Essayist Speaks Out On - Opinion of experts

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To this day, Paraguay remains the only country in the Americas where a majority of the population speaks here indigenous language: It is enshrined in the Constitution, officially giving it equal footing with the language of European conquest, Spanish. And in the streets, it is a source of national pride.

Reese Witherspoon Plays 'Speak Out'

Paraguay differs significantly even from other multilingual Latin American nations like neighboring Bolivia, where a majority of the population is indigenous. Languages like Quechua and Aymara are spoken by different groups there, but rarely by people of mixed ancestry or the traditional elite.

In Paraguay, indigenous peoples account for less than 5 percent of the population. The encomienda, a system common within the Spanish empire that forced indigenous people to work for Europeans and their descendants, did not penetrate big parts of the territory that eventually became Paraguay.

Gynan, an American linguist.

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