Research I: Equatorial Guinea

Equatoguineans in Madrid

In my habilitation project, I combine my research on Equatorial Guinea with the topic of migration. Due to massive emigration from Equatorial Guinea to Spain, the Equatoguinean community in Spain is today the largest outside the country. Since the 1970s, thousands of Equatoguineans have migrated to the country of the former colonial power. Initially, most Equatoguinean migrants left their country due to the political situation after the independence in 1968. In later decades, the motives for emigration are more diverse and include education, family reunion and health issues. More recently, also economic reasons are important, at least until the years of the economic crisis in Spain after 2007.

Municipalities in Madrid with the largest Equatoguinean population
Equatoguineans resident in Spain and in the Autonomous Community of Madrid (1998-2020) (INE, 2020)

In my research project, I’m studying the sociolinguistic situation of the Equatoguinean community in Madrid. For this purpose, I collected semi-structured life-story-interviews with Equatoguineans living in Madrid, which give me important insights not only into their use of Spanish in spontaneous conversations, but also into their language attitudes towards different languages and linguistic varieties. The language attitudes are of special relevance because they allow to analyze social connotations, sentimental values and ideologies linked with languages and varieties, as well as cultural norms and the social and ethnic identity of the speakers. 

In total, I carried out and audio-recorded 46 interviews with Equatoguineans in Madrid, both female and male, of two different ethnic groups: Bubi and Fang, and with different migratory trajectories (more or less years in Spain). From this interview set, I selected 24 interviews which constitute my main corpus. These interviews are already fully transcribed. Furthermore, together with my colleague Anđelka Zečević from the University of Belgrade, I have digitized and lemmatized these interviews with SketchEngine, and we are also working with concordances in the online spreadsheet-database hybrid Airtable to analyze linguistic, discursive and thematic phenomena.

Concordance in SketchEngine 

Example of "español"

Word Sketch Difference in SketchEngine

Example of "Bubi" and "Fang" 

Concordance in Airtable 

Example of the verb "ir(se)"

So far, I have been working on different topics using my interview corpus (for details, see my publications). In the field of sociolinguistics and glottopolitics, I have studied the Equatoguineans’ language attitudes toward different varieties of the Spanish language (especially, the Spanish of Madrid in comparison with the Spanish spoken in Equatorial Guinea); their language attitudes toward Bubi, Fang and Pichi; their perception of dialectological differences in the Spanish spoken by Bubi and Fang people; their ideologies about different languages; and language contacts and power relations between different languages of Equatorial Guinea.

In the field of dialectology, I have analyzed a selection of features that characterize the Equatoguinean variety of Spanish: Morphosyntax (use of movement verbs in combination with the prepositions a and en), Semantics (use of the verbs oír and escuchar), Pragmatics (use of colloquial expressions, specifically, the terms tío and tía), Lexicon (use of castizar, inculcar, disparar, chapurrear, disparar / disparate and guineo / guíneo) and metalinguistic Terminology (use of lengua, idioma, dialecto and lenguaje to refer to different languages of Equatorial Guinea).

In my book Voces de una comunidad africana poco visible: los guineoecuatorianos en Madrid (published in 2022 with Diwan-Mayrit, Madrid), you can find many of the main findings of this research project.

Book published with Diwan-Mayrit, Madrid (S. Schlumpf, 2022)