Gibraltarian English
A sign in Gibraltar.
Native toGibraltar
English alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Gibraltar map-en-edit2.svg
English is the official language of Gibraltar.

Gibraltarian English (abbreviated GibE) denotes the accent of English spoken in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar.[1][2][3] The English language has been present at Gibraltar for approximately 300 years, and during these centuries English has mixed with diverse languages, particularly Andalusian Spanish.[4] Gibraltarian English has become a subject of study for linguists interested in how English and other languages mix.[5] While the primary language of Gibraltarians is a variety of Andalusian Spanish called Llanito or Yanito, Gibraltarian English has become more prominent, and there has been a theory proposed that this variety of English is becoming "nativised".[5] Gibraltarian English is similar in many respects to British English, particularly southern varieties.


Gibraltarian English is a variant of English spoken in Gibraltar. While it shares many characteristics with Standard British English, it also has its own phonetic and phonological features:

1. Pronunciation of "r": Unlike Standard British English, in Gibraltarian English, the final "r" and "r" before a consonant are often pronounced more strongly and with a vibrancy, similar to Spanish pronunciation.

2. Aspiration of /h/: In Gibraltarian English, the letter "h" at the beginning of a word or syllable is pronounced with an aspiration, similar to Spanish pronunciation. For example, "house" would be pronounced as "jouse".

3. Vocalization of "th": Like in many other English dialects, in Gibraltarian English, the letters "th" are vocalized, often as /d/ or /v/. Therefore, "think" may sound like "fink" and "this" may sound like "vis".

4. Tone and intonation: Gibraltarian English often has a melodic tone and intonation similar to Spanish, influenced by Spanish language in pronunciation and speech rhythm.

5. Elision of "g": In some words, particularly at the end of a syllable or word, the letter "g" may be elided or pronounced more softly. For example, "morning" could sound like "mornin".

6. Vocalization of "l": The final "l" and "l" in coda position in words like "pool" or "hill" may be vocalized as a kind of "u" or "w" at the end of a word. For example, "pool" could sound like "poou" or "hill" like "hiww".

7. Influence of Spanish: As Gibraltar is predominantly a Spanish-speaking territory, Gibraltarian English shows some influence from Spanish in its pronunciation and accent. This is reflected in features like the aspiration of "h", the vibrant pronunciation of "r", and the melodic intonation.


1. Use of verb tenses: - Gibraltareño generally follows the standard verb tenses found in English, including present, past, and future tenses. - There may be variations in the use of specific tenses or their frequency of use, influenced by contact with Spanish and the local linguistic norms. For example, Gibraltareño speakers may exhibit a preference for the present perfect tense or the simple past tense in certain contexts.

2. Use of prepositions: - Gibraltareño may show variations in the use of prepositions compared to Standard British English. These variations may be influenced by the contact with Spanish. - The influence of Spanish can be seen in the choice of prepositions, as Gibraltareño speakers may use Spanish prepositions in certain contexts. For instance, they might say "I'm going to the bank" instead of "I'm going to the bank" to reflect the Spanish influence.

3. Vocabulary: - Gibraltareño includes words and expressions specific to the region, reflecting the multicultural and multilingual nature of Gibraltar. These may include local terms, names of places, or unique expressions. - Additionally, the presence of Spanish loanwords or code-switching between English and Spanish is common in Gibraltareño speech, which can also influence the vocabulary choices.

4. Influence of Spanish: - Due to the close proximity of Gibraltar to Spain and the widespread use of Spanish in the region, Gibraltareño may show influences from Spanish grammar. - Some grammatical features of Spanish, such as noun gender agreement and verb conjugation, may have an impact on the speech patterns of Gibraltareño speakers.

5. Code-switching: - Gibraltareño speakers often engage in code-switching between English and Spanish, where they seamlessly switch between the two languages within a conversation. - This code-switching can affect the grammar and syntax of sentences, with elements from both languages being used interchangeably.

6. Pronunciation patterns: - Gibraltareño may exhibit distinctive pronunciation patterns influenced by the local linguistic context. This can include the realization of certain sounds or phonetic shifts unique to the region.

See also


  1. ^ Levey, David (2008). Language Change and Variation in Gibraltar. John Benjamins Publishing Company. ISBN 978-90-272-1862-9. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
  2. ^ Language Change and Variation in Gibraltar, David Levey, John Benjamins Publishing, 2008, page 99+, Gibraltarian English: Vowels and Diphthongs (chapter 5), Retrieved Aug. 28, 2014, (Gibraltarian English studied by linguists)
  3. ^ A New New English: Language, Politics, and Identity in Gibraltar, Anja Kellermann, BoD – Books on Demand, 2001, Some Axioms of the Analysis of 'Gibraltarian English', Retrieved Aug. 28, 2014
  4. ^ Gibraltar, Identity and Empire, E.G. Archer, Routledge, Jan 11, 2013, Language and the community, Retrieved Aug. 28, 2014
  5. ^ a b Bergs, Alexander; Brinton, Laurel J.: English Historical Linguistics, Volume 2, Alexander Bergs, Laurel J. Brinton, Walter de Gruyter, Oct 1, 2012 English in contact with other European languages, Retrieved Aug. 28 2014