Belize is a bilingual country, with the main languages being Creole and English. The majority of people in Belize speak English, Spanish, and Creole (sometimes spelt Kriol). The Creole language belongs to the Pidgin dialect that eventually became a native language in the country. The language is a mix of French language and African dialects. The Creole alphabet is similar to the English alphabet; however, the letters C and U, do not appear independently and the letters Q and X do not exist at all.
More than half of the population in Belize are bilingual, and other large segments are multilingual. English is the official language in the country spoken by 62.9% of the population. The second common language is Spanish, spoken by 56.6% of the population and taught in public schools. Creole or Kriol is the third most popular language accounting for 44.6% of the population. In the regions of San Pedro and Corozal, locals speak a mix of Belizean Creole and Spanish called “Kitchen Spanish.” Residents in Belize pride themselves on the ability to switch between the various dialects in speech.
Belize is unique among Central American countries for having English as an official language. There are no special local phrases used, rather “Hello,” “Please” and “Thank you” are common among locals and visitors. Belize Creole (di Bileez Kriol langwij) an English-based Kriol language is also common. English-based Creole is an offspring of the colonizers' language combined with the grammar of African language. For instance, “How are you?” translates to “Da how yu di du?” “What time is it?” translates to “Weh taim yu gat?”
A small percentage of people speak Mayan, German, Garífuna and other languages. Known as Q’eqchi, 6% of Belizeans speak the indigenous Mayan language with much of the concentration in the southern part of the country. There is also a minority (3.2%) of the population who identifies as Mennonite and speaks German. Furthermore, 2.9% of the population speaks Garífuna. The Garífuna language belongs to the Arawakan languages which have a strong influence of Carib, French, and Spanish. Other minority languages account for 2.7% of the population.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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