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Speaking the Language

Ecuador - Speaking the Language

The official language of Ecuador is Spanish, but Quichua – an Inca dialect – is used by the Indian population. English is also used by some sections of the community along with another ten native languages, some of which are ancient and in danger of dying out. The growing number of expats in the country is bringing other European and Asian languages to the country like German, French and Chinese.

Around 93% of the Ecuadorian population have Spanish as their first language. The lesser used Inca and Indian dialects are used mainly in more rural areas. Many of the population are able to understand and use more than one language and several languages are taught in schools alongside Spanish.

A number of foreign companies will use English on a daily basis and it may be possible for an English speaker to get by without learning any Spanish but this will depend on which area you live in and how much you wish to integrate into the local community. Those who work in the tourism industry are more likely to use English for work and there are opportunities for those who can teach English as a foreign language as the use of the language is being heavily promoted by the government.

Spanish in Ecuador is not very heavily influenced by other dialects, unlike in other countries, so those with knowledge of standard Spanish should be able to get by very easily there. It is also relatively easy to learn some of the language before you leave your home country as colleges in many countries offer Spanish night classes. ‘Teach Yourself’ books and CDs are also widely available for Spanish and these can help you to learn a few essential words and phrases, as well as get used to the sound of the language.

Those moving to Ecuador for work may find that their employer will offer language training and it is worth making enquiries about this, though if it is not the case there are a number of language schools in Ecuador which offer a variety of courses for those who are keen to learn Spanish. Some have evening courses available which run over several months and these are ideal for those who do not need to learn quickly or who just require basic conversational Spanish. Shorter, intensive courses which take place over a week or a fortnight are better for those who need to learn the language for work.

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