A fascinating article in the New York Times takes a look at Guaraní, an indigenous language of Paraguay that is spoken by an estimated 90% of the population.
We often hear of indigenous languages dying out because of lack of speakers, but Guaraní is different. It’s been supported by governments throughout history, including dictators who have used speakers as informants. Under General Stroessner, who ruled from 1954 to 1989, the language thrived – the General made it an official language and rewarded rural speakers with land for their loyalty.
It’s not just dictators who have supported the language though. When democratic rule was established in Paraguay, the language was furthered strengthened when it was made equal to Spanish. Now there is debate in the country about its future.
You can learn more about Guaraní over at Omniglot.