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   Information Center Barbados
Barbados General Information
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People, Language & Religion


About 90% of all Barbadians (colloquially called Bajans) are the descendants of former African slaves. Some 4% are white, and other various groups comprise the remaining 6%.


English is the sole official language of Barbados, and is used for communications, administration, and public services all over the island. In its capacity as the official language of the country, the standard of English tends to conform to the vocabulary, pronunciations, spellings, and conventions akin to, but not exactly the same as, those of British English. A regional variant of English, referred to locally as Bajan, is spoken by most Barbadians in everyday life, especially in informal settings. In its full-fledged form, Bajan sounds markedly different from the Standard English heard on the island.

The degree of intelligibility between Bajan and general English varies depending on the speakers' origins and the "rawness" of one's accent. In rare instances, a Bajan speaker may be completely unintelligible to an outside English speaker if sufficient slang terminology is present in a sentence. Bajan is somewhat differentiated from, but highly influenced by other Caribbean English dialects; it is a fusion of British English and elements borrowed from the languages of West Africa. Hindi and Bhojpuri are also spoken on the island by a small Indo-Bajan minority. Spanish is considered the most popular second language on the island, followed by French.


Christianity is the dominant religion. About 67% of the total population is Protestant, with about 40% being Anglican, 8% Pentecostal, 7% Methodist, and 12% comprised of various other denominations including Moravian, Seventh-Day Adventist, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptist, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Roman Catholics make up approximately 4% of the populace; 17% claim no religious affiliation; and about 12% profess other faiths, including Islam, Baha'i, Judaism, Hinduism, and Rastafarianism (Nyabinghi school).





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