Bolivia is home to 38 ethnic groups and their indigenous languages, as described in the Constitution of Bolivia. 39 official languages are identified by the constitution of the country. However, only 4 languages are utilized by a considerable number of Bolivians. These include: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara, and Guarani.

As many other Latin American nations, Bolivia is also predominantly a Spanish-speaking nation. Spanish is the dominant language in many parts of the country, but the government must use at least two languages in conducting their operations, one being Spanish and the other chosen according to the situation and the needs of the region. The variant of Spanish spoken in Bolivia is called Bolivian Spanish, also known as Castilian. Castilian in Bolivia exists in five distinct, geographically defined dialects. These dialects include: Vallegrandino Spanish, Valluno Spanish, Chapaco Spanish, Camba Spanish, and Andean Spanish.

There are 39 languages spoken in Bolivia today, with an estimated 50% of the population who speaks an indigenous language as their native tongue, while 40% report Spanish as their native tongue. In addition to Spanish, the indigenous languages spoken in Bolivia include: Aymara, Araona, Baure, Besiro, Cavineno, Chacobo, Chiman, Ese Ejja, Guarani, Guarayu, Itonama, Leco, Machajuyai-Kallawaya, Machineri, Maropa, Mojeño-Ignaciano, More, Movima, Pacawara, Quechua, Siriono, Tacana, Tapiete, Toromona, Weenhayek, Yaminawa, Yuki, Yuracaré, Zamuco, and Uru-Chipaya. Extinct languages include Canichana, Cayubaba, Guarasu’we,  and Puquina. A lot of the indigenous languages spoken today are at the brink of extinction as well, such as Uru-Chipaya, Itonama and Leco.

Most languages spoken in Bolivia are indigenous languages, but there are also some immigrant languages which can be heard within the country as well. Standard German is the largest non-official language spoken in Bolivia by about 160,000 people. Mennonites in the Santa Cruz area make up the largest portion of these speakers at around 70,000 of them who speak a dialect of German called Plautdietsch and use Standard German for reading and writing.

The deaf community of Bolivia uses the Bolivian Sign Language, which is based on American Sign Language. Bolivian Sign Language is used by an estimated 22,600 people with hearing impairments.


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