by Kristal Bivona
Portuguese was declared an official language of Equatorial Guinea last year in an effort to create a bond with other Lusophone countries and earn membership into the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLC). While membership into the CPLC is still under review, Equatorial Guinea signed a Covenant of Technical Cooperation in February with the CPLC’s Instituto Internacional da Língua Portuguesa (International Institute of the Portuguese Language), an organ that aims to promote the Portuguese language within Lusophone countries while serving as a cultural ambassador in other countries.
The covenant outlines plans for a team of Lusophone linguists to travel to Equatorial Guinea to study Portuguese Creole from the Annobón province, which was an uninhabited island until Portuguese colonization in the 15th century. Due to geographic and cultural isolation, the Portuguese Creole spoken in Annobón is close to the Portuguese spoken at the time it was settled. The linguists hope to contextualize this archaic form of Portuguese on the spectrum of Lusophone languages and publish their findings. The Covenant also laid out a plan to develop the implementation of Portuguese in Equatorial Guinea and manage the cohabitation of Portuguese, Spanish and French as the three official languages.