What Languages are Spoken in Trinidad and Tobago?

Flag of Trinidad and Tobago.
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago.

English is the official language in Trinidad and Tobago. The other popular languages spoken in the country include Trinidadian English Creole, Tobagonian Creole, and Trinidadian Hindustani.

Official Language of Trinidad and Tobago

English is the official language of Trinidad and Tobago. The language is formally referred to as Trinidadian English or Trinidad and Tobago Standard English. The language is used widely in government administration, official documentation, as a medium of instruction in educational institutions, and by the country’s media.

Other Popular Languages

Trinidadian English Creole

This language is spoken throughout Trinidad island. The creole language is popular among the masses of the island and is used extensively in everyday communication. The vocabulary of the Trinidadian English Creole is primarily derived from the English language. The language is also influenced by several African languages, Spanish, French, French Creole, Trinidadian Hindustani, and Chinese.

Tobagonian Creole

Tobagonian Creole, an English-based Creole, is different from the Trinidadian Creole, primarily in the basilectal level, and is spoken in Tobago. The language is closer to Lesser Antillean creoles. It is the language of the masses in Tobago and is used extensively in everyday communication.

Trinidadian Hindustani

Trinidadian Hindustani is the country’s fourth most spoken language.The language, also known as Trinidadian Bhojpuri, is a variant of the Caribbean Hindustani, a language of the Indo-Aryan language family. As of 2006, Trinidadian Hindustani is spoken by about 15,600 people, mostly of Indian origin. The language acts as the lingua franca of Tobagonians and Indo-Trinidadians. The language traces its origins to the native languages spoken by the indentured laborers from South Asia who worked on plantations in the Caribbean. The government makes constant efforts to protect and promote the use of the language. Musical forms, like the Chutney and Pichakaree, are sung using a mixture of both Trinidadian Hindustani and English.

Indigenous Languages

Yao, an extinct Cariban language, was spoken by the Yao people in French Guiana and Trinidad. Another Cariban language, the Kari’nja or Carib was spoken by the Kalina people inhabiting Trinidad and Tobago and some countries of South America. The language is currently recognized as a highly endangered language. Another indigenous language of Trinidad is the Shebaya, an Arawakan language.


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