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3.4.e. Sao Tome and Principe

In Sao Tome they speak the Forro, the Angolar, the Tonga and the Monco (local languages), beyond the Portuguese. The Forro (also called Sao Tomean) is a Creole of Portuguese origin. It originated with the old language spoken in the cities by the population of mulatos (people with mixed parentage) and freed slaves of the cities. In the 16th century, a boat with Angolan slaves was wrecked close to the island; many of them could swim to the island and formed an apart ethnic group. This group speaks Angolar, another Creole of Portuguese basis but with more terms of Bantu origin. There are about 78% of similarities between the Forro and the Angolar. The Tonga is a Creole based on the Portuguese and on other African languages. It is spoken by the community of descending of the "serviçais" (servants), contract laborers from other African countries, mainly Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde.

The island of Principe mainly speaks the Monco (or Principean), another Creole of Portuguese basis and with possible additions of other Indo-European languages. Another language very spoken in Principe (and also in Sao Tome) is the Cape-Verdian Creole, brought by the thousands of Cape-Verdians that had emigrated to the country in the 20th century to work in the agriculture.

The current Portuguese of Sao Tome and Principe keeps many traces of the archaic Portuguese in the pronunciation, the lexicon and even in the syntactic construction. It was the language spoken by the cultivated population, the middle class and the owners of farms. Currently, it is the Portuguese spoken by the population in general, while the politicians and the high society use the European standard Portuguese, many times learned during the studies made in Portugal.

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Last updated: Feb/09/2006