Languages of Bolivia

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The languages of Bolivia include Spanish, at least 30 indigenous languages, most prominently Quechua, Aymara, and Tupi Guaraní, and other languages such as Plautdietsch spoken by descendants of immigrants. All of the indigenous languages and Spanish are official languages of the state according to the 2009 Constitution. Spanish and Quechua are spoken primarily in the Andes region; Aymara is mainly spoken in the Altiplano around Lake Titicaca, and Guaraní in the southeast on the border with Paraguay.

"In Bolivia through Act 269 Art. 8 and Political Constitution Art. 5 establish the following languages as official of the state." (COUTHBERT, George,"Official Languages of Plurinational State of Bolivia", Apuntes Juridicos™, 2012 Consulta: Sabado, 25 Agosto de 2012)


List of languages

Geographic distribution of the indigenous languages of Bolivia.

All of the following languages are spoken in Bolivia:


Another native49,4320.54%
Only native960,49110.56%
Native and Spanish2,739,40730.12%
Spanish and foreign4,115,75145.25%
Only Spanish4,082,21944.89%
All native3,918,52643.09%

Official status

The 2009 Constitution specifies the following languages as official: Castillian Spanish, Aymara, Araona, Baure, Bésiro (Chiquitano), Canichana, Cavineño, Cayubaba, Chácobo, Chimán, Ese Ejja, Guaraní, Guarasu’we, Guarayu, Itonama, Leco, Machajuyaikallawaya (Kallawaya), Machineri (Machiguenga), Maropa, Mojeño-Trinitario, Mojeño-Ignaciano, Moré, Mosetén (Tsimane'), Movima, Pacawara (Pacahuara), Puquina, Quechua, Sirionó, Tacana, Tapiete, Toromona, Uru-Chipaya, Weenhayek (Wichí Lhamtés Nocten, Wichí Lhamtés Vejoz), Yaminawa, Yuki, Yuracaré and Zamuco (Ayoreo). The Bolivian government and the departmental governments are also required to use at least two languages in their operation, while smaller-scale autonomous governments must also use two, including Spanish.[1]

Following the National Education Reform of 1994, all thirty indigenous languages were introduced alongside Spanish in the country's schools.[2] However, many schools did not implement the reforms, especially urban schools.

See also


  1. ^ Nueva Constitución Política Del Estado, Aprobada en grande, detalle y revisión. December 2007, article 5.
  2. ^ Hornberger, Nancy. 1997. Language policy, language education, language rights: Indigenous, immigrant, and international perspectives. Language in Society 27:443. Retrieved on April 28, 2009.

External links