In Paraguay, 6 of the 19 native languages are in danger
Paraguay fears that six of the country's 19 indigenous languages may disappear in the next few years, where, in addition to the Guaraní, other native peoples struggle to maintain their original dialects.
The guaná, belonging to the maskoy linguistic family, is the most exposed to extinction, since only four women of this community, originally from the department of Concepción, take great care in its preservation. This was stated on Tuesday by the head of the Secretariat for Language Policies (SPC), Ladislaa Alcaraz, during an act in line with the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
"The Guaná language is cataloged as the language in critical condition, since it only has four grandmothers, with four old women, speakers of this native language, depositories of this cultural treasure of the people".
This language is the mother tongue of 393 Paraguayans, just 1.01% of the total population of the country. Their risk of disappearance is due to the adoption of the guaraní by the members of the community.
Like the guana, the SPC is also disturbed by the situation of tomáraho, angaité, manjúi, sanapaná and ishir. The head of the SPC noted that the "linguistic vitality" is exposed to "many factors that put pressure on and influence the lives of the people," such as the territory and the environment, and insisted that "there is no town that wants give up their language. "
"Respecting languages means respecting the speakers and protecting the spaces where they are transmitted," Alcaraz said at an event in which the president of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, also participated. He urged the authorities present to protect and care for this linguistic heritage both at home and in public and educational spaces and proposed that all Paraguayans can learn an indigenous language, apart from the Guaraní, which is spoken by a large part of the population.
"That all Paraguayans have the opportunity to learn an indigenous language, which is often foreign to our context, and yet they are so close to us."
Also, the defense of those indigenous languages came out the nivaclé leader Daniela Benítez, who spoke on behalf of these minorities.
"The language is not an obstacle for us to be part of society as Paraguayans."
Benitez was satisfied with this recognition of indigenous languages, which will serve to show that they also exist "as Paraguayans."
"We appreciate our languages being valued because it is also part of our existence. No matter where we are, it does not matter what presence we have."
The UN declared 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages
The figures of the organization indicate that some 370 million people in more than 70 countries speak indigenous languages, which are being lost at an alarming rate.
Of the around 6,700 languages that are currently in the world, 40% are in danger of disappearing, mainly native languages, and it is believed that by the end of the century 90% could have disappeared.