Papiamento is an official language on Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Apart from the three Antillean Islands, Papiamento is also spoken by a small community on the Paraguaná Peninsula in Venezuela and the Antilleans who live in the Netherlands. In total, approximately 250,000 people speak Papiamento. It is a very interesting language for linguists because it has developed from lots of influences in a relatively short period of time. From an evolutionary point of view, it is one of the most diverse composite languages in the world.
Studies have shown that Papiamento is related to the Afro-Portuguese Creole languages of Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Cape Verde. The Cape Verde Islands were used by the West Indies Company as a resting place for the slave ships on their way to the slave depot on Curacao. In the mid-17th century, the Afro-Portuguese Creole languages crossed the Atlantic Ocean together with Dutch. The relationship between Cape Verde Creole and Papiamento can still be seen in sentences like: ‘Ik spreek Papiaments / Kaapverdiaans’ (I speak Papiamento / Cape Verdian) which translates into: ‘Ami ta papia Papiamentu’ and ‘Ami ta papia Kabuberdianu’.
When the Dutch took possession of Curacao in 1634, they found Indians and Spaniards there. Most Indians were deported to Venezuela by the Dutch. A small number of families were allowed to stay. Indian words, especially words relating to nature, later found their way into Papiamento.
The Spaniards found in the conquest of Curacao were all deported to Venezuela. But Spanish also found its way into Papiamento; after all, it was an important trade and mission language in the region. English also had an influence on Papiamento. However, Papiamento’s grammar remained entirely Portuguese.
After the slaves, the Sephardi Jews who lived in Curacao – those who spoke Spanish or Portuguese at home – started taking on Papiamento as a lingua franca (common communication language). The Dutch soon followed, which means everyone started speaking it. A new language was born.
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Of course, your translation will be taken care of by a qualified native speaker of Papiamento who lives in the Antilles, a so-called in-country translator. The best translations come from translators who live among their own language and culture. After all, your translation should connect seamlessly to habits and customs the intended audience.
If you are curious about the cost of your translation into Papiamento, please request a free quote using the button below. You will receive a customised quote within 30 minutes.
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