About 40 languages are spoken in Venezuela. However, Spanish, the country's official language, is the most common. The most widely spoken indigenous languages are Wayuu, Warao, Piaroa, Yanomami, Kahlihna, Manduhuaca, Panaré, Pemón, Guahibo and Nhengtu. Most of these languages originated in the languages of the Caribs, the Arawaks and the Chibcha. 

As more indigenous people move to the cities, many of their languages are becoming extinct. Languages such as Sapé and Mapoyo have five or fewer speakers. Anthropologists are trying to learn these languages and the stories of these peoples before the last people who speak these languages die. When a language becomes extinct, knowledge and a unique way of seeing the world disappear.

Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic and English are the most common foreign languages spoken in Venezuela. Some English words, such as "parking," have found their way into Venezuelan Spanish.

 Venezuelans often speak less formally than people in most other Spanish-speaking countries. There are two forms of the pronoun "you" in Spanish: the informal and the formal usted. Normally is used only for close friends and children. Some Venezuelans, however, may use it for general acquaintances and colleagues. 

   Did you know?
Deaf and hearing-impaired people use Venezuelan sign language. State-run schools for deaf people have been operating since 1937, and many go to college or university with a sign language interpreter.
Many Venezuelans also use affectionate nicknames with people that they do not know well. For instance, it is not strange to be called "my love" (mi amor) by an acquaintance. Many nicknames are given on the basis of a person's appearance. Some Venezuelan nicknames might seem rude to people who do not realize that Venezuelans are using them affectionately.

Venezuelans tend to have a more relaxed view of time than many Canadians. They even say that they are on Venezuelan time (hora venezolana). This may be because Venezuelans consider it important to finish conversations, even if it means they arrive a little later at their next destination.

  English   Spanish
  Hi   Hola
  Good morning/good day   Buenos días
  How are you? (formal)   como está usted?
  I am fine, thank you.   Estoy bien, gracías.
  Please   Por favor
  Thank you very much   Muchas gracías
  You are welcome   De nada
  My name is...   Me llamo...
  What is your name?(formal)    Cómo se llama usted?
  Pleased to meet you   Mucho gusto