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The People

Languages

Spanish is the official language of 9 of the 13 political entities on the continent. Portuguese is the official language of Brazil; English, of Guyana; Dutch, of Suriname; and French, of French Guiana. Among the scores of Native American languages, Quechua, Aymara, and Guarani are spoken by the largest numbers of people. The speakers of Quechua (7.6 million in 1998) are primarily in the central Andean highlands, and the speakers of Aymara (2.1 million in 1998) in the highlands of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. Guarani is an official language of Paraguay, along with Spanish.

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