This dictionary could not have been produced without the help of countless people. First and foremost we wish to thank the communities of Wayuu who welcomed us during our intermittent periods of residence among them over some twenty years beginning in 1977 and into the 1990s, primarily the villages of Kewiiralema'ana and Meera (Ji'isentira) in the municipality of Uribia, la Guajira, Colombia. In the early years, it was their patient interaction with us as we visited informally in one another's households that enabled us to begin to learn something of their culture and language. In later years we were privileged to be helped formally working with several Wayuus (too numerous to name individually), as we improved our comprehension and speaking abilities, while also advancing our linguistic analysis of their intriguing language and participating in Bible translation into the Wayuu language. Both of these groups, informal and formal, provided the principal contacts through which we recorded the words and phrases that have formed the lexical database from which this dictionary has been edited. Later, in preparation for publishing our Diccionario Básico Ilustrado Wayuunaiki-Español Español-Wayuunaiki (Bogotá, 2005), a selected subset of the words included here, we were given invaluable assistance in checking those entries by Ricaurte Henríquez Uriana II and Reinaldo Ipuana González, Wayuu leaders with whom we have shared friendship for many years.
We would also like to recognize our SIL colleagues Richard Mansen and his late wife Karis, who had begun their fieldwork among the Wayuu (Guajiros) some twelve years prior to us. Of particular help to us in our initial language learning was their English draft of a Wayuu pedagogical grammar, later published in Spanish as Aprendamos Guajiro (Bogotá, 1984).
We have admired the work of others that have done research and published dictionaries of the Wayuu language previously. Two of these are Martha Hildebrandt's Diccionario guajiro-español (Caracas, 1963) and the Diccionario sistemático de la lengua guajira of Miguel Ángel Jusayú and Jesús Olza Zubiri (Caracas/Maracaibo, 1988). While we frequently compared our data with theirs, we have restricted our publication strictly to data that we have independently recorded, evaluated and compiled.
David and Linda Captain