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Christian Burn of Grand Baymen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The people of Belize speak the same English as we do in North America. If English is not the person’s first language, he or she will have an accent when they speak English. Some of our Spanish neighbors and their descendants may have a bit of a Latin accent to the English they speak, but you will still understand them.
 
The Spanish that is spoken here, from my understanding (because I'm not a Spanish speaker), is not the Spanish from Spain by any means. We get a few Spanish speakers coming through from Spain and some of my team do not want to speak Spanish to them because the Spanish from Spain is so different from the Mexican, Guatemalan, Honduran, and the overall Central American Spanish. However, they can of course, communicate.  We have two families combined who are guests here from Guatemala. My team and the families were exclusively speaking Spanish yesterday when they checked in.
 
English is easy here in Belize. Their English is North American English, but do not expect it without an accent. The Belizeans have either a Spanish accent or a Creole accent, which is just a little more colorful. The accents that you will hear people speak here in Belize are very manageable. I guess for some people who have never traveled before, when they come to a different country and they experience speaking to someone with an accent, they feel like it is some kind of impediment from enjoying the area, when it is not. The accent is just a little bit different, so you just have to adapt.
 
If you go from region to region in the US, there is often a considerable difference in the way they speak English, too. Likewise, I find it very difficult to understand southerners because my ears aren’t tuned to the way they speak English. I think those comments from people who first get here and say that the English here in Belize is difficult to understand are those who do not hear the exact same accent that they are used to, so they find it difficult. It is really just a matter of getting out of your comfort zone. You are trying to understand and interpret another person. They are speaking the same language as you, but they just have a different intonation.
 
There's no problem with speaking and understanding English here. Some people in Belize aren't really educated, but you can't tell me that that Honey Boo Boo on the television is educated, and she lives in a first world country. They have to put subtitles underneath her, even though she is speaking English into the camera. It is a lot easier to understand people in Belize when you get off a plane than Honey Boo Boo on reality TV.
Zach Smith of Anywhere – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Belize is an English-speaking country and English is their official language. But some areas on the Caribbean side of the country where people speak Creole which is related to Jamaican Patois. Getting by if you only speak English is not an issue as far as normal visitation where you’re going to a restaurant, supermarket, checking into a hotel, or asking for a taxi. You will not run into a language barrier.
Leon Hooker – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Fun in Caye Caulker, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe short answer is "Yes, you can get by in Belize by just speaking English."
 
The official language of Belize is English and the majority of people are raised and educated speaking English. There are many ethnic groups in Belize including Garifuna Creole speakers and most people speak patois (sort of Creole) in normal day-to-day conversation but there are also significant populations of mestizo, Mennonite, Maya, Chinese and Guatemalan people and others. They are all having their children educated in English and are trying to learn it themselves. Belize was a British colony till independence in 1981. So there is no problem getting by with English only.
 
(Fun in Caye Caulker, Belize, pictured.)
 
Irma Quiroz-Yuque of Belize Vacation Homes – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Man and boy, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYou can get by in Belize just speaking English because everyone here speaks English. Even here in Corozal, next to the Mexican border, it’s predominantly Spanish speaking but everybody speaks English also. They’re more comfortable here in Corozal speaking in Spanish only because it’s their primary language. We have a big influence of Guatemalans, of Mexicans, Hondurans, and Mestizos in Corozal.
 
Sometimes it’s a little harder to understand them because of their accents but you know they pretty much all understand English, and if somebody doesn’t, their children all speak English because they’re going to school here. In this case, they’ll go to their child and say, “Hey, come translate for me,” and so you don’t need any other language
 
Having pretty much everyone speak English is one of the things that caused us to decide to retire here.  It helps the retirees. In the alternative, if I were to retire, let’s say for example, somewhere in Ecuador, you really need Spanish because you will need to talk to the local people and in case of an emergency or whatever it may be, I would need to know that language. Here, you don’t have that issue. All medical personnel speak English, all police and firemen speak English, and English is the main language here.
Dora Guerra of Atlantic International Bank – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account

hot dog crossing sign in Caye Cauker, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingBelize is the only Central American country whose main language is English. We also speak Spanish and “Creole,” which is a very popular dialect of English here in Belize.

 

Quite simply, you can most definitely get by with just English in Belize. It’s one of the best reasons to retire here, as opposed to the country of Panama or Medellin in Colombia, especially if you’re main language is English.

 

(Signs in Creole and English on Caye Cauker, Belize, pictured.)

 
Phil Hahn of Carmelita Gardens – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
creole sign in Belize about  – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingEnglish is the official language of Belize. Other than recent immigrants to Belize from other Latin American countries like Guatemala and El Salvador, everybody speaks English. 
 
The Lingua Franca in Belize is Creole so native Belizeans all speak Creole. It is like English pidgin language. It is kind of hard to adapt to, but once you’ve heard it enough and you dissect it, you start to understand it. I can hear it and for the most part understand it, too, but it’s very difficult for me to get my lips to form the words. 
 
The second language of Belize is Spanish, especially around the border of Mexico and Guatemala. In these areas, you’re going to find a lot of Spanish speakers. In the islands, there is not so much Spanish, but you’ll find English and Creole.  The native Belizeans, the ones that do not speak English or just a very little English, are going to be first or second-generation immigrants who came from Guatemala or El Salvador. 
 
Belize Creole is like Jamaican Creole; it’s similar to that but it is unique to Belize. Belize Creole is different than any other Creole. Most Americans would think of Creole as the Creole spoken in New Orleans, but that’s French Creole. Here in Belize, the Creole is like an English dialect. They use a lot in idioms. If you don’t understand the culture, you won’t understand what they are saying. It’s not because you can’t understand the different syllables; it’s just that you don’t know what the words mean.
 
For example, if you and I are sitting at a dinner and I called to you and said, “Hey, Blue…” “blue means that you are sad and blue. “Blue” comes from a type of fly that will go and defecate in somebody’s meal and ruins it. So when someone calls you “blue”, he or she is “dissing” on you. If you don’t know the history of the words, you wouldn’t know what they are talking about. That’s one of the reasons why Creole is hard to understand; it is composed of proverbs and idioms. 
 
Native Belizeans can switch on and off. They can speak English and people understand them fine, but then if there are three of you standing there with you as a foreigner and two Belizeans, they will talk to you in very clear English and they will turn to each other and speak Creole.
 
(Sign written in Creole about "da wata" fountain found in Belize, pictured.)
Shannon Davies of El Rey Hotel / Belize Travel Services – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Punta Gorda parade, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingEnglish is Belize’s first language, but a lot of people speak Spanish, especially here in Ambergris Caye. We also have a lot of people who speak Spanish on the mainland.
 
You will also find that most people speak Creole as well, which is like broken English. It originated from the slaves who tried to speak the language of the British slave masters, but somehow came up with a slightly different version.
 
(Punta Gorda parade, Belize, pictured.)
Boris Mannsfeld of Boris Mannsfeld & Associates – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The official language here in Belize is English.  Belize was part of the British Commonwealth, so pretty much everybody speaks real British English with a British accent. Many locals speak Creole. Creole is sort of English, French, New Orleans gibberish and people speak that here in Belize. The locals, especially in Placencia, can switch in the middle of a sentence from Creole to English and the average American would probably understand around 80% of the Creole. In Creole, they would say “dat” instead of “that.” They cut some vowels and consonants in the end, but you can understand the basic conversation.
 
In Belize, when you get close to the northern or western borders of Guatemala and Mexico, you will find more people who speak Spanish.
 
You can get by in the whole country with just English.

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