Creoles and Typology
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
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Especially since Ferraz (1974, 1975, 1979), it has been generally accepted that the four Gulf of Guinea creoles (GGCs) — Santome (ST), Angolar (ANG), Lung’ie (LU), and Fa d’Ambô (FA)2 — are closely related languages based on historical and linguistic data. Ferraz shares his view on the type of genetic relation between these creoles in the following quote: To take the GG [Gulf of Guinea] case, it would not be plausible to assume that the contact language which developed in the town of São Tomé and the surrounding areas was the same as that which gave rise to Ang[olar], Pr[incipense], and Pag[alu]4. There are enough differences between each of these languages to rule out such a possibility. It would be closer to the truth to say that the four contact languages show many resemblances because, to a large extent, they grew up together, with slaves and settlers introduced through the central administration in São Tomé. (…). Hence different languages developed in the archipelago rather than dialects of one contact language. (Ferraz 1987: 348)This paper will reassess the linguistic relation between the GGCs and the typological contribution of the African strata. It will be argued that there is substantial linguistic evidence that the GGCs are to a significant extent the result of a common ancestor, which throughout the paper will be labelled the proto-Gulf of Guinea creole (proto-GGC), and that this common ancestor derived most of its features from its Nigerian substrate rather than from western Bantu.


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