The Persistence of Paraguayan Guaraní

Like many South American countries, Paraguayans have held onto their indigenous language despite modernization in areas such as television, telecommunications, or the internet.

An estimated half of the rural population is monolingual, and the majority of the population in Paraguay speaks Guaraní (it is also spoken in parts of BoliviaArgentina, and Brazil).

The tenacious hold of the language in what is generally considered to a Spanish/Portuguese speaking continent, is evidenced in a recent implementation of interactive voice response (IVR) technology in the country. Many of the potential customers of the service were reluctant to utilize a Spanish based system, so an adaptation based on text messaging technology was implemented in its place by the company Genesys resulting in an increase in traffic.

The language was also used successfully during the The Chaco War with Bolivia to communicate in secrecy over the radio as the average Bolivian soldier did not understand Guaraní.

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