A language of Curacao

Alternate Names
Curaçoleño, Curassese, Papiamen, Papiamento, Papiamentoe

115,000 in Curacao (2011 SIL). Population total all countries: 263,200.


Also in Aruba (Papiamento), Caribbean Netherlands, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, United States, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Language Status

1 (National). De facto national language.


Becoming more like Spanish [spa], which is prestigious. Papiamentu is genetically related to Kabuverdianu [kea] and Crioulo (Guinea-Bissau) [pov] (Jacobs 2009).


Maximum number of prefixes, 2; word order distinguishes subjects, objects, indirect objects; affixes indicate case of noun phrases; verb affixes mark person, number, gender of subject, object, other noun phrase—not obligatory; passives; causatives; comparatives; CVC

Language Use

About 20,000 L2 speakers. Importance varies by island. Use of both Papiamento and Dutch [nld] not considered an indication of lack of education. Dutch use fosters social and political mobility. All domains. All ages. On Curaçao and Bonaire, Dutch [nld] used at school, Spanish [spa] with Spanish speakers, English [eng] and Dutch with tourists.

Language Development
First 2 years of primary school. Newspapers. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1997.
Latin script.
Other Comments


Also spoken in:

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