World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Languages of Bolivia

Article Id: WHEBN0006615677
Reproduction Date:

Title: Languages of Bolivia  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Culture of Bolivia, Bolivians, Bolivian cuisine, Languages of South America, Religion in Bolivia
Collection: Languages of Bolivia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Languages of Bolivia

The languages of Bolivia include Spanish; several dozen indigenous languages, most prominently Aymara, Quechua, Chiquitano and Tupi Guaraní; Bolivian Sign Language (a local variant of American Sign Language); and language of immigrants such as Plautdietsch. Indigenous languages and Spanish are official languages of the state according to the 2009 Constitution. The constitution says that all indigenous languages are official, but then defines "all" as 36 specific languages, some long extinct. Spanish and Quechua are spoken primarily in the Andes region; Aymara is mainly spoken in the Altiplano around Lake Titicaca, Chiquitano is spoken in the central part of Santa Cruz and Guaraní in the southeast on the border with Paraguay.


  • List of official languages 1
  • Demographics 2
  • Official status 3
  • Languages without official status 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

List of official languages

Geographic distribution of the indigenous languages of Bolivia.
The distribution of people who primarily speak Spanish by municipalities in Bolivia

"In Bolivia through Act 269 Art. 8 and Political Constitution Art. 5 establish the following languages as official of the state."[1]


Language people percent
Quechua 2,281,198 25.08%
Aymara 1,525,321 16.77%
Guaraní 62,575 0.69%
Other native 49,432 0.54%
Spanish 6,821,626 75.01%
Foreign 250,754 2.76%
Only native 960,491 10.56%
Native and Spanish 2,739,407 30.12%
Spanish and foreign 4,115,751 45.25%
Only Spanish 4,082,219 44.89%
All native 3,918,526 43.09%

Official status

The 2009 Constitution specifies 37 languages as official:

Article 5-I: Son idiomas oficiales del Estado el castellano y todos los idiomas de las naciones y pueblos indígena originario campesinos, que son el aymara, araona, baure, bésiro, canichana, cavineño, cayubaba, chácobo, chimán, ese ejja, guaraní, guarasu'we, guarayu, itonama, leco, machajuyai-kallawaya, machineri, maropa, mojeño-trinitario, mojeño-ignaciano, moré, mosetén, movima, pacawara, puquina, quechua, sirionó, tacana, tapieté, toromona, uru-chipaya, weenhayek, yawanawa, yuki, yuracaré y zamuco.[2]

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.[3]

Following the National Education Reform of 1994, all thirty indigenous languages were introduced alongside Spanish in the country's schools.[4] However, many schools did not implement the reforms, especially urban schools.

Languages without official status

Standard German is spoken by 160,000 of whom about 70,000 are Mennonites in Santa Cruz Department. These Mennonites speak Plautdietsch, a German dialect, as everyday language but use Standard German for reading and writing and as formal language e.g. in church.[5]

See also


  1. ^ COUTHBERT, George,"Official Languages of Plurinational State of Bolivia", Apuntes Juridicos™, 2012 Consulta: Sabado, 25 Agosto de 2012
  2. ^ Bolivian Constitution
  3. ^ Nueva Constitución Política Del Estado, Aprobada en grande, detalle y revisión. December 2007, article 5.
  4. ^ Hornberger, Nancy. 1997. Language policy, language education, language rights: Indigenous, immigrant, and international perspectives. Language in Society 27:443. Retrieved on April 28, 2009.
  5. ^ Ethnologue: Paraguay [2]

External links

  • Lenguas de Bolivia (online edition)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.