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November 11, 2024

Spanish in Equatorial Guinea

Maybe it isn't one of the biggest African territories that was colonised in the 19th century, but this small territory is one of the many places that share our language, Spanish. First it was colonised by Portugal and Spain obtained this territory in exchange for other american territories, this was at the start of the 19th century and they were granted their independence from the country on the 12th of October 1968.

After gaining their independence, Spanish was very persecuted due to resentment of the colonization. However, the rest of the native languages such as Bubi, Ndowé and Bisió and Bujeba were only languages that are only used to talk and therefore they needed Spanish as a written language.

For this reason, Spanish remained in the country to be used to enact laws and other international relations. Currently Spanish is recognised in their constitution and is the official language, therefore the country preserved its diversity of languages.

It is also true that Spanish is closely related to the socioeconomic status of the speaker. A basic speaking level exists for farmers, fishermen, breeders etc., many of them are unread people that learn or know some Spanish but mix it with their own mother tongue. Thus being born the "Guineanismo".

Even their neighbouring countries which they have relations with are French-speaking, therefore French is also used a lot in Equatorial Guinea, and a process is taking place of "miscegenation" between various languages of the country. Just as what happened in Cameroon with the "camfranglais", a mix of three languages or the "pichinglis", the third language of Equatorial Guinea.

Examples: “arico” (haricot ; ”frijoles”) ,”plombero” (plombier , “fontanero”) o “reveyarse” ( se révellier, “despertarse”).

Another of the thriving languages in the country is English, the "pidgin" language, a mix between English and autochthonous languages as a product of business and "normalisation" for the manuals that the foremen used to address the natives.

In conclusion, Spanish is the official language with 87% of people speaking it, therefore Spanish will not be easy to substitute, though only time will tell.

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