Most Paraguayans are more comfortable with Guarani than with Spanish. Yet Spanish is the language of the colonial conquerors, of social status, educational opportunity and economic power, while Guarani is the language of the natives, of illiteracy, poverty and failure.
After receiving his law degree, Zarratea went on to earn a degree in Guarani language studies. Later, he wrote Paraguay's only novel in Guarani, and he joined a growing movement of linguistic and social activists who are working to erase taboos against the native language and press for its full equality with Spanish.
The Paraguayan program, started in the early 1970s with financing from the U.S. Agency for International Development, is aimed at preparing teachers to use Guarani as a tool for helping pupils who do not understand Spanish well. [Corvalan] said the program's objective is to make those who speak Guarani literate in Spanish.