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Ecuador's Languages

The 2008 Constitution establishes Spanish (castellano) as the official language of Ecuador, with Kichwa and Shuar as additional official languages for intercultural relations. Other ancestral, indigenous languages may be used as the official and legal language in areas where they are spoken.

Almost all Ecuadorians speak Spanish as either a first or second language. Ecuadorian Spanish varies according to each region. On the coast, the Spanish is slurred and final consonants are dropped. In the Andes, the Spanish is slower and clearer-making it one of the easiest places to learn the language.

See our Spanish Schools section for more information.

Quichua (Kichwa) is the most common indigenous language, with almost 600,000 speakers; most live in the sierra, and about one percent in the jungle. The most common Amazonian languages are Shuar, with over 79,000 native speakers, and Achuar, with over 7,000. Of the 15 languages spoken in modern-day Ecuador, three have fewer than 700 speakers.

English is taught from an early age in schools, but is not taught well. Most Ecuadorians understand much more English than one would imagine, but relatively few are fluent.

09 Oct 2013

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