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A local displaying many of his art work of Aruba.

Languages spoken in Aruba

In Aruba, you’ll find a lot of spoken languages – because of the great variation of influences of other cultures on the Aruban island.

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Dutch and the local language of Papiamento are the official languages of Aruba, but most Arubans speak a minimum of four languages, including English and Spanish. Papiamento embodies the friendliness for which the local population is known. The native language’s inclusive and open nature is reflected by its unique sayings and mannerisms. Curious to all the other languages that are spoken in Aruba? Make sure to read all about it on this page!

How many languages are spoken in Aruba?

This beautiful island is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands located in the southern Caribbean. The Aruban culture is known for its diversity and multilingual atmosphere. The official languages of Aruba are Dutch and Papiamento, a Creole language that originated in the region and which has grown in syntax and lexicon with increased borrowings from Dutch, English, and Spanish while still retaining its own unique rhythm and meanings. Dutch is primarily used in official documents and education, while Papiamento is the language commonly spoken in everyday communication. Additionally, due to its history as a tourist destination and its proximity to Venezuela and other Caribbean islands, many Arubans are fluent in English and Spanish. This linguistic diversity reflects the island's rich heritage and the influence of various cultures that have shaped its linguistic landscape over the centuries. So, Aruba has two official languages, but English and Spanish is also no stranger to most of the Aruban people.

What is the main language in Aruba?

The main languages in Aruba are Dutch and Papiamento. Unique to the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, Papiamento evolved from a rudimentary pidgin language—utilized for the purpose of communication among peoples with different native tongues—into the more complex language it is today. Evidence of its first widespread use can be observed in official documents from Curacao from the early 18th century. Throughout the middle of the 19th century, Papiamento was the language of choice for written materials, including Roman Catholic hymnals and schoolbooks. The first Papiamento-language newspaper soon followed with the apt moniker of Civilisado (The Civilizer) in 1871. Papiamento was used as the language of instruction in schools until Dutch subsidies came with the stipulation that lessons be taught solely in Dutch. However, Papiamento has recently been reintroduced in the local educational system. Although in use as the native language for over 300 years, Papiamento was only declared Aruba's official language, alongside Dutch, on March 19, 2003.

Does everyone speak English in Aruba?

While English is widely understood in Aruba, it may not be spoken fluently by everyone. The level of English proficiency can vary among the population. In general, many Arubans working in the tourism industry, which is a significant sector for the island, are likely to be proficient in English to communicate effectively with visitors. Additionally, English is often taught in schools, contributing to a reasonable level of understanding across the population. However, the primary language for everyday communication is Papiamento, and Dutch is also used in official and educational contexts.

 

Want to learn a bit of Papiamento? Here are a few phrases to get you started!

Bon bini! = Welcome!

Bon dia. / Bon tardi. / Bon nochi. = Good morning. / Good afternoon. / Good evening.

Con ta bai? = How are you?

Mi ta bon! = I am well!

Danki. = Thank you.

Aruba ta dushi! = Aruba is lovely!

Go Back in Time

Archaeological Museum in Aruba

In the Fontein cave situated in the Arikok National Park and at the Ayo Rock Formation you can see the Arawak drawings and carvings.


One of the best things about the amount of languages spoken in Aruba is that you’ll always have someone to chat with. Whether your native language is English, Dutch, Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian or something completely different, chances are, you will meet an Aruban that could very easily communicate with you. Arubans are especially fluent in Papiamento and Dutch, as those are the official languages of Aruba. If you don’t know those languages yet, perhaps you will make a friend who can teach you during you next trip to the One happy island.

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What is to official language of Aruba?
The official languages of Aruba are Dutch and the local language of Papiamento, but most Arubans speak of minimum of four languages.

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