As with much of America, spanish is spoken in Cuba. After the 1959 Revolution, the term "compañero/compañera", meaning comrade, came to gradually replace the traditional "señor/señora" as the universal polite title of address for strangers. A significant number of Afro-Cubans as well as mulatto Cubans speak Haitian Creole. Haitian Creole is the second most spoken language as well as a recognized one in Cuba with approximately 300,000 speakers. Haiti was a French colony, and the final years of the 1791-1804 Haitian Revolution brought a wave of French settlers fleeing with their Haitian slaves to Cuba.
Many words from Cuban Amerindian languages have entered common usage in both Spanish and English, such as the Taíno words canoa, tabaco and huracán.
When speaking to the elderly, or to strangers, Cubans speak more formally as a sign of respect. They shake hands upon greeting someone and farewelling them. Men often exchange friendly hugs (abrazos) and it is also common for both men and women to greet friends and family with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Informalities like addressing a stranger with 'mi corazón' (my heart), 'mi vida' (my life), or 'cariño' (dear) are common.