Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a multilingual country with several languages being spoken within its borders. The Spanish language is the most widely spoken one, and it is spoken by and/or understood by more than 90% of the country’s total population. It is also used in government offices, education, as well as in business, media, and commerce.

Spanish is the official language spoken in the Dominican Republic, with several dialects being spoken across the country. Dominican Spanish is the local dialect found in the Dominican Republic, which is spoken by around 80% of the people and is influenced by West African languages to a large degree. Dominican Spanish has also borrowed loanwords from the Arawak language. Dominican Spanish is based on the Canarian Spanish dialect and is similar to the Coastal Caribbean Spanish dialects, but it also has strong African influences. Dominican Spanish, interestingly, uses old Spanish words which are no longer used in modern Spanish. Some words are also borrowed from the African languages which were spoken by Africans who came here during the 1500s, after the Taino extinction.

Other languages spoken in the Dominican Republic include Haitian creole, which is spoken by those who are of Haitian descent, an estimated 160,000 of them. Haitian creole is influenced by French and Spanish, as well as West African languages. The vast majority of Haitian Creole speakers in the Dominican Republic can also speak Spanish as their second language. Since this language has not been given an official recognition status in the Dominican Republic, it is actually considered to be a foreign language by some people.

Samana English is a variety of the English language which is spoken by around 12,000 people in the northeastern parts of the country, especially those who are descendants of the Black immigrants from the US also known as the Samana Americans. Samana Creole, which is similar to the Carribean English Creole spoken in the Carribean, is considered an endangered language in the Dominican Republic today, as its usage has declined due to government policies in the recent years.

English is mainly spoken by tourists and expatriates in the major urban centers and the tourist areas of the Dominican Republic. However, it is one of the foreign languages recognized by the nation’s government. As such, it is a mandatory language taught in in schools, as is French. Chinese is also spoken in the Dominican Republic, mainly by the 25,000 Chinese refugees which came to the Dominican Republic during the Chinese Revolution.

Other minority languages, apart from English, French and Chinese, include Italian, Japanese, and Arabic.


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