Can We Talk in Caribbean?

Islanders throughout the Caribbean speak a variety of languages, even yours

Photo credit: © Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire

Languages in the Caribbean
 

The languages of the Caribbean reflect the region's diverse history and culture.

Although English may not be the official language of each of the islands, it is the most commonly spoken language on all of the islands due to British colonial background or the high rate of American tourism. Other official languages on the islands include Dutch, French and Spanish.

There are many regional dialects spoken solely by island natives in the Caribbean. The most common is Patois, a melding of English, African words, and the language existing when the island was first colonized (typically French). Another location-specific language is Papiamento, a combination of African, Dutch, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. Other natives may speak English with a heavy West Indian or French Creole accent. If you have trouble understanding a native tongue, don't be shy about asking for clarification.

 

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