In this article, you will learn about what is the language in the Dominican Republic, what a tourist should be prepared for. What are the subtleties and features in the knowledge of a foreign language among the locals. And there will also be tips, recommendations and a minimum vocabulary that will greatly help in the journey.

Table of contents:

What is the language in the Dominican Republic?

The language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish. Why? I hope everyone understands. The Dominican Republic was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, who served the Spanish crown. After him, these lands were colonized by the Spanish conquistadors and for the next 350 years the Dominican Republic was part of Spain.

If you read the article: Dominican Republic on the world map. Then you will find out that the island of Hispanola, on which two states are located: the Dominican Republic and Haiti, was also divided into spheres of influence between the Spaniards and the French. The times of colonies, slavery and conquistadors are over, but the language remains.

Today these two states are independent countries. But the national language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish, and the national language of Haiti is French.

What foreign language do the locals know?

Here is very interesting. After reading the article on the link that was above about the world map. You looked where the Dominican Republic is located. If not, then I’ll write the main feature. The Dominican Republic is located very close to the USA. Millions of Americans come here every year. The Dominican Republic for them is a country of beach holidays on an all-inclusive basis.

It is important to know:

In the Dominican Republic, children at school learn one foreign language and often it is English. But from what class and how intensively I don’t know, since the level of English proficiency among the local population is very weak

The answer to the question: what foreign language do the locals know? – None. This is ubiquitous and the farther from the resorts, the worse with English. Moreover, global problems are already beginning in the resort areas. Most residents of the Dominican Republic do not even know how to say “hello” and count to 10 in English.

It is important to know:

If you do not know a word of Spanish, then it will be difficult for you to solve any everyday issues. If you do not plan to leave the hotel and go far, then in general there will be no problems. But if you want to travel around the country – without Spanish in Dominican, you will have difficulty communicating with the locals. And believe me, it’s better to learn 20 Spanish words on your own than to hope to find someone who speaks English.
What is the language in the Dominican Republic
Written Spanish can be intuitively understood from situations, pictures, etc. Here it is clear that these are tariffs for a toll road, and you can even find a tariff for your car if necessary. The problems are in communication.

Mañana and Tranquilo: language of the Dominican Republic.

Before moving on to the minimum vocabulary of a tourist, let’s briefly talk about these two words. Mañana and Tranquilo are the national essence of the Dominicans.

In short, Mañana and Tranquilo are somewhat similar to the Zanzibar Akunamatata (No problem).

In Zanzibar, a whole phrase, for example: do not be angry that they bring you your cocktail for 40 minutes, relax and have fun, can be replaced with one word – Akunamatata. By the way, I am often asked what is better Zanzibar or Dominican Republic? And which country to choose for your vacation between these two. I wrote about this in the article at the link.

Mañana – translated from Spanish in Dominican as – tomorrow

Tranquilo from Spanish is – relax and have fun or take your time calmly.

Interesting to know:

Mañana and Tranquilo – these two words can describe all life in the Dominican Republic. And you will hear them more than once in your journey. So remember.

I personally attended a couple of times in a hotel or restaurant during a dialogue between a boss and a subordinate. Here’s what it looks like from the side:

  • Boss: what time will you do my task today?
  • Subordinate: Mañana boss
  • Boss: but we agreed today
  • Subordinate: Tranquilo Boss

What is the language in the Dominican Republic: tourist vocabulary

The first and most important thing is to be able to count. If you understand the rules of counting and learn how to count to 10, it will greatly simplify your life.

Dominican national language
This picture captures the essence of oral counting in Spanish

What you need to pay attention to in the picture above:

  • Remember the numbers from one to ten: uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve
  • Pay attention to how tens are formed, and that starting from 30 they are consonant with their serial number:
    • You need to remember how it will be ten (diez) and twenty (viente).
    • And then, 30, 40, 80, etc. – they sound similar to their numbers from the list up to ten.
    • One hundred in Spanish is sien. If you mention one hundred in the plural, you need to add how many hundreds (serial number) at the beginning, then say sien and add the ending -tos at the end, this means plural.
    • 200 – Dos sien tos
    • 800 – Ocho sien tos, literally translated as 8 times a hundred.
    • To calculate in stores and perceive prices by ear, this knowledge is enough.
    • Just a couple of days, get used to their pronunciation and you can already understand the numbers in Spanish in Dominican by ear.

Also, for the store / market there is another important phrase:

  • What is the price? – cual es el precio

For cafe and restaurants:

  • Bill – Cheque
  • Bill please – Cheque, porfavor

It is important to know:

If they also understand the word “menu”, and you make an order just by poking your finger, then asking for the bill was a real problem for us. They don’t understand English at all. By the way, about tips, taxes not listed in the menu, read the article restaurants in the Dominican Republic.
What is the language in Dominican Republic tourists
And here I think you all understand this sign, even without knowing the meaning of the word on it.

General information phrases in Spanish in Dominican Republic

  • Hello – Hola (Pronounced as OLA)
  • Bye – Adios
  • How are you, good afternoon, have a nice day – Buenos Dias
  • Two Beers Please – Dos Cervezas Por favor
  • Friend – Amigo
  • Girlfriend – Amiga (here it is important not to confuse the endings)
  • How to get to the store – Como pasar Calmado/Supermercado. About the types of stores and their sizes and what Calmado is in the article Dominican stores.

And finally, two phrases that will help you bargain. Remember, bargaining, even in bad Dominican Spanish, greatly elevates you in the eyes of the locals. They do not know a foreign language, and those who try to learn their language enjoy at least a favorable attitude. And maybe your attempts to bargain in Dominican Spanish will get you a bigger discount.

In conclusion: almost all Dominicans do not know English from the word at all. You have already understood that the answer to the question: what is the language in the Dominican Republic? – Spanish. And here’s a little advice: if you like the Dominican Republic or you plan to travel more to Latin America and the Caribbean, learn Spanish – at least basic. It is the national language of almost every country in this region.

Buenos dias amigo and amiga!

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Dominican Republic

  • Flights at the best prices with discounts
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars – a largest international resource
  • Hotels and apartments:
    • Hotellook – compares hotel prices among dozens of booking platforms and offer you the best price.
    • Booking – large online booking platform.
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Dominican Republic.
  • Vacation packages:
    • Expedia – best deals from Europe.
    • CheapOair – cheap packages from all US cities.
  • Tours, excursions and extreme activities:
    • GetYourGuide – more than 800+ tours and water activities.
    • Viator – 3500+ tours and excursions in Dominican.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
  • Internet and Calls:
    • Airalo – eSIM with internet package.
    • Drimsim – universal SIM card (or eSIM) in any country in the world.
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel