Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

E-mail this page

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Dissertation Information

Title: The Angolar Creole Portuguese of São Tomé: Its Grammar and Sociolinguistic History Add Dissertation
Author: Gerardo Lorenzino Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: City University of New York, Linguistics Program
Completed in: 1998
Linguistic Subfield(s): Sociolinguistics;
Subject Language(s): Portuguese
Crioulo, Upper Guinea
Director(s): John Holm

Abstract: The primary goal of this dissertation is to explore the question of the genesis and development of the Angolar Creole Portuguese of São Tomé and Príncipe (Gulf of Guinea), off the coast of West Africa. Angolar is the language spoken by descendants of maroon slaves who escaped from Portuguese plantations on São Tomé beginning in the mid-sixteenth century (1535-1550).

Due to the isolation of these maroon communities, their language kept the general structure of Santomense Creole Portuguese, the majority creole spoken on the plantations. Communication between the Portuguese and slaves, and among the slaves themselves, must have been constrained by factors such as first languages (Portuguese as well as Kwa and Bantu languages), exposure to some form of contact Portuguese prior to their arrival on São Tomé (e.g. West African Pidgin Portuguese), their length of stay on the island and their social status (free Afro-Portuguese, houseslaves). Modern divergences between Angolar and Santomense are the outcome of the lexical expansion and further restructuring which Santomense underwent as the result of its closer contact with Portuguese spoken on the plantations as opposed to differences in grammar and pronunciation which Angolar retained from early Santomense.

On the other hand, Angolar is the result of the partial relexification that Santomense underwent due to the later influence of Kimbundu- speaking Maroons. In this respect, the Angolares' existence away from the plantations was more likely to have favored the maintenance of African languages than remaining on the plantations, where exposure to Portuguese and the increasing role of Santomense as the medium of communication among slaves forced Africans to give up their native languages faster. Furthermore, the rise of the mulatto society fostered the establishment of Santomense as the common vernacular for both slaves and non-slaves. Against this setting, one may understand Angolar as the linguistic result of the Maroons1 need to develop a communicative behavior which would act as an in-group boundary maintenance mechanism, providing a symbolic value for the Angolar community and, at the same time, making their language incomprehensible to outsiders, i.e. a secret language.