Local name: Papiamento (Aruba), Papiamentu (elsewhere)
Language family: Creole > Iberian-based
Native speakers: ~ 320.000 (Ethnologue.com, 1998)
Script: A modified version of the Latin alphabet
Official in: Aruba, Netherlands Antilles (only Curaçao and Bonaire)
Spoken mostly in: Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, The Netherlands

Papiamento is the most used language in the “ABC islands” (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao). The different islands have developed different dialects.

Papiamento is a creole language, and, according to the most popular theory, a product of Portuguese slave trade in West-africa. In different coastal areas dominated by the Portugese, Portuguese creoles came into being. As most slaves deported to the ABC-islands spoke one of those, a new lingua franca, Papiamentu, was born, its lexicon being mostly of Portugese stock and its grammar being different from Portugese. Papiamento is tonal, and wether this trait is an innovation or an inheritance from West African languages is not clear. The Portuguese creole on Cape Verde shows striking similarities with Papiamento.

Through the vicinity to Spanish-speaking Venezuela, and with Dutch as administrive language, Papiamento has significant Spanish and Dutch additions to its vocabulary. Most adult speakers of Papiamento are also fluent in Dutch, Spanish, and English.

Curaçao Papiamento: “Bientu di nort i Solo”
Speaker: Walter Age at recording: 27 (2006) Geographical reference: Willemstad, Curaçao, AN (Google Map)

Bientu di nort i Solo tabata diskutí pa wak ta ken di nan ta esun di mas fuerte, ora un viajero a bin bistí den un yas kalor.
Nan a palabrá ku esun ku logra pone e viajero kita su yas promé lo ser konsiderá esun di mas fuerte ku e otro.
E or'ei Bientu di nort a supla mas duru ku e tabata por, pero mas el a supla mas pèrta e viajero a primi su yas rònt di su kurpa, a la fin Bientu di nort a legumai purba.
E or'ei solo a bria su kalor, i mesora e viajero a kita su yas.
Anto asina Bientu di nort a hañé ta atmití ku ta Solo tabata esun di mas fuerte di nan dos.