Aruba: LanguageEdit This Page
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Language can be seen as an important part of island culture in Aruba. The cultural mixture has given rise to a linguistic mixture known as Papiamento, the predominant language on Aruba. The two official languages are the Dutch language and Papiamento. Papiamento is a language that has been evolving through the centuries and absorbed many words from other languages like Dutch, English, diverse African dialects, and most importantly, from Portuguese and Spanish. However, like many islands in the region, Spanish is also often spoken. English has historical connections with the British Empire and is known by many; English usage has also grown due to tourism. Other common languages spoken based on the size of their community are Portuguese, Chinese, German and French. The latter is offered in high school and college, since a high percentage of Aruban students continue their studies in Europe.
In recent years, the government of Aruba has shown an increased interest in acknowledging the cultural and historical importance of its native language. Although spoken Papiamento is fairly similar among the several Papiamento-speaking islands, there is a big difference in written Papiamento. The orthography differs per island and even per group of people. Some are more oriented towards the Portuguese roots and use the equivalent spelling (e.g. "y" instead of "j"), where others are more oriented towards the Dutch roots.
In a book The Buccaneers of America first published in 1678, is stated by eyewitness account that the Indians on Aruba spoke "Spanish". The oldest government official statement written in Papiamento dates from 1803.
Aruba has four newspapers published in Papiamento: Diario, Bon Dia, Solo di Pueblo and Awe Mainta and two in English : Aruba Today and The News. Amigoe is the newspaper published in Dutch. Aruba also has 18 Radio Stations (2 AM and 16 FM) and three local Television stations (Tele-Aruba, Aruba Broadcast Company and Star Television).