The Dominican Republic forms part of the eastern portion of Hispaniola. It is one of the largest Caribbean countries by size, covering about 18,700 square miles. It has a population of approximately 10 million people. The majority of the people (about 3 million) live in the capital, Santo Domingo. Spanish is the official language and the most spoken language in the Dominican Republic.
Official Language Of The Dominican Republic
As stated, Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic. However, different variants of the Spanish language are spoken across the country. The most commonly used Spanish dialect in the country is Dominican Spanish. Dominican Spanish is a subset of Caribbean Spanish based on Canarian and Andalusian dialects of Southern Spain. It also borrows some words from Arawak language. It includes some of Spanish words that are not used in modern Spanish anymore while some words are borrowed from the African languages spoken by Africans who came to the island after the Taino extinction. The Spanish language is spoken by and/or understood by over 90% of the country’s population. It is used in business and commerce, schools, and government offices. Most of the media publications are also in Spanish.
Haitian Creole is a minority language in the Dominican Republic. It is spoken as a first language by over 160,000 in the country, of which the majority is of Haitian descent and immigrants. The language is based on French with influences from Spanish and the West African languages. The majority Haitian Creole speakers in the Dominican Republic are bilingual with mostly Spanish as the second language. The language has not been given official recognition in the Dominican Republic and is often considered by some people as a foreign language.
Samana English is a variety of English spoken by about 12,000 inhabitants in the northeastern part of the Dominican Republic, especially those of the descendants of the Black immigrants from the US known as the Samana Americans. It is similar to Creole English which is based on West African languages and English. Samana Creole is similar to the Caribbean English Creole spoken in the Caribbean. The language has withstood influences from other languages because of the location of Samana Peninsula which provides a more independent cultural life. However, because of government policies, Samana English has declined and is now an endangered language in the Dominican Republic.
Foreign Languages Spoken In The Dominican Republic
English is one of the foreign languages recognized by the government of the Dominican Republic. It is a mandatory language in schools. English is mostly spoken by tourists visiting the country and expatriates. Apart from English, French is also a mandatory foreign language taught in schools. Other notable foreign languages spoken in the Dominican Republic include Chinese, Italian, and Japanese.