Most Ecuadorians speak Spanish. The Indian language Quichua is also spoken by many of the indigenous people. Quichua is recognized as an important part of the Ecuadorian culture, but is not an official language. This language was derived from the Inca language. There are also many other languages spoken by the indigenous peoples of the Oriente.

Many indigenous people speak both Spanish and their native language. English is spoken and understood in most tourist and business areas.

In Spanish you address a man as señor and a woman as señora. It is common to shake hands when meeting someone and when saying goodbye. There are formal and informal ways of speaking in Spanish. With family and close friends Ecuadorians use the informal way of speaking. When speaking to people they have just met, they use formal language as a sign of respect.
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Quichua words that have been adopted into the English language include condor, Inca, llama, pampa, and quinine.

Gestures also play an important role in communicating in Ecuador. Ecuadorians may lift their chins to tell you to go "up the street" and lower their chins to say "down the street." In Ecuador a bus driver may draw a circle in the air with an index finger to say "Sorry, the bus is full." However, yawning, whistling, pointing or yelling a name to get someone's attention may be considered rude.

People who speak Spanish pronounce each part of every word. Ecuadorians who live in the coastal areas tend to talk more quickly than those who live in the Sierra highlands.

English Spanish
What is your name? ¿Cómo se llama usted?
My name is... Me llamo...
How are you? ¿Cómo esta usted?
Very well, thank you, and you? Muy bien, gracias. ¿Y usted?
How are things? How's it going? ¿Qué tal? ¿Qué hay?
OK Bien
Please Por favor
Thank you very much Muchas gracias
You are very kind Eres muy amable
You're welcome/Don't mention it De nada/No hay de qué
I want... Quiero...
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In English we commonly say no by grunting "uh-uh." This may cause some confusion if you are talking to an Ecuadorian, because in Ecuador, "uh-uh" means yes.