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Languages of Costa Rica

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Republic of Costa Rica, República de Costa Rica. 3,956,507. National or official language: Spanish. Literacy rate: 93% (1989 WA). Also includes Basque, Eastern Yiddish, Ngäbere (5,092), Yue Chinese (4,500). Information mainly from SIL 1967–2002. Blind population: 2,500. Deaf population: 202,625. Deaf institutions: 9. The number of languages listed for Costa Rica is 10. Of those, 9 are living languages and 1 is extinct.

Living languages


[brn] 5 women (1986 SIL). 30 to 35 nonfluent speakers. Ethnic population: 1,000 (1991). Southern coast between Playa Bonita and Golfito. Alternate names: Borunca, Burunca, Brunca, Brunka.  Classification: Chibchan, Talamanca  Nearly extinct.
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[bzd] 11,000 (2002). Ethnic population: 12,172 (2000). Southern, along Lari, Telire, and Uren rivers, Canton of Talamanca, Limón Province; Canton of Buenos Aires, Puntarenas Province. Alternate names: Talamanca.  Dialects: Salitre-Cabagra, Amubre-Katsi, Coroma. Closest to, but unintelligible to speakers of Cabécar, Guatuso, and Teribe. At least 3 major dialects which are inherently intelligible to each other's speakers.  Classification: Chibchan, Talamanca 
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[cjp] 8,840 (2000). 7,072 monolinguals (80%). Ethnic population: 9,308 (2000). Turrialba Region. Alternate names: Chirripó.  Dialects: Chirripó, Telire, Estrella, Ujarrás.  Classification: Chibchan, Talamanca 
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Costa Rican Sign Language

[csr]   Dialects: May be related to Providencia Sign Language. Lexical similarity 60% with ASL.  Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Limón Creole English

[jam] 55,100 in Costa Rica (1986). East of San José, principally along the railroad between Siquirres and Limón, and south of Limón along the road. Alternate names: Southwestern Caribbean Creole English.  Classification: Creole, English based, Atlantic, Western 
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Maléku Jaíka

[gut] 750 (2000). Ethnic population: 1,074 (2000). Northern. Alternate names: Guatuso.  Classification: Chibchan, Rama 
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[pdt] 100 in Costa Rica (1974 Minnich). Sarapiqui area. Alternate names: Low German, Mennonite German.  Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, Low Saxon-Low Franconian, Low Saxon 
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[spa] 3,300,000 in Costa Rica (1995).  Alternate names: Español, Castellano.  Classification: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Iberian, Ibero-Romance, West Iberian, Castilian 
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[tfr] 5 in Costa Rica (1991 SIL). Ethnic population: 35 to 300 in Costa Rica (1991 SIL). Southeastern, north coast. Alternate names: Terraba.  Classification: Chibchan, Talamanca 
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Extinct languages


[cjr] Extinct. Ethnic population: 795 (2000). Some from the ethnic group live near Tuturrialba. They were originally from the Guanacaste Region near the Nicaraguan border. Some were also in El Salvador and Honduras. Alternate names: Choluteca, Mangue, Diria, Orotina.  Dialects: Chorotega, Diria, Nagrandan, Nicoya, Orisi, Orotinya (Orotina).  Classification: Oto-Manguean, Chiapanec-Mangue 
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