Can We Talk in Belize?

English is far from the only language spoken by the people of Belize

Photo credit: © Rockworth | Dreamstime.com

Languages spoken in Belize
 

English-speakers will find themselves right at home in Belize - but so will travelers who speak many other languages.

English and Creole

While English is the official language of this former British colony, only four percent of English speakers learn it as their first language.  Still, most of the population does speak English, and they do it very well.  English is the primary language taught in public schools. 

Maps

Meanwhile, one-third of the population learns to speak Creole as their first language.  Vacationers from English speaking countries are typically able to communicate well enough with Creole speakers to get by.  Creole is a mixture of several languages, with the base being English.  African, Spanish, and Miskito are the other languages from which Creole derives syntax from. 

Spanish

Spanish is the most popularly spoken language in Belize - which is understandable, given it's location in Central America, surrounded by Mexico and Guatemala, both of which are Spanish speaking countries.  These border countries have helped to build the foundation for a strong Spanish speaking community in Belize.  Nearly half of the population learns Spanish as their first language, and most other children learn the language in primary or secondary school.

Other Dialects

There are several Mayan languages with a large following in Belize.  These include Kekchi, Mopan, and Yucatec.  This languages are typically spoken in very rural areas, along with the Garifuna language.  This is a language spoken commonly only by the small population of Garifuna people in Belize.  Garifuna is a very interesting language, in which the vocabulary is split so that only men can say some words, while only women can say others. 

Some decidedly foreign languages are spoken in Belize as well, though they are few and far between.  These include Chinese, German, and Hindustani.

Traveling to Belize doesn't mean you'll have to learn an entirely new language.  Here, locals are well-versed in a variety of languages, and are often bi-lingual.  Just speak your own native tongue as you traverse the country, and likely, you will find someone who speaks just as you do.

 

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