Caribbean Hindustani

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Caribbean Hindustani
Caribbean Hindi Caribbean Urdu
EthnicityIndo-Caribbeans, Indo-Caribbean Americans, British Indo-Caribbean people, Indo-Caribbean Canadians, and Indo-Caribbeans in the Netherlands
Native speakers
150,000 in Suriname
26,000 in Trinidad and Tobago[1][2]
  • Trinidadian Hindustani (Trinidadian Bhojpuri)
  • Guyanese Hindustani (Aili Gaili)
  • Sarnami Hindoestani
Perso-Arabic (Urdu alphabet)
Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3hns

Caribbean Hindustani or Caribbean Hindi-Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language historically spoken as a lingua franca by Indo-Caribbeans and the Indo-Caribbean diaspora. It is based on Bhojpuri with influences from Awadhi.[4] These were spoken by indentured laborers who came as immigrants to the Caribbean from the Indian subcontinent. It is closely related to Fijian Hindi, the Bhojpuri spoken in Mauritius and the Hindustani spoken in South Africa.

Because a majority of people came from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand, Caribbean Hindustani is most influenced by Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Braj Bhasha, and other Bihari dialects. It has a very minor influence from Tamil, Telugu, and other Dravidian languages. It has also borrowed a large number of words from Dutch in Suriname and other Dutch colonies, and English and French in former British colonies and French colonies. A large number of words, unique to Caribbean Hindustani, have been created to cater for the new environment that Indo-Caribbeans now live in.

Caribbean Hindustani is the lingua franca of most Indo-Caribbeans, although Tamil and Telugu are the lingua francas for Indians in French Guiana, Martinique, and Guadeloupe; where a majority of the Indians are of Dravidian (South Indian) descent.

Like the Hindustani spoken in the Indian subcontinent, Caribbean Hindustani is broken up into Caribbean Hindi and Caribbean Urdu. Hindustani refers to both Hindi and Urdu. Hindi is spoken by Hindus and people of Hindu descent, whereas Urdu is spoken by Muslims and people of Muslim descent. Hindi has more influence from Sanskrit, while Urdu has more influence from Arabic and Persian. Hindi is written in the Devanagari, Devanagari Braille, and Kaithi script, whereas Urdu is written in the Perso-Arabic script and Urdu Braille, although in more recent times they both are written in the Latin script and English Braille.

Chutney music, chutney soca, chutney parang, baithak gana, folk music, classical music, some Hindu religious songs, some Muslim religious songs, and some Christian religious songs are sung in Caribbean Hindustani, sometimes being mixed with English in the Anglophone Caribbean or Dutch in Suriname and the Dutch Caribbean.

Guyanese Hindustani[edit]

The Caribbean Hindustani of Guyana is known as Aili Gaili (Aaye-Gaye [I] Came-Gone is spoken as Aili-Gaili in Bhojpuri, Maithili and Awadhi and almost all dialects of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand (meaning broken or corrupted language) or Guyanese Hindustani and is spoken by some members in a community of 300,000 Indo-Guyanese.

Trinidadian Hindustani[edit]

The variant that used to be spoken in Trinidad and Tobago is known as Trinidadian Hindustani or Trinidadian Bhojpuri. There is about 26,000 speakers.[5][6]

Sarnami Hindustani[edit]

Sarnami Hindustani meaning Surinamese Hindustani is the most widely spoken language in Suriname after Dutch and Sranan Tongo. It is a Surinamese variant language of the Bhojpuri language (the language spoken in north Indian states Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand). Baithak Gana is the most famous form of the song being sung in Sarnami Hindustani.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Trinidad and Tobago". Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Caribbean Hindustani". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Caribbean Hindustani at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  5. ^ "Trinidad and Tobago". Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  6. ^

External links[edit]