The official languages of Equatorial Guinea are Spanish, French, and Portuguese. The country was formerly known as Spanish Guinea (while under colonial administration from Spain) and this is reflected in the wide use of the language. Spanish is taught in schools and is also used widely as an inter-ethnic communication tool. In addition, Spanish is used by the majority of media outlets in the nation.
Spanish is spoken by approximately 90% of the population which equates to around 1.1 million people. Equatorial Guinea is the only African country that has Spanish as an official language. French is spoken by 2.5% of citizens and the language became a compulsory school subject in 1988. This was due to the close economic relations shared between France and Equatorial Guinea in the 1980s and has lead to the growth of French in the country. Less than 2.5% of citizens speak Portuguese as their native language which was made the third official language in 2007. Deeming Portuguese an official language helped Equatorial Guinea strengthen relations with Portugal.
As mentioned earlier, Spanish is often used as the inter-ethnic dialect in Equatorial Guinea and is spoken by an overwhelming majority of citizens. Spanish phrases such as "buenos dias" (good morning), "mucho gusto" (nice to meet you), and "beunos noches" (good night), are a great place to start. "Por favor" means please and "gracias" means thank-you. If all else fails, the phrase "yo no comprendo", means "I do not understand".
Minority languages in Equatorial Guinea include Annobonese which is a Portuguese-Creole language, Creole English, Ibo, German, and Pichinglis. Fang and Bubi are the most prevalent indigenous languages in Equatorial Guinea and over 95% of the population can read or write in at least one dialect. Interestingly, citizens from the country will usually have both Spanish and African names.
This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018
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