Knowing a bit of the language spoken in Dominican Republic makes your travel experience more enjoyable and brings you closer to locals.
You want to be able to communicate with people, at least at the most basic level.
The language barrier can be a difficult thing to overcome, but it’s important to try.
What language is spoken in the Dominican Republic?
Spanish is the spoken language in the Dominican Republic, and it is spoken by almost all of the people on the island.
However, there are also a significant number of Dominicans who speak English, French, and German, especially in tourist areas.
This should come as no surprise as the country is located in the heart of the Caribbean and is visited by millions of tourist year-by-year, the vast majority of them from the United States of America and Canada.
Dominican Republic’s official language
According to the Dominican constitution the official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish.
Article 6 of the constitution reads: “The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish. Domains in which the use of other languages is allowed will be determined by law.”
Also, many Dominicans are bilingual and can speak both Spanish and English.
Spanish thus borrows some words from Arawak language, as well as from the African languages spoken by Africans who came to the island.
What percentage of the Dominican Republic speak Spanish?
Spanish is spoken by about 90% of the country’s population.
It is the main language for commerce, business, government offices, and schools. In addition, most media publications in the Dominican Republic are printed or recorded in Spanish
What is Dominican Spanish?
Spanish is the official language and the most spoken language of Dominican.
Dominican Spanish is also a common language for the Dominican diaspora in America who are primarily located in New York City, New Jersey, Boston, Philly and Miami.
The dialect is a subset of Caribbean Spanish that is influenced by southern Spain’s dialect of the canary. The Indigenous people on the island before colonization were named Arakawas.
What are the most common native languages spoken in the Dominican Republic?
They are as follows: Dominican Spanish (85% of the population) Haitian Creole (2%) Samana English (1%) Chinese (0.5%) Japanese (0.1%) Italian (0.1%) Other (11%).
Is Dominican Spanish different from Spain’s Spanish ?
The Spanish is main language spoken in the Dominican Republic is quite different from the Spanish spoken in other Spanish-speaking countries like Spain.
For instance, Dominicans often use different words for common objects than people from Spain or Latin America.
They also have their own way of pronouncing words, and their own slang, based on Canarian and Andalusian dialects.
So, if you know Spanish from another country, you’ll still need to brush up on your language skills before communicating with locals in the Dominican Republic.
Is Dominican Spanish the same as Mexican Spanish?
No, Dominican Spanish is not the same as Mexican Spanish.
While both are dialects of the Spanish language, there are significant differences between them.
For instance, Mexican Spanish has a lot of influence from indigenous languages, while Dominican Spanish is more similar to the Spanish spoken in Spain.
So, if you know Mexican Spanish, you’ll still need to learn some new words and phrases before speaking with locals in the Dominican Republic.
What’s the difference between Mexican and Dominican Spanish?
If you speak Spanish, you will be able to understand the average Mexican the same way as the average Dominican and the average Spaniard.
The difference is mostly the slang and pronunciation. Historically, the Dominican Republic and Mexico were colonized by the Spanish Empire.
Common native language spoken
Aside from Spanish, Haitian Creole is one of the minority languages spoken in Dominican Republic.
It is estimated that about 1.5 million Haitians live in the Dominican Republic, making up about 5% of the population.
Haitian Creole is a French-based creole language with African influences. It is spoken by Haitians and people of Haitian descent living in the Dominican Republic.
Foreign languages spoken
Aside from Spanish and Haitian Creole, the most common foreign languages spoken in the Dominican Republic are English, French, and German, which are considered mandatory foreign languages spoken at the tourist spot like Punta Cana, Samana, Puerto Plata, and Santo Domingo, among others.
The majority Haitian Creole speakers in the Dominican Republic are bilingual and Spanish as the second language.
There are several different English dialects spoken and about 12,000 inhabitants reside in northeastern regions, particularly the descendants of black immigrants who lived on the Samaná Peninsula.
It is similar to Creole English which is based on West African languages and English. Samana Creole is similar to the Caribbean English Creole spoken in the Caribbean. The language has withstood influences from other languages because of the location of Samana Peninsula which provides a more independent cultural life.
It is called Samana English. The language does not have the same popularity among local residents and it’s an endangered language close to disappear. Many don’t think that this should be included in the current list of languages.
Nevertheless, linguists think they have separate languages. The language also carries similar characteristics to other Creole languages of the Caribbean such as Turkic – Caico.
Is English widely spoken in Dominican Republic?
This is certainly one of the most widely spoken languages.
People talk about it most frequently within tourist districts if not simply among tourist.
Therefore, when staying in a resort area, you’ll communicate easily. It is advisable to have an understanding of Spanish before traveling through a country of origin.
Dominican Republic English
Native Spanish speakers in the Dominican also tend to use English words and incorporate these into their own words, some of them are really funny.
For example, a question like “What’s the matter with you” is changed to “wasamara gui yu”, and “What’s up” for “klokentuckyfraichiken”.
What is the percentage of people who speak French in the Dominican Republic?
Less than 1% of people speak French.
Vocabulary words that are unique to Dominican Republic
Some words are only used in the Dominican Republic as Spanish dialect and not in other Spanish-speaking countries.
Vaina – It can be anything and nothing at the same time. Nobody knows.
Bachata – A type of music and dance from the Dominican Republic
Cocotazo – a slap on the back of the head
Mangu – A type of dish made with mashed plantains
Sancocho – A type of stew made with various meats and vegetables.
Yaniqueques – A type of fried pastry.
Old Spanish words
An interesting fact is that Dominican Spanish uses old Spanish words that are no longer used in modern Spanish (eg Money = Dinero – Cuartos). It is common in the Dominican Spanish language to drop the letter “s”. For example “mosquitos” becomes “mosquito” and “where are you”, dondé tu esta will be “dondé tu ta?”
These are just a few examples of the unique words and phrases you’ll hear in the Dominican Republic. So, be sure to brush up on your Spanish and learn the basics if you are one of the millions of tourists visiting the country.
A few tips
No matter what your level of Spanish is, you’ll be able to find people to communicate with while you’re in the Dominican Republic. Many locals are fluent in English, so you can always fall back on that if needed.
English is typically spoken by those who have received a formal education and the staff that works at resorts, hotels, and tourist attractions, and is becoming more common among the younger generation.
You can always purchase translation services from local companies if you plan to visit places like malls, a supermarket, and others.
As a tip, don’t just start speaking English to a Dominican. The best practice would be to ask them a simple question: Habla inglés? (Do you speak English?) If the person doesn’t know the language he’ll ask you to wait until finding out who does.
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