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Creole Eden
The Ethnic diversity of Curaçao is impressive. Consider its location, just off the tip of Venezuela, Caribbean gateway to Latin America, and its rich history of diverse colonization. This adds up to the veritable multicultural melting pot it is today. Dutch is the official language, but the local creole (or Papiamentu) is a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, English, and Arawak Indian. However, it’s when you learn that Papiamentu is spoken by everyone, rich and poor, that images of Eden are conjured in the mind. It is an integral part of the island’s identity. It’s certainly a paradise for linguists, tickled to decipher the origins of different words and phrases. Here are two excellent examples to learn before you go. Thank you is danki, which comes from the Dutch dank u, and you’re welcome is di nada from the Spanish de nada. That kind of harmony between Germanic and Latin languages is enough to bring out the word nerd in anyone!
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