10 Words to Know in Equatoguinean Spanish
Equatoguinean Spanish is absolutely one of a kind.
Equatorial Guinea is the only country in Africa where Spanish is one of the official languages (in addition to French and Portuguese). Like every Spanish-speaking nation, this country has its own unique brand of accent, dialect, and slang.
Equatorial Guinea’s rich history and cultural background led to its special version of Spanish. The country’s geography and colonial history has shaped the nature of the Equatorial Guinea Spanish language. Over the centuries it has become distinct from all other Spanish dialects.
Let’s journey to beautiful Equatorial Guinea in Africa and access a list of the top 10 key Equatoguinean Spanish words to learn.
A Brief History of Equatorial Guinea and Equatoguinean Spanish
This territory has passed through many hands throughout its history. It’s a relatively small parcel of land on the west coast of Africa, along with an island. Check out this Equatorial Guinea map:
Starting in the 15th century, Portugal controlled the region. The Portuguese later ceded the territory to Spain in the 18th century.
The Spanish wanted to use it to capture people for slave work in Latin America. Yet, yellow fever soon caused the Spanish to retreat. That’s when the British took control of the land for a time.
Finally, the Spanish returned in the 19th century. They remained in power until 1968, just over 50 years ago, when Equatorial Guinea declared independence.
According to Ethnologue, Equatorial Guinea is home to approximately 737,000 Spanish speakers. Virtually all of them speak Spanish as a second language. According to the 2015 Census, the total population of Equatorial Guinea was approximately 1.23 million.
Most people are native speakers of languages indigenous to the region, such as:
The title of the national anthem is “Let’s Walk the Path” (Caminemos pisando la senda). The country’s literacy rate is an impressive 95%.
5 Equatorial Guinea Spanish Distinctions
Equatorial Guinea’s native languages influence each individual’s pronunciation and grammar. This linguistic diversity results in a great deal of variation in the Spanish spoken in Equatorial Guinea.
Here are 5 key distinctions to note:
1. Pronunciation Differences
Equatoguinean Spanish features specific variations in pronunciation compared to Latin American Spanish or Castilian:
- The -s at the end of a syllable or word is usually strongly pronounced, but it is sometimes omitted
- d may sound like r
- there’s typically not a distinction between r and rr
Again, the linguistic diversity in Equatorial Guinea means that these pronunciation guidelines vary greatly between speakers. The pronunciation rules in a speaker’s native language influences their Spanish pronunciation.
2. Pairing Usted as a Subject with Tú Verb Forms
In colonial times, Spaniards in Equatorial Guinea expected locals to address them with more formality using usted. Meanwhile, they would address the locals with the informal tú and its associated verb tenses. This explains why modern speakers of Equatoguinean Spanish mix usted and tú.
3. Verbal Inconsistencies
Word stems and verb conjugations tend to vary in Equatoguinean Spanish.
Listeners may also notice inconsistent subject-verb agreements in addition to the pairing of usted and tú mentioned in the previous point.
4. Preposition Use
While it’s common to use the following prepositions interchangeably, they are sometimes omitted:
- From (de)
- To (a)
- In (en)
For example, vamos en escuela could be stated to mean “we’re going to school” (rather than vamos a la escuela).
5. Noun-Adjective Agreement
Another factor of Spanish as a second language is that nouns and adjectives may not match as required by the formal Spanish grammar rules. (This is also the case for Mayan speakers of Spanish as a second language in Guatemala, for example.)
This is true of both number and gender. A feminine noun may be paired with a masculine adjective or a plural noun with a singular adjective.
10 Words to Know in Equatorial Guinean Spanish
Now that we’ve learned the basics about Equatorial Guinea and its inimitable dialect of Spanish, let’s learn 10 fun words and phrases spoken there!
To learn some slang words from other Spanish-speaking countries, check out:
- 20 Cuban Slang Words That Will Make You Sound Native
- 20 Mexican Slang Words You Need to Know Before You Travel
- 35+ Must-Know Spanish Slang Words Used in Central America
1. I don’t know – Antéose
Instead of the typical no sé, people who speak Equatoguinean Spanish say “Antéose.”
¿Qué vas a hacer hoy?
What are you going to do today?
I don’t know.
2. News, gossip – La tori
Even though this noun has just one r, it’s pronounced “to-rri,” as if it had a double r (rr).
¿Escuchaste la tori?
Did you hear the news?
3. What? – ¿Ustin?
Another way to ask qué in Equatorial Guinea Spanish is ustin.
No te escuché. ¿Ustin?
I didn’t hear you. What?
4. Disrespectful – Fitiati
El hijo estuvo muy fitiati con sus papás.
The son was very disrespectful toward his parents.
5. Messy, disorderly – La chacra
La casa es una chacra.
The house is a mess.
6. Girl – La tosa
Mira la tosa chiquita.
Look at the little girl.
7. Money – Bikieñññ
This is a slang term for “money” in Equatorial Guinea Spanish.
Lend me some money.
8. Wow – Xium
Pronounced “shum,” this word expresses surprise or amazement.
Mira el arco iris. ¡Xium!
Look at the rainbow. Wow!
9. God! – Añambe
This word is akin to the English expression, “God!” or “Oh my god!”
10. Taxi – El tapi
One letter changes in this Equatoguinean Spanish variation of the word. Instead of calling a taxi when you need to get a ride somewhere, you call el tapi.
Perfect Your Spanish
By practicing your Spanish conversation skills today, you empower yourself to connect with native Spanish speakers everywhere—including in Africa! Being able to speak Spanish makes travel to Spanish-speaking countries both easier and more meaningful.
Moreover, did you know that being bilingual also improves your cognition and decision-making abilities?
Sign up for a free trial class to practice your conversational skills in preparation for your trip to Equatorial Guinea, Spain, or Latin America! Our friendly, certified teachers at Homeschool Spanish Academy are ready to help you improve your Spanish skills!
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