The official language of Cape Verde is Portuguese, which is considered a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. It is written with the Latin alphabet and uses some special accent marks to indicate vowel stress and pronunciation. The Portuguese language is left over from the the time when Cape Verde was considered a Portuguese colony. Today, it is used primarily by government officials and as the language of instruction in public educational institutions.

Despite being the official language, Portuguese is spoken as a native language by a very small number of individuals in Cape Verde. In fact, it tends to be concentrated in urban areas or only spoken at a native level by Portuguese and Brazilian immigrants and residents. Kabuverdianu, also known as Cape Verdean Creole, is also spoken here and considered a language of national identity. It does not, however, hold official status, although several organizations are working toward that goal. A dialect of this language is spoken in all of the islands making up this country. Because of the relative distance among islands, not all of the dialects of Cape Verdean Creole are mutually understood.

As previously mentioned, Cape Verdean Creole is one of the most widely spoken languages in this country. Therefore, learning a few of these phrases before traveling to Cape Verde can come in handy. One of the most common phrases heard in the streets of Cape Verde is “tud dret?”, which means “is everything okay?” Another common phrase is “sebim”, which should be used to tell waiters that the food is great. One of the most common forms of public transportation here is the “aluguer”, type of shared van.

The minority languages of Cape Verde may be some of the Cape Verdean Creole dialects. Of the many different dialects of this language, the Barlavento dialect has the least number of speakers. This dialect is further divided into several variants, including: Sal, São Nicolau, Boa Vista, Santo Antão, and São Vicente.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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