Anguilla has two dominant languages. Standard English, which has a heavy British influence, is the island’s official language. Anguillian Creole is the other most commonly used language. It is recognized as the “de facto” language of national identity. It is an English based creole which has most of its words derived from English and some African languages. Other less commonly used languages are Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, German, and Dutch.

A national survey conducted in 2001 of a population of 12,755, found that English speakers made up 88% of the whole population, while Spanish and French speakers made up 6% and 3% respectively. The other languages were spoken by 1% or less of the population. Although it is difficult to substantiate and differentiate speakers of Creole and English due to the heavy influence English has on the former, it is estimated that there are, at most, 10,000 Anguillian Creole speakers.

Anguillian Creole is a dialect of the more commonly known Leeward Caribbean Creole English which is spoken in some of the countries found in the Leeward Islands. There are some rules when it comes to the pronunciation. For example, there is little or no subject-verb agreement, so you will hear “you lie” instead of “you are lying.” They will also omit some letters especially at the end of the words, so you have “kin” instead of kind, and you will also find replacing the sound “th” with “d” so that you hear “look day” instead of “look there.”

The existence of some of the less commonly used languages, for example, Spanish, French, Italian, and German could be attributed to the island’s proximity to places like Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Saint Martin. For a short period, France had taken over the island because it had served as a haven for early Europeans who settled there with enslaved people brought over from Africa.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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