A Canadian Family Traveling & Living Abroad (in Ecuador)

Papiamento Phrases – How to Speak Papiamento

Bon Bini Sign in ArubaThe first words you’ll probably hear when you arrive in Aruba are “Bon Bini!” Bon Bini means welcome, and you’ll hear this phrase used frequently by the friendly and accommodating Arubans.

The Aruban languange, Papiamento, is only spoken on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao (the ABC island) and Saint Eustatius. It is a combination of 5 languages: Spanish, Portuguese, African, Dutch and Arawak Indian and has evolved much over the years.

Looking to practice your Papiamento? Try Instant Immersion Papiamento and learn with goal-focused 10-minute sessions.

In Aruba, the people speak, write and read English, Spanish, Dutch and Papiamento fluently. Many also speak French and German.
Dutch and Papiamento are the official languages of Aruba. All documents and government papers are in both languages and lessons at school are also given in Dutch and Papiamento. Papiamento is only spoken on the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao).

While there are many languages spoken, you’ll have no problems if you happen to be a uni-lingual gringo.

Build your vocabulary with the Vocabulary Builder! Learn Papiamento by EuroTalk Interactive.

Most words are pronounced exactly as spelled. Helpful Papiamento phrases include:

Papiamento Greetings

  • Have a good day: Pasa un bon dia
  • Good Morning: Bon dia
  • Goodbye: Ayo
  • Good afternoon: Bon tardi
  • Good evening: Bon nochi
  • Please: Por fabor
  • Thank you: Danki (pronounced donkey)
  • Thank you very much: Mashi Danki
  • You are welcome: Di nada
  • How are you?: Con ta bai (pronounced bye)
  • Very Good!: Hopi bon
  • I am fine: Mi ta bon
  • See you later: Te aworo

Papiamento Dining Phrases

  • I am hungry: mi tin hamber
  • I want to eat: mi ke kome
  • Food: cuminda
  • Water: awa
  • cuminda: Food
  • Bread: pan
  • Butter: manteca
  • Cheese: keshi
  • Fish: Pisca
  • Cold cuts: beleg
  • Milk: lechi
  • Soda: refresco
  • Sweets/candy: mangel
  • An Aruban lollipop: chupa bebe
  • Sugar: suku
  • Salt: salo
  • Pepper: pika

Papiamento Shopping Phrases

  • kwanto esaki ta costa: How much does this cost
  • Mi ta wak rond: Looking around, browsing
  • Ban dal un trip: Lets go out on a trip
  • Banco: The Bank
  • Plaka: Money
  • Ki pelicula ta hunga awe?: What movie is playing today
  • keds: Sneakers
  • sapato: Shoes
  • den caya: In the town
  • Mi tin sed: I’m thirsty
  • Mi tin hamber: I’m hungry
  • Ban kas: Lets go home
  • Botica: Drugstore

Papiamento Words For a Loved One

  • Un sunchi: A kiss
  • Un braza: A hug
  • Mi dushi: My sweetheart
  • dushi ‘om: Delicious or great
  • Ku tur mi amor: With all my love
  • Ranka Lenga: To french kiss
  • frei: A loved one
  • Mi amor: My love
  • ranka orea: To cheat on someone
  • hole dushi: Smells good
  • Hopi bon: Very good

More Papiamento Words and Phrases

  • bin aki: Come here
  • ban sali: Lets go out
  • ban goza: Lets enjoy
  • tur kos ta bon: Everything is going well
  • ban sigi: Lets continue
  • ban come: Lets eat
  • awa: Water
  • awacero: Rain
  • lamper: Lightning
  • strena: Thunder
  • nubia: Cloud
  • lama: The beach, also the ocean
  • tera: Sand, also country
  • kunuku: The country side
  • den stad: In the city
  • na waf: At the port
  • brug: Bridge

Papiamento Numbers

  • 0 zero, nul, nada
  • 1 unu prome(r), di prome(r)
  • 2 dos di dos
  • 3 tres di tres
  • 4 kwater, cuater (and so on)
  • 5 sinku, cincu
  • 6 seis
  • 7 shete, siete
  • 8 ocho
  • 9 nuebe
  • 10 dies
  • 11 diesun
  • 12 diesdos
  • 13 diestres
  • 14 diescuater
  • 15 diescincu
  • 20 binti
  • 30 trinta
  • 40 cuarenta
  • 50 cincuenta
  • 60 sesenta
  • 70 setenta
  • 80 ochenta
  • 90 nobenta
  • 100 cien
  • 1000 mil

Papiamento Days of the Week

  • Sunday: dia domingu
  • Monday: dia luna
  • Tuesday: dia mars
  • Wednesday: dia rason
  • Thursday: diaweps
  • Friday: diabièrne
  • Saturday: dia sabra

Papiamento Months

  • January: Januari
  • February: Feruari
  • March: Maart
  • April: April
  • May: Mei
  • June: Juni
  • July: Juli
  • August: Augustus
  • September September
  • October Ooctober
  • November November
  • December December

Papiamento Action Verbs

  • to give: duna
  • to buy: kumpra
  • to sell: bende
  • to drink: bebe
  • to sleep: drumi
  • to sit: sinta

Plan your next trip to Aruba with Fodor’s in Focus: Aruba.

Before you leave this beautiful island, I guarantee you’ll be saying Mi stima Aruba! (I love Aruba!)

An article by

Bryan is a journalist, photographer, expat and dad. He writes for Gringos Abroad (Ecuador travel and living) and Blogger Abroad (run an online business abroad). He also enjoys living in Southern Ecuador (South America) with his wife and daughter. Connect with Bryan on LinkedIn.

More about: Everything Expat, Language Learning

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About Bryan & Dena Haines

We are a Canadian family of 3 living in Ecuador since 2009. If this is your first visit, start here. We blog about life and travel in Ecuador. Interested to work with us? Read more about Bryan & Dena

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