Ethnologue: Areas: Americas


184,722 (1991 census). American Indians 11% (1991 census). Formerly British Honduras. Literacy rate 70%. Average years of schooling 7.53. Also includes Chinese, Japanese, Korean. Information mainly from SIL 1995. Christian, traditional religion, Baha'i, Hindu, Muslim, other. Blind population 728 registered. Deaf institutions: 1. Data accuracy estimate: A1, A2. The number of languages listed for Belize is 8.

BELIZE CREOLE ENGLISH (KRIOL, CREOLA) [BZI] 55,051 first language speakers in Belize (1991 census); 158,000 including second language speakers (1990 estimate; 40,000 in USA; 95,000 total. Most live in Belize City, but nearly everyone else in Belize is either a first or second language speaker of Creole. Many of the rural villages are Creole-speaking. Creole people tend to live along the coast or other waterways. It is the lingua franca in much of the country. Creole, English based, Atlantic, Western. Spoken by creoles and people of East Indian descent, used everywhere in most areas of life. Reported to be very close to Nicaraguan and Tobago creoles, Jamaican literature would need adaptation in orthography and grammar to be used in Belize. Historically an extension of Miskito Coast Creole. Dahufra was a creole used in the 16th to 18th centuries. People have a positive attitude toward Creole. There is popular support for development. A weekly newspaper article. Used in advertisements and general discussion on some radio stations. One television show is mainly in Creole. Dictionary. Timber, agriculturalists, fishermen, industrial workers, construction industry, business, commerce, government, teachers. Work in progress.

ENGLISH [ENG] Second language speakers: 55,998 in Belize (1991 census); 322,000,000 in all countries (1995 WA). Indo-European, Germanic, West, North Sea, English. Used in education, government, and business. National language. Bible 1535-1989. NT 1525-1985. Bible portions 1530-1987.

GARÍFUNA (CARIBE, CENTRAL AMERICAN CARIB, BLACK CARIB) [CAB] 12,274 in Belize (1991 census); 75,000 in Honduras (1995 UBS); 16,700 in Guatemala (1990 SIL); 1,500 in Nicaragua; 94,500 in all countries. Stann Creek and Toledo along the coast. Arawakan, Maipuran, Northern Maipuran, Caribbean. They speak Creole as second language. Dictionary. English-oriented orthography used in Belize, Spanish-oriented in Guatemala. NT 1983-1994. Bible portions 1847-1968.

KEKCHÍ (KETCHI, QUECCHÍ, CACCHÉ) [KEK] 9,000 in Belize (1995 SIL); 335,800 in Guatemala (1990 SIL); 12,286 in El Salvador (1987); 357,000 total. Southern Belize. Mayan, Quichean-Mamean, Greater Quichean, Kekchi. Slightly different dialect than Guatemala, but comprehension of speakers is adequate. Bible 1990. NT 1961-1984. Bible portions 1937-1986.

MAYA (YUCATECO) [YUA] 700,000 total (1990); 5,800 in the ethnic group in Belize (1991). San Antonio and Succoths in Cayo District. It may still be spoken in the Orange Walk and Corozal districts near the Mexico border. Primarily in Mexico. Mayan, Yucatecan, Yucatec-Lacandon. Speakers in Belize are all older than 40. People in Succoths village say the older people speak Maya. They care concerned about language loss and are trying to start classes for the youth. Bible 1992. NT 1961-1977. Bible portions 1865-1985.

MOPÁN MAYA (MAYA MOPÁN, MOPANE) [MOP] 7,000 to 7,750 in Belize; 2,600 in Guatemala (1990 SIL); 9,600 to 10,350 total. Toledo, Stann Creek, and Cayo districts. Mayan, Yucatecan, Mopan-Itza. NT 1979. Bible portions 1965.

PLAUTDIETSCH (LOW GERMAN, MENNONITE GERMAN) [GRN] 5,763 in Belize (1991 census), 4% of the population (1989 J. Holm); 306,000 in all countries of whom 150,000 use it habitually (1983); 110,735 or more in Latin America are fairly monolingual. Also in Canada, USA, Mexico, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina, Costa Rica, Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany. Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, Low. 15% can speak Standard German and 2% can speak English as second language. Christian. NT 1987. Bible portions 1984-1986.

SPANISH (ESPAÑOL, CASTELLANO) [SPN] 80,477 in Belize (1991 census); 266,000,000 in all countries (1987 Time). 21,526 recent immigrants classified as Spanish speakers may actually use Spanish as second language. Northern and western districts, and scattered throughout the country. Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Ibero-Romance, North, Central. A few Spanish radio stations and programs on English stations. Spanish television stations on cable. Bible 1553-1979. NT 1543-1986. Bible portions 1514-1985.

External Links*

Part of the Ethnologue, 13th Edition, Barbara F. Grimes, Editor.
Copyright © 1996, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc. All rights reserved.

If you have questions, comments, or updates on the Ethnologue, go to the Feedback page.

[Americas | Areas | Ethnologue Home | SIL Home]