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Bon Bini! Speak Papiamento on Aruba

Bon Bini! Speak Papiamento on Aruba, flickr:Christian Córdova

Preparing for a vacation to Aruba is easy. Throw some sunscreen, flip flops, swimsuits and t-shirts in a bag and go! Obviously, there’s more to it than that, but this tiny island paradise offers the ideal getaway for a no-fuss vacation with plenty of sunshine and mandatory relaxation guaranteed. One fun bit of planning worth considering before jetting off the Aruba is to learn a few useful words and phrases in the local lingo – Papiamento.

Papiamento is the language of the Caribbean’s ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao). These three western-most islands of the Leeward Antilles (which means they’re outside the hurricane zone) are all part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and boast a richly diverse heritage (even for the Caribbean) that’s unique unto itself.

Given the mix of people – Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, African, English, the native Arawak Indians and more – coming through these islands over the years, it makes sense that a quick and easy way to communicate would develop. Papiamento is just that, a creole language with African, Spanish and Portuguese roots and strong elements of Dutch, English and even the language of the indigenous Arawak who lived here before European colonization.

No need to fret if you need to fall back on your native language. Papiamento is one of two official languages, the other being Dutch. The vast majority of Arubans speak English very well. Spanish and Portuguese are widely spoken as well. But if you want to bring an even warmer smile than usual to a locals face or maybe get in good with your bartender, here are a few key Papiamento expressions to keep in mind:

Greetings

Welcome — bon bini

Good afternoon — bon tardi

Good evening — bon nochi

Have a nice day — pasa bon dia

Please — por fabor

Thank you — danki

You’re welcome — di nada

How are you? — con ta bai?

I am fine — mi ta bon

What is your name? — con jamabo?

My name is … — mi nomber ta …

Goodbye — ajo

Numbers

1 — un

2 — dos

3 — tres

4 — cuater

5 — cinco

6 — seis

7 — shete

8 — ocho

9 — nuebe

10 — dies

Bon suerte with the Papiamento and have fun in Aruba!

 

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Photo: Christian Córdova

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