If you’ve grown up in a the U.S. or a country like it, you’ll be more or less accustomed to needing to know only one language in your day to day life.
Whether you’re at work, the DMV, the grocery store, shopping mall, in a taxi, etc. etc. you can be confident that your English language will enable you to execute your transactions and any communication with relative success.
Yet, knowing just one language isn’t the order of the day in many other countries. It’s common in many places to know the official language of the country, as well as other commonly used languages.
The idyllic Caribbean island of Curacao is one such place.
The official language is Dutch, the most commonly used language is Papiamentu, and most locals also speak English and Spanish.
Woah that’s a lot of languages to know! And it’s all because Curacao has such a colorful and multi-cultural history and heritage.
Papiamentu is a multifaceted Creole language which is based on Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and a few African dialects. It’s been spoken for over 300 years and is widely considered the original language of Curacao. Because it was originally meant to be a spoken communication and not a written one you’ll frequently see different spellings for the exact same words.
So where exactly does that leave the average Curacao visitor? What language should you start practicing in anticipation of your trip?
Not that it’s necessary to learn an entire language for the purpose of a single vacation, but if you wanted to brush up on some of the most commonly used phrases and words in Curacao, we are here to help!
Curacaoans are extremely friendly and polite, and will be thrilled to hear you attempting to communicate, even if with just a word, in their language(s). Many of the following terms and words are very colloquial and fun – so no stress here just have fun with it!
Bon Bini – Welcome
Bon Dia – Goodmorning
Bon Tardi – Good Afternoon
Bon Nochi – Good Evening/Good Night
Kon ta bai?/Kombai? – How is it? How are things going with you? What’s up basically…
Mi ta bon, danki – I am fine, thank you
Kon bo yama? – What’s your name?
Mi yama… – My name is…
Mi ta bini di – I am from…
Masha Bon – Very Good
Bon – Good
Mi ta buskando un bano – I’m looking for a bathroom
Mener/ Senor – Mister/Sir
Jufrouw / Senora – Miss/Madam
Te otro biaha – See you later
Ajo (ah-yo) – Goodbye
Danki – Thank You
Muchanan – Children
Masha Danki – Thank you very much
Di Nada – You’re Welcome
Diskulpami/Sori – Excuse me/Sorry
Nope, you don’t have to know every language spoken on the island, but the above list will definitely be helpful while you visit! Don’t sweat it if you forget a few, you can always ask the friendly hotel team members, tour guides or even random locals you pass by. Everyone is friendly and willing to help on Curacao.
Now this brings us to the last word you’ll want to know. A word that has many meanings and is used, and seen, often…
Dushi is an expression that essentially means sweet, nice or good when describing items. When using it towards a person it’s basically like calling someone sweetheart, babe or even “sexy.” So it’s essential you understand the meaning, because you might just find yourself being called “Dushi” or even calling someone else “Dushi!” YOu just never know, anything is possible on Curacao.
Any trip to Curacao is destined to be incredible, and knowing a few common words and phrases will only enhance the trip even more.
For your luxury accommodation needs (and terminology advisors) seek out Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. Curacao’s premier resort, Santa Barbara offers an array of resort activities as well as opportunities to see the island through various tours and experiences.
Book your stay today! We hope you have a lovely trip!