Learning the Languages of Belize

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belize

Belize is a tiny country in Central America with a diverse array of languages. About 62% of the people in Belize are considered bilingual or trilingual.

English

English is the official language of Belize. This is because Belize was a British colony, rather than a Spanish one. Though the official language, only about 5% of people in Belize actually speak it at home. English is the main language that is used in the government and education systems. Those who move or travel to Belize will likely have an easy time getting around just knowing English, because about 56% of the population can speak English well, and 26% can speak and understand some English on top of that.

Spanish

About 46% of the population in Belize speak Spanish at home. Many people can also understand and speak some Spanish as well. Most of this population is Mestizos who fled into Belize from the 1840s, so most of the people that speak Spanish in Belize are Mestizos. There are lots of Spanish speakers in the Corozol and Orange Walk districts of Belize, and others scattered throughout the country.

Kriol

Belizian Kriol is also commonly spoken. About 37% of the population in Belize consider Kriol to be their native language. This version of Kriol has many English-based words, as well as the syntax from some African languages like Akan, Igbo and Twi. It is similar to many of the Caribbean Creole languages. Many people in Belize who do not speak Kriol as their native language can also communicate using it, or at least understand some of it. Since it is an English-based language, most Kriol speakers can understand English.

Maya Languages

About 9% of the population in Belize speak Maya languages. Some of these minority languages include Kekchi, Mopan and Yucatec.

Garifuna

A very small percentage of people speak Garifuna, especially along the coast. It is considered a Black Carib language that is mostly spoken in Honduras.

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