchas aventuras”, asegura. No obstante, había elementos del mundo occidental, como el ferrocarril, que tuvo que refonologizarlos, es decir, adaptarlos a la gramática de la lengua. En otros casos, no fue necesario crear nuevas palabras. Por ejemplo, palabras como ‘avión’ y ‘motor’, solo cambiaron a ‘aviona’ y ‘motora’.

“In the [Aymara] world, we have many stories that make us imagine, or even to be scared of. There are animals and beings that don't exist and also many adventures,” Gonzalo notes. However, there were elements from the Western world, such as railroads, that we had to rephonologize, that is, that we had to adapt to the language grammar. In other cases, it wasn't necessary to create new words. For instance, words such as ‘airplane’ [avión in Spanish] and ‘motor’, were just changed to ‘aviona’ and ‘motora’.

Gonzalo was born in the community of Chatuma, located in the district of Pomata, in the Punean province of Chucuito. Describing the recently translated book, he said:

Es una obra universal. El mensaje (que puede llegar a las poblaciones andinas) es la manera cómo una persona puede conceptuar la vida, explicar las cosas de su alrededor y qué significado pueden tener para la vida los personajes de El Principito. Estéticamente es fantástica.

This is a universal book. The message (that can be conveyed to Andean communities) is the way how someone can consider life, explain things around them and the meaning this may have for the life of the characters in The Little Prince. Aesthetically, it's fantastic.

On Twitter, you can find images and links related to Gonzalo's translation and the work behind it:

The Little Prince can now be read in Aymara language.
Quechua and Aymara languages professor, Roger Gonzalo Segura, was in charge of the translation

Peruvian professor translated The Little Prince into Aymara.

The Little Prince was translated into Aymara. How long did this work take? We tell you about it.

Prinsipi Wawa – The Little Prince translated into Aymara.

Professor Gonzalo is also a speaker of Quechua, a language family spoken in the Central Andes with over 10 million speakers. Besides his work as translator of The Little Prince, he is in charge of Quechua Rimarina, a program broadcast on a university YouTube channel that teaches Quechua.

1 comment

  • […] Saint-Exupéry’s ‘Little Prince’ Can Speak Aymara Nowglobalvoices.orgFor instance, words such as ‘airplane’ [avión in Spanish] and ‘motor’, were just changed … alrededor y qué significado pueden tener para la vida los personajes de El Principito. Estéticamente es fantástica. This is a universal book.2016-05-20 15:33:46 […]

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