U.S. Virgin Islands Languages

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Description[edit | edit source]

There are a wide variety of languages spoken in the U.S. Virgin Islands:

  • English is currently the dominant language. English has been the predominant language since 1917, when the islands were transferred from Denmark to the United States.
  • Spanish is spoken by about 17% of the population. It is mostly spoken by Puerto Ricans; Puerto Rican migration was prevalent in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, when many Puerto Ricans relocated to Saint Croix for work after the collapse of the sugar industry. In informal situations, many Puerto Ricans in Saint Croix speak a unique Spanglish-like combination of Puerto Rican Spanish and the local Crucian dialect of creole English.
  • Other languages are spoken by 11% of the population.
  • Danish was the official language under Danish rule, but it was solely the language of administration and spoken by Danes, a tiny minority of the overall population that primarily occupied administrative roles in colonial Danish West Indian society. Danish never was a spoken language among the populace, black or non-Danish white.
  • Dutch was more common under Danish rule as the majority of plantation and slave owners were of Dutch, English, Scottish, Irish, or Spanish descent.
  • Virgin Islands Creole English is an English-based creole locally known as "dialect", is spoken in informal situations. The form of Virgin Islands Creole spoken on St. Croix, known as Crucian, is slightly different from that spoken on St. Thomas and St. John. Because the U.S. Virgin Islands are home to thousands of immigrants from across the Caribbean.
  • French creole languages are also widely spoken.

In summary, as of the 2000 census, 25.3% of persons over the age of five speak a language other than English at home. Spanish is spoken by 16.8% of the population and French is spoken by 6.6%. [1]

Word List(s)[edit | edit source]

Dutch

French

Spanish

Virgin Islands English

Alphabet and Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

Dutch

French

Spanish

Language Aids and Dictionaries[edit | edit source]

Dutch or Netherlands

French

Spanish

Virgin Islands Creole

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "United States Virgin Islands," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Virgin_Islands#Languages, accessed 20 March 2021.