Languages of Aruba

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There are many languages spoken on the Caribbean island of Aruba. The official language is Dutch and schools require students to learn both English and Spanish. French and, to a lesser extent, Portuguese are also spoken on the island. According to the Government of Aruba the mother tongue and primary vernacular of almost all Arubans is a local language known as Papiamento.[1] an Afro-Portuguese Creole.

Dutch has been the official language of the island for years as the island is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba has recognized English as an international language, and has required that children learn English as early as the 4th grade. Since May 2003 Papiamento has also been officially declared as the official language, alongside Dutch. Aruba's location off the coast of South America has also made Spanish extremely important. Students begin learning this as early as 5th grade.

Papiamento is a language with roots mainly from Portuguese, and to a lesser extent, from Dutch, Spanish and English. It originated in the 16th century as a means of communication among slaves and slave drivers.

Papiamento was not considered important on Aruba until 1995. It was officially included in school curriculum in 1998 and 1999. Since then, the island has embraced the native language of Papiamento. A Papiamento dictionary and fairy tales written in Papiamento are now readily available on the island.

Selected Aruban Papiamento Phrases[edit]

Papiamento Spanish Portuguese Dutch English
Bon dia Buenos días Bom dia Goedemorgen Good morning
Bon tardi Buenas tardes Boa tarde Goedemiddag Good afternoon
Bon nochi Buenas noches Boa noite Goedenacht/Goedenavond Good night
Bon bini Bienvenido Bem vindo Welkom Welcome
Danki Gracias Obrigado Dank u/Dank je Thank you
Ayo Adiós Adeus Tot ziens Good-bye
Pasa un bon dia Que tenga un buen día Passa/Tenha um bom dia Fijne dag Have a good day
Con ta bay? ¿Cómo estás?/¿Cómo te va? Como está/vai? Hoe gaat het? How are you?
Mi ta bon (Yo) Estoy bien (Eu) Estou bem Met mij gaat het goed I am fine
Cuant'or tin? ¿Qué hora es?/¿Qué horas son? Que hora tem?/Que horas são? Hoe laat is het? What time is it?
Mi por papia Papiamento (Yo) Puedo hablar papiamento (Eu) Posso falar papiamento Ik spreek Papiaments I can speak Papiamento
Si Sim Ja Yes
No No Não Nee No
Aruba ta bunita Aruba es bonita Aruba é bonita Aruba is mooi Aruba is beautiful


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