Caribbean Hindustani

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Caribbean Hindustani
Caribbean Hindi-Caribbean Urdu
Native to Trinidad and Tobago
Ethnicity Indo-Caribbeans and their diaspora (American Indo-Caribbeans, British Indo-Caribbeans, Canadian Indo-Caribbeans, Dutch Indo-Caribbeans, French Indo-Caribbeans, and others)
Native speakers
(150,000 in Suriname cited 1986)
(16,000 in Trinidad and Tobago cited 1996)
  • Trinidadian Hindustani (Trinidadian Bhojpuri)
  • Guyanese Hindustani (Aili Gaili)
  • Sarnami Hindoestani
Devanagari,[1] Kaithi,[2] Perso-Arabic, Latin script, Devanagari Braille, Urdu Braille, English Braille
Signed Hindustani
Language codes
ISO 639-3 hns
Glottolog cari1275[3]

Caribbean Hindustani is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by Indo-Caribbeans in Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and other parts of the Caribbean. It is based on Bhojpuri and Awadhi.[4] The language is spoken by the descendants of the indentured laborers who came as immigrants to the Caribbean from South Asia. It is closely related to Fiji Hindi and the Hindustani spoken in Mauritius and South Africa.

Because a majority of people came from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Rajasthan, Caribbean Hindustani is most influenced by Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Braj Bhasha, other Bihari dialects, Marwari, and other Rajasthani dialects of Hindustani . 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 India, Caribbean Hindustani is broken up into Caribbean Hindi and Caribbean Urdu. Hindustani refers to both Hindi and Urdu. Hindi is spoken by Hindus or people of Hindu descent, whereas Urdu is spoken by Muslims and people of Muslim descent. Hindi has more Sanskrit influence, while Urdu has more Arabic and Persian influence. 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.

Guyanese Hindustani[edit]

The Caribbean Hindustani of Guyana is known as Aili Gaili or Guyanese Hindustani and is spoken by some members in a community of 300,000 Indo-Guyanese.

Trinidadian Hindustani[edit]

The variant spoken in Trinidad and Tobago is known as Trinidadian Hindustani or Trinidadian Bhojpuri. After Trinidadian English, Trinidadian Creole and Tobagonian Creole it is the fourth most widely spoken language of Trinidad and Tobago. In 1996, it was spoken by 15,600 people.[5]

Sarnami Hindustani[edit]

After Dutch and Sranan Tongo, Sarnami Hindustani is the most widely spoken language of Suriname.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Caribbean Hindustani". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ Sarnami Caribbean Hindustani at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  5. ^ "Trinidad and Tobago". Retrieved 2017-03-14.