March 2nd, 2018 · 21 mins 11 secs

About this Episode

Welcome back to Season 1 of Language Stories. We're back for the second half of this season and this time, we're speaking English...and a few more languages in Belize.

Belize isn't like the rest of Central America. Belize speaks English. But that's not the full story...Listen + watch this episode of Language Stories to find out more.

Why Belize?

I was really excited to visit Belize. After my time in Costa Rica a decade before, Central America had always had a draw for me as a really accessible region in terms of geography and language.

Yet, despite the rest of the region speaking Spanish primarily, Belize officially speaks English. Of course, this is due to colonialism, but still, how curious!

But 'Belize speaks English' isn't the full story. And that's why we wanted to dive a little deeper with Belize.

The Video


Osmer - Osmer started the Northern Belizean Spanish Facebook Page in part for his own research. It's an interesting look at bilingualism in Belize including signs etc.

Timothy McKeon - Timothy is a polyglot and writer who has studied creole and pidgin languages extensively. He volunteers for Wikitongues. You can read more from Timothy on Creoles here.

Further Reading + Resources

Guatemalan Passport - this interesting website has images of all the passport covers in the world. You can see the jaggy line I mention between Guatemala and Belize on this one.

Amandala - News article from Belize about the decision to 'blur the line' between Guatemala and Belize on the passport.

Q'eqchi' + Mopan - Wikipedia articles about two of the Mayan languages spoken in Belize.

CIA Factbook - A useful list of country sizes. I used this for the size comparisons mentioned in the podcast.

Belize Language Stats - Official stats from the Belizean Government.

National Kriol Council - the useful website of the National Kriol Council has some great references both for the language and culture.

National Garifuna Council - a language we didn't get into in this episode. The website has some useful info on the Garifuna language and culture that spreads beyond Belize to Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua also.

A Spanish Accent, The Economist - an interesting article on the impact of immigration on the languages in Belize.

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