Nicaraguan Spanish has many indigenous influences and several distinguishing characteristics. Until the 19th century, a hybrid form of Nahuat-
Today Nahuat, Mangue and Mayan words and syntax can be found in everyday speech. The Nicaraguan accent dates back to the 16th century in Andalusia, and the relative isolation of Nicaragua meant that the accent did not change in the same ways that the Andalusian accent has.
For example, some Nicaraguans have a tendency to replace the “s” sound with an “h”” sound when speaking. Other Nicaraguans pronounce the word vos with a strong s sound at the end. In the central part of the country, regions such as Boaco pronounce vos without the s sound at the end. The result is vo, similar to vous in French and voi in Italian.
Central American Spanish is spoken by about 90% of Nicaragua’s population. In Nicaragua, the voseo form of address is dominant in both speech and publications. The same is true for the Río de la Plata region of South America. Nicaraguan Spanish can be understood everywhere in the Hispanosphere.
Nicaraguans, unlike most Spanish-
In the Caribbean coast, many Afro-
In addition, many of the indigenous people speak their native languages, such as the Miskito, Sumo, Rama and Garifuna language. In addition, many ethnic groups in Nicaragua have maintained ancestral languages, while also speaking Spanish or English; these include Chinese, Arabic, German, and Italian.
Spanish is taught as the principal language. English is taught to students during their high school years and tends to be the national second language. Other languages can also be found sporadically, particularly within expatriate communities.
Nicaragua was home to three extinct languages, one of which was never classified. Nicaraguan Sign Language is also of particular interest to linguists as the world’s youngest language.