What Languages Are Spoken in Barbados?

languages-spoken-barbados Credit: Sylvain Grandadam/Robert Harding World Imagery/Getty Images

English is the official language in Barbados. In more informal settings, it is common to hear the local dialect of English as well, which is called Bajan.

In formal and written settings, it is more likely to see and hear the British dialect of English, as opposed to American or others. Bajan is used in less formal situations such as when walking in the streets and speaking with Barbadians and when eating at restaurants. Bajan is a mix of English and parts of various languages from West Africa, where most of the Barbadian ancestors were brought from during the slave trade. Increasingly, residents of Barbados who work in tourism and government are also learning French and Spanish due to the pan-globalization of business and politics.

Barbados is an island and country located north of South America with an area of 432 square kilometers (167 square miles). One of its main industries is tourism, which is why U.S. dollars are typically accepted in addition to the native currency of Barbadian dollars.