Improving the visibility of Equatorial Guinea as a Spanish-speaking country (SNF research project)

Sandra Schlumpf-Thurnherr, Sara Carreira

Equatorial Guinea is until today a fairly unknown spot in the Spanish-speaking world. Its invisibility in studies about Spanish is intensified by a widespread lack of knowledge and consciousness about this only Hispanophone country in southern Africa and a still dominantly European view on African realities based on (post)colonial stereotypes, evaluations and hierarchizations. Although some important authors in the field of Spanish linguistics (e.g., De Granda, Quilis, Casado-Fresnillo or Lipski) have dedicated part of their work to Equatorial Guinea, modern publications are rare, especially within sociolinguistics and glottopolitics, despite the uniqueness of Equatorial Guinea’s history, sociolinguistic situation and language contacts.

This research project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and aims at filling the existing research gap about Equatorial Guinea and at improving its visibility as part of the global Hispanophone world. Its main objective is to generate modern sociolinguistic and dialectological language descriptions of Equatoguinean Spanish through the collection and analysis of sociolinguistic guideline interviews and linguistic tests and questionnaires in different parts of Equatorial Guinea (Island of Bioko and mainland Río Muni). The interview transcripts will constitute the first modern and digital corpus of spoken Equatoguinean Spanish. Digital analyses of specific linguistic features combined with the results from the tests and questionnaires will allow to elaborate modern dialectological descriptions of the Equatoguinean variety of Spanish. Like this, we will be able to propose un updated classification of the Equatoguinean Spanish (or the continuum of varieties) and to get a more accurate view on its role within the Hispanophone world. Further, the interview corpus will make sociolinguistic analyses on language perception, attitudes and ideologies possible and gives us important insights into the self-positioning of Equatoguineans as Spanish-speakers.


Dialectological study about the Spanish of Equatorial Guinea

Sara Carreira 

This research work is carried out in the context of the project «Improving the visibility of Equatorial Guinea as a Spanish-speaking country» funded by a SNSF grant and headed by Prof. Dr. Sandra Schlumpf-Thurnherr. The main objective is to generate a modern dialectological description of Equatoguinean Spanish on different linguistic levels. The key research methodology of this PhD project consists in the elaboration and conduction of linguistic tests and questionnaires, which allow to collect data about the use of selected linguistic features in Equatoguinean Spanish. The descriptions will be complemented by the analysis of sociolinguistic guideline interviews. Like this, answers can be given to the question about the internal (diatopic, diastratic, diaphasic and ethnic) homogeneity or diversity of the Equatoguinean Spanish and classical descriptions of this variety of the Spanish language can therefore be revised, modernized and completed. All this leads to a varied view on Equatorial Guinea which questions (and where necessary refutes) stereotypes, promotes the awareness of Equatorial Guinea within the linguistic research community and finally improves the visibility of the unique Hispanophone country in southern Africa.  

Dialect contacts in contexts of migration. The case of the Equatoguinean immigrants in Madrid, Spain

Sandra Schlumpf-Thurnherr

Sociolinguistic study about the immigrants from Equatorial Guinea in the Autonomous Community of Madrid, Spain. Primary research methodology: semi-directed interviews composed of life story interviews; linguistic questionnaires.

Summary: Despite the fact that Equatorial Guinea is the only Spanish-speaking country in the Sub-Saharan Africa — and constitutes, therefore, a singular case in the Spanish-speaking world —, it has very little visibility in studies about the Spanish language. In a similar way, the Equatoguinean immigrants have never been subject of any research on language and migration. This project aims to study the sociolinguistic situation of the Equatoguineans in Madrid, especially the importance of languages and language / variety contacts during the integration process, as well as the immigrants’ attitudes towards the involved languages and dialects.


"Yanito" among the young population of Gibraltar: Bilingualism, Identity and Language attitudes

Marta Rodríguez García

Gibraltar is a British territory located at the southern edge of the Iberian Peninsula in which a unique cultural and linguistic situation has evolved. Previous studies have shown interest in generational analysis, focusing special attention on linguistic changes and evolution. Those analyses register an almost-exclusive use of Spanish among the oldest generation and a drastic switch to English (official language) among the youngest generation. The use of English, not only in official and formal situations, but also in a familiar context, seems to be accompanied by the loss of Spanish among the young (Kellerman 2001; Moyer 1992; Weston 2013). However, no much research has been done on either a comprehensive analysis of bilingualism and its connection to language attitudes and identity, or on the language of younger generations.

This project focuses on getting an understanding of the linguistic situation among the young population in Gibraltar. The aim is to determine if bilingualism and the vernacular language of the community: yanito/llanito continue to be part of the linguistic and cultural identity of the new generations aged between 18 and 35. For this purpose, the project conducts an analysis of two different objects using an online methodology: first, focus groups and daily conversations in search of speech patterns and pragmatic elements; secondly, attitude questionnaires to show linguistic attitudes and perceptions of this sector of the population which represents the future of the linguistic community of Gibraltar.


Instrucción explícita de la gramática del español como lengua extranjera

Ángel Berenguer-Amador

Este proyecto pertenece al campo de la enseñanza explícita de la gramática —especialmente la sintaxis— del español como lengua extranjera. Parte del modelo de procesamiento del input (VanPatten 2015) y sigue el principio metodológico de atención a la forma (Long 2015: 316-321), que presta atención especial a las conexiones entre lengua y significado. Dentro de esta línea y aplicada a la enseñanza del español, se halla la gramática operativa de Ruiz Campillo (1998, 2006).

En esta primera fase del proyecto, la investigación se centra en la enseñanza de las construcciones concesivas, especialmente en los usos de los modos y de los tiempos verbales.


Referencias bibliográficas:

Long, Mike (2015): Second Language Acquisition and Task-Based Language Teaching. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.

Ruiz Campillo, José Plácido (1998): La enseñanza significativa del sistema verbal: un modelo operativo. Tesis doctoral. Universidad de Granada.

Ruiz Campillo, José Plácido (2006): «El concepto de no-declaración como valor del subjuntivo. Protocolo de instrucción operativa de la selección modal en español», en: Pastor Villalba, Carmen (ed.): Actas del programa de formación para profesorado de ELE 2005–2006.Múnich: Instituto Cervantes de Múnich.

VanPatten, Bill (2015): «Input Processing Instruction in Adult SLA», en: VanPatten, Bill y Williams, Jessica (eds.): Theories in Second Language Acquisition. An Introduction. New York / London: Routledge, 113-134.



Sandra Schlumpf-Thurnherr, Beatrice Schmid, Ángel Berenguer-Amador

Since 1999, the language of the Eastern Sephardim (Judenspanisch, Ladino, Judesmo, Spaniolisch) constitutes an important research topic of the linguistic section of the Seminar für Iberoromanistik at the University of Basel. 

Our interest is focused primarily on the investigation and documentation of the modern Judeo-Spanish language in order to investigate how it had been applied orally and in written form by the descendants of the Jews expelled in 1492 from the Iberian Peninsula. We are essentially studying the language of the Sephardic communities in the former Ottoman Empire during the second half of the 19th century and first decades of the 20th century.

Link to the Ladino-research group