What Languages Are Spoken In The Dominican Republic?
Much like the rest of the world, the Dominican Republic has a wide range of different languages currently being spoken. The most common native languages spoken in the Dominican Republic are listed here (out of a population of 10.77 million):
- Dominican Spanish (85% of the population)
- Haitian Creole (2% of the population)
- Samana English (1% of the population)
- Chinese (.5% of the population)
- Japanese (.1% of the population)
- Italian (.1% of the population)
- Other (11% of the population)
Currently, the official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish. There are a variety of different variants of the Spanish language used all over the Dominican Republic. Dominican Spanish is the country’s most used Spanish dialect. The basis of Dominican Spanish comes from the Andalusian and Canarian dialects found in Southern Spain. Dominican Spanish is considered a subset of Caribbean Spanish. Some of the words used in Dominican Spanish were borrowed from the Arawak language. Some of these Spanish words are not currently being used in modern Spanish.
Geography and Population
A portion of the eastern area of Hispaniola is actually formed by the Dominican Republic. According to the size, this is one of the biggest of all the Caribbean countries. The area encompasses approximately 18,700 square miles. The current population has reached close to ten million people. Most of these people reside in the capital of Santo Domingo, which is roughly three million people. In excess of seventy percent of the population is of a mixed origin. Eleven percent are black and fifteen percent are white.
There are several additional ethnic groups residing in the country. These groups are considered to be minor in regards to the general population due to their smaller numbers. This consists of mostly Spanish white Europeans and Asians. The majority of these Asians are Chinese in origin. Some individuals of the Jewish faith have also migrated to the Dominican Republic. The main language spoken in the country is Spanish. There are a variety of Spanish languages currently spoken within the country. These are referred to as Dominican Spanish. Both French and English are considered mandatory foreign languages.
Other words were borrowed from several of the African languages. Dominican Spanish additionally borrowed words from the Arawak language including a few of the words no longer used for modern Spanish. More words also came from the African languages used by the Africans who waited until after the Taino extinction to come to the island. Well over ninety percent of the country’s population either understands or speaks the Spanish language. Spanish is used by commerce, business, government offices and schools. The majority of media publications in the Dominican Republic are printed in Spanish.
One of the varieties of the English language is called Samana English and is spoken by approximately 12,000 of the residents in the Dominican Republic’s northern areas. Many of these people are descendants of the Black immigrants. In the United States, these individuals are referred to as Samana Americans. Samana English is a lot like Creole English because the basis of the language is derived from a combination of English and the West African languages.
There are many similarities between the Caribbean English Creole the residents of the Caribbean speak and Samana Creole. The reason this language has withstood the influence from so many different languages is due to the location of the Samana Peninsula. The cultural life is much more independent for this reason. Due to the policies of the government, Samana English is now on the decline. It is currently considered to be an endangered language throughout the Dominican Republic.
One of the minority languages within the Dominican Republic is Haitian Creole. Despite this, in excess of 160,000 residents of the country speak Haitian Creole as their first language. The majority of these individuals are either immigrants or of Haitian descent. The basis of this language is derived from French. There are also influences from both the Western African languages and the Spanish language. Most of the people living in the Dominican Republic who speak Haitian Creole are bilingual. The majority of them use Spanish as their second language. The Dominican Republic has not yet officially recognized this language. Some of the people still consider Haitian Creole to be a foreign language.
One of the foreign languages the Dominican Republic recognizes is English. Despite the fact the quality of teaching is considered to be poor, English has been made a mandatory language in all of the schools. Most of the tourists who visit the Dominican Republic speak mostly English, and this is also true of the expatriates. They are not able to speak any Spanish. In addition to English, French is also considered a mandatory foreign language in the Dominican Republic. French is also taught in all of the schools. There are other foreign languages considered notable in the Dominican Republic including Japanese, Italian and Chinese. There are a wide selection of both recognized and unrecognized languages currently being spoken that contribute to both the culture and the overall uniqueness of the country.