Languages in Nicaragua, Spanish, Espanol, Culture

The official language of Nicaragua is Spanish. In the past nine other languages were spoken in Nicaragua. However, only seven of these are currently considered living languages and the remaining three are now seen as being extinct. Below is a list of these languages along with some details about them:


Spanish is also known as Espanol or Castellano. Millions of people worldwide speak Spanish and it is the most widely spoken Romance language (Iberian Romance language). Spanish spoken in Nicaragua is a different dialect to that spoken in Spain. Certain words may differ as well as pronunciation. However, people who speak any form of Spanish will be able to communicate effectively in Nicaragua.


Garífuna, also known as Caribe, Black Carib or Central American Carib, is a Cariban language (a group of languages endemic to South America). Interestingly Garífuna’s vocabulary is broken into terms used exclusively by men and terms used exclusively by women, but not in all cases.


Miskito is also referred to as Mosquito, Mískito, Marquito or Mísquito and is a Misumalpan language. The use of the language seems to be decreasing, with about 200 000 individuals speaking it.

Nicaragua Creole English:

Most people who speak this language will also speak Spanish and English. Creole languages are those that have developed from combining two or more different languages.


This language is said to be nearing extinction. Speakers of Rama also tend to speak Nicaragua Creole English.


Other names for this language are Sumo, Soumo, Sumoom, Sumu, Sumo Tawahka, Woolwa and Taguaca. Sumo is also a Misumalpan language. The dialects of Sumo vary greatly and are sometimes classified as separate languages.

Nicaraguan Sign Language:

This is the language of Nicaragua’s deaf community. Nicaraguan Sign Language is a relatively new form of sign language created by deaf children in western Nicaragua’s schools during the 1970s. The development of this language has given scholars greater insight into the formation of languages and has been widely reported on.


Extinct. It is also known as Pantasmas and is a Misumalpan language. Members of this ethnic group are said to now speak Spanish. Matagalpa became extinct in the 19th century.


Extinct. This is not a classified language.


Extinct. Subtiaba is an indigenous Oto-Manguean language.

Nicaragua’s people are an interesting blend of different ethnic groups and languages, all of which contribute to the beauty of this land. Why not take a brief Spanish language course before heading off to Nicaragua? It will certainly be advantageous and you will have a great time making small chit-chat with the local people.

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