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In 2009, about one in four elementary schools reported teaching foreign languages.
Why the Name?
The name Ñandutí (pronounced nyan-doo-TI) comes from the word for spider web in the Guaraní language of Paraguay. It also refers to that country’s renowned needle-woven lace that imitates the appearance of a spider web. We chose the name Ñandutí because, like lace that ressembles a spider web, the name symbolizes the web of languages and cultures that spans the world. The original developers of the Web site in 1997, Jennifer Locke and Nancy Rhodes, both had connections to Paraguay and liked the idea of naming the site after a “beautiful, intricate, fragile, and durable” work of art made by the women of that Guaraní-Spanish bilingual nation.
Note: A companion e-mail list, Ņandu, is named after the word for spider in Guaraní.
The Web site logo is a stylized version of the colorful ñandutí lace, reflecting typical colors of the lace and six points of the commonly-used star pattern. Designers felt that, in the 2006 update of the Web site logo and design, it would be more appropriate (and easier to reproduce) to design a stylized version of the lace rather than just show the intricacies of the actual lace. Here is a sample of the ñandutí lace upon which the logo was based:
The History and Legend of Ñandutí
Lace making was introduced by the Spaniards to Paraguay in the mid-16th century. The women of the countryside incorporated geometric designs, stars, or typical Paraguayan flowers like the jasmine into the pattern of the lace.
One of the many legends concerning the origin of this lace is about a Paraguayan girl whose lover failed to appear on their wedding day so she went searching for him through the woods. Finally, at nightfall, she came upon his body. She knelt beside him, keeping a vigil until morning. When the sun rose, she saw that his body was covered by a shimmering mantle of spider webs. Vowing to copy the work of the tiny spiders, she ran home and returned with a needle and thread. Devotedly, she worked for hours on this piece of ñandutí lace, a shroud for her lover.
This version of the legend was excerpted from, " Paraguay, Land of Lace and Legend," (Las Amigas Norteamericanas del Paraguay) published at Mango Tree Imports (6/25/05).
Updated December 15, 2009
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