A language of Honduras

Alternate Names
Black Carib, Caribe, Central American Carib, Island Carib, Karif
User Population

98,000 in Honduras (Rivas 1993). 100 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 43,100 (2013 census). Total users in all countries: 174,300.


Atlántida and Colón departments; Cortes department: north coast between Masca and Plaplaya in Gracias a Dios department; Islas de la Bahía (Roatan island) department; cities: La Ceiba, Puerto Cortés, San Pedro Sula, and Tegucigalpa; 37 villages.

Language Status

5* (Developing).


Western Garifuna, Eastern Garifuna. Eastern Garifuna dialect is in Honduras and Nicaragua (leaves out, r, and tends to shorten words), Western Garifuna in Guatemala and Belize. Related to Island Carib [car], with Spanish [spa], English [eng], and French [fra] borrowings.



Language Use

Shifting to Spanish [spa] in some villages. All domains. Positive attitudes. Also use English [eng], Spanish [spa].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 1%–5%. Literacy rate in L2: 5%–15%. Radio. Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. Bible: 2002.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Ancestors taken from Saint Vincent Island in 1796–1797, and taken to Roatan Island. Most went to Trujillo, Honduras in 1937. About 35 years later political troubles threatened their existence, and they fled further east into Honduras and Belize. Later they emigrated to other countries. Christian, traditional religion.

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