Ecuador language

Ecuador Flag

The Republic of Ecuador is a country belonging to South America, whose capital is Quito. It has a population of more than 16 million inhabitants (65º) and an extension of 283,561 km 2 (73º). Its human development index is high (86th) and its official currency is the US dollar. But what language is spoken in Ecuador?

What language do they speak in Ecuador?

The only official language of Ecuador is Spanish.

Likewise, other ancestral languages ​​are of official use for the corresponding indigenous peoples. The most widely spoken indigenous language is Quechua, with 1,161,800 speakers (in all its variants). Other indigenous languages ​​would be Shuar (42,300), Cha’palaachi (5,870), Achuar (3,520), Media Lengua (2,600), Awapit (2,100), Wao Terero (1,650) and Tsáfiqui (1,870).

However, there are other indigenous languages ​​that are at risk of disappearing from Ecuador. With less than 1,000 native speakers are Cofán (640), Siona (260), Secoya (85), Emberá (52), Záparo (3). There are some that have already become extinct, such as: caranqui, grass, cañari, puruhá, esmeraldeño, panzaleo.

The most widely spoken immigrant languages ​​are German (112,000 speakers), Chinese (7,000), French, Portuguese and English.

The Spanish language

Spanish is spoken as a first language by 93 % of the Ecuadorian population as a first language. Spanish in Ecuador has three main variants: coastal (or equatorial), Andean and Amazonian, the first two being the most relevant (since the majority of the population lives in these regions).

map of spanish dialects in ecuador

The equatorial variant is used in the Coastal Region and the Galapagos Islands, the Andean in the Sierra Region, and the Amazonian in the Amazon Region. The capital, Quito, is located in the central Andean Spanish zone, presenting its own peculiarities.

The Quechua language

Quechua (Kichwa shimi) is the second most widely spoken language in Ecuador, it is the first language of 7.1% of the population. It is official within the areas in which it is used. A standard norm is used, the unified Kichwa (Shukllachishka Kichwa). Its variants have the following number of speakers:

  1. Quichua of the Sierra Chimborazo: 800,000
  2. Quichua from the Sierra Imbabura: 150,000
  3. Quichua from the province of Cañar: 100,000
  4. Saraguro Quichua: 30,500
  5. Quichua of the Sierra Cayambe: 25,000
  6. Quichua of Tena: 20,000
  7. Salasaca Quichua: 14,300
  8. Napo Quichua: 14,000
  9. Quichua paste: 8,000

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