Updated 3 Nov 2022

The primary language spoken in the BVIs is English; the English-based Virgin Islands Creole, and Spanish, with English as the national and official language.

As an official language, English is used in the government, education and the media, such as print and broadcast, and in business transactions and tourist centres.

The Virgin Islands Creole, though spoken in the territory, is almost similar to, but should not be confused with Negerhollands, a Dutch-based Creole spoken in the US Virgin Islands, as it is continuously changing due to its use of slang terms and idioms.

The VI Creole can never be learned as a standard language because, according to local authorities, many of its words and expressions are known only to the older population of the islands. Furthermore, the Creole language has a smaller set of pronouns than English; has no letter “s” in the plural, possessive case and the 3rd person present tense; and the “th” sound is omitted in speech and replaced by the “t” sound. The Creole pronunciation varies largely from the standard English like the “er” which is pronounced “ae” in Creole; the computer as “compu-tae,” never as “nevae,” and come here as “come ya” or “come heh.”

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