The Paraguayan people, product of the Spanish-Guaraní miscegenation, largely speak two languages, Spanish, brought by the colonizers, and Guaraní, inherited from their indigenous ancestors, considered one of their most important identity traits. When the conquistadors settled along the shores of the Paraguay River, they were surprised to find a language “so full and elegant, that with good reason can compete with the famed languages,” according to the writings of Antonio Ruiz de Montoya in his Treasure of the Guaraní Language.
The current National Constitution, enacted in 1992, expresses in its Article 140: “Paraguay is a multi-cultured and bilingual country. The official languages are Spanish and Guaraní. (…)The indigenous languages, such as those of other minorities, form part of the cultural inheritance of the Nation.” Elsewhere, in its Article 77, the Constitution announces that “The teaching at the beginning of the education process shall be carried out in the official language of the mother tongue of the student.”
According to the latest official data, 50% of the population speaks Guaraní and Spanish, 40% is monolingual, speaking only Guaraní, six percent is Spanish-speaking monolingual, and knowledge of Guaraní, taking into account the various levels of fluency, reaches 90%.