We’ve been absolutely spoiled with news and information in Korea. There’s no shortage of Korean and English-language media sources providing a spectrum of news and information. They run the gamut politically from progressive media such as OhMyNews and Hankyoreh Shinmun to conservative ones, including the Chosun Ilbo. I personally prefer the more centrist media outlets (read balanced), particularly the JoongAng Ilbo and Korea Times. Of the two, the JoongAng Ilbo tends to provide more comprehensive analyses, although the Korea Times is more fun to read. It’s akin to reading the Washington Post versus USA Today. There’s little wonder why the JoongAng Ilbo’s English edition is packaged with the International Herald Tribune, a subsidiary of the New York Times. In Korea, you can generally tell the political bent of a news outlet based on its depictions the United States (favorable or unfavorable) and stance on hot-button issues, particularly North Korea and socio-economic issues (e.g. labor and education). Korean media may have more in common with European media than their American cousins; whereas most U.S. media claim to be bias-free, European media are not apologetic over their political vent.
Paraguay is an entirely different story. I surfed the web and could not find any solid online news sources in English dedicated to covering Paraguay. Granted, Paraguay’s national language is Guarani, an indigenous language, and its lingua franca is Spanish. It is also a small country with about 5.6 million inhabitants, the size of a large city. Nevertheless, none of its major news outlets seem to offer Paraguayan news and information in English. They all seem to use Spanish exclusively, except for a German-language news site called Aktuelle Rundschau catering to Paraguay’s sizable German community. News sources available in English seem to offer more coverage of Paraguay’s larger neighbors, particularly Brazil, the 800 pound Latin American heavyweight.
I thought it odd that none of the Paraguayan meid offer news written in Guarani, the official language of Paraguay. I had never heard of the language spoken by about 5 million people until I found out we will be heading there in 2007. I was surprised to discover how different the language is from Spanish. It is a language that pre-dates the arrival of Spanish in the 1500’s, although I assumed, perhaps wrongly, that Guarani had been heavily influenced by Spanish after comingling for about 500 years. Here is a sample Guarani sentence from Omniglot:
Mayma yvypóra ou ko yvy ári iñapytl’yre ha eteîcha dignidad ha derecho jeguerekópe; ha ikatu rupi oikuaa añetéva ha añete’yva, iporâva ha ivaíva, tekotevê pehenguéicha oiko oñondivekuéra.
Here is the English translation:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Only the words "dignidad" (dignity) and "derecho" (rights) are obviously Spanish words. The Korean language draws 65% of its vocabulary from Chinese and 5% from English, so I would be surprised if most Guarani vocabulary did not come from Spanish. Guarani is fascinating, and I’ve heard that speaking it in Paraguay will win you friends for life. However, I need to focus on learning Spanish! Baby steps.