The official language of Saint Helena is English with a distinctive local flavour to certain words and phrases. English evolved from the Anglia tribes from Germany who migrated to England and has become the de facto language for many British Territories such as the island of Saint Helena. Citizens of Saint Helena are also citizens of the United Kingdom and the English language has historically provided a common method of communication between the two countries.
The population of Saint Helena is just 4,534, as measured by the 2016 National Census. All of the inhabitants of the nation speak English, either Standard British English or the local dialect that includes influences from across the world. English is used as the only language for the media, government, and religious ceremonies in Saint Helena. The majority of citizens also identify as Anglican which reflects the long history of the church on the island.
The English dialect spoken in Saint Helena is a hybridized language consisting of phrases and sounds from African, European, Indian, and Asian languages among the British English lexicon. An example of the local English dialect is the phrases `bita`, meaning a bit of, and `chirren` which means children. Many phrases and words used by locals may be hard to understand at first for tourists.
Minority languages in Saint Helena are incredibly scarce as the non-Europeans on the island from Africa, India, and Malaysia have not maintained their original culture which includes language. Many inhabitants of Saint Helena are of mixed ethnicity and English provides a method of mutual communication for all. As mentioned earlier, Saint Helena's style of English is unique to the island and the dialect is known as Saint by locals and visitors to the country.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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