Language of the Day: Sãotomense

6327087780_bf85dc90b9_zLet’s take a journey…

The weekend may be over but we are heading out to a tropical island. Rising mountains with streaming rivers cover the central part of the island and are surrounded by with shores which are covered in the light coloured sand that is warm to the touch all year around. To the east are the waters of the Gulf of Guinea shortly followed by western Africa and right at the southern tip of the island lays the equator meaning that the island basks in the heat of the sun from January to December.

We find ourselves on the island of São Tomé and Príncipe a place founded by Portuguese explorers in the fifteenth century who named the then unhabituated island after Saint Thomas. It is here that we find the language of Sãotomense and the people who speak it.

Sãotomense, also known as Forro is a Portuguese based Creole language which is separate from the Portuguese dialect which is also spoken in the area. The language is spoken by around seventy thousand people and is used in social groups of middle aged and older people, with the youth having switched to the Portuguse dialect, São Tomean Portuguese.

The culture and language are a unique fusion of African and Portuguese and are rich in history and even though the youth have started switching to a new language the Sãotomense language and culture is still preserved and very much still intact.

Thanks for joining us on this journey in language.

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