Languages of the Falkland Islands

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The only official language of the Falkland Islands is English, and this is spoken by almost everyone on a day-to-day basis. Spanish is spoken by 10% of the population[1], a significant minority. Most of the Spanish speakers are immigrants, foreign workers, and expats, predominantly from Chile and Argentina.

Falkland English dialect[edit]

Falkland Islands English is mainly British in character. However, as a result of the isolation of the islands, the small population has developed and retains its own accent/dialect, which persists despite a large number of immigrants from the United Kingdom in recent years. In rural areas (i.e. anywhere outside Port Stanley), known as ‘Camp’ (from Spanish campo or ‘countryside’),[2] the Falkland accent tends to be stronger. The dialect has resemblances to Australian, New Zealand, West Country and Norfolk dialects of English, as well as Lowland Scots.

Historic[edit]

Several languages have been used historically in the Falkland Islands.

  • French – the French were the first to colonise the islands, and their settlement at Port Louis would have used French. The islands' French name, Iles Malouines, stems from Saint-Malo.
  • Yaghan – a missionary settlement on Keppel Island contained many Yaghans from Tierra del Fuego. The Falkland Islands fox was previously hypothesized to represent a possible pre-European landing on the Falklands, but this has since been refuted.[3] This language has left no trace on the Falklands, and would not have been written at this time.[4]
  • Scottish Gaelic – many early settlers were from the Gaelic-speaking parts of Scotland, including the Western Isles and the western Highlands. William Blain, a settler from Dumfries, noted in 1878 that "the Scotch language was fairly well represented" and a majority of the population were "Scotch or of Scotch descendants".[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2016 Census Report". Policy and Economic Development Unit, Falkland Islands Government. 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-01-24.
  2. ^ Stay with us » Camping: Falkland Islands Tourist Board
  3. ^ "New Clues To Extinct Falklands Wolf Mystery". EurekAlert. Science Daily. 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
  4. ^ Bridges, E L (1948) The Uttermost Part of the Earth Republished 2008, Overlook Press ISBN 978-1-58567-956-0
  5. ^ David Britain and Andrea Sudbury, "Falkland Islands English", in The Lesser-Known Varieties of English: An Introduction" (eds. Daniel Schreier, Peter Trudgill, Edgar W. Schneider, Jeffrey P. Williams), Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 213.