Five facts about the language spoken in Guyana are: there are more than one languages spoken here, Urdu is spoken, English is official, British English is taught in the schools and Guyanese Creole is spoken by many of its citizens. Guyana, the land of many waters, as it is sometimes called, is located in South America. It is bordered by Venezuela, to the left, Suriname to the right, Brazil at the bottom and the Atlantic Ocean at the top. This country is 83,000 square miles and its citizens are called Guyanese.
More Than One
Amerindians, Africans, Portuguese, East Indians and Chinese are some of the races of people who live in this beautiful country. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise to hear, or in this case, to read that there is more than one languages spoken here. English, Guyanese Creole, Urdu, Wai-Wai, Spanish and Chinese dialects are some of the tongues spoken here. In fact, there are some citizens who do not speak or understand the land’s official language. To gain first hand experience in this latter statement, if you should ever visit here, take a walk through Stabroek Market, talk with some of the sellers and you may get some experience in this.
Urdu, according to Collins English Dictionary and Thesaurus, belongs to the Indic branch of the Indo- European family of languages, being closely related to Hindi. This is also the national language of Pakistan and it is also spoken in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bahrain and India. Although Urdu is “dying” among the people here, those who can speak it does so with great excitement.
English Is Official
English is the official language of this Republic land. The country is also the only English Speaking country in South America. One of the reason for the fascination with this fact is because its neighbouring countries are either Spanish or French speakers.
British English is taught in the schools here, and this should not come as too much of a surprise because the country was once ruled by Britain. The country was once named British Guiana.
Seeing that English is taught in this country of diversity, Guyanese Creole, which is widely spoken is English based. However, as you travel from one area to the next, you will find sub-dialects in each area. The people in Georgetown – the country’s capital – dialect is slightly different from those on the East Coast. This could possibly be due to the influences of the West African, Indian and other languages that were spoken by the fore fathers of this land.
An example of creole spoken here, in the form of a proverb is: if yuh eye nuh see, yuh mouth nah must talk, (if your eyes have not seen it, you should not talk about it) meaning, you must see something for yourself before you talk about anything.