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122 Papiamento Phrases: How to Speak Papiamento (Word List and Resources)

Language Learning

Planning a trip to the Dutch Caribbean islands? You might want to learn a few papiamento phrases. In this post, you'll get key papiamento phrases (122 word list) and get the resources you need to improve your skills.

Papiamento Phrases

How to Speak Papiamento: Word List / Resources

The 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 language, Papiamento, is only spoken on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao (the ABC island) and Saint Eustatius.

What is Papiamento?

Papiamento contains elements of 5 languages: Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, and Dutch. It was also influenced by Arawak Indian and African languages. Papiamento 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 unilingual gringo.

Papiamento or Papiamentu?

There is some confusion about these two words. Are they distinct languages or just different spellings?

Papiamento is one language and it has 2 main dialects.

  1. Aruban Papiamento: Papiamento spoken in Aruba sounds like Spanish.
  2. Papiamentu: This is spoken in Curacao and Bonaire.

Key Differences in Papiamento vs Papiamentu

As the spelling of each dialect suggests, words in Aruba often end with “o” and the same words in Papiamentu often end in “u”.  There is a similar difference in the “c” (Aruba) and “k” (Curacao and Bonaire).

The reason for these differences is based on the spelling method chosen by each region.

  • Aruba uses an etymology-based spelling.
  • Curacao and Bonaire chose a phonology-based spelling.

As a result, the words are pronounced and spelled differently, but generally, have identical meanings.

There are some small differences between the Papiamento dialect found in Curacao and Bonaire.

Watch on YouTube

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


122 Papiamento Words and Phrases

Learning how to speak Papiamento isn't that difficult. Most words are pronounced exactly as spelled. Helpful Papiamento phrases include:

13 Papiamento Greetings

  1. Have a good day: Pasa un bon dia
  2. Good Morning: Bon dia
  3. Goodbye: Ayo
  4. Good afternoon: Bon tardi
  5. Good evening: Bon nochi
  6. Please: Por fabor
  7. Thank you: Danki
  8. Thank you very much: Mashi Danki
  9. You are welcome: Di nada
  10. How are you?: Con ta bai (pronounced bye)
  11. Very Good!: Hopi bon
  12. I am fine: Mi ta bon
  13. See you later: Te aworo

17 Papiamento Dining Phrases

  1. I am hungry: mi tin hamber
  2. I want to eat: mi ke kome
  3. Food: cuminda
  4. Water: awa
  5. cuminda: Food
  6. Bread: pan
  7. Butter: manteca
  8. Cheese: keshi
  9. Fish: Pisca
  10. Cold cuts: beleg
  11. Milk: lechi
  12. Soda: refresco
  13. Sweets/candy: mangel
  14. An Aruban lollipop: chupa bebe
  15. Sugar: suku
  16. Salt: salo
  17. Pepper: pika

13 Papiamento Shopping Phrases

  1. kwanto esaki ta costa: How much does this cost
  2. Mi ta wak rond: Looking around, browsing
  3. Ban dal un trip: Lets go out on a trip
  4. Banco: The Bank
  5. Plaka: Money
  6. Ki pelicula ta hunga awe?: What movie is playing today
  7. keds: Sneakers
  8. sapato: Shoes
  9. den caya: In the town
  10. Mi tin sed: I'm thirsty
  11. Mi tin hamber: I'm hungry
  12. Ban kas: Lets go home
  13. Botica: Drugstore

11 Papiamento Words For a Loved One

  1. Un sunchi: A kiss
  2. Un braza: A hug
  3. Mi dushi: My sweetheart
  4. dushi ‘om: Delicious or great
  5. Ku tur mi amor: With all my love
  6. Ranka Lenga: To french kiss
  7. frei: A loved one
  8. Mi amor: My love
  9. ranka orea: To cheat on someone
  10. hole dushi: Smells good
  11. Hopi bon: Very good

17 More Papiamento Words and Phrases

  1. bin aki: Come here
  2. ban sali: Lets go out
  3. ban goza: Lets enjoy
  4. tur kos ta bon: Everything is going well
  5. ban sigi: Lets continue
  6. ban come: Lets eat
  7. awa: Water
  8. awacero: Rain
  9. lamper: Lightning
  10. strena: Thunder
  11. nubia: Cloud
  12. lama: The beach, also the ocean
  13. tera: Sand, also country
  14. kunuku: The country side
  15. den stad: In the city
  16. na waf: At the port
  17. brug: Bridge

26 Words for Papiamento Numbers

  1. 0 zero, nul, nada
  2. 1 unu prome(r), di prome(r)
  3. 2 dos di dos
  4. 3 tres di tres
  5. 4 kwater, cuater (and so on)
  6. 5 sinku, cincu
  7. 6 seis
  8. 7 shete, siete
  9. 8 ocho
  10. 9 nuebe
  11. 10 dies
  12. 11 diesun
  13. 12 diesdos
  14. 13 diestres
  15. 14 diescuater
  16. 15 diescincu
  17. 20 binti
  18. 30 trinta
  19. 40 cuarenta
  20. 50 cincuenta
  21. 60 sesenta
  22. 70 setenta
  23. 80 ochenta
  24. 90 nobenta
  25. 100 cien
  26. 1000 mil

7 Papiamento Days of the Week

  1. Sunday: dia domingu
  2. Monday: dia luna
  3. Tuesday: dia mars
  4. Wednesday: dia rason
  5. Thursday: diaweps
  6. Friday: diabièrne
  7. Saturday: dia sabra

12 Papiamento Months

  1. January: Januari
  2. February: Feruari
  3. March: Maart
  4. April: April
  5. May: Mei
  6. June: Juni
  7. July: Juli
  8. August: Augustus
  9. September September
  10. October Ooctober
  11. November November
  12. December December

6 Papiamento Action Verbs

  1. to give: duna
  2. to buy: kumpra
  3. to sell: bende
  4. to drink: bebe
  5. to sleep: drumi
  6. to sit: sinta

Resources for Learning to Speak Papiamento

EuroTalk Talk Now! Learn Papiamento

  • The latest edition of EuroTalk's best-selling language software for beginners starts you off talking straight away
  • 9 different topics, with essential vocabulary you'll actually use
  • Learn through addictive games and activities to reinforce everything you've learned
  • Record yourself to practice pronunciation and compare it to both female and male native speakers
  • Learn from any language, not just English

Check it out on Amazon


EuroTalk Interactive: Papiamento Vocabulary Builder

  • Record your own cartoons and play them back in your own “cinema”
  • Nine games of varying difficulty, with points awarded for correct answers
  • More than 100 words, including colors, numbers, actions and simple sentences
  • Teaches children a new language with interactive help in 49 different languages
  • The only language learning CD-Rom series designed for children that's guaranteed to get them speaking a new language – fast

Check it out on Amazon


Fodor's In Focus Aruba (Full-color Travel Guide)

What better way to learn to speak Papiamento than to have your feet on the ground?

Travelers flock to Aruba for the sunny climate, perfect waters, and excellent beaches. Aruba presents more choices than nearly any other Caribbean island, from world-class oceanfront resorts equipped with gourmet restaurants and high-dollar casinos to intimate neighborhood motels and diners not far off the beach.

Fodor's has it all covered in an easy-to-carry, full-color guide filled with everything you need to know to plan the perfect vacation.

Check it out on Amazon

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

How's your photography? Get up to speed with our free DSLR Basics for Travel Photography course – 13 lessons.

Aruba is a Travelers Paradise

Aruba is a one of our favorite destinations. Why? Well, I guess its just one of those places where you can just forget yourself and relax. No challenges with language, safety or culture. Just pure relaxation. Everyone needs a week of that now and then. . .

Great beaches, warm water, amazing resorts and restaurants and the friendliest people you’ll ever meet are a recipe for your best vacation ever.

The benefits of Aruba aren’t just about what it offers. What it doesn’t offer will benefit you as well. When you are in Aruba, you’ll notice the absence of hurricanes, tropical storms, crime and bad drinking water. Travelers often comment that the whole island “feels like a resort”. Exceptionally family friendly, Aruba also offers great attractions for singles and for couples. No wonder Aruba has the highest repeat-visitor rate in the Caribbean, and the highest hotel occupancy rate.

Bon bini (Welcome) to Aruba!

Meet the Author

Bryan Haines

Bryan Haines is co-editor of LivingAbroad.in - and is working to make it the best resource for current and future expats. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of GringosAbroad (Find Your Next Adventure in Ecuador) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with Bryan and Dena.

9 comments… add one
  • arubamon Aug 31, 2018, 9:38 am

    No, “danki” definitely is not pronounced “donkey”, it’s pronounced more like “dah-ki”. I went to high school in Aruba and speak Papiamento well. “Tin” is pronounced “ting” though. The “dies” in eleven to nineteen is pronounced something like”djes”, so eleven would be “jes-oon”, fifteen would be “jes-cinco”, seventeen would be “jes-shete”, and nineteen would be “jes-nuebe”. Also, for the days of the week, “dia” is pronounced “jah”. Jah-luna, jah-marz, jah-razon, jah-weps, jah-bierna, jah-sabra, and jah-domingo.

  • Evarr Whack Oct 11, 2018, 5:19 am

    Need papimento language breakdown

  • sukita Dec 14, 2018, 1:40 pm

    I miss my country and hope to soon return to her.

  • Jérôme-Paul Jan 9, 2019, 3:53 am

    I was in Curaçao back in March of ’98 and have very fond memories of the time I spent there. This page could use a pronunciation guide. With so many languages contributing to Papiamento, it’s not really possible to guess at the correct pronunciation. Mashi danki!

  • Joan Smit Jan 24, 2019, 1:47 pm

    Sorry, but “danki” is NOT pronounced as “donkey” it is pronounced as “dahnkey” a VERY short “a” sound.

  • Christy Mar 16, 2019, 9:51 am

    I chuckled (and rolled my eyes a bit) at the intro about Papiamento being a combination of 5 languages, because “African” is NOT a language. Maybe you could specify that with Swahili or Xhosa or Amharic or Igbo, etc, etc. Apart from that, the key phrases of Papiamento were helpful, thanks!

    • Bryan Haines Mar 25, 2019, 4:14 pm

      Good point. The phrasing could have been better. The post has been updated for accuracy: Papiamento was influenced by languages from Africa – not an African language.

      Thanks for catching that!

  • Suzy Mar 25, 2019, 12:09 pm

    This is not the most accurate website. It mentions Papiamento. Papiamento is only spoken on Aruba. What you see here is PapiamentU that is spoken on Curacao and Bonaire. Papiamento and Papiamentu are very different in the way they are written. In sound there is also a difference.

    • Bryan Haines Mar 25, 2019, 4:11 pm

      Very true – there are differences. But they are just different dialects of the same language. The term Papiamento is commonly used to describe both dialects.

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