What Languages Are Spoken In Honduras?

Road sign in Honduras. Editorial credit: RaksyBH / Shutterstock.com.
Road sign in Honduras. Editorial credit: RaksyBH / Shutterstock.com.

Honduras is a Central American country. It is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south. Honduras was part of Spain’s extensive empire in the New World. The country covers an area of 112,090 km2 and has population of approximately 8,866,351 inhabitants. Its capital city is Tegucigalpa. The official and most widely spoken language in Honduras is Spanish. In fact, Honduras is sometimes referred to as Spanish Honduras. The population of Honduras is made up of about 18,000-70,000 hearing impaired persons. They use the Honduran Sign Language to communicate.

Indigenous Languages Of Honduras

According to the world’s Ethnologue, there are 10 languages spoken in Honduras. Out of these, there are five indigenous languages which are often spoken. They include Garifuna, Miskito, Sumo, Pech, and Jicaque. The Garifuna is spoken by about 100,000 Hondurans of the Garifuna population. Garifuna is affiliated to the Arawakan dialect and also contains borrowed Carib and European dialects.

Miskitu (Miskito) is a language spoken by the mesoamerican ethnic group. Approximately 29,000 Hondurans speak Miskito. Pech is part of the Paya languages. It has its origin in Chibcha, but is also considered by linguists to be an isolated language. The people who speak Pech call themselves “pech” meaning “people.” However, they refer to people who speak other languages as “pech-akuá” which means “other people.” Less than 1,000 people in Honduras speak Pech. The Sumo people are of South American origin.

Immigrant languages Spoken In Honduras

Immigrant languages in Honduras are Arabic, Armenian, Turkish, and Yue Chinese. Arabic is the most widely spoken immigrant languages. About 42,000 of the Honduras population speaks Arabic. The numbers of people who speak Armenian, Turkish, and Yue Chinese are 1,300, 900, and 1,000 respectively. Another immigrant language which is spoken by inhabitants of Bay Islands is Creole English.

Spanish: The Official Language Of Honduras

The Spanish language spoken by the Hondurans was passed to them by the colonialists many years ago. The language is used for government and business official transactions. Furthermore, the language used for instruction in educational institutions is Spanish. The Spanish spoken in Honduras is similar to that spoken in El Savador and Nicaragua. Today, the widely spoken language in Honduras is the Castilian language. This is a variation of the Spanish language which was born in the region of Castilla. Sometimes it may be referred to as Castilian Spanish.

Extinct Languages Of Honduras

Over the years, some of the Honduran indigenous languages have become extinct. Examples of such languages are Ch’orti’ and Matagalpa. The Lencan languages were widely spoken in Honduras in the pre-colonial period. However, today it is in danger of extinction with only 300-594 people speaking it. The Lencan language was highly organized. It had a polytheistic religion where gods were hierarchically organized. Most of the people who speak Lencan are located in the western department of Honduras such as the Lempira, La Paz, and Intibuca. Besides the Lencan languages, other indigenous languages that may be extinct soon include Mayangna (spoken by less than 1000 people), Tol (spoken by less than 500 people), and Mayan (spoken by about 50 people).


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