If you visit Venezuela, what language should you brush up on? Venezuela’s official language is Spanish. It’s spoken by the majority of Venezuelans. If you’re looking to learn Spanish, you should open your ears to Venezuelan Spanish. With its charming Caribbean flare, we’re sure it’ll capture your heart.
However, this beautiful country is also home to multiple other languages. This should not come as a surprise, as the total population of Venezuela is estimated to be 33 million people. With language diversity and plenty to see, Venezuela has a lot to teach us.
- Essential facts about Venezuela
- What language do they speak the most in Venezuela?
- What other languages are spoken in Venezuela?
- Venezuelan slang
Essential facts about Venezuela
To talk about the different languages spoken in Venezuela, let’s start with the most essential facts about this country. Here’s a little cheat sheet to help out:
- Official name: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
- Capital city: Caracas
- Location: Northern coast of South America, by the Caribbean Sea
- Population: 33 million
- Main language: Spanish
- Number of recognized indigenous languages: over 30
- Geographic Area: 916,445 km²
- Official currency: bolívar (VEF)
What language do they speak the most in Venezuela?
Spanish is the main language spoken in Venezuela. It is recognized as their official language in the constitution. It’s also the native language of around 95% of the population. If you want to visit one day, we highly recommend learning at least some basic Spanish to get around easily.
Remember that all Spanish-speaking countries have their own variant of the language. This is why you will often hear about Mexican, Colombian or Uruguayan Spanish as distinct variations. Both the accent and the vocabulary may differ, even between countries that share borders. That said, all Spanish speakers are able to understand each other for the most part.
In Venezuela’s case, their Spanish is highly influenced by the Caribbean and Central America. For example, Venezuelans tend to pronounce the letter “s” like an aspirated “h”.
Why is Spanish Venezuela’s main language?
Like most of South America, Venezuela was colonized by the Spanish empire under the Spanish royal family. This process started at the end of the 15th century when Christopher Columbus embarked on his third voyage to the “New World”. It is because of colonial influence that Spanish became Venezuela’s main language.
Venezuela officially gained independence in July of 1811 thanks to the efforts of a group of revolutionaries. This group was led partly by Venezuela-born Simón Bolívar. Sounds familiar? His name is in the official name of the country (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela).
What other languages are spoken in Venezuela?
Aside from Spanish, other languages spoken in Venezuela include over 30 indigenous languages. They are also recognized as official languages in the constitution. Wayuu is the most spoken of the group with 17,000 speakers.
When it comes to immigrant communities, the most commonly spoken foreign languages in the country are:
- Chinese (400,000 speakers)
- Portuguese (254,000 speakers)
- Italian (200,000 speakers)
Do they speak English in Venezuela?
English is the foreign language most often learned. It’s largely spoken by professionals and those working in tourism.
Like other Spanish speakers, Venezuelans have their own slang. Slang is highly influenced by region, but we can share some of the most useful and general slang words.
|Slang word||English translation|
|Ladilla (noun)||An annoying person|
|Chamo/a (noun)||Dude (can also be made female)|
|Chimbo/a (adj.)||Lame or lousy|
|Arrecho/a (adj.)||Angry or extremely, extremely cool|
|Vaina (noun)||A thing/stuff|
It would be handy if you studied some Spanish gender rules before learning these slang words.
Let’s do that “vaina”
Spanish is one of the most spoken languages on the entire planet. Venezuela’s variation of the Spanish language adds another beautiful variety to those used around the world. Isn’t it incredible to think about the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world? With some basic Spanish, you can trek to Angel Falls, make friends with Venezuelans, and learn about the indigenous communities that came together to gain independence from Spain all those years ago.
Alison Maciejewski Cortez is Chilean-American, born and raised in California. She studied abroad in Spain, has lived in multiple countries, and now calls Mexico home. She believes that learning how to order a beer in a new language reveals a lot about local culture. Alison speaks English, Spanish, and Thai fluently and studies Czech and Turkish. Her consulting business takes her around the world and she is excited to share language tips as part of the Lingoda team. Follow her culinary and cultural experiences on Twitter.