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Languages of Chile

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Republic of Chile, República de Chile. 15,823,957. National or official language: Spanish. Literacy rate: 92% to 95%. Also includes Catalan-Valencian-Balear, Standard German (35,000), Vlax Romani. Information mainly from A. Tovar 1961, 1966; Grete Mostny 1965; S. Wurm and S. Hattori 1981; N. Besnier OIEL 1992; SIL 1969–2003. Blind population: 100,000. Deaf population: 845,849. Deaf institutions: 7. The number of languages listed for Chile is 11. Of those, 9 are living languages and 2 are extinct.

Living languages

Aymara, Central

[ayr] 899 in Chile (1994 Hans Gundermann K.). Ethnic population: 20,000 in Chile (1983 SIL). Mountains of extreme north, first region Tarapacá; Arica, Parinacota, Iquique. Classification: Aymaran 
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Chilean Sign Language

[csg]   Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Huilliche

[huh] 2,000 (1982 SIL). South of the Mapuche, Tenth Region, from Valdivia to Chiloé. Alternate names: Veliche, Huiliche.  Dialects: Tsesungún. Related to Mapudungun, but barely intelligible with it.  Classification: Araucanian 
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Mapudungun

[arn] 200,000 in Chile (1982 SIL). Population total all countries: 300,000. Ethnic population: 928,000 (1992 census). Between the Itata and Tolten rivers. Also spoken in Argentina. Alternate names: Mapudungu, "Araucano", Mapuche.  Dialects: Moluche (Ngoluche, Manzanero), Picunche, Pehuenche. Easy intelligibility among all dialects. Pehuenche and Moluche are very close.  Classification: Araucanian 
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Qawasqar

[alc] 20 (1996 Oscar Aguilera). Population includes 10 in Puerto Edin. Channel Region, western Patagonia, Isle of Wellington off south Chilean coast, 49 degrees south with center in Puerto Edin. Speakers of the extinct Aksanás dialect also lived in Puerto Edén. Alternate names: Kaweskar, Kawesqar, Alacalufe, Alacaluf, Halakwulup.  Dialects: Aksanás (Aksana).  Classification: Alacalufan  Nearly extinct.
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Quechua, Chilean

[cqu] Ethnic population: 4,563 (2000 WCD). Northern second region. Dialects: May be intelligible with, or the same as, South Bolivian Quechua.  Classification: Quechuan, Quechua II, C 
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Rapa Nui

[rap] 3,392 in Chile (2000 WCD). Population includes 2,200 on Easter Island; 200 to 300 on Chile mainland, Tahiti, and USA. Ethnic population: 3,500. Easter Island, 3,800 km from Chile, 4,000 km from Tahiti. Also spoken in French Polynesia, USA. Alternate names: Easter Island, Pascuense.  Dialects: Lexical similarity 64% with Hawaiian, Mangareva, Rarotonga, 63% with Marquesan; 62% with Tahitian, Paumotu.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, Central Pacific, East Fijian-Polynesian, Polynesian, Nuclear, East, Rapanui 
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Spanish

[spa] 13,800,000 in Chile (1995). Population includes 25% Spanish, 66% mestizo.  Alternate names: Español, Castellano.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, West Iberian, Castilian 
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Yámana

[yag] 1 (2003). Ethnic population: 100 (2000 W. Adelaar). Patagonia, Isla Navarino, Puerto Williams, Ukika hamlet. Extinct in Argentina. Alternate names: Yaghan, Yagán, Tequenica, Háusi Kúta.  Dialects: Tovar (1961) says it was closest to Qawasqar, and had some relationship to Ona. Earlier there were up to five dialects.  Classification: Language Isolate  Nearly extinct.
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Extinct languages

Kakauhua

[kbf] Extinct.  Alternate names: Kaukaue, Cacahue.  Classification: Alacalufan 
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Kunza

[kuz] Extinct. A few speakers were located in 1949 and since by anthropologists. Ethnic population: 2,000 (2000 W. Adelaar). Peine, Socaire (Salar de Atacama), and Caspana. Alternate names: Likanantaí, Lipe, Ulipe, Atacameño.  Dialects: Greenberg places it in Macro-Chibchan.  Classification: Unclassified 
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