Language in Ecuador

Language in Ecuador

Speaking Spanish in Ecuador

¿Habla ingles? Language in Ecuador

Ecuador's official languages is Spanish, although some indigenous languages such as Quechua or Kichwa also have a degree of official recognition. You'll find that English is spoken by many young people in particular, and especially in areas where tourists are more common, but it's still worthwhile taking a dictionary or downloading a dictionary app to your phone as it can be really useful in situations where you need something specific, but no English is spoken.

Spanish as spoken in Ecuador is almost identical to 'Spanish' Spanish, but with slightly different pronunciation and a few vocabulary changes. In fact, Ecuadorean Spanish is highly regarded within South America for its clear accent and Quito and Cuenca are widely seen as excellent places to learn Spanish - if you would be interested in doing this then just let us know.

In the high Andes, particularly around Latacunga or in the north around Otavalo, many people do speak Quechua (the language of the Incas), and there are several indigenous languages spoken in the rainforest, although in both these place almost everyone will also speak Spanish as well.

Ecuadorean Spanish English
Abreboca Appetizer
Bacan Good
Biela Beer!
Cacho Joke
Chau! Bye!
Caimán Lazy person
Cucayo Lunch
Farra Party
Frutilla Strawberry
Muy Amable Much appreciated
Pite (a) little bit


The great thing about Spanish is that it's very much pronounced as it's written, so if you see something written down, just have a go! Ecuadoreans are very appreciated of people making the effort, and if you've picked up any Spanish on holidays in Europe then you'll find it works just as well in Ecuador. The only major difference between Ecuadorean Spanish and 'Spanish' Spanish is that you can drop the lisp: the letters 'c' and 'z' are pronounced like the English 's' rather than the Iberian 'th'.

Ecuadorean Vocabulary

Ecuadorean Spanish does have its own specialised vocabulary, however, although they share a lot of slang with other South American countries. However, there are a few bits of vocabulary which are uniquely Ecuadorean, so in this table we've given you a few bits of Ecuadorean Spanish that even the most up-to-date dictionary app might not contain...