The official language of Nicaragua
; however, Nicaraguans
on the Caribbean coast speak indigenous languages and also English
. The communities located on the Caribbean coast also have access to education in their native languages. Additionally, Nicaragua has four extinct indigenous languages.
Phonetics and phonology
Some characteristics of Nicaraguan phonology include:
- /s/ at the end of a syllable or before a consonant is pronounced [h].
- j (/x/) is a [h].
- There is a clear distinction between /l/ and /r/, compared to Caribbean dialects.
- /s/, /z/ and in some cases /c/ (as in cerrar) are pronounced as [s].
English is also spoken among Nicaraguan expats
from the United States and Canada, and widely used by the tourism sector. On the Caribbean coast, due to the African and English heritage, in places like Bluefields
, Pearl Lagoon
and on the Corn Islands
, the English language is spoken in the form of English creole
by the majority of the population there, coexisting with indigenous languages.
A sign in Bluefields
in English (top), Spanish (middle) and Miskito (bottom).
Sumo (also known as Sumu) is a Misumalpan language spoken in Nicaragua
by the Sumo people
. There is wide dialectal variation, and sometimes the major dialects may be listed as separate languages.
efforts began in 1980–1981 under the Sandinistas
however, they were not successful.
The fieldwork for the first dictionary of Rama was done during this time by Robin Schneider, a graduate student from the University of Berlin
In 1992, only approximately 36 fluent speakers could be found among an ethnic population of 649 individuals in 1992, of whom only a few scattered individuals live outside Nicaragua. The number of speakers on Rama Cay island was only 4 in 1992, due to language shift to English that engendered Rama Cay Creole
Nicaraguan Sign Language
The Mangue language
, also known as Chorotega, consisted of several dialects spoken in western Nicaragua by Chorotega natives. Mangue is a language closely related to the Chiapanec language
spoken in Mexico, and is classified as belonging to the Oto-Manguean language family
In the Monimbó neighborhood of the city of Masaya
, there are many Chorotega natives but the language that they speak is Spanish.
The Subtiaba language
was an Oto-Manguean language
which was spoken on the Pacific slope of Nicaragua by the indigenous Subtiaba people (also sometimes referred to as Maribios, Hokan Xiu, or Xiu-Subtiabas). In 1925, Edward Sapir
wrote an article based on scant evidence arguing for the inclusion of Subtiaba in his hypothesized Hokan languages
group. Others have linked Subtiaba to the Jicaque
languages of Honduras, but it is generally accepted that Subtiaba is an Oto-Manguean language that shares a close affinity with the Tlapanec language
of Mexico. When Sapir wrote about Subtiaba in 1925, it was already very endangered or moribund.
The Matagalpa language
was a Misumalpan language spoken by the indigenous Matagalpa people
. In 1981, the population of the Matagalpa people was estimated at 18,000–20,000. The Matagalpa people live in the Central highlands of Nicaragua in the departments of Matagalpa
. Matagalpa became extinct in the 19th century; the eponymous people now speak Spanish.
Only a few short word lists remain. It was closely related to the Cacaopera language
- ^ "Languages of Nicaragua". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
- ^ Pim, Bedford & Seemann, Berthold (1869). Dottings on the Roadside, in Panama, Nicaragua, and Mosquito. London: Chapman and Hall
- ^ a b Craig, Colette (1990). Review: Dictionary of the Rama Language. International Journal of American Linguistics 56.2:293-304
- ^ Nora Rigby (1989). Dictionary of the Rama language: Rama, English, Rama-Creole, Spanish, English, Rama (Speaking with the tiger). Berlin: D. Reimer. ISBN 3-496-00459-2.
- ^ Fowler, William Roy, The Pipil-Nicarao of Central America, Thesis or Dissertation. Ph.D., Archaeology, University of Calgary, 1981 also published as a book by Univ of Oklahoma Press (June 1989), ISBN 0-8061-2197-1
- ^ Daniel G. Brinton, M.D., Notes on the Mangue; an extinct Dialect formerly spoken in Nicaragua, lecture before the American Philosophical Society, November 10, 1885, published by Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 23, No. 122, (Apr., 1886), pp. 238–257.
- ^ Sapir, Edward (1925). "The Hokan affinity of Sutiaba in Nicaragua". American Anthropologist. New Series. 27 (3, 4): 402–435, 491–527. doi:10.1525/aa.1925.27.3.02a00040.
- ^ "Matagalpa". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2007-09-09.
Last edited on 27 February 2021, at 06:14
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