Belize's official language is actually a dialect called Belizean Creole. It's not a language but most people in the country speak it.
Have you ever gone to a popular place to snap a picture only to find out it's nothing like the pictures in real life? Saying English is the official language of Belize is kinda like that.
As a local living here most of my life, I can give you unique perspective from the inside. I've also been to neighboring countries in North, Central & South America so that should help keep things objective.
Surprisingly, Belize was not colonized by the Spanish but by the British instead. And that's why English is the official language.
Most people are surprised that Belize is the only country in Central America that speaks English. It makes for a very interesting fun fact to share.
And for those curious, the three most spoken languages are Creole, English, Spanish — in that order.
Belizean Creole or "Kriol" is the main language spoken which is a bit like the Jamaican Patois. A patois is a dialect of the common people in a region.
If you ask me, Creole is more of a dialect because there are no official rules nor an official dictionary as far as I know. But who am I to say what's real or what's not? For now, we'll call it a dialect to avoid confusion.
Belize speaks a quasi-Spanish — kinda but not really. As someone that has lived in the north of the country for most of my life, I can confirm that locals can't tell you a complete sentence in Spanish.
Of course, if they are immigrants, they'll be able to speak spanish perfectly. For example, someone living close to the Guatemalan border will likely be able to speak impeccable Spanish because their family will most likely be from Guatemala.
So wait... what type of Spanish do regular locals speak? It's a type of Spanglish because when they don't know the word in Spanish, it's automatically replaced with the English word.
Almost everyone speaks it! Seriously... you'll find a Mayan kids down south, the Chinese shopkeepers, and even the East Indians talking to you in the local dialect. It's strange but interesting at the same time.
Here's an example: What's going on? = Weh di goan?
Here's another: I want some water = Me wa waata.
Because the locals spend most of their time thinking and speaking in Creole, their English gets compromised. I'm guilty of this myself actually. You write the way you speak after all right?
So it's not surprising to hear locals struggle to speak proper English. Even though English is taught in the classroom, very few people speak proper English with their friends and family.
This is a debatable question. It depends on your definition of a language and your definition of bilingual. In my opinion, we're definitely not. Why?
Because, most of us speak broken English and broken Spanish. I personally used to think I spoke Spanish well, and then I ended up traveling two years around Latin America and got my reality check.
Everyone was surprised that a hispanic male can't speak Spanish properly. I try to speak English properly though!
Don't get me wrong, I think the broken languages sound unique and interesting. Foreigners love the Caribbean accent for the most part. But it sucks not being able to speak a single language fluently.
At the end of the day, it's all about getting your message across I think. And we understand each other even if it's all broken. Most of the locals are very curious and respectful towards tourist as well.
So if you end up in this little country that speaks broken languages, you can tell the locals Weh di goan?.