What Languages Are Spoken In Guyana?

A botanical garden in Cayenne, French Guiana.
A botanical garden in Cayenne, French Guiana.

Guyana is the only South American State which has accorded an official status to English. An English-based Creole known as Guyanese Creole is widely used in the nation. The inhabitants of Guyana are racially and ethnically diverse as they originate from Europe, Africa, India, and China in addition to the indigenous communities such as Macushi, Warrau, Wapishana, and Wai Wai.

The Official Language Of Guyana

English in Guyana is the legacy of British colonization. English serves as Guyana's national as well as official language. It is mainly regarded as a language of government, media, commerce, and education. The English taught in Guyana's schools is based on British English. English helps the different ethnic groups in Guyana to converse.

Guyana Creole

Guyanese Creole shares similarities with other English dialects used in the Caribbean region. The language features loan terms from Arawakan, African, and East Indian languages as well as older Dutch languages. Guyanese Creole is spoken in varying sub-dialects depending on the race of the users, geographical location, and urban-rural region. The Amerindian inhabitants along the river Rupununi, for example, speak a distinct variety of Guyanese Creole. The language's words are elastic, and new phrases can be coined, altered, or they can evolve in a short span of time. Ethnic groups further add words from their backgrounds. Speakers of Guyanese Creole commonly repeat adverbs and adjectives for emphasis. The phrases “come now now" for example once translated is "come right now."

Indigenous Languages Of Guyana

Guyana is home to different native communities. Macushi is the most widespread of the Cariban languages, and it has 30,000 speakers spread across Guyana and Brazil. Macushi's other names are Teweya, Macusi, Makushi, Macussi, Makuxi, and Makusi. The Kapong language is popular in the area of the Upper Mazaruni. Most Kapong speakers do not reside in villages, but there are several population centers including Kako, Kamarang, Waramadong, and Jawalla. Much of the language refers back to the indigenous beliefs of sun spirits and sun worship. The Wai Wai language is used by a few hundred speakers in Guyana, and it is also called Uaiuai or Ouayeone. Some Arawakan dialects are also used in Guyana including Arawak and Wapishana. The Warao language has approximately 28,000 speakers spread across Guyana, Suriname, and northern Venezuela. Other native languages of Guyana are Pemon, Arecuna and Taurepan, and Mapidian.

Immigrant Languages Spoken In Guyana

Chinese immigrants trooped to Guyana from 1853 to 1879 to be engaged as laborers on the sugar plantations. This community has played an integral role in Guyana's history, and one of their own named Arthur Chung served as Guyana's President between 1970 and 1980. The descendants of these immigrants use Chinese, and their population is more than two thousand. Immigrants with their origins from South East Asia introduced Urdu to Guyana's territory. Urdu is often heard among the Indo-Guyanese, who watch films and listen to music from Bombay's film industry. Tamil and Hindustani also have small groups of users in Guyana


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