Languages of the Falkland Islands

The only official language of the Falkland Islands is English, and this is spoken by everyone on a day-to-day basis. Spanish is spoken by 10% of the population,[1] a significant minority. Most of the Spanish speakers are immigrants, foreign workers, and expats, predominantly from Chile and Argentina.

Languages of Falkland Islands
OfficialEnglish, Spanish

Falkland English dialect

Falkland Islands English is mainly British in character. However, as a result of the isolation of the islands, the small population has developed and retains its own accent/dialect, which persists despite a large number of immigrants from the United Kingdom in recent years. In rural areas (i.e. anywhere outside Port Stanley), known as ‘Camp’ (from Spanish campo or ‘countryside’),[2] the Falkland accent tends to be stronger. The dialect has resemblances to Australian, New Zealand, West Country and Norfolk dialects of English, as well as Lowland Scots.

Historic

Several languages have been used historically in the Falkland Islands.

  • French – the French were the first to colonise the islands, and their settlement at Port Louis would have used French. The islands' French name, Iles Malouines, stems from Saint-Malo.
  • Yaghan – a missionary settlement on Keppel Island contained many Yaghans from Tierra del Fuego. The Falkland Islands fox was previously hypothesized to represent a possible pre-European landing on the Falklands, but this has since been refuted.[3] This language has left no trace on the Falklands, and would not have been written at this time.[4]
  • Scottish Gaelic – many early settlers were from the Gaelic-speaking parts of Scotland, including the Western Isles and the western Highlands. William Blain, a settler from Dumfries, noted in 1878 that "the Scotch language was fairly well represented" and a majority of the population were "Scotch or of Scotch descendants".[5]

References

  1. "2016 Census Report". Policy and Economic Development Unit, Falkland Islands Government. 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 January 2018.
  2. Stay with us » Camping: Falkland Islands Tourist Board
  3. "New Clues To Extinct Falklands Wolf Mystery". EurekAlert. Science Daily. 3 November 2009. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
  4. Bridges, E L (1948) The Uttermost Part of the Earth Republished 2008, Overlook Press ISBN 978-1-58567-956-0
  5. David Britain and Andrea Sudbury, "Falkland Islands English", in The Lesser-Known Varieties of English: An Introduction" (eds. Daniel Schreier, Peter Trudgill, Edgar W. Schneider, Jeffrey P. Williams), Cambridge University Press, 2010, p. 213.


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