Equatorial Guinea

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea, formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea and an independent nation since 1968, is the only African nation in which Spanish is the official language. Equatorial Guinea consists of the island of Bioko (formerly Fernando Poo), which contains the national capital, Malabo (formerly Santa Isabel), and the continental enclave of Rio Muni (with district capital Bata), between Gabon and Cameroon, as well as tiny Annobón Island, located to the south of São Tomé. Equatorial Guinea is home to a variety of languages. The indigenous group on Bioko speaks Bubi. Nearly all residents of Malabo and other cities on Bioko also speak pidgin English, known locally as pichinglis or pichi. The principal ethnic group in Rio Muni is Fang; the Fang have also emigrated in large numbers to Bioko. Several smaller groups (Ndowé/Combe, Bujeba, Benga, Bapuko, etc.) are found along the coast of Rio Muni. Annobón Islanders speak Fa d'ambú, a Portuguese‑lexified creole. The indigenous Equatorial Guinean languages are lexical tone languages of the Bantu family. The linguistic interface (Spanish-Bantu languages) in Equatorial Guinea juxtaposes some of the same configurations as found in colonial Spanish America, although the sociolinguistic situation is quite different: Guineans were never enslaved, were never removed from their homelands or forced to abandon their native languages and speak only the colonial language. The study of Equatorial Guinean Spanish provides a “reality check” in the reconstruction of earlier Afro-Hispanic language, while also offering the opportunity to study in situ contacts between typologically diverse morphosyntactic and phonological systems.


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