Latin America Resources

Languages Spoken in Latin American Countries

Sadly, many Indigenous languages are endangered. According to the United Nations, “Conservative estimates suggest that more than half of the world’s languages will become extinct by 2100.” The following information comes from the CIA.

Country
Languages Spoken
Argentina Spanish (official), Italian, English, German, French, indigenous (Mapudungun, Quechua)
Belize
English 62.9% (official), Spanish 56.6%, Creole 44.6%, Maya 10.5%, German 3.2%, Garifuna 2.9%, other 1.8%, unknown 0.3%, none 0.2% (cannot speak) (2010 est.)

note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census

Bolivia
Spanish (official) 60.7%, Quechua (official) 21.2%, Aymara (official) 14.6%, Guarani (official) 0.6%, other native languages 0.4%, foreign languages 2.4%, none 0.1% (2001 est.)

note: Bolivia’s 2009 constitution designates Spanish and all indigenous languages as official; 36 indigenous languages are specified, including a few that are extinct

Brazil
Portuguese (official and most widely spoken language)

note: less common languages include Spanish (border areas and schools), German, Italian, Japanese, English, and a large number of minor Amerindian languages

Chile
Spanish 99.5% (official), English 10.2%, indigenous 1% (includes Mapudungun, Aymara, Quechua, Rapa Nui), other 2.3%, unspecified 0.2% (2012 est.)

note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census

Colombia Spanish (official)
Costa Rica Spanish (official), English
Cuba Spanish (official)
Dominican Republic Spanish (official)
Ecuador
Spanish (Castilian) 93% (official), Quechua 4.1%, other indigenous 0.7%, foreign 2.2%(2010 est.)

note: (Quechua and Shuar are official languages of intercultural relations; other indigenous languages are in official use by indigenous peoples in the areas they inhabit)

El Salvador Spanish (official), Nawat (among some Amerindians)
Guatemala
Spanish (official) 69.9%, Maya languages 29.7% (Q’eqchi’ 8.3%, K’iche 7.8%, Mam 4.4%, Kaqchikel 3%, Q’anjob’al 1.2%, Poqomchi’ 1%, other 4%), other 0.4% (includes Xinca and Garifuna) (2018 est.)

note: the 2003 Law of National Languages officially recognized 23 indigenous languages, including 21 Maya languages, Xinca, and Garifuna

Honduras Spanish (official), Amerindian dialects
Mexico
Spanish only 92.7%, Spanish and indigenous languages 5.7%, indigenous only 0.8%, unspecified 0.8% (2005)

note: indigenous languages include various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional languages

Nicaragua
Spanish (official) 95.3%, Miskito 2.2%, Mestizo of the Caribbean coast 2%, other 0.5%(2005 est.)

note: English and indigenous languages found on the Caribbean coast

Panama
Spanish (official), indigenous languages (including Ngabere (or Guaymi), Buglere, Kuna, Embera, Wounaan, Naso (or Teribe), and Bri Bri), Panamanian English Creole (similar to Jamaican English Creole; a mixture of English and Spanish with elements of Ngabere; also known as Guari Guari and Colon Creole), English, Chinese (Yue and Hakka), Arabic, French Creole, other (Yiddish, Hebrew, Korean, Japanese)

note: many Panamanians are bilingual

Paraguay Spanish (official) and Guarani (official) 46.3%, only Guarani 34%, only Spanish 15.2%, other (includes Portuguese, German, other indigenous languages) 4.1% , no response .4% (2012 est.)
Peru Spanish (official) 82.9%, Quechua (official) 13.6%, Aymara (official) 1.6%, Ashaninka 0.3%, other native languages (includes a large number of minor Amazonian languages) 0.8%, other (includes foreign languages and sign language) 0.2%, none .1%, unspecified .7%(2017 est.)
Puerto Rico Spanish, English
United States English only 78.2%, Spanish 13.4%, Chinese 1.1%, other 7.3% (2017 est.)
Uruguay Spanish (official)
Venezuela SSpanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects