What Languages do People Speak in Bahamas?

The island nation of the Bahamas is known for its unique dialect of British English called Bahamian English or Bahamian Creole, which is mutually intelligible with standard English.

How Many Languages Are Spoken in the Bahamas?

There are two primary languages spoken in the Bahamas: Bahamian Creole or Bahamian English, which is spoken by most people, and Haitian Creole, which is spoken by about 25% of the population. One is an English-based Creole language and the other is a French-based Creole language.

Official Languages of the Bahamas

The official language of the Bahamas is English. In the 1700s, British settlers arrived on the island and it became a British protectorate which introduced the English language. British English is used in the Bahamas for government, mass media, education, and business transactions.

Most people in the Bahamas speak a unique dialect of English called Bahamian English. Bahamian English mixes British English with African influences and the island dialect.

The following is an example of Bahamian English from Susan Wallace's "Islan' Life:" "Islan' life ain' no fun less ya treat errybody like ya brudder, ya sister, or ya frien' Love ya neighbour, play ya part, jes' remember das de art, For when ocean fen' ya in, all is kin."

Other Languages of the Bahamas

Many people in the Bahamas speak Bahamian Creole, an English Creole language that combines British English with other native languages and dialects and is sometimes called Bahamianese. There are more than 400,000 native speakers of Bahamian Creole which has similarities to other Creole languages of other islands in the Caribbean.

About 25% of Bahamian people speak Haitian Creole. Most of these speakers are the descendants of Haitian immigrants who arrived in the Bahamas in the 19th century. Haitian Creole developed in Haiti in the 17th and 18th centuries and it's a French-based Creole language. The language developed during the Atlantic slave trade and it's been influenced by English, Taino, Spanish, Portuguese, and languages from West Africa. To differentiate Haitian Creole from Bahamian Creole, the language spoken by the Haitian population is simply called "Creole."

Primary Languages

Other Languages

What Languages do People Speak in Bahamas?