Panama Languages Spoken

Old Jun 29th, 2023, 07:08 AM
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Panama Languages Spoken

Is English spoken fluently in Panama?
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Old Jun 29th, 2023, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by rayf
Is English spoken fluently in Panama?
Sure -- by some people. But Panama is a Spanish-speaking coutry. Maybe 10 or 15% of the population speaks English - but a larger % in the hospitality industry.
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Old Jul 1st, 2023, 07:41 AM
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Don't worry as a tourist,a large number of the people you will encounter will speak at least some English.

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Old Jul 4th, 2023, 03:35 PM
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I am going to Mexico, another Spanish-speaking country, in August. I haven't been to Panama yet. I have been to Europe 6 times and Quebec once. As a general rule when traveling to any country, my best judgment is, it is polite to learn some words and phrases in the local language. My first language is English. My plan is to continue learning Spanish words and phrases. In Mexico maybe I will say a few Spanish words or phrases, to sound smart. Also my plan is to keep my mouth shut the vast majority of the time. I feel like it would be an embarrassment to civilization to just start talking English to a non-English speaker in a non-English-speaking place. Whether the people you encounter know any English probably isn't relevant. The amount of talking some of my fellow Americans think they need to do when traveling, is much less than you actually have to do. For example, it would be possible for me to go to my local grocery store, a mall, the Detroit Institute of Art, and so on, without saying a word to anybody. I am not sure I could buy gas without talking. I am not planning to rent a car in Mexico. But I understand that in Mexico the gas is not self-serve; an attendant has to pump the gas for you and you have to make sure they don't scam you and fail to reset the pump to zero and make sure they don't swap a big bill for a small bill and falsely claim that you gave them less money than you gave them. I didn't look up whether the gas in Panama is self-serve. Assume whoever you encounter doesn't know English and don't try talking English.

Last edited by michaelpianko; Jul 4th, 2023 at 03:37 PM. Reason: spelling correction
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Old Jul 4th, 2023, 04:42 PM
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I really don't know why you think your plan for Mexico has any relevancy to the OP's question. It shows that you don't know much about the history of the Canal Zone or that English is the second-most common language in Panama. Some Panamanians descend from English-speaking countries such as Jamaica or have ties to the US. In addition, English fluency is an asset for employment in tourism and international business.

Often people you encounter, if you are friendly and not just speaking a few common words to "sound smart" want to practice their English as much as those of us who speak a little bit of Spanish welcome a chance to practice. I started to learn Spanish when I was 10 years old and have traveled independently in nine Latin American countries, as well as Spain. (BTW the spoken language sounds differently from country to country, don't expect what you learned in school to be all that much help in understanding what someone replies if you ask a question.) And good luck with those verb conjugations.

It is not necessary to be completely "fluent" in English to conduct basic transactions involving exchange of $$ for goods. Many who claim not to speak English understand you quite well, in fact.

You might want to pick up a used copy of "Spanish for Dummies" while you're at it. Recommended by a friend who taught Spanish in the Compton Unified School District for 40 years.

Last edited by mlgb; Jul 4th, 2023 at 04:51 PM.
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Old Jul 9th, 2023, 04:47 PM
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Here are examples of something, not that analogies are persuasive: from the past 5 years: i invited my aunt to go to a u-pick cherry-picking place. At one point my aunt called out to a strange lady, in a cringy embarrassing way, something like "are these the sweet cherry trees"? The lady stared at us, long pause, turned up her palms and muttered something like "I don't speak English good". My aunt said another sentence... my dad saw me. We went to a Chinese restaurant. Fortunately waiting until our waitress had left, but still in a cringy embarrassing way, in a loud whisper, my dad said, in the wrong intonation, "that lady barely speaks English!"...

To me it feels like a cringy, bad-manered embarrassment to civilization to just start talking Engligh to Employees or any strange people in a non-English speaking place.

If this matters, i took 6 solo trips to Europe including one trip to Spain, and Quebec once. No I have not been to Mexico or Panama (yet).

Last edited by michaelpianko; Jul 9th, 2023 at 04:51 PM. Reason: Spelling correction
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Old Aug 9th, 2023, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by michaelpianko
Here are examples of something, not that analogies are persuasive: from the past 5 years: i invited my aunt to go to a u-pick cherry-picking place. At one point my aunt called out to a strange lady, in a cringy embarrassing way, something like "are these the sweet cherry trees"? The lady stared at us, long pause, turned up her palms and muttered something like "I don't speak English good". My aunt said another sentence... my dad saw me. We went to a Chinese restaurant. Fortunately waiting until our waitress had left, but still in a cringy embarrassing way, in a loud whisper, my dad said, in the wrong intonation, "that lady barely speaks English!"...

To me it feels like a cringy, bad-manered embarrassment to civilization to just start talking Engligh to Employees or any strange people in a non-English speaking place.

If this matters, i took 6 solo trips to Europe including one trip to Spain, and Quebec once. No I have not been to Mexico or Panama (yet).
The scenarios you describe have nothing to do with what the OP is asking. It is perfectly acceptable to ask someone if they speak English if the need arises, preferably in the language of the country you are visiting. A simple "perdón, habla inglés?" would work.
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