Bolivia is a highly multiethnic and multilingual society with over 30 indigenous languages that are considered, along with Spanish, official languages of the state.
The new institute is located in the city of Tiwanaku, which is considered the original cultural centre of Aymara. Minister of education Roberto Aguilar oversaw the inauguration of the new institute in a ceremony that featured singing in the native language.
Another official in the Education Ministry, Wálter Gutiérrez, explained that the main task of the Aymara institute will be to recuperate all the words of the language as well as to integrate new terminology for modern words used in Spanish and other languages, such as computer, tablet, cell, iphone and many others.
Pedro Apala, director of the Multinational Institute of Language and Culture, reported that he will have meetings with experts in linguistics to find the suitable words, and that the institute will also translate and produce useful and important texts in many subjects such as science, sociology, and technology into the Aymara language.
“In language there is knowledge and expertise, and so we must recuperate them, this is why we will create institutes for the 37 indigenous languages and we will start on Friday with Aymara,” said Apala.
Quecha, Aymara and Guaraní are most spoken languages in Boliva, while Tapiete and Manchineris are in danger of being lost completely. The government of Boliva estimates that around 40% of it’s population speaks a native language that predates the Spanish colonialism of the 16th century.
Current president of Bolvia, Evo Morales is of Aymara descent. He has implemented policies in the past to introduce indigenous language instruction into schools, which were met with some resistance and mixed results.