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Dominican Republic: A unique and endless destination throughout the world.

Language

Language

Spanish is the Country's official language. Nevertheless, in some communities that have a foreign origin and in tourist hubs English, German, French, Italian, Dutch and other languages are spoken.

It is important to point out that the Dominican way of speaking is the result of our collective experiences and the wisdom of rural farmers and peasants. Our Spanish comes with a rustic accent and hinterland flavor and in our country each region has its own accent, charm and peculiar expressions, which usually identify the speaker from the very moment he or she opens his or her mouth.

This unique form of expression has been a source of inspiration for renowned writers, both native and foreign. It is not known precisely when the common country parlance started to be used in literary writings. Nevertheless a rustic poem written in 1635 by Tirso de Molina earned a literary award— the rustic lilt had been immortalized thanks to his sojourn between 1616 and 1618 at the Convent of Las Mercedes in the colonial zone of Santo Domingo.

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Despite the preponderance of Spanish culture, several words from the Taino's melodious and sweet language remain in use and have become a part of the everyday lingo. Nearly all these terms preserve their original meaning. For example:ají (pepper), barbacoa (barbecue), batea (trough or small tub), bija (anatto fruit), bohío (hut), burén (flat griddle), canoa (canoe), carey (tortoise-shell), caribe (Caribbean), casabe (cassava), coa (sharp wood rod), conuco (a plot of land for cultivation), guanábana (soursop), guayaba (guava), hamaca (hammock), higüera (calabash tree), huracán (hurricane), iguana (iguana), lambí (conch meat), maíz (corn), tabaco (tobacco), tiburón (shark), yagua (palm), and yuca (yucca), among others.

lenguajeSome visitors tend to think that we are either angry or deaf when they hear us talking. Indeed, shouting and gesticulating, common among rural folk who overcome distances by raising their voices, have now made their way to urban areas, and have even crossed generational lines.

For this reason, protest in this country differs markedly from what one might see in Switzerland or the United States. While it is their practice to walk slowly in silence at the venue of the protest as they hold a poster that expresses their feelings, we Dominicans tend to shout while making abrupt gestures and running from one place to the other in order to call attention. For this reason a demonstration that may appear imminently violent to a visitor tends to fizzle out within half an hour without any great problems. This manner of protesting, which is very much a reflection of our national character, has on occasion been misunderstood by the international media.

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