The Spanish of Equatorial Guinea:  research on la hispanidad's best-kept secret

 

John M. Lipski

Introduction

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea is sub-Saharan Africa's only Spanish‑speaking nation, which makes it somewhat of a linguistic curiosity, and which has contributed to its political isolation from neighboring countries.  At the same time, the role of the national, ex‑colonial language is significantly different in Equatorial Guinea than in most of English‑, French‑ and Portuguese‑speaking Africa, and the linguistic situation of Equatorial Guinea has considerable importance for theories of creolization of European languages, and the diversification of Spanish and Porutugese throughout the world.  As a result, a detailed description of the status of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea transcends the limits of this tiny nation and reflects a potential impact on more general areas of study.

Equatorial Guinea consists of the island of Bioko (formerly named Fernando Poo), which contains the capital, Malabo (formerly Santa Isabel), and the continental enclave of Rio Muni (with capital Bata), between Gabon and Cameroon, as well as tiny Annobón Island, located to the south of Sno Tomé.  In 1964 Spanish Guinea (as the colony was known) achieved status as an autonomous region, and the nation became independent in 1968, when Spain yielded to international pressure.  Despite the lack of colonial independence wars, Equatorial Guinea lurched violently into the post‑colonial era with a nightmarish 11‑year regime, headed by Francisco Macías Nguema, which nearly destroyed the country's infrastructure. expelled all foreigners and exiled, jailed or murdered nearly half of the Equatorial Guinean population.1  Following the overthrow of Macías in 1979, Equatorial Guinea continues to struggle under the crushing weight of post‑colonial destruction, and while highly dependent on Spanish technical aid, moved gradually into the French sphere of influence in Africa, underlined by the entry of Equatorial Guinea into the CFA monetary zone in the late 1980's.

Like most other African nations, Equatorial Guinea contains a variety of ethnic groups, each speaking its own language.  The major group on Bioko is the Bubi.  Also found in Malabo and its environs are numerous Fernandinos, descendents of pidgin English‑speaking freed slaves from Sierra Leone and Liberia, who arrived in Fernando Poo in the 19th century, as well as a handful of natives of Sno Tomé and Principe, Cape Verde and other African nations.2  During the colonial period, nearly half of the island's population consisted of Nigerian contract laborers (largely Ibos and Calabars), who worked on the cacao plantations, and although nearly all Nigerians were expelled by the Macías government (and few have returned), this group reinforced the English spoken by the Fernandinos, with the result that nearly all residents of Fernando Poo speak pidgin English, known as pichi, pichinglis or brokeninglis, which constitutes the true lingua franca of Fernando Poo/Bioko (Lipski 1992).

The principal ethnic group in Rio Muni is the Fang, also found in Gabon and Cameroon, who have dominated the remaining groups and have formed the strongest nuclei in the national government; the Fang have also emigrated in large numbers to Fernando Poo, although not originally native to that island.  The playero groups (Ndowé/Combe, Bujeba, Benga, Bapuko, etc.) are found along the coast of Rio Muni, and most of their languages are at least partially intelligible mutually.  There are few remaining pygmies in Rio Muni, and those that are found live in scattered areas of the interior and do not constitute a linguistically or culturally influential group.

Pidgin English is not widely used in Rio Muni, except in Bata, due to the influx of residents of Fernando Poo and of natives of Cameroon, Nigeria and other English‑speaking areas.  Most playero speakers and a large number of Bubis also speak Fang, due to the impact of the latter group in the national government, and the forced learning of Fang during the Macías government, although the Fang rarely speak other indigeneous languages.  In Rio Muni, the principal lingua franca for inter‑ethnic communication is in theory Spanish, although Fang vies with Spanish, given the political and social hegemony of this group.  On Fernando Poo, pidgin English has generally been preferred, despite fierce campaigns by Spanish missionaries and educators and complaints by many Equatorial Guineans, who scold their children for speaking pichi.  Spanish is also widely used for inter‑ethnic communication, and occasionally French surfaces, due to the presence of numerous natives of Cameroon, and the fact that thousands of Guineans took refuge in Cameroon and Gabon during the Macías regime, and learned at least the rudiments of French.

The status of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea

In comparison with most other West and Central African nations, Equatorial Guinea contains a high proportion of proficient speakers of the metropolitan language, in this case Spanish, which is largely attributable to the efforts of the Spanish educational system (cf. Negrín Fajardo 1993).  Colonial education  was predominantly in the hands of missionary groups, particularly the Claret order, but Spanish government schools also played a significant role in implanting Spanish as an effective language of communication.  On Fernando Poo, nearly all natives of the island speak Spanish with considerable fluency, although there are a few elderly residents who had little or no contact with Spaniards during the colonial period and who consequently have limited abilities in this language.  On Annobón Island, despite its nearly total isolation from the remainder of the country (and indeed, from the remainder of the world), nearly all residents speak Spanish quite well, although this language is rarely used spontaneously in daily communication, since Annobón Islanders speak fa d'ambú, a Portuguese‑derived creole similar to the dialects of Sno Tomé and Príncipe.  In Rio Muni, nearly all playeros speak Spanish, except for those who have remained in isolated areas distant from schools and government centers, and the same is true for Fang living in the principal cities and towns.  In the interior, it is still possible to find many Fang in more remote areas who speak little or no Spanish, despite its status as the national language, and official announcements, masses and speeches are often delivered in Fang to ensure communication.  This diversity of language ability is largely due to the historical facts of colonization, for although Fernando Poo, Annobón and Rio Muni were ceded to Spain in 1778 by Portugal, effective colonization of Fernando Poo by the Spanish only began after 185O, and Annobón contained no Spanish presence until 1885.  Rio Muni was not colonized until after 19OO, when territorial disputes with French African territories were finally settled, and Spanish colonization of the interior of Rio Muni did not become effective until after 193O.

From the beginning, the Spanish government insisted on exclusive use of Spanish as the colonial language, although missionaries and other functionaries had to learn pidgin English and the native languages in order to function effectively, and Equatorial Guinea had and has one of Africa's highest functional literacy rates.  This has occurred despite the fact that during the last 7‑8 years of the Macías regime, use of Spanish in public functions and even in private life was prohibited, and a largely unsuccessful attempt was made to implement Fang as the sole national language.  At the same time, the post‑colonial educational system largely ceased to function.  The result of this hiatus is a generation of young Guineans whose active competence in the Spanish language is significantly below that of older and younger compatriots, although it is not likely that this relatively short time period of separation from active use of Spanish will have any major long‑range linguistic consequences for Equatorial Guinea.

It is impossible to calculate exactly the proportion of Equatorial Guineans who are reasonably fluent in Spanish, given the lack of official data, but on Fernando Poo and the urban areas of Rio Muni this percentage is almost certainly around 9O%, and even in the interior of Rio Muni a figure of around 6O%‑7O% would probably not be unrealistic; this in effect places Equatorial Guinea at the forefront of African nations which have successfully implanted the former metropolitan language as an effective vehicle of national communication.  At the same time, it is safe to affirm that few Equatorial Guineans are true native speakers of Spanish, in the sense of Spanish being spoken naturally in the first years of the home environment, and no legitimate Equatorial Guinean raised in that nation is a monolingual speaker of Spanish.  Many Guineans speak Spanish spontaneously (and even exclusively) in their homes, often encouraging their children to speak Spanish in preference to indigeneous languages or pidgin English, but according to my extensive observations, which include considerable personal contact with Equatorial Guinean households, the reality is somewhat different, with Spanish being freely mixed with the native languages of the respective speakers.  Objectively, it is frequently impossible to assign a conversation to a single language category. and in this fashion many Equatorial Guineans are certain that they are speaking `only' Spanish, Fang, Bubi, etc., when in reality their linguistic production is marked by a high degree of code switching and introduction of words from other languages.  There is a small population of virtual monolingual pidgin English speakers, the `street children' in Malabo, of Bubi parents but raised as homeless orphans, who speak no Bubi, almost no Spanish, and whose linguistic interactions are carried out entirely in pichinglis, in direct reflection of the only linguistic common denominator in the Malabo streets and marketplaces.

Domains of usage of Spanish

Despite the high percentage of Guineans who possess a considerable active competence in Spanish, this language is not used extensively in daily interaction, at least not in pure form; in Equatorial Guinean homes, the vernacular languages continue to hold sway, mixed with pidgin English on Fernando Poo.  In those cases of mixed‑ethnic marriages, originally rare but recently somewhat more frequent, use of Spanish or pidgin English is more common, although given the wide knowledge of Fang, if one of the partners is Fang this language is also used.  Officially, all government activities are carried out in Spanish, and yet a visit to any government dependency reveals that whenever Guineans sharing a common native language (including pidgin English) come together, these languages predominate in all but the most formal ritualized communications.  Even the socially stigmatized pichinglis continues to play an important role in day‑to‑day activities of the government, although not the slightest mention is made of this language in any government document.  This is in striking contrast to the native Equatorial Guinean languages, which are given official recognition in publications, and which are used for a few hours each day in radio broadcasting over the two (government‑operated) radio stations; the languages used are Fang (the greatest proportion), Bubi, Combe/Ndowe, Bisio/Bujeba, and Annobonese.  Pidgin English is conspicuous by its absence, despite the fact that it probably has more active speakers than Bubi, and surely more than Combe, Bujeba and Annobonese.  In fact the only consistent reference to the existence of pidgin English comes in the works of Spanish educators and missionaries, who generally have deplored this `degenerate' language and have sought to devise strategies for its elimination, although in recent years a more tolerant attitude has developed.  Thus the first‑time visitor to Fernando Poo is surprised at the unexpectedly widespread use of pichinglis, and is struck by the utter futility of campaigns to exterminate it. In terms of the official versus real language standards, Equatorial Guinea thus falls in line with many former European colonies in Africa and Asia, and yet despite its limited use as a medium of natural daily communication, Spanish continues to enjoy a vigorous existence in Equatorial Guinea, a fact which sets this nation apart from many others which have traversed a similar colonial and post‑colonial linguistic evolution.  The reasons for this phenomenon are many and difficult to trace, but one important factor is the poignant search for national identity, the fact of being the only Spanish‑speaking nation in the midst of French‑, English‑ and Portuguese‑speaking neighbors, and of being a tiny unknown nation struggling to throw off the devastating effects of postcolonial destruction.   Equatorial Guineans abroad often prefer use of Spanish even when they share a common vernacular language, reinforcing their identity as Equatorial Guineans and adopting the Spanish language as an unmistakable badge of national origin.  The continued cultural, economic and political dependence on Spain was another important factor, for since Spain itself is a small somewhat isolated nation, the projection of Spanish national identity onto Equatorial Guinea has had the effect of doubly reinforcing the natural isolation and cultural ethnocentrism of this small African nation.  Even more so than in other African colonies, which depended on European nations that were more diversified and that had a greater impact on the rest of the world, Equatorial Guineans were molded into a mentality which found it difficult to conceive of international cultural contacts separate from Spain, and which regarded Spanish national phenomena as properly Guinean concerns.  Unlike other African nations whose linguistic diversity is so immense that the former colonial language is the only viable medium of national communication, Equatorial Guinea could probably have implemented Fang as a national language, given the hegemony of the Fang over the other ethnic groups and the fact that many of the latter have already learned Fang out of necessity.  Even pidgin English could be suggested as a means of rejecting the inevitable colonial stigma of the European languages, since pidgin English, while of European origin, has a distinctly African character, and has quasi‑official status in neighboring Nigeria and Cameroon.  The choice of Spanish as a national language is both a reflection of close cultural ties with the metropolis, and of the realistically high level of proficiency in Spanish which characterized Equatorial Guinea poised for independence.

The reasons for the non-creolization of Equatorial Guinean Spanish

On the surface, Equatorial Guinea might appear to be a typical example of Spanish‑African interfacing, paralleling the developments in the Spanish‑speaking areas of the Americas, and leading, in the latter areas, to the formation of various forms of pidgin and creole Spanish, and to a series of linguistic deformations whose precise origin remains puzzling up to the present.  The native languages of Equatorial Guinea belong to the Bantu family, and are similar in general structure to many of the languages brought to the Caribbean region by Portuguese slave traders, coming from the Congo/Angola/lower Guinea region.  It is likely that a certain percentage of the slaves (particularly some of those known as gangá; cf. Castellanos and Castellanos 1988:  32-4) came from the very territories that are now part of Equatorial Guinea, particularly the island of Fernando Poo, which was at times used as a slaving station.  Phonetically, morphologically and syntactically, the Bantu languages share a number of important similarities, although of course the differences are equally significant.  Few employ word‑final consonants with any regularity, and none employs consonantal desinences for such operations as verbal and nominal inflection, using systems of prefixation instead.  Most of the Bantu languages use a phonemic system of tonal contours in addition to segmental contrasts, a number of them do not differentiate /l/ and /r/ phonologically, and a great number have word‑initial prenasalized consonants, generally written mb‑, nd‑, ng‑, etc.  Few have the equivalent of a second person vs. third person pronominal distinction, corresponding to the usted distinction in Spanish.

At any given time, the proportion of Spaniards to Guineans was quite small, rising to a maximum of about 5% in the capital city of Santa Isabel, but dropping to a fraction of a percent in rural regions of Rio Muni.  Those Guineans in most constant contact with the Spaniards generally came to be employed in plantation labor, particularly on Fernando Poo, and while no system of slavery ever existed in Spanish Guinea, the working conditions and socio‑cultural setting of large‑scale farming on Fernando Poo was not radically different from that found in such areas as Cuba, coastal Mexico and Brazil.  Black laborers worked under a system of overseers, with the transition from black to white in supervisory capacities being effected toward the top of the administrative hierarchy.  The lack of a significant creolization of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea, and the lack of distinctly `Caribbean' Spanish structures which have largely been attributed to African influence in the latter region, have to be sought in the fundamental differences that characterize Spanish colonization in Africa and in the Caribbean.

Although the time factor of colonial presence might seem significant (5O‑1OO years in Equatorial Guinea versus several centuries in the Caribbean), it is of little real importance, as evidenced by two facts.  The first is that pidgins and creoles can easily develop after only one or two generations, as exemplified by such areas as Hawaii, Cape Verde, the Netherlands Antilles, Surinam, the Virgin Islands, and Annobón.  Morever, despite the presence of black slaves in Spanish America from the middle of the sixteenth century, the large plantation societies which gave rise to the conditions propitious for creolization did not come to prominence until well into the nineteenth century, when the proportion of black slaves and freedmen became significantly larger than the white population in many areas.   Thus, for all intents and purposes, the time interval under consideration for both areas is comparable.

The sociocultural profile of the Spanish who resided in Equatorial Guinea was in general considerably different from that of the colonizers of the New World.  The latter came in large measure from the poorest and most remote areas of Spain; the first conquistadores were largely small farmers or artesans who exchanged the risk of hardship and death in the new world for the possibility of acquiring wealth and a noble title that were completely beyond their reach in Spain.  Later settlers were largely soldiers of fortune, followed by small farmers who had  exhausted their opportunities in Spain.  Even at the end of the Spanish empire in the Americas, represented by Cuba and Puerto Rico at the end of the 19th century, most recently arrived Spaniards came from the parched areas of the Canary Islands, and from the most backward regions of Galicia and Extremadura.  The majority of these settlers were only partially literate, and few could be considered well‑educated professionals, although many subsequently acquired a significant educational and professional level in their new homelands.  Spanish Guinea, on the other hand, was from the beginning settled by a combination of civil servants, missionaries, and small entrepreneurs, both in agriculture and in commerce.  A group of prosperous plantations was set up by Castilian and above all Valencian landowners, whose cultural level was considerably above that of the Spaniards that continued to emigrate to America, and since Guinea was never an attractive place for massive immigration, those Spaniards that chose to live in Guinea generally made this choice in view of superior salaries or perquisites, available only for the middle and professional classes.  Indirect evidence of the cultural and educational level of the Spanish colonizers in Guinea is found in the particulars of Equatorial Guinean Spanish, which while containing a number of significant differences from peninsular Spanish, contains virtually no elements typical of uneducated Spanish usage, such as abound in Latin American Spanish.  Analogical forms such as haiga, losotros, etc., are not found in Guinean Spanish, nor are non‑etymological prefixes such as arrecordar, entodavía, etc. The only consistent phonetic deformations are those characteristic of middle‑class Spaniards from central Spain:  reduction of ‑ado to ‑ao, luego to logo, etc.

Also of importance is the fact that, unlike in the Americas, Spaniards in Equatorial Guinea did not generally immigrate with the intent of permanently establishing themselves, but rather of working for a given time period, and nearly always returned to Spain. The result was a reduced sense of permanency, and a greater bilateral contact between Spain and expatriate Spaniards in Guinea.  Even though a number of Spaniards were born in Guinea, few considered themselves as anything other than Spaniards, similar to their countrymen in the Canary Islands or Ifni, and there were few families that had lived continuously in Spanish Guinea for more than a single generation.  The amount of miscegenation was also considerably less in Guinea than in the Americas, as Spanish settlers brought a higher proportion of Spanish women, a fact visibly evident in the small number of mulatto Guineans, as opposed to the Caribbean region of Latin America.

A principal difference between life in Spanish Guinea and in Spanish America is that in the African territories, there never occurred the massive linguistic and ethnic fragmentation that resulted from the Atlantic slave trade, which placed in daily contact Africans who spoke a myriad different native languages and who shared no common language.  These circumstances forced the colonial languages (or the incipient pidgin Portuguese learned on shipboard or in the slaving stations) into the role of lingua franca, and the rapid push to convert a rudimentary and partially  understood language into an effective vehicle for daily communication resulted in the fixation of non‑standard forms which, left to drift in the absence of normative influences, eventually gave rise to creolized variants, a few of which continue to exist.  Equatorial Guinean laborers rarely embodied the juxtaposition of more than two ethnic groups, and when in the present century the indigeneous labor force was virtually replaced by nearly 5O,OOO Nigerians, the latter's lingua franca, pidgin English, rapidly became the most useful vehicle of communication on Fernando Poo, continuing even past the exodus of the Nigerians.  So effective was the transference of pidgin English to Fernando Poo (spoken originally by the Fernandinos and other descendents of settlers from Sierra Leone and Liberia), that it was adopted for daily communication by native Guineans, even those sharing the same native language.  This is in striking contrast to the use of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea, where except for more highly educated citizens, or in the case of official public functions, communication among members of the same ethnic group is conducted primarily in that group's language.  This preference may be explained by the more cosmopolitan nature of Fernando Poo, particularly its capital, in comparison with Rio Muni.  In the latter territory, despite its land frontiers with the rest of continental Africa, little contact with neighboring nations has taken place, due to poor communications and political difficulties, both in colonial times and more recently.  During the Macías government, thousands of Guineans took refuge in Gabon and Cameroon, and those that have subsequently returned have brought a somewhat expanded perspective, but few residents of neighboring countries ever moved to or even visited Rio Muni.  Fernando Poo, on the other hand, has been a way‑station in west Africa for several centuries, changing hands nearly half a dozen times, and because of its insular nature, straddling the Gulf of Guinea, it is a cultural crossroads.  From the earliest days of Spanish colonization, Santa Isabel contained numerous Europeans of various nations, as well as Kru (Sundiata 1975), Mende, Ibo, Calabar, Hausa, Angolans, and Sno Tomenses, and even a small contingent of Asians.  Even in post‑colonial times, the constant influx of merchants and temporary residents from other parts of AFrica, such as Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana, has reinforced the Babel‑like atmosphere of Malabo, and particularly in the marketplaces, where a sizeable portion of the market vendors are not native Guineans, the need for more effective trans‑lingual communication is strongly felt.  Most non‑Guineans resident in Malabo come to learn some Spanish, and some speak it quite well, on a par with native Guineans, but conversations with Africans of unknown ethnic origin usually use pidgin English as an opening gambit, and rarely Spanish.  When the unknown interlocutor is dressed in traditional Moslem fashion, Hausa may also be attempted.  The total result is a lack of pressure on the Spanish langauge to fulfill all needs of daily communication, being acquired only in the measure necessary to fulfill school or professional functions.  It is noteworthy that hardly any Equatorial Guineans use Spanish to curse or insult, and indeed most do not even possess the requisite vocabulary items.  Those in daily contact with Spaniards have picked up the ubiquitous coño, and occasional joder, but these words are not used in the same fashion as by native Spanish speakers.  At the other extreme of the emotional dimension, Spanish is rarely used to express high degrees of affection, love, passion or endearment.  When carressing a child belonging to another ethnic group, most Guineans will either use their own native language, whether or not it is understood by the child, or in appropriate cases will use pidgin English, at times with some Spanish words mixed in.  Guineans involved in professional situations are well acquainted with the Spanish vocabulary appropriate to their profession, but may not be comfortable with words dealing with home life or small farming, which they would rarely have occasion to use in Spanish. 

As well as never serving as the sole vehicle for inter‑ethnic communication, the Spanish language was never removed from the national environment of Spanish Guinea for a long enough time to result in the loss of awareness of its structure, nor were cultural and linguistic contacts with Spain interrupted for a significant period.  One of the factors that most facilitates the formation of creoles is an initial contact with the colonial langauge, followed by a rapid cutoff of contact with native speakers of that language, a process in which the colonial language suffers no constraints and receives no infusions from the continued presence of native speakers of the colonial language.  In this linguistic vacuum, influence of the native languages of the soon‑to‑be creole speakers is free to grow, and the end result is frequently a new language containing large proportions of both the original language and the supraordinate language.  Such has occurred, for example, in Haiti, Cape Verde and Guinea‑Bissau, Annobón, Seychelles, Trinidad, the Philippines, and most probably with Afrikaans in South Africa.  In Spanish Guinea, contact with Spain was never broken off, except for the last 7‑8 years of the Macías government, an insufficient time for any significant linguistic changes to take place.  From the arrival of the first permanent Spanish settlers, the Spanish language was a living force in Equatorial Guinea, and those Equatorial Guineans who had any contact at all with the Spanish language were at the same time in contact with Spanish nationals who travelled freely to Spain, and who insured the presence of Spanish linguistic usage as current in Spain.

The impact of a small group of religious figures is not to be underestimated, particularly on Fernando Poo, for in the majority of the small towns, mass is said once or twice a week by a visiting priest, and attendance at these masses is impressively high.  The masses are held entirely in Spanish (except in the case of a few Guinean priests), and parishoners often present spontaneous prayers and offerings in the congregation.  The sacristans and other attendants are residents of the respective towns, and their active participation in the mass adds to the contact with the Spanish language in areas where few if any resident Spaniards are to be found.  In many areas the religious personnel also provided the only consistently available medical services, which increased their contact with all members of the population.  Subsequently, the Spanish government's cooperative mission has established a network of doctors and paramedics throughout Equatorial Guinea,  which has the secondary effect of insuring constant contact with the received Spanish langauge for large segments of the Guinean population.

Variation within Equatorial Guinean Spanish

At first acquaintance, the most striking difference between the Spanish of Equatorial Guinea and the principal dialects of Spain or other Spanish‑speaking countries, lies in the area of segmental phonetics and intonation.  Grammatically, Guinean Spanish has no systematic differences from Peninsular Spanish, but is rather characterized by a considerable instability with regard to verb conjugation, syntactic formation, prepositional usage, sequence of tenses, etc.  That is to say, there are no expressions or grammatical modalities that are distinctly characteristic of Guinean Spanish (or distinctly lacking in Guinean Spanish), and among its most educated speakers, Guinean Spanish contains the same breadth of grammatical structures found in the Spanish spoken in central and eastern Spain, whence came the majority of colonists, administrators and later settlers and advisors.  Striking in Guinean Spanish is the high degree of random errors of verbal stems, conjugations and declensions, verb tenses, prepositional usage, etc.  Much of the verbal variation appears to stem from phonetic instability of the vowels in Guinean Spanish, which results in apparent shifts of verbal mood, tense and person.  Nominal gender is also somewhat unstable, not only in certain problematic words (el/la dote), but even in other elements which are normally fixed in other Spanish dialects. Prepositions are occasionally omitted, and more frequently interchanged.

Excursus:  the arrival and spread of Pidgin English on Fernando Poo/Bioko

On the island of Fernando Poo (Bioko) Pidgin English has successfully resisted social, political and linguistic pressures for more than 150 years.  In the 19th century, PE was also used on Corisco and the smaller islands even before the arrival of Spanish colonizers (Guillemar de Aragón 1852:  78; Iradier 1887), but current residents of Corisco (the smaller islands have no resident population) do not learn PE unless they travel to Malabo.  Saavedra y Magdalena (1910:  184) found many Corisco residents who could also speak some French, and described this group as the most Europeanized in all of Spanish Guinea.  Granda (1985a, 1985b) noted that even on Annobón, residents who had spent time in Malabo spoke PE amongst themselves, due to the higher prestige accorded to those who had travelled to Fernando Poo; he claimed that PE forms were actually penetrating fa d'ambú.  The present writer also did fieldwork on Annobón, as well as among the relatively large Annobonese community in Malabo, and observed very few incursions of PE into Annobonese speech; indeed, Annobonese are proud of speaking their own language, which unlike PE is used on radio broadcasting, and for which several grammar books have been written.

Unlike most other West African regions, where a single series of events led to the use of English and PE, PE on Bioko has multiple origins, all deriving ultimately from PE-using communities along a large segment of the West African coast.  González Echegaray 1959:  22) simply assumed that PE as used on Fernando Poo and elsewhere along the West African coast was a direct implantation of sailors' jargon, but the matter is much more complex.  The use of varieties of English on Bioko began with the de facto British control of the island, in the first half of the 19th century, during which time period Spain made no serious efforts toward colonizing its African colony.  In 1827, Great Britain negotiated with Spain in order to set up a joint anti‑slavery tribunal on Fernando Poo, to aid in the campaign against African slavery.  The principal city of Fernando Poo was founded by Captain William Owen in the same year, and was named Port Clarence.  The seat of the tribunal was returned to Freetown in 1833 and use of Port Clarence as a base for anti-slaving raids ended in 1835, but the British presence and influence remained.  John Beecroft, an English trader and entrepreneur, was eventually named as governor by the Spanish government; the British government simultaneously made him consul for the Bight of Benin/Biafra area.  During this period, Britain made several attempts to purchase Fernando Poo outright, but the efforts always dissolved at the last minute.  When Spain finally took de facto control of the island several decades later, the name of the main city was changed to Santa Isabel; during the Macías regime the name was changed once more, to Malabo, honoring the last of the Bubi kings.  However, until well into the twentieth century, PE-speaking islanders, collectively known as fernandinos (cf. Sundiata 1972; also known as portos/potos < Portuguese; cf. Foreign Office 1920:  5) continued to look to England for cultural and educational models, and many sent their children to England to be educated.  The presence of standard English on Fernando Poo together with PE was significant during much of the 19th century, and must be factored into the history of Equatorial Guinean PE.

Despite the de facto British control of Fernando Poo during nearly half of the 19th century, the number of British citizens, either military or civilian, was never very large.  However, an increasingly large number of PE speakers arrived on Fernando Poo, first as the result of anti-slavery activities and unsuccessful colonization and resettlement schemes, and later to fulfill labor requirements.  A brief historical sketch will illustrate the multiple routes of arrival of PE on Fernando Poo, as well as the chronological and geographical diversity which contributed to `Guinean' PE.  It will also help explain the fact that, from the beginning, PE has been the lingua franca of choice even when African languages were readily available as alternatives.  PE has been a vigorous linguistic undercurrent which although neglected by colonial and postcolonial governments, is by several measures more viable than either Spanish or Bubi, and rivals Fang at the national level.  Holm (1989:  419) states that `Spain's efforts to replace [PE] with Spanish were only partly successful.  This is probably a bit overstated, since toward the end of the 1800's PE was not yet widespread beyond the pale of Santa Isabel, while Spanish was already in use throughout Fernando Poo, albeit in rudimentary fashion.

The majority of captured slaves repatriated on Fernando Poo during the 1820's and 30's were from adjoining coastal waters, particularly from the slaving region of Calabar, where PE was already well established (cf. Fayer 1990; Sundiata 1990: 21).  The British citizens and even the Sierra Leonean recruits spoke more or less standard English, whereas the freed slaves provided the first inklings of a lasting PE presence on Fernando Poo; because of their precarious situation, little record of their presence on the island has survived.  Settled during the same period was a group of free Africans from Sierra Leone and Liberia, brought in 1826 by William Owen as part of a scheme to found a permanent Anglophone colony (Liniger-Goumaz 1988:  25).  The group, which included a Sierra Leonean minister, was ravaged by tropical diseases, but the survivers were among the first permanent bearers of Africanized English, including PE, to Fernando Poo.  This is the group which the Fernandinos consider as their first legitimate ancestors.  Only a few years later, the British Baptist Missionary Society attempted another colonization scheme, this time using Jamaican settlers.  These `English-' speaking blacks, like the Sierra Leoneans and Kru, formed a class of middlemen, between the indigenous Bubi and the European traders, and created for themselves a privileged socioeconomic position that Fernandinos enjoy even to this day.

By far the largest number of PE speakers arrived in Fernando Poo as contract laborers on the cacao plantations.  Cacao became an important crop on Fernando Poo, Sno Tomé, and other West African regions in the second half of the 19th century.  The labor demands of the cacao plantations on a relatively unpopulated island like Fernando Poo could not be met by indigenous labor sources, as the native Bubis preferred not to work on the plantations.  Many important planters were from Sierra Leone, and they began to import laborers from coastal Africa.  At first, some were brought from the Gold Coast and Sierra Leone, but more were drawn from Yoruba-speaking areas of western Nigeria.  Near the turn of the 20th century, West African sources in Sierra and Liberia were again tapped in large numbers, and thousands of Kru laborers were brought to Fernando Poo.  Most worked on the cacao plantations, but the Kru skill at fishing and navegation also made them important in maritime commerce, and many Kru joined the ranks of the relatively prosperous Fernandinos (cf. Sundiata 1990:  44-45 for some representative figures).  During and immediately following World War I, Germans began to leave Cameroon, and hundreds of Germans, together with as many as 60,000 Cameroonians, crossed into Río Muni (Vincent 1901).  Most of the Cameroonians were eventually repatriated, but as many as 16,000 Cameroonians and Germans migrated to Fernando Poo, where they set up quasi-military settlements in the interior of the island.  The Germans had not eliminated PE from Cameroon (Todd 1982, 1984), so that at least some of the Cameroonians who settled on Fernando Poo must have spoken PE.  Labor migration from Liberia was particularly strong until the 1930's, when international scandals and investigations by the League of Nations caused its cessation.  In the early 1940's, large-scale recruitment of Nigerian laborers was begun; to give an idea of the importance of this last wave of mainland Africans to Fernando Poo, in 1941 there were approximately 10,000 Nigerians on Fernando Poo, while by the late 1960's the number had risen to nearly 90,000, representing almost 90% of the island's population (Sundiata 1990:  47).  Most of these Nigerians were from eastern regions, where PE was already prevalent, and there is ample documentation that PE continued to fortify its position as the most viable lingua franca on Fernando Poo.  The Nigerians remained on Fernando Poo until the first years of the postcolonial regime, when the Macías government ordered the expulsion or extermination of most foreign workers.  The linguistic traces of such massive numbers of Nigerians, who preferred using PE rather than Nigerian languages as a lingua franca, remain in Malabo and even in rural areas, where Bubis had daily contact with Nigerians. 

In partial summary, some form of PE has been used on Fernando Poo/Bioko since the first years of the British presence.  This fact can be established not only by reference to oral tradition, but also by establishing an overlapping chain of historical accounts of PE usage on Fernando Poo, from the 1830's to the present time.  Moros y Morellón and de los Ríos (1844: 61-2), part of the first Spanish expeditionary force which took de facto possession of Fernando Poo from the British, discovered [English-speaking] Sierra Leoneans in Port Clarence.  By the 1840's, Clarke (1848: v) was able to report that `many [natives] are acquiring English'; presumably the use of `natives' also referred to repatriated Africans freed from captured slaving ships.  Many of these slaves had also acquired a rudimentary form of English, which, when combined with that spoken by British citizens and natives of Sierra Leone, sowed the seeds for a permanent PE usage.  Guillemar de Aragón (1852:  61), who visited Fernando Poo in the early 1840's, observed that in Clarence there lived `unos 900 negros civilizados y solo 15 europeos.  Casándose segun el rito protestante, se dicen ingleses, y todos hablan inglés' [900 civilized Negroes and only 15 Europeans.  They {= the Negroes:  JML} marry within the Protestant Church, call themselves English, and they all speak English].  Balmaseda (1869: 18), reporting on the situation only a few years later, found a prosperous African `aristocracy' in Santa Isabel who spoke `English.'  That at least some of these individuals may have spoken standard English rather than PE is suggested by a few words reported in the text, including meat instead of the more usual PE bif.  Saluvet (1892:  33), describing the same time period, observed `English'-speaking Africans on Fernando Poo, many of whom were engaged in trade with Bonny in Nigeria.  Schuchardt (1888:  243), citing reports from the early 1880's, gave examples of a fluid mixture of `Spanish [and Portuguese:  JML] and English' on Fernando Poo:  `buenos dias, sir, mi vista tu marcha en la wharf,' `esta hombre llama krooboy, krooboy no quiere viene,' `él fala mucho malo para mí, porque mi dise que tifi mucho moni a su massa.'.  An official report a few decades later (Foreign Office 1920:  5) noted that `English and Spanish are both spoken at Santa Isabel, but English has been the common speech of the coast peoples since the British occupation.  Trade or pidgin English is used as a lingua franca not only between whites and blacks, but also between natives with distinct languages of their own.'  Bravo Carbonel (1917:  46) also noted that non-Bubi Africans on Fernando Poo preferred using PE to Spanish, often denying knowledge of the latter language (which the author claimed they really could understand).  Zarco (1938), originally published almost 20 years earlier, described PE as more important than Spanish on Fernando Poo, suggesting that a century or more might be required for it to be totally replaced by Spanish.  All subsequent descriptions of Fernando Poo have recognized, sometimes disapprovingly, the use of PE as a lingua franca throughout the island.

Many of the preceding citations come from observers whose native language was not English, and who used the term `English' indiscriminately to refer to PE as well as to non-pidginized European varieties of English.  Some Spaniards were evidently unable to distinguish PE from standard English, while others, equally ignorant of the English language, automatically assumed that all Africans' attempts at speaking a European language fell into the category of `broken.'  Some of the original Fernandinos received formal education in England and upon return to Fernando Poo continued to use the European standard.  However, PE was the predominant English-derived language on Fernando Poo starting in the second half of the 19th century.  The language described by Zarco for the beginning of the 20th century is a well-established West African PE, showing greatest similarity with Sierra Leonean Krío and also with Cameroonian PE, but nearly half a century earlier, observations by British missionaries on Fernando Poo demonstrate that stable forms of PE were already well implanted on Fernando Poo.  The most thorough attestations come from Roe (1874), describing the situation encountered by English missionaries in the late 1860's, where the term `broken English' was already in use:  `At first I could not understand her words [a woman on Fernando Poo:  JML] any more than if they had been Coptic or Sanskrit, though they were what are commonly called broken-English' (Roe 1874:  19).  Boocock (1906) describes, in much less detail than Roe, PE on Fernando Poo as it was found in 1880.  His observation on the language in use on Fernando Poo was that `Pigeon [sic.] English was used because good English was not understood' (p. 51).  Each variety of PE draws on the lexicon of locally-spoken languages, as well as on patrimonial English words.  Equatorial Guinea is no exception, and the most common non-English source is Spanish.  It might be expected that Bubi, the indigenous language of Fernando Poo, would contribute to the PE lexicon, but the history of PE in Equatorial Guinea explains the total lack of Bubi elements.  PE was introduced into Fernando Poo by the British, at a time when the Bubi were still living outside the pale of colonial civilization, and had no contact with English- or PE-speaking Africans living in the European colonies.  British missionaries made some attempt at teaching standard English to the Bubi, but these efforts were rapidly replaced by the Spaniards, and most Bubi eventually learned to communicate in Spanish.  The main vector for the spread of PE on Fernando Poo was urban-based commerce, in which the Bubi never actively participated.  From the outset, this commerce was in the hands of natives of coastal Africa, beginning with the Fernandinos and more recently including Hausa speakers from Nigeria, as well as natives of Cameroon.  PE is the vehicular language of choice among merchants and traders, and Bubis living in cities and towns have learned PE accordingly.  Within Equatorial Guinea, the Fang from Río Muni have been the only ethnic group to enjoy any measure of success in imposing their language on other sectors of the population.  Bubi has never been learned widely by other Equatorial Guineans, and even Fang has made only negligible contributions to PE on Fernando Poo.  PE has the advantage of being an ethnically neutral lingua franca, which can be freely spoken without yielding to a rival ethnic group.  At the same time, PE is more closely associated with popular levels, while Spanish, although widely spoken and with considerable fluency, is still identified with `Europeans.'  Over the years, a not inconsiderable number of Spaniards resident on Fernando Poo acquired some proficiency in PE, which added to the incorporation of Spanish lexical items.  Yet another factor responsible for adding Spanish lexical items to Equatorial Guinean PE is the search for a national identity.  This search, from natives of a tiny country who in postcolonial times have been forced to seek exile in disproportionately high numbers (cf. UNED 1993), has fostered use of Spanish among the Equatorial Guinean intellectual classes, particularly when travelling abroad.  At the popular level, the same effect has been produced through the free incorporation of Spanish lexical items.  No discernible pattern is followed; Spanish words sometimes refer to concepts or items forming part of Hispanic culture or introduced by Europeans, but may also refer to commonplace items in which a European connotation is lacking.

Despite a historical presence on Bioko which antedates that of Spanish, PE has never been officially recognized, by Spanish or Guinean governments.  Instead of the often polemical and negative campaigns which some West African nations have waged in an attempt to root out PE, colonial and post-colonial governments in Equatorial Guinea have simply ignored PE, as though refusal to acknowledge the nation's most viable lingua franca would cause it to disappear of its own accord.  Spanish missionaries and teachers were aware of the use of this language and often lamented its existence and the impossibility of rooting it out, but few took the trouble to learn it.  Known as broken English, they regarded PE simply as an imperfectly learned colonial English which, since it could not be corrected, should be eliminated.  Bravo Carbonel (1917: 46) referred to the `English' spoken by the Fernandinos as follows:  `no es el inglés puro, sino bastardeado, empobrecido y sin la elegante pronunciación de ese idioma.'  González Echegaray (1959:  23) bemoaned the fact that `el pichinglis, por este aspecto que posee de esperanto de los negros, es hoy el mayor enemigo en nuestra zona de la difusión del castellano, puesto que es éste el papel que debiera desempeñar nuestro idioma.'  Moreover, the survival of PE in Spanish Guinea was an embarrassing reminder of former British presence which, in a few short decades and in an informal manner, had implanted its language more successfully than Spain, with its structured colonization.  Despite widespread individual feelings against the use of PE, the current Guinean government continues the policy of treating PE as an `invisible' language.  Radio broadcasts are transmitted in the country's principal indigeneous languages, for several hours each day, politicians at times feel the need to give speeches in the vernacular, and Guinean teachers are permitted if not encouraged to use the national languages as pedagogical aids.  However, nowhere does PE appear, although use of this language would in many cases be more effective and reach a wider audience than either Spanish or one of the indigeneous languages.

Early examples of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea and West Africa

There is testimonial evidence to the effect that toward the end of the last century and well into the present century, many residents of Fernando Poo spoke what appears to have been a pidgin Spanish.  For example: `Vayamos a la relación del indígena con esta otra autoridad que es el maestro.  Si éste es misionero, aprende malogradamente el castellano.  Sabe decir "buenos días" cuando es por la noche y "buenas tardes" cuando es por la mañana.  No sabe apenas el castellano para poderlo hablar ... si van a la escuela oficial, aprenden un castellano correcto y enrevesado, y saben escribir con bastante claridad' ;  `El castellano de los indígenas es por regla general el mismo que puede balbucir un niño de tres años.  No sabe lo que es conjugar un verbo ni analizar una frase cualquiera en castellano' (Madrid 1933:  114-5, 145); cf. also Ferrer Piera 1900:  105-8; Soler 1957; Manfredi 1957; Ramos Izquierdo y Vivar 1912:  46; Bravo Carbonell 1917:  51, 68).   However, the proportion of pidgin Spanish‑speaking natives of Fernando Poo was probably not as high as suggested by the Spanish authors mentioned above, for current surveys among older Guineans, whose acquisition of Spanish dates from the first decades of this century, do not confirm such observations, and anecdotal evidence offered by these citizens about the linguistic abilities of their parents suggests that by the turn of the century, Spanish was already on its way to being a truly usable language on Fernando Poo.

Few accurate statements about language usage on Annobón exist, and none deal with earlier time periods, but by the time the Spaniards arrived to take possession of the island, the residents already spoke fa d'ambú, rather than a strictly African language.  Muñoz y Gaviria 1899:  219) remarked that the Annobonese spoke `una especie de chapurrado portugués-español.'  Spanish colonizing efforts were minimal on Annobón, although the Spanish presence was considerably greater during the early part of the colonial period than the Guinean government's presence today, and judging by the linguistic proficiency of Annobón Islanders in Spanish, the efforts of teachers/missionaries were largely successful, not surprising given an island whose geographical extension (les than 2O km2) and its reduced population (not much over 15OO during the colonial period, and all concentrated into a single village during most of the year), made education a manageable task.

Beginning in the late 19th century, there are several indirect examples of the use of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea and other West African territories.  The Spanish explorer Manuel Iradier described a voyage along the West African coast, from the Senegambia to Spanish Guinea; he gives several examples of Spanish spoken by Africans (cf. Lipski 1991):

no sabe, señol (Iradier 1887:  55) [Senegambia]

Mi marcha esta noche a uaka (Iradier 1887:  219)  [Río Muni]

Mi piensa que esa cosa es como culebra grande (Iradier 1887:  229) [Corisco]

Ferrer Piera (1900:  105-8) reproduces the speech of a Bubi man from Fernando Poo:

El bosque rompe la ropa, y bubí anda mejor desnudo y descalzo ...

Yo gusta más ir vestido, quitar botas para no caer y andar mejor ...

Bubís estar en el bosque

More recently, Fleitas Alonso (1989) gives several stylized literary examples of Guinean Spanish:

Massa, parece que está "palabra" grande en Gobierno ... parece que gobernador tiene "palabra" grande con España ... pregunta en Cámara.  Todas gente lo sabe.

Señora tiene niño y no puede marchar ahora. Mañana después de la forma, marchará a Bata porque massa Ramírez ya no está en la compañía.

Tiramos en poblado ... si quieres vamos a poblado ...

Ese sitio no está bien.  Están más serpientes.

Soler (1957) provides other literary examples:

¿En el río siempre?

---No; río, poco.  En mar, massa.

---Siempre en cayuco.

---Sí, massa.  Veces no; no hay cayuco, hay tumba; no tiene tumba, tiene chapeo ...

---¿Tú no duermes nunca?

---Claro.  Morenos duermen ... ahora yo duerme cuando tú no estabas.

Moreno piensa que massa blanco quiere cosas.

None of the above examples can be taken uncritically, coming as they do from European writers with a jaundiced view of Africans' linguistic abilities in Spanish.  However, the correspondence between these purported quotes and contemporary non-fluent Guinean Spanish reveals that most of the authors did not overly exaggerate the speech they observed.

Studies of the Spanish of Equatorial Guinea

Scholarship on Equatorial Guinean Spanish was slow in coming, and most early linguistic and anthropological research on Spanish Guinea concentrated on African languages and cultures.  It was not until the 1950's that scholars first began to regard Guinean Spanish, both as spoken by expatriate Spaniards and particularly as acquired by Africans, as an object of study.  The investigation of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea begins with the ground-breaking work of Carlos González Echegaray (1951, 1959).  This researcher, who worked in the library of the Instituto de Estudios Africanos in Madrid, offered the first scientific observations on Spanish language usage in Africa.  The majority of his remarks focus on the speech of the small expatriate Spanish colony in Spanish Guinea, but he does offer brief comments on Spanish as learned by natives of Africa.  González Echegaray (1951) offers a brief overview of the linguistic profile of Spanish Guinea in the middle of the 20th century.  He explicitly acknowledges the force of Pidgin English in this officially Spanish-speaking colony:  `esta jerga tan extendida por toda la costa occidental de Africa y ... constituye el esperanto de los negros, es en nuestra colonia el mayor enemigo de la expansión del castellano, porque suple las funciones de lengua intertribal que debiera llenar éste.'  The author then gives a short list of foreign borrowings into Guinean Spanish (as spoken primarily by Spaniards):  chapear `remove weeds,' Pidgin English words (contrimán < country man), and words derived from indigenous languages (encué `large basket').  Significantly, González Echegaray offers preliminary observations on Spanish as spoken by Africans in Spanish Guinea:  `la progresiva hispanización ... precisamente por sus características de rapidez e intensidad, no ha permitido la formación de un dialecto criollo, ya que tales productos suelen provenir de una larga convivencia y fermentación del idioma colonizador y del nativo' (p. 106).  He suggests that `... el castellano, puesto en boca de los negros, constituye una especial modalidad muy interesante y digna de estudio, especialmente en lo que afecta a la fonética y a la sintaxis' (p. 106), although leaving detailed analysis for later publications.

In another early article, Orueta Salanova (1953) argues against the use of non-Spanish spellings for native African names and lexical items.  González Echegaray (1959) gives the first synthesis of the linguistic situation in Equatorial Guinea.  The author offers a wide-ranging account of the principal indigenous languages, together with an annotated bibliography.  As for Spanish as spoken in Spanish Guinea, he states (p. 57) that `aquí se ha extendido el castellano, sin haber hecho desaparecer a las lenguas vernáculas y sin que se haya producido corrupción o adulteración fundamental en éstas o en aquél.  Pero como siempre sucede en estos casos, ha experimentado la lengua española una serie de transformaciones y adiciones superficiales, de las más diversas procedencias.'  He also gives a list of words of foreign origin which were used at that time in the Spanish spoken in the territory. 

The next set of observations were offered by Castillo Barril (1964, 1969), referring exclusively to Spanish as spoken by Africans in Equatorial Guinea.  The first work is extremely brief, and does not mention the feature of Guinean Spanish which most immediately strikes the outside observer:  the strikingly `African' segmental and suprasegmental phonetic characteristics superimposed on European Spanish patterns.  Instead, Castillo Barril acknowledges that Spanish is a second language for nearly all the indigenous population, and comments on the difficulty of implanting the Spanish language among peoples who already use a variety of native languages for daily communication.  Like his predecessors, Castillo Barril also vociferates against the widespread use of Pidgin English, particularly on the island of Fernando Poo:  `se recurría a todos los medios al alcance ... para estimular a los niños a expresarse en castellano, como el llamado "símbolo", especie de sambenito que se llevaba colgado del cuello por quien se sorprendía hablando un idioma nativo o el pichin-inglish (p. 8).'  At another point he refers to Pidgin English as `pernicioso influjo del que vive el país', habla de `la carencia de lógica en su sintaxis realmente disparatada y la pobreza de su léxico (1964:  52), while speculating on the possible influences of indigenous languages on Guinean Spanish.  Castillo Barril recognizes that each Guinean ethnic group potentially contributes distinct characteristics to Spanish spoken as a second language.

In a longer study, Castillo Barril (1969) offers an overview of the principal indigenous languages of Equatorial Guinea, including Annobón creole, with special emphasis on phonological differences with respect to Spanish.  He then describes the features of Spanish as spoken by each ethnic group.  Bubi interference is implicated in the aspirated pronunciation of /s/, the reduction of /r/ and the absence of the trill /rr/, the realization of /d/ as [r] and the occasional realization of /k/ as [x].  Annobonese creole-influenced Spanish, according to Castillo Barril, does not exhibit taps or trills, replacing both elements with /l/, the only liquid consonant in fa d'ambú.  Like most other Equatorial Guinean dialects, Annobonese Spanish speakers are yeístas (lacking the palatal lateral /l/), tend to accent final syllables, and employ heavy nasalization throughout.  Fang speakers reduce Spanish diphthongs (bueno > bono) and also nasalize Spanish oral segments, tendencies which Castillo Barril ascribes to the status of Spanish as a recently acquired language among the Fang.  The playeros (Combe/Ndowé and other groups inhabiting the coast of Río Muni) tend to pronounce /k/ as [x], while Pidgin English speakers employ a `scandalous' code-switching.3  Castillo Barril (1969:  58) summarizes the features of Equatorial Guinean Spanish:  `el tono de voz elevado, el timbre nasal, cierta debilitación de las consonantes de articulación dura, el seseo, una entonación ligeramente melosa con el ritmo entrecortado y una variedad de tonos silábicos.'  Young Guinean speakers have a small lexical repertoire, confuse grammatical gender, misplace or omit articles, incorrectly use reflexive verbs, and use circumlocuations translated directly from their native languages.  As for the extent to which Spanish is used in Equatorial Guinea, the author admits (p. 57) that `nuestros niños hablan la lengua materna o el pichin-inglis en el hogar y en la calle, y sólo se expresan en castellano durante las pocas horas que permanecen en las aulas escolares.'  He also gives examples of the early literary and cultural texts written by Guinean authors.  Finally, Castillo Barril mentions the language of Spanish expatriates; those living on isolated plantations gradually adopt the linguistic peculiarities of their African laborers, in particular morphosyntactic simplification, and freely use local African vocabulary items.

Following these early forays, nearly thirty years were to pass before Equatorial Guinean Spanish again received scholarly attention.  This was largely due to the decolonization process and the post-colonial xenophobia, which placed Equatorial Guinea off limits for foreign visitors for many years.  In the early 1980's Germán de Granda, Antonio Quilis, and I, each working independently, carried out fieldwork in Equatorial Guinea, and began to publish linguistic analyses of Guinean Spanish. 

After serving in the Spanish diplomatic corps in Equatorial Guinea, Germán de Granda (1984a) brought together the first comprehensive set of observations on language usage in this country.  Granda was already an established scholar in the field of Afro-Hispanic language contacts and creole formation, having carried out research on Colombian Palenquero, Afro-Antillean bozal Spanish, Afro-Colombian Chocó Spanish, and Golden Age habla de negros.  In the above-mentioned article, Granda gives an overview of the linguistic situation in Equatorial Guinea, the domains of usage of the principal African and European creole languages.  Granda does not give linguistic details of Guinean Spanish, since the purpose of the article is to situate Spanish among the other languages in use in Equatorial Guinea.

Granda (1984b) describes the phonetic pecularities of Spanish as spoken by speakers of Fang, the principal language of Río Muni, widely used in Bioko and in all military and government domains.  Granda attributes the resistance of syllable-final /s/ and the infrequent neutralization of syllable-final /l/ and /r/ in Fang-influenced Spanish to the prominence of word-final consonants in Fang, unlike in many other Bantu languages.  Also attributed directly to the Fang substrate is the neutralization of /r/-/rr/ and the pronunciation of intervocalic /d/ as [r].

Granda (1985d) describes the arrival of American Spanish expressions from Cuba to Fernando Poo during the 19th century, largely through the exile of Cuban revolutionaries on Fernando Poo in the 1860's (cf. Balmaseda 1869, Gutiérrez 1983).  Granda (1985e) describes Spanish, Portuguese, and Pidgin English borrowings in Bubi and Ndowé, while Granda (1986-87, 1988b, 1991c) gives a panoramic description of Spanish in sub-Saharan Africa, centering on Equatorial Guinea.  The author reviews commercial and linguistic contacts between Spain and Africa from the end of the 15th century until the 20th century.  Included is a historical sketch of the presence of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea and a list of the principal features of Guinean Spanish.  Granda (1994c) describes Spanish, English, German, and French borrowings into Fang, while Granda (1984c, 1994b) contain bibliographical summaries of the principal linguistic studies of Equatorial Guinean Spanish.

Granda (1991b) describes a phenomenon common in Guinean Spanish and also in Angolan Portuguese spoken as a second language:  the use of the preposition en with verbs of motion (voy en Bata).  This same construction is mentioned by Vicario (1988:  210) as `una expresión típicamente guineana.'  After describing similar constructions in other contact varieties of Spanish (e.g. in Paraguay) as well as in earlier periods of Peninsular Spanish, Granda concludes that the combination of an archaic Spanish construction and the fortuitous existence of homologous combinations in the principal languages of Equatorial Guinea and Angola lies behind the innovative combinations in Afro-Iberian speech.

The Spanish of Equatorial Guinea tends to employ overt subject pronouns with a higher frequency than in most other Spanish dialects, even those in areas where massive loss of word-final consonants results in an elevated use of overt subject pronouns (e.g. the Caribbean, the Canary Islands, and Andalusia).  Granda (1991d) considers possible links between Equatorial Guinean Spanish and creole and vestigial dialects of Spanish before rejecting these possibilities as the source of subject pronoun usage in Guinean Spanish.  Granda is of the opinion that the obligatory use of subject clitics in Bantu languages has been an important factor not only in Equatorial Guinean Spanish but also in Caribbean Spanish dialects.

Lipski (1984) represents one of the earliest comprehensive descriptions of Equatorial Guinean Spanish, based on fieldwork among the principal ethnic groups of the country.  Working independently of Granda but appearing at approximately the same time, Lipski (1984) describes the morphosyntactic features which characterize the second-language varieties of Spanish used in Equatorial Guinea.  These include the variability of the -usted distinction and the frequent combination of usted with verb forms corresponding to ; the gravitation towards the third person singular as invariant verbal paradigm, and the interchange and elimination of common prepositions.  In the phonetic realm Guinean Spanish is noteworthy for the tenacious resistance of syllable- and word-final consonants to neutralization and effacement, in striking contrast to traditional accounts of the habla de negros, to say nothing of theories of an African basis for vernacular Caribbean Spanish.  These results were quite unexpected, given the massive reduction of syllable-final consonants in nearly all varieties of Spanish in which African influence has been postulated.  In Equatorial Guinea word-final /s/ sometimes is elided (although the rates of deletion are considerably lower than in Caribbean and `Afro-Hispanic' dialects), but virtually never passes through the intermediate stage of aspiration.  Lipski (1984) was perhaps the first observer to suggest that loss of /s/ in Equatorial Guinean Spanish is a morphological phenomena rather than stemming from a phonetic motivation, as occurs in most other Spanish dialects.  The principal native speaker models during the colonial period came from the Madrid area and from Valencia (the majority of the large cacao planters were Valencian).  Although some of the Valencians were also speakers of Valencian/Catalan, they spoke Spanish with Guineans and with other Spaniards while in the colony.  In both dialect clusters syllable- and word-final consonants are quite resistant to effacement, in comparison with the dialects of southern and southwestern Spain.  This yielded a dialect obviously grounded in Castilian/Levantine Spanish, with an overlay of African segmental and suprasegmental traits which do not obscure the Peninsular origins of Guinean Spanish.

Additional general details of Equatorial Guinean Spanish are given in Lipski (1985b), while Lipski (1986a, 1986b, 1986c, 1987, 1988) broadens the comparative phonological analysis of final consonants, in Equatorial Guinea and in other Spanish dialects.  These observations are synthesized in the monographs Lipski (1985a, 1990), with the latter work concentrated on the speech of Malabo, the national capital.  Both books contain transcriptions of representative samples of Guinean Spanish, together with an evaluation of the importance of this dialect for theories of Afro-Hispanic dialect genesis.

Antonio Quilis is another prominent scholar who has published extensively on Spanish in Equatorial Guinea.  Quilis (1983) surveys attitudes of young Equatorial Guineans towards the Spanish language.  The surveys were administered in high schools and university extension courses, and covered the main ethnic groups of the country.  In general the informants indicate that they use Pidgin English and their native African languages most frequently in daily communication, although a surprising third of the respondents said that it was `easier' for them to speak Spanish than their native languages.  At the same time, nearly all informants stated that it was important for Guineans to learn Spanish, and more than 88% were of the opinion that Spanish should be the language of schools.  These conclusions are less than surprising given the school environment in which the surveys were carried out.  The presence of a Spanish-speaking `catedrático' conducting the research must also not be overlooked as a possible factor influencing the tenor of the responses.

Quilis (1988) updates the data on language attitudes in Equatorial Guinea.  The same strata of secondary and university students provided informants for the survey.  The results suggest a noteworthy increase in the use of Spanish for intraethnic communication within the 5-year span separating the two studies.  For example use of Spanish to parents tripled from the 1983 figures, while the exclusive use of the native language was reduced by half.  The use of Spanish with informants' children rose by more than 100% from the 1983 levels; the same was true with use of Spanish among siblings.  Almost 75% of the secondary students used Spanish with their friends, and 75% also responded that Spanish was frequently spoken in Equatorial Guinea.  From these data Quilis concludes that Spanish usage is on the increase, at least among those receiving secondary and post-secondary education.  Quilis (1989a) summarizes the results of these studies.

Quilis (1989b) describes the vocabulary related to coffee growing in Equatorial Guinea.  The words are not peculiar to Africans' Spanish, and are also used by Europeans resident in the country.  Quilis (1992) dedicates a chapter of his Español en cuatro mundos to Spanish in Africa, both in North Africa and particularly in Equatorial Guinea.  Following a historical overview of Spanish in Guinea, Quilis presents data which expand on the observations of Quilis (1983) with respect to the use of Spanish, Pidgin English and native Guinean languages.  He also presents detailed phonetic data on Equatorial Guinean Spanish, going beyond earlier descriptions.  Quilis describes vocalic instability, hiatus-breaking consonants (río > riyo), non-hiatus pronunciation of maestro, teatro; the lack of voiced fricatives, the neutralization of /r/ and /rr/, sporadic elimination of word-final /s/ without passing through an intermediate stage of aspiration, the instability of the opposition /s/-/q/, and the use of tonal patterns significantly different from those found in other varieties of Spanish.  In the morphosyntactic dimension, Quilis describes the variability of number-gender agreement, confusion and elimination of definite articles and pronouns, confusion of verbal tense and mood, neutralization and elimination of prepositions, and unusual circumlocutions.

Quilis (1995) gives basic data on Guinean Spanish.  Casado-Fresnillo (1995) summarizes the principal features of Guinean Spanish.  In addition to the facts presented by Quilis (1992), Casado-Fresnillo comments on the frequent combination of the pronoun usted with verb endings corresponding to (usted mandas), the high frequency of overt subject pronouns, and modifications of the verbal system.

Quilis and Casado-Fresnillo (1992) offer another preliminary phonetic description of Equatorial Guinean Spanish, based on samples collected in Río Muni and Bioko.  Mentioned are the variable distinction /s/-/q/, sporadic elimination of syllable-final consonants, vocalic instability, and variable realization of /r/, /rr/, /x/, and /y/.  Quilis and Casado-Fresnillo (1995) represents the most complete synchronic description of Equatorial Guinean Spanish yet to appear.  The book is accompanied by a compact disc containing recorded examples of Guinean Spanish, recorded in situ.  After an introduction detailing the history of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea, domains of usage and language attitudes, the book offers a chapter on phonetics and phonology that expands on the work of Quilis and Casado-Fresnillo (1992).  The chapter contains spectrograms of the major consonantal and vocalic articulations, as well as a valuable description of the use of tones in Equatorial Guinean Spanish, most probably influenced by the presence of lexical tones in the indigenous languages.4 

An extensive chapter on morphosyntactic characteristics gives data on word and sentence formation.  Although no quantitative data are presented, the presentation reflects the considerable syntactic variability which characterizes Guinean Spanish in comparison to monolingual varieties.  A chapter entitled `Peculiaridades del enunciado' describes idiosyncratic circumlocutions, including responses to questions, exclamations, repetition, and phatic expressions.  The book also contains a section on lexical peculiarities as well as a glossary of Equatorial Guinean Spanish.  An appendix contains an anthology of written and oral texts exemplifying the full gamut of Spanish langauge usage.

Nearly thirty years after González Echegaray (1959) commented on the lexicon of Spanish as used in Equatorial Guinea, Nsue Otong (1986) updated these entries in a brief article.  Granados (1986) reviews the history of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea and West Africa, from the 15th century to the present.  After describing the primary features of Golden Age habla de negro, Granados describes the historical events that resulted in the establishment of Spanish in Guinea.  Although he gives no details on contemporary Equatorial Guinean Spanish, he comments on the language of the prize-winning novel Ekomo by María Nsué.  Granados does not give a literary analysis, but rather comments on what he views as typical `errors' of Equatorial Guinean Spanish, some of which appear in the novel.  Mentioned are occasional lapses of agreement, non-etymological use of prepositions, neutralization of /r/-/rr/, and instability of verbal tense and mood.  Without giving specific examples, Granados counts the number of deviations from standard Spanish, although he admits that Marís Nsué `se mueve dentro de una norma correcta, ... la habilidad de María Nsué ha conseguido superar la mayor parte de las desviaciones lingüísticas de sus compatriotas' (p. 137).  The author concludes, somewhat pessimistically:  `Al ser una lengua artificial ... el español guineano está ligeramente fosilizado, los errores se encuentran muy dispersos y las variantes fonéticas, léxicas y gramaticales son muy amplias ... en pocas palabras, el español guineano corre peligro de ver reducida su área a Malabo y Bata' (p. 135).  Granados' comments are circumscribed within the notion of `incorrect' usage rather than the potential formation of a uniquely Guinean dialect of Spanish.

The advent of Spanish-language literature in Equatorial Guinea

Given the second-language status of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea, literary works written in Spanish by Guinean authors were slow to appear.  This is somewhat surprising giving the high educational level in Spanish, as compared with the use of European languages in neighboring African nations, but the small size and political troubles of Equatorial Guinea were important factors in determining the paucity of literary output.  Publication of any sort was extremely limited in Spanish Guinea and virtually disappeared in the first postcolonial government of Equatorial Guinea.  The Claretian mission published the journal Guinea Española, which orignally published creative writing by expatriate Spaniards, and later expanded its scope to include traditional stories written by Guinean authors.  González Echegaray (1965), in an article published in this periodical, offers an early appraisal of literature by Guinean authors.  Ngom (1993) convincingly suggests that giving voice to Africans was not the primary motive of La Guinea Española, but rather giving the Christianizing and Europeanizing missionaries powerful cultural tools with which to undermine ethnic solidarity.   Under the best of circumstances only the occasional newspaper (e.g. Poto Poto) appeared in small numbers, usually published in neighboring countries or in Spain.  In 1982 the Centro Cultural Hispano-Guineano was founded in Malabo, including a library and eventually a publishing enterprise.  The founding of the journal Africa 2000 by the Centro Cultural Hispano-Guineano provided one organ by which writers and scholars could publish short essays, stories, and poems, but this journal had very limited circulation outside of the small circles of Guinean writers who frequented the Centro in Malabo, and an even smaller group of Spanish intellectuals with ties to the Hispano-Guinean cultural connection. 

With the exception of the above-mentioned fragments in newspapers and journals, original literature by Guinean authors--especially in book form--was all but nonexistent prior to the end of the murderous Macías regime in 1979, eleven years after independence.  Ngom (1993) provides an excellent overview of literary production in Equatorial Guinea, while Ngom (1996a) contains interviews with most of the protagonists.  Other important literary studies include Ngom (1994, 1995a, 1995b, 1995c, 1996b, 1997).  Widely regarded as the first authentic Guinean novel is Evita Leoncio's Cuando los combes luchaban, published in 1953 by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas Instituto de Estudios Africanos, the same entity that published numerous historical and ethnographic monographs on Equatorial Guinea.  A little-known self-published work written by a Fernandino author, Daniel Mathama Jones' Una lanza por el Boabí appeared in 1962.  In 1984 Donato Ndongo Bidyogo (1984) anthologized the relatively scant Equatorial Guinean literary production as of that date.  Dunzo (1986) briefly described the first two Equatorial Guinean novels.

In 1985 the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) of Madrid, which had set up an extension campus in Equatorial Guinea, published in 1985 the first Guinean novel written by a woman, Ekomo by María Nsue Angüe.  Vicente Granados of the UNED wrote a prologue, parts of which were later republished as Granados (1986), simultaneously praising the novel and commenting on the artificiality of Guinean Spanish.  Regardless of linguistic features, this novel is truly African, based on Fang culture and folklore but written in Spanish as befits a writer with international credentials.  The novel is not written in `Guinean Spanish,' but is composed in literary Spanish devoid of obvious regional features except for Fang names and a few terms for Guinean flora and fauna.  The characters' dialogues are set in unremarkable Spanish, presumably because they would be fluently conversing in Fang, their native language.

Also appearing in 1985 is Juan Balboa Boneke's El reencuentro:  el retorno del exiliado, a poignant testimony of the `generación perdida' of Guinean intellectuales forced into exile during what should have been the peak of their creative energies.  In 1987 Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo published the novel Las tinieblas de tu memoria negra, thus solidifying the slow but inexorable progress of the Equatorial Guinean novel.  An anthology of stories (Centro Cultural Hispano-Guineano 1987) was published in the same year.  In recent years, the literary output of Guinean authors has increased dramatically.

Guinean literary figures, perhaps more so than the remainder of the population, manifest considerable ambivalence towards the Spanish language as a medium of cultural expression, as well as towards the writings of non-African authors--of fiction and non-fiction--whose works are set in or contain information about Equatorial Guinea.  A representative sample of comments illustrates these feelings.  Ngom (1996a) posed the question to numerous Guinean authors:  `¿Qué supone para Vd. producir una literatura en una lengua extranjera o "lengua de préstamo"?  ¿Se considera usted un "ladrón de lenguas" como decía Jacques Rabemananjara (Madagascar) en 1959, refiriéndose a los escritores africanos?'  Leoncio Evita, author of the first Guinean novel, responded that `Cualquier idioma aprendido queda en propiedad de uno y puede expresarse en dicha lengua, mientras que sepa hablarla bien' (Ngom 1996a:  36).  Similarly, for Julián Bibang Oyee `... Creo que cualquier lengua sirve para vehicular, expresar lo que queremos o somos.  Nada me asegura ahora mismo que lo hubiera hecho mejor en la lengua de mi madre que en la del colono; tal vez no lo hiciera jamás ...' (Ngom 1996a:  51).  Marcelo Ensema Nsang responded, not without some bitterness, that `... emplear una lengua occidental, más conocida y extendida, es emplear un altavoz de amplias resonancias.  Con ello se extiende más el mensaje que un escritor colonizado lanza al mundo.  Eso favorece la integración de lo negro-africano en el concierto de las letras y cultura universales' (Ngom 1996a:  43).  Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo replied that `... Antes de la llegada de los colonizadores españoles, no teníamos una organización estatal, ni una lengua común, ni una entidad supratribal propia ... Pienso indistintamente en Fang y en Español, lo cual significa que mi espíritu se identifica por igual en ambos idiomas, y mi creación literaria está imbuída por igual en ambas culturas.  Otro planteamiento significaría renunciar a parte importante de nuestro ser y ... a nuestra identidad como país independiente y soberano, puesto que lo que no diferencia de nuestros vecinos ... es nuestra impronta hispánica ... renunciar a las lenguas nacionales africanas con el pretexto de que fueron "importadas" es una falacia y una proposición de regreso a la tribu, con todo lo que ello significa, renunciando al progreso' (Ngom 1996a:  87-8).  The poet Juan Balboa Boneke believes that ` ... la lengua, sea autóctona como extranjera, es un elemento fundamental de comunicación, mi concepción de las cosas es universalista, execro el nacionalismo trasnochado y excluyente.  Por lo tanto, con la lengua castellana no me considero un ladrón de lenguas, la defiendo por ser un elemento de unión y de integración' (Ngom 1996a:  98).  Antimo Esono Ndongo would have preferred to write in his native Fang, but admits that `una lengua como el Español, de amplia potencialidad en el mundo ... le brinda al escritor una posibilidad enorme de universalizarse.  En todo caso, es la máxima de las ventajas desgraciadamente' (Ngom 1996a:  134).  Juan Tomás Avila Laurel reminds his readers that ``... nosotros, los africanos, no somos ladrones de lenguas sino víctimas de la imposición de los europeos' (Ngom 1996a:  155). 

Similarly ambivalent are the responses regarding the work of authors such as Iñigo de Arazadi, José María Vilá and Carlos González Echegaray:  `¿Las considera como parte integrante de la literatura guineana o de la literatura colonial?'  Leoncio Evita believes that these writers `... merecen un abierto elogio por el esfuerzo que tuvieron que realizar para captar el sentido de las ideas de sus relatores ... sus obras prevalecen y forman parte integrante de la literatura guineana' (Ngom 1996a:  35).  Marcelo Ensema Nsang believes that these works belong to the colonial period (indicating that he does not imply a pejorative connotation), constituting works "about" Equatorial Guinea which should inspire native Guinean writers to produce works "from" the country.  Julián Bibang Oyee and Juan Balboa Boneke also classify these works as `colonial,' in a neutral sense (Ngom 1996a:  50, 97).  Raquel Ilombe adopts a similar viewpoint, although expressing great admiration for the work of Carlos González Echegaray, who in her view went beyond the usual colonialist perspective to probe deeply into Guinean languages and culture (Ngom 1996a:  63-4).  Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo affirms that these authors were not Guinean writers, but has very positive views on their contributions:  `Fueron los maestros o los modelos a imitar por los primeros escritores guineanos.  En un mundo como el colonial, en el que la razón de vivir era la producción y la explotación de los recursos económicos, esos autores españoles representaban un elemento de frescor en las relaciones con los nativos, como una fuente en el desierto.  Todo ello, claro está, desde su superestructura ideológica.  Pero es justo reconocerles el mérito de haber despertado la voación literaria en unos cuantos guineanos y de haber escrito una serie de obras que nos ayudan a comprender mejor el hecho colonial español en Guinea Ecuatorial ...' (Ngom 1996a:  83).  Ciriaco Bokesa Napo considers the works of the above-mentioned Spanish writers to be colonial literature, `aunque su forma de trato les sitúa en un plano de "puentes" hacia el horizonte de la literatura estrictamente guineana' (Ngom 1996a:  105).  Francisco Zamora Segorbe is less flattering when he characterizes González Echegaray and Aranzadi as `recopilidores,' while noting that Vilá `escribía para lectores de la metrópoli peninsular ávidos de aventuras en tierras exóticas' (Ngom 1996a:  111).  María Nsue believes that these works are `parte de la literatura española ambientada en Guinea' (Ngom 1996a:  117).  Antimo Esono Ndongo speaks of a `literatura producida por españoles residentes en Guinea, españoles que, en muchas ocasiones, no conocen el entorno e incluso otros que viviendo en España tratan de crear una literatura así ficticia, aunque pensada en los tiemas guineos,' although exempting the above-mentioned authors from this description (Ngom 1996a:  132).  Jerónimo Rope Bomabá believes that these works `pueden encajarse perfectamente en el contexto literario guineano por restricción y, por extensión, a la hispánica.  No encuadran ni en la literatura colonial ni neocolonial' (Ngom 1996a:  146). 

Unlike European authors, many of whom attempted to imitate the Spanish as employed by natives of Equatorial Guinea, Guinean authors almost never offer examples of Guinean Spanish, either in their narratives or in dialog, with the exception of regional lexical items.  There are several evident reasons for this discrepancy.  First, `Guinean' Spanish as found in the works of Spanish writers is an unflattering second-language variety, which ranges from a rough pidgin to a close approximation to Peninsular Spanish, but with clear second-language features reflecting the incomplete learning of Spanish.  Guinean writers, virtually all of whom have lived and been educated in Spain and other European countries, speak and write internationally prestigious registers of Spanish, even if retaining some Guinean phonetic features.  Having achieved this status, there is little inclination to acknowledge the sometimes less than perfect attempts of their fellow citizens to speak Spanish.  Considerable more legitimization of Guinean literature and society will have to occur before Equatorial Guinean writers feel as comfortable in depicting characters speaking `African' Spanish as, for example, Salman Rushdie's use of `Indian' English (e.g. in the Satanic Verses), Michael Anthony's use of Trinidad English in The Games were Coming, or the use of `Nigerian' English by such writers as Cyprian Ekwensi (Jagua Nana) and Wole Soyinka.  One exception to this trend is Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo's novel Las tinieblas de tu memoria negra (1987), in which one character's non-native overuse of the trill /rr/, seseo, and occasional grammatical lapses in Spanish are portrayed mockingly:

"osiosidad es madrre todos visios" (eso lo decía así, eu castellano) ... el que no "trrabaja" no come (en su castellano) ... (71)

"a Dios rrogando y con el maso dado" (en su castellano) (72)

"el trrabajo diggnificarr al hombrre" (en su castellano) ya lo dijo nuestro Señor "comerrás el pan con el sudorr de tu enffrente" (en su castellano) (73)

alabado sea Dios Padrre Dios me envía los hios parra que los guíe porr el camino rrecto y El sabe porr qué seguirrá siempre su santa voluntá ... (74)

... perro padrre no ve usté que hase unos años también nos parresió que querria serr sacerrdote y luego se le olvidó hasta rresarr, puede serr una ilusión pasajerra más, además su comporrtamiento ... (139)

The main reason for the lack of `African' Spanish in works by Equatorial Guinean authors is that the majority of their characters are presumed to be speaking indigenous African languages, if not explicitly presented as such.  The occasional use of Fang lexical items, e.g. in María Nsue's Ekomo, or even of entire passages in Bubi in Juan Balboa Boneke's El reencuentro gives the flavor of speaking an African language, while not rendering the text unintelligible to a reader who only understands Spanish.  This Afrocentric perspective of using correct, even elegantly literary Spanish to depict characters' use of African languages contrasts sharply with tendencies in Golden Age Portugal and Spain, when it has been suggested (e.g. Russell 1973:  239) that literary habla de negros may have been used to represent not bozal Spanish but dialogues carried out entirely in African languages.  Lipski (1991b), studying translations into English of Golden Age habla de negro, also demonstrates the incongruous use of vernacular Black American English, an ethnolinguistically marked but native variety of English, in translation of bozal Spanish, spoken non-natively and with little internal consistency by African-born slaves in 16th and 17th century Spain.

Occasionally, `African' Spanish may be used to represent the one language widely held in contempt in Equatorial Guinea, despite its omnipresent use in Malabo:  Pidgin English.  Thus in Cuando los combes luchaban, Leoncio Evita (1953:  43) uses a somewhat reduced Spanish to indicate `inglés feo,' i.e. Pidgin English: 

---Jefe está muy mal.  Le traemos para curar--- Penda respondió en un inglés feo ... ---Gente de Ndyebengo y jefe es Upolo ...'

Later (p. 62), the author uses the Guinean adaptation pañole `sin acabar de pronunciar bien' for españoles.

Similarly, in Adjá-Adjá, Ncogo (1994:  12) mimics the attempts at speaking Spanish by a presumed African from elsewhere (an `extranjero procedente de los países vecinos'), trying to pass for an Equatorial Guinean:

"¡Tu identidad!" reclama Adjá-Adjá.

"¿Mi idangtitat?  he, sí, aquí hay" ...

"¿Es usted ecuatoguineano?", pregunta Adjá-Adjá.

"Sí, sí, ya ... nasionalisao", contesta el otro.

At another point (p. 43) a Moroccan cries out `¡tú ir, tú ir!'

Finally, given the relative recency of widespread fluency in Spanish in Equatorial Guinea, it is probably the case that some writers are not completely attuned to the different sociolects of Guinean Spanish created by varying degrees of proficiency in Spanish and approximation to monolingual usage.  Whether or not educated Guineans who speak Spanish fluently actually `hear' deviations from native usage among their less fluent compatriots, the fact remains that within Equatorial Guinea (the setting for nearly all narrative literature produced by Guinean authors), African languages or Pidgin English, rather than Spanish, are the preferred languages of communication.  Thus on a quantitative basis, outsiders who do not speak Fang, Bubi, Pidgin English, etc. will hear proportionately much more `African' Spanish than will native Equatorial Guineans.

The above-mentioned factors, combined with Guinean writers' obvious pride in their accomplished use of Spanish and the desire to shun the racist parodies of colonial times, result in a use of strikingly non-`African' dialogue among the most `African' of Hispanophone writers, as compared with their non-African counterparts.  This underscores the complex and as yet little understood matrix of attitudes, expectations, and antecedents which underlie the use of written and spoken Spanish by Equatorial Guinean intellectuals.

Future research agenda

Despite the considerable research carried out on Equatorial Guinean Spanish in the past fifteen years, there remain pressing issues which call for further research.  Most of the work--including the studies by Quilis, Casado-Fresnillo, and Granados, have situated Guinean Spanish within the framework of comparative Spanish dialectology, all the while underscoring features which stem from the second-language status of Spanish in Equatorial Guinea.  The work of Lipski and some of the studies by Granda, while also providing descriptive data, has taken Guinean Spanish as an ethnolinguistic test tube environment, in which Spanish in contact with Bantu languages can be observed in a contemporary setting, and the results compared with reconstructed Afro-Hispanic language of centuries past.  These lines of research are gradually converging, particularly with the publication of the above-mentioned detailed descriptions of Equatorial Guinean Spanish, placing this formerly unknown variety of Spanish in a very favorable bibliographical position with respect to other contemporary Spanish dialects.  The greatest challenge which must be met in order to conduct the full panorama of research programs on the languages of Equatorial Guinea is the encouragement of linguists, from abroad and most particularly from within the country, to study the linguistic situation of the country.  The most urgent task is the preparation of Guinean linguists, since outgroup scholars' observations are never sufficient to characterize the full spectrum of linguistic usage.  The current program of establishing a national university may ultimately yield a new generation of Guinean linguistic researchers, although for obvious reasons the nation's development priorities dictate that other areas of study emerge before linguistics becomes a part of the curriculum.  The Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) is in a position to offer some training, and the availability of scholarships for Guinean students to pursue university studies in Spain, Latin America, and the United States offers another set of opportunities.  Most importantly, Equatorial Guinean students must appreciate the importance of studying all the national languages, both those indigenous to Africa and those arriving from Europe, for the total linguistic profile of the country is formed through the complex symbiotic interaction of several languages. 

At the same time foreign scholars must be encouraged to include Equatorial Guinea in their fieldwork and comparative analysis.  Information about the country has traditionally been difficult to obtain, and travel to Equatorial Guinea, while improving, has always been difficult.  However, it is ignorance of the rich research possiblities--ignorance even of the existence of the country itself--rather than possible hardships, which have deterred able fieldworkers and scholars from undertaking studies on Equatorial Guinean Spanish.  Events such as this one are beginning to turn the tide, and the next few years should witness an increased interest in Equatorial Guinean language and literature.  In the spirit of nudging along events a little faster, a few promising areas may be enumerated.

One area just now being explored is the complex matrix of code-switching occuring in almost all dimensions of Equatorial Guinean life.  The most common configuration involves Spanish in contact with one of the indigenous languages, but especially in Malabo code-switching involving Pidgin English is extremely common.  Speakers from Annobón include fa d'ambú in their repertoire.  The social and political dimensions of code-switching in Equatorial Guinea are qualitatively different from those defining other African societies in which code-switching has been studied (e.g. Myers-Scotton 1993, 1995), making the study of Guinean language switching a desirable research item.

The contact between Spanish and an important subset of Bantu languages in Equatorial Guinea warrants further study, since a detailed examination of the linguistic results of this contact will further refine theories of the influence of African languages on Caribbean Spanish and other Afro-Hispanic and Afro-Brazilian enclaves throughout Latin America.  In particular, it is crucial to scrutinize the Guinean Spanish verb system, searching for differences with respect to universal Spanish norms but also for possible innovations produced through adstratal contact with languages radically different from the Romance family in signalling verbal distinctions.  Among possible points of interest are:

(1)  innovative use of direct object clitics, especially the use of pleonastic lo in earlier Afro-Hispanic texts as a possible grammaticalization of Bantu-induced subject clitics (cf. Lipski 1998a). 

(2)  The possible grammaticalization of adverbial elements as preverbal tense/mood/aspect particles (Lipski 1998a).

(3)  Manifestations of double negation in Afro-Hispanic language (cf. Schwegler 1996, Lipski 1996).  KiKongo double negation has been implicated, e.g. in Spanish double negation in the Colombian Chocó and the Dominican Republic, as well as in vernacular Brazilian Portuguese.  Bubi, spoken on Fernando Poo and an important substratum language in the Spanish of Equatorial Guinea, typically inserts a single particle (chi, ta, etc.) between the subject clitic and the verb (Abad 1928:  67; Juanola 1890:  56; Bolekia Boleká 1991:  132-4).  A similar process is used in Combe/Ndowé, another important language of Equatorial Guinea, spoken along the coast of Río Muni (Fernández 1951:  37f.).  Bujeba, another coastal language of Río Muni, employs a form of double negation, inserting the particle àà between the subject clitic and the verb, and affixing -le to the end of the verb (González Echegaray 1960:  142f.).  Fang, the most widely spoken language of Equatorial Guinea, combines a particle à inserted after the subject clitic and a particle ke or ki (sometimes omitted) following the verb (Ndongo Esono 1956:  60f.; Nze Abuy 1975:  69f.).  Despite the prominence of Fang in Equatorial Guinea, being the language of the ruling class and widely spoken as a second language by most of the population, there has been no study of double or postposed negation in the Spanish of Equatorial Guinea, regardless of the level of fluency or the presence of other interference from native languages.

(4)  The use of overt subject pronouns in Guinean Spanish (a topic already broached by Casado-Fresnillo 1995, Quilis and Casado-Fresnillo 1995, Granda 1991d, Lipski 1996).

(5)  The adaptation of extra-Bantu phonotactic structures in Equatorial Guinean Spanish as the result of violations of ranked phonological constraints, e.g. within the framework of Optimality Theory (Lipski 1995a, 1998b). 

(6)  Use of non-inverted questions of the sort ¿Qué tú quieres? as well as in situ questions, where the WH-word has not been fronted (¿El vive dónde? ¿Juan quiere qué?).  In vernacular Angolan Portuguese the existence of in situ questions has been attributed to the Kimbundu substrate (Lipski 1995b; also cf. Endruschat 1990, Gärtner 1983, Marques 1983, Perl 1989; cf. Rossi 1993 for vernacular Brazilian Portuguese).  It is necessary to examine interrogative constructions in Equatorial Guinean Spanish, including questions requiring a simple affirmative or negative answer, since many Bantu languages, among them the principal indigenous languages of Equatorial Guinea, use particles or other syntactic elements to signal bipolar interrogation.

(7)  The evoluation of personal pronoun usage in Guinean Spanish.  Early observations (Casado-Fresnillo 1992; Lipski 1984, 1985a, 1985b; Quilis y Casado-Fresnillo 1995; Quilis 1992) reported the apparent confusion of and usted verb forms, especially the combination of usted plus verb forms corresponding to the second person singular .  Found less frequently is the combination of ustedes plus second person plural (vosotros) verb form, as well as vosotros + third person plural verb.  Originally this usage stemmed from imperfect acquisition of Spanish, since native Guinean languages do not express the same pronominal distinction.  As Equatorial Guinean Spanish expands and stabilizes, it is possible to search for signs of the emergence of a new hybrid verbal-pronominal system (cf. Silva-Brummel 1984 for Angolan Portuguese, Gonçalves 1983 for Mozambican Portuguese).

(8)  The signalling of nominal and adjectival pluralization.  Many observers have noted that plural /-s/ in Equatorial Guinean Spanish routinely disappears in the absence of signs of phonetic erosion.  In Bantu languages pluralization is carried out through a wide variety of nominal prefixes, determined by noun class.  No Bantu language realizes pluralization through suffixes, and word-final /-s/ with any function is vanishingly rare among Bantu languages.  Equatorial Guinean Spanish needs to be examined with the most refined variational techniques, to determine the true nature of variable /s/-deletion.

(9)  No Bantu language exhibits prenominal definite articles such as occur in Ibero-Romance languages; typically occurring are monovocalic clitics i, u, o, e, placed before the plural morpheme, as well as other prenominal clitics.  Moreover, `definite articles' in Bantu languages are closer to emphatic demonstratives (such as found in Latin) rather than to the non-deictic definite articles found in Romance languages.  As a consequence, speakers of Bantu languages tend to eliminate definite articles in Spanish and Portuguese (Lipski 1995a, Endruschat 1990).  This matter requires further study.

Conclusions

The Spanish dialects of Equatorial Guinea constitute a fascinating and little-known facet of the Spanish-speaking world.  Spanish has triumphed against internal and external adversity in Equatorial Guinea, and has emerged as a strong national language closely tied to concepts of nationhood and self-identity.  Despite the not inconsiderable amount of scholarship devoted to Equatorial Guinean Spanish, this area remains open to much future scholarship, particularly studies seeking to integrate Guinean Spanish into a more comprehensive synchronic and diachronic pan-Hispanic and pan-African perspective.  Most importantly, the time has arrived for scholars from Equatorial Guinea and other African countries to apply their unique expertise to the study of African Spanish.  This is the dimension which has been lacking in linguistic studies of African Spanish and Portuguese, and underscores the need for a symbiosis of African and extra-African approaches to African linguistics.  I hope that the overview presented here highlights both the urgency and the desirability of such African-based research.


Notes

1  For a composite of colonial and modern history of Spanish Guinea and Equatorial Guinea, see Arambilet (19O3); Arija (1930); Artom Pasqualini (1968); Badgley (1978); Baguena Corella (1950); Banciella y Barcena (1940); Barrena (1965); Barrera y Luyando (1921); Beltrán y Rózpide (1901); Berman (1961); Cabana (1995); Castro and Ndongo (1998); Castro-Antolín (1992); Coello (1850); Cronjé (1976); D'Almonte (1902); Diez Vilas (1994); Fegley (1989); Fernández (1976); Folch y Torres (1911); Gallo y Maturana (1909); García Domínguez (1976); Granados (1912); Guinea López (1947); Hahs (1980); Kobel (1976); Instituto de Estudios Africanos (1949, 1950); Labra (1896); Liniger‑Goumaz (1979, 1989, 1990, 1996); López Perea (1906); López Vicario (1988); López Vilches (1901); Lucas de Barres (1918); Martín del Molino (1993); Martínez García (1968); Martínez y Sanz (1856); Miranda (1940); Moreno Moreno (1952); Muguerza y Saenz (1907); Muñoz y Gaviria (1871, 1899); Navarro (1859); Navarro y Canizares (1881); Ndongo Bidgoyo (1977); Nerín (1998); Nosti Nava (1969); Ocha'a Mve Bengobesama (1985); Pélissier (1964a, 1964b); Planelles Monfort (1901); Pujadas (1969); Río Joan (1915); Ríos (1959); Rodríguez Barrera (1931); Saavedra y Magdalena (191O); Salanova Orueta (1951); Sorela (1884); Sundiata (1976, 1990, 1996); Terán (1962); Unzueta y Yuste (1944, 1947); Valdés Cavanillas (1928); Valdés Infante (1898); Vincent (1901); Zamora Loboch (1962).

2  Descendants of Sno Tomé and Príncipe were present on the island of Fernando Poo at least since the beginning of the 19th century, and probably before, since the mountain tops of Fernando Poo can be seen from Príncipe on a clear day.  At the time of the founding of Port Clarence, in 1827, a considerable population of "angolanos" as the Bubis referred to them were living in the southern part of Fernando Poo, around Ureka, and some moved to Clarence (Martín del Molino 1993:  35).  Since the Portuguese-derived creoles of Príncipe and Sno Tomé had been formed by this time, it is conceivable that there was some influence of this Afro-Iberian creole on the emerging Equatorial Guinean Spanish.

3  Some examples are:

Rait na a jos gat novio `right now I just have a boyfriend'

dem kam go na velorio `they went to the funeral wake'

a no gat cigarillo `I don't have any cigarettes'

kongasa se i gat siknis diabetis `rumor has it that he has diabetes'

una bin chapea di yad? (Zarco 1938:  46) `Have you (pl.) cut the grass?'

4  One common strategy, observed among contemporary Africans who speak Spanish and to a certain extent Portuguese is the more or less systematic assignment of a different tone to each syllable, often at odds with the simple equation tonic stress = high tone and atonic syllables = low tone.  These tones rarely become lexicalized, so that a given polysyllabic word as pronounced by a single speaker may emerge with different tonal melodies on each occasion.  What results is a more or less udulating melody of high and low tones, at times punctuated by mid tones and rising/falling contour tones.  Such a pronunciation is radically different from the more usual intonational patterns in native varieties of Spanish, where the pitch register varies smoothly and gradually across large expanses of syllables, and where a syllable-by-syllable tonal change rarely or never occurs.  To the European ear, a syllable-based tonal alternation as produced by ay African learner of Spanish causes a sing-song cadence, and may blur the intonational differences between statements and questions.  In the absence of a perceptible stress accent, syllable-level tonal shifts may obliterate such minimal pairs as trabajo/trabajó.  There exists no established framework for describing spoken Spanish in terms of syllable-based lexical tones, but in the following examples I have analyzed Equatorial Guinean Spanish in terms of a three-tone system similar to that found in Yoruba, in which acute accents indicate high tone, grave accents low tone, circumflex accents rise+fall, and no diacritic indicates mid tone.  Based on my experience with Yoruba and some Bantu languages, I transcribed the following Spanish sentences as though they belonged to an African language with lexical tones.  It should be noted that not all Guineans produce such musically undulating speech, but the examples below are quite representative of the Africanized Spanish found throughout the country, and cutting across various ethnic groups.

{tape #9, s. A; Fang woman in Malabo, has also lived in Spain}

el què tiéne dìnéro nò hábla ...

yo pènsába qu'èstá arríba ...

víno èl amígo dè su màrído

nó hablà cònmígo

comò estóy ahí me pòngo mì pijáma ì andándo

Tiéne còlor à asi.

Mientràs él està aquí èn casa, que nó mèta esòs líos àqui.

{tape #15, s. A; Bubi man in early 20's, from Barrio B, near Malabo)

Háy àlgunos què, cuandó èstán èn casa, comò són bubi, hàbláran èl bubi sólàmèntè.

Cuàndó uno yá està en là ensàñánzà media cogè là ìdiomà que quierè.

Me faltà un sólò publò què no hé ido.

Los que están en el bósque sònn sàlvájes.

en ésà parte ès pelìgrósò bàñarsè.

{Tape #15, s. B; Bubi man, late 20's, from Baney}

Puéde dùrár sùs seséntà años.

el árbol nò tienè mànéra dè desàrròllárse.

Tènian tòdà clasè de àbónos.

Si, háy compràdóres.

{Tape 8-*, side A., young Bubi man from Bapupu}

Buscàn ùnòs cuántos que puèdàn ir à asi destájò.

Dèspués de ùn áñó, do áño, nótas que se pròdújo bàstánte.

Nó tengò tiémpo.

{tape 8-*, side B. Fang man, librarian in Malabo}

Nó cìrcúla.

Hay prògrámás en éspàñol y è lenguàs nàtívas tambièn.

{tape 5, s. A, Combe man from Bata}

Plàyéro somòs tódos nòsotròs.

Si háy dòs fáng què éntiendèn cómbe se puéde hàblar èl cómbe, ¿no?

àquí hay múcho plàyéros.

{Tape 5, side B; Bujeba woman, maid in Bata}

Parà vèndér i parà cònsumò própio.

Si, tódos.

Nòsótros pàgámos ménos.

Tiénen elècciónes.

{Tape 6, side A; Bubi woman from Barrio B, in Malabo}

en éste pàís lo vénden àsí.

Se séca en ùn secàdéro

Lò vénden pàra tènér dinéro.

Háy dè múcha cláse.

Se vóta.

{tape #16, side B.  Young Combe man, has studied in Spain, interviewed in library in Malabo}

Hay trámpas que sè pónèn hóyos.

Mónos sè cázan tàmbien.

Làs músicàs súyas.

èn Báta sí hàbià múchos.

exíste jéfe dè puéblo.

Pasándo à càyúco.

{Tape #13, side A.  Older Combe man, works in Bata}

Còn escòpétà.

Con trámpas.

Yó pàgue cíncò mil pèsétas.

Ló que úno dèséa.

Hàblámos en la èscuéla.


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