You might think that Dutch is the only language spoken natively in the Netherlands. That’s definitely not true—Frisian, a closely related language, is spoken in the northwestern part of the low-lying country. But that’s certainly not all, if you consider that the ABC islands in the Caribbean belong to the Netherlands. These vibrant islands speak their own, unique language: Papiamentu.
Papiamentu’s 340,000-odd native speakers are mostly situated on the ABC islands (i.e., Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao), located mere miles from the Venezuelan coast. Nonetheless, these islands, Aruba and Curaçao self-governed, ultimately belong to the Netherlands. Papiamentu is the most common language across the islands, with newcomers to the island learning the language for better navigation of day-to-day life. Unfortunately, however, with limited recognition on the global stage, few resources for Papiamentu exist, and new loanwords from English, Spanish, and Dutch threaten the authentic feel of Papiamentu. At TranslationServices.com, we’re passionate about languages like Papiamentu, and we want to preserve them for the future—so that’s why we’re proud to introduce our professional Papiamentu translation team.
Interested in Papiamentu translation services? Reach out today for a free quote!
Discover the unique creole of the ABC islands
A creole language is the result of multiple ethnolinguistic groups living together and creating a new language from elements of the different languages they speak. This is the case with Papiamentu, which is believed to have originated as a Portuguese–West African creole, later taking influences from Dutch, Spanish, Arawak, Taíno, and other indigenous languages. Today, about 80% of Papiamentu vocabulary is of Iberian origin (i.e., from Portuguese or Spanish), with most of the remaining 20% from Dutch and the remainder from Native American or African languages.
Papiamentu uses the same subject-verb-object word order as Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese, but it has plenty of grammatical idiosyncrasies that differentiate it starkly from its parent languages and result in mutual unintelligibility. For example, Papiamentu speakers may move an element of the sentence to the front and preface it with ta to add emphasis, deviating from the subject-verb-object order. Unlike in Spanish, pronouns cannot be omitted, since verbs don’t mark person. To express verb tense and aspect, Papiamentu uses a number of particles, including a habitual particle to mark an action that takes place regularly. Papiamentu also features two interchangeable passive constructions—one derived from Spanish and one from Dutch.
Translating to and from Papiamentu is our passion.
Papiamentu speakers are proud of their unique language, and that’s certainly true for our Papiamentu translators. Since they’ve grown up speaking the language, navigating the challenges of this unique creole is a breeze for them. Our translators stand ready to help whether you’re looking for translation into Papiamentu or out of Papiamentu.
For translation from Papiamentu to English, we can help you convert Papiamentu historical documents, traditional stories, contemporary literature, and any other message you want to share with the world into crisp, clear English. For translation from English to Papiamentu, our team is here to assist you with translating promotional materials into Papiamentu for your corporate expansion to the ABC islands, translating educational materials into Papiamentu so that local children have better access to great education in their own language, and translating interesting content such as novels, poems, games, websites, and apps into Papiamentu so speakers and learners can use the language more in their free time.
Don’t wait to get started with your Papiamentu translation project! Get in touch today and tell us what you’re looking for.