11 Caribbean Languages | Organized By Country

11 Distinct Caribbean Languages and the Countries that speak them

11 Distinct Caribbean Languages And The Countries and People That Speak Them

The Caribbean is made up of a huge mixture of people, cultures and languages. The reason for this, is that most of the Caribbean people were not originally from the Caribbean. The majority of the people were brought here as slaves and indentured slaves in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. The majority of these people were from Africa and India. Further to this, there were many countries that brought slaves including Spain, The Netherlands, Britain and France.

With the volume of not only slavers, but slaves. The countries individual economies started to gain traction, bringing opportunity to people all over the world to get a piece of the pie. Someone had to feed and clothes all of these people. Some Chinese people and a few other cultures immigrated to these Caribbean countries for the good weather and business opportunity. Now the hosts of the Caribbean are a wonderful mix of cultures. Here is a funny video that illustrates the differences in some Caribbean accents.

11 Caribbean Languages

  1. English

    English is the most common language in the Caribbean, and you will find that even in the French and Spanish speaking countries that most of the locals also speak English. The English speaking countries of the Caribbean are The Bahamas, The Virgin Islands, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Maarteen, St Vincent and Turks & Caicos. These are the countries that the primary language is English.


  2. French/Creole French

    French in the Caribbean varies, In school they teach the islanders traditional French. However each island has created its own Patois version of the French language. I can understand French and when I go to these countries, I have a really hard time understanding them. The language can be described as French with a Jamaican accent. The French speaking countries of the Caribbean are Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Barthelemy, French Guiana, and St Martin.


  3. Spanish/Creole Spanish

    Similar to the French, traditional Spanish is taught in school in all of these countries and the locals speak it in their Patois tongue. The Spanish speaking Caribbean countries are Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, and Cuba. These countries are very beautiful, so don’t stear away just because of the language barrier. Almost everyone speaks english in these countries, especially those on resorts and in the tourist areas.

    Common-Spanish-Words

    Common-Spanish-Words

  4. Patois

    Patois is a regional dialect that each Caribbean country has. It is part mixed with African dialect and mixed with whatever country colonised the islands. For example if Spain colonized Puerto Rico, their language would be a mix of local, Spanish and Creole dialect.

    Patois

    Patois

  5. Dutch

    The Dutch language is spoken in Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saaba, St Eustatius, and St Maarteen. It is also spoken in the local Patois dialect.


  6. Amerindian

    There are Amerindians on almost every island in the Caribbean and people sometimes forget that they have their


  7. Papiamento

    This is a Portugese and Spanish Based Creole mix. The countries with Papiamento as the official language are Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.

    Papiamento-Words-Aruba-language

    Papiamento-Words-Aruba-language

  8. Hindi

    Hindi is spoken in areas of the Caribbean that have a high concentration of people originating from India, such as Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.The Hindu speaking people of these countries have developed a version of Hindi that is mixed with the local patois.


  9. Chinese

    The Chinese immigrated to almost every island of the Caribbean, and although they adopted local Patois into their speach the also kept their own languages. The Chinese went to the Caribbean not as slaves but as business people, looking to sell to the locals.


  10. Portugese

    The Portugese had a short time in the Caribbean, but they did leave their language. Papiamento, that is spoken on several Caribbean islands is partially from the Portugese language. Portugese is also the second language in some countries in the Caribbean such as Guyana and Surinam. The reason for this is not only because they were colonized by these people, also because of their distance to Portugese speaking countries. For example Guyana is located right above Brazil, so there is obvious spillover.


  11. Tamil

    Tamil is another language that was brought from India during indentured slavery. It is one of the least spoken languages of the Caribbean, but some families try to keep the language from disappearing over time. It is spoken in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.

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Common Questions About Caribbean Languages

  • Do any Caribbean countries speak an African language?

    No, there are no Caribbean countries that speak any African language. However many of these countries have adopted slight African accents and cooking. Many people from the Caribbean are African descendants and some of the culture and verbiage has stayed a part of the linguistics.


  • Does the Caribbean count as a part of Latin America?

    Yes some countries of the Caribbean are considered a part of Latin America. Any country in the Caribbean that is Spanish speaking like Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic and considered Latin America. That does not mean they are a part of the United States, only the Americas.


     

  • Which Spanish is spoken in Puerto Rico?

    Puerto Rico speaks a form of Patois Spanish


  • What is the difference between Creole and Patois?

    Creole and Patois are very similar in that it depends on the country of origin that colonized the country first. Creole came from when French Colonials spoke broken french to the slaves or the poor. Those people in turn took that as the way they should speak and turned it into a language. Patois is what the french or Spanish called corrupt Gibberish and it is a language that children adopted in the Caribbean and that spilled over to the adults. They are both very similar.

    Patois 2

    Patois 2

  • Jamaican language is Patois english. Some Jamaicans, especially children and elders have such a strong accent that you can barely understand them.


  • What Language do people from Haiti speak?

    Haitians speak creole French. However in tourist areas they also speak English.


  • What language do people from Trinidad speak?

    Trinidadians speak English Patois, and some of theIndian people on the island can also speak Hindi. The Trinidadian accent is almost song like and is very distinct.


  • What is the West Indies spoken Languages?

    The languages in the West Indies are exactly the same as the Languages of the Caribbean. Mostly English, French, Spanish, Patois, Dutch, creole and Hindi.


  • Why Do most Latin Americans speak Spanish?

          Latin Americans speak Spanish, this is due to them being previously colonized by Spain.

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Hi! My name is Sean Rampersaud, I am a family travel writer and photographer with a focus on adventure travel. My kids are Rayden and Natasha and my beautiful wife is Radika.We have been travelling for the last 25 years and have some really cool ideas to share with you.Thanks for visiting our page, I hope we can help you to get the most out of your next big adventure.