English and le français intermix at Baie Nettlé in French St. Martin
The official language of St. Maarten is Dutch, but the islanders speak mostly English with a West Indian lilt. The Dutch side also includes French and Spanish-speaking populations, and immigrants from Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao have added Papiamento (based on Spanish, French, English, Dutch and Arawak Indian) to the mix.
French is the official language of St. Martin but residents often use a local Créole among themselves. Due to the number of American visitors, English is also understood in most hotels and restaurants. Attempts to speak le français are usually appreciated in all the French islands and mini-phrase books or dictionaries may prove invaluable. Don't forget that a smile is the easiest and most universal form of communication.
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