Papiamento: The language of the Caribbean ABC Islands

Papiamento is a creole language. More than 300,000 people on what are called the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao speak the language.

The lexicon of Papiamento mostly consists of Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese loanwords that came from the languages spoken by former colonists. Most words and phrases come from Portuguese, however. A vanishing, small number of words were also taken from African languages.

How did Papiamento come into existence?

Papiamento first arose in Curaçao. From there, the language spread to Aruba and then to Bonaire. Dutch colonization caused Papiamento to boom because the colonists kept their language from the slaves. This left the slaves no option but to use other languages to communicate. The mixture of African slave languages, Portuguese, Dutch, German, and the Spanish of the Sephardic Jews ultimately led to the creation of Papiamento, which gradually grew more prominent until becoming the official lingua franca, ousting Portuguese entirely.

About 200 years ago, after many Spanish immigrants arrived in the Caribbean following their escape from the Catholic mission in their mother country, the Spanish language made a very large imprint on Papiamento. Portuguese influence on the Papiamento language began to decline after that.

The Papiamento language today

As with all Creole languages, Papiamento grammar is simple and consistent with very rarely occurring irregularities. The subject and predicate always remain the same. Verbs are never conjugated in Papiamento. There is no differentiation of genders – no masculine, feminine, or neutral. Forming plurals is also extremely easy.

Papiamento is a tonal language. Pitch within a word determines which of its possible meanings it takes.

Today, Papiamento possesses an extraordinarily high status in all social strata on Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. Little by little, Papiamento grew to be spoken in all societal groups on the ABC islands as the common language. This language remains in a continuous state of expansion. Even today, the dances, music, and theater on the ABC islands are dominated by the use of Papiamento, and television stations broadcast in the language.

How much does a translation into Papiamentu cost?

The standard rate for translations from English into Papiamentu is $ 0.16 per word, and for translations from Papiamentu into English, the industry rate is $ 0.16. For new customers or large texts (more than 5,000 words), we may significantly reduce our rates. For urgent jobs that need several translators working simultaneously, we'll apply a surcharge. For a full list of rates per language, please visit Rates table for most requested language combinations.

Why you can trust our translations into or from Papiamento

We require our translators to be native speakers who were raised with the Papiamento language. They are familiar with its unique linguistic and cultural aspects, so they are capable of translating your texts with speed and accuracy.

If you have an official document in Papiamento that needs to be translated into English or another language, we can handle that, too. This includes certifying translations of birth certificates and the like.

Our translators also specialize in at least one field or industry. We have doctors, lawyers, marketers – you name it – within our database of professionals.

Ready to get started? You can reach us by phone or email, or you can use the quote form on this page to receive a no-obligation quote. We look forward to hearing from you!

2016-04-28T10:08:20.3397628Z

Mariana Mellor
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