Languages and Language Politics in the Paraguayan Chaco

LANGUAGE, SOCIETY AND THE STATE IN A CHANGING WORLD(2023)

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Abstract
This chapter discusses the linguistic history of the Paraguayan Chaco focusing on the current state of Indigenous languages and communities in the region. An overview of the linguistic landscape given the current state of research is provided, including linguistic classifications, language vitality, a discussion of (mis)naming, and the relationship between current language communities and ethnic groups. Some sociopolitical forces that influence Indigenous communities are identified, which includes a discussion of Indigenous language policy which promotes Paraguayan Guarani but marginalizes the minority Indigenous languages of the country. The history of dispossession and displacement of Indigenous peoples in the Chaco is reflected in contemporary efforts by Indigenous people to regain their land rights and cultural and linguistic autonomy. Given that research on the Indigenous languages of Paraguay is still a developing field and the languages of the Paraguayan Chaco are still largely under-described, this work is important in that it presents the current state of research on these languages and offers a counter-narrative to the national discussion of Indigenous languages in Paraguay.
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Key words
Paraguay,Chaco,Language policy,Language vitality,Indigenous language,education
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