16 Jun Spanish in Africa
African Spanish? It has been called the Spanish Unicorn, but unlike unicorns, it does exist. Equatorial Guinea, known as the Spanish Sahara, is a small country located on the western coast of the African continent and is a little smaller than the size of the state of Maryland (USA). Spanish is the primary language spoken and is the official language of the country.
Equatorial Guinea has a rich history and cultural background that paved a way for a unique dialect of Spanish. Throughout history, Equatorial Guinea territory has passed through many hands. In the 1400’s Portugal controlled the territory but ceded it to Spain in the 1700’s. Yellow fever caused the Spanish to retreat and the British took over for a while. Spain returned again in the 1800’s and remained until Equatorial Guinea declared its independence in 1968.
The Spanish Language spoken in Equatorial Guinea is shaped by its colonial history which makes it different from any other form of Spanish in the world. There is a lot of variation between Speakers. Most people are native speakers of the many languages indigenous to the region and speak Spanish as a second language. The linguistic diversity and manifold native languages influence each individual’s pronunciation and grammar when speaking Spanish.
One main difference between Equatoguinean Spanish and other types of Spanish is pronunciation. For example:
- S at the end of a syllable or word is usually strongly pronounced, but it is also sometimes omitted altogether
- D can sound like R
- There is normally no distinction between r and rr
Verbal “errors” or inconsistencies are also common. Usted (formal “you”) is often paired with the tú (informal “you”) verb forms. This is thought to stem from the fact that Spaniards in Equatorial Guinea often expected to be addressed by locals as usted but addressed locals with tú and the associated verb tenses. Inconsistent subject-verb agreement beyond this are also common.
Moreover, stems, declensions, and conjugations can all vary in Equatoguinean Spanish. Prepositions may be used interchangeably or omitted altogether. De (from), a (to) and en (in) are most notably subject to this rule. While using them interchangeably is more common, they are sometimes even omitted.
One of the most common variations is that en is frequently used with motion verbs. For instance, Vamos en escuela might be used to mean “We’re going to school.” Nouns and adjectives also do not always agree. This is true of both number and gender, meaning you might hear a feminine noun paired with a masculine adjective, or a plural noun might be paired with a singular adjective.