From Academic Kids

This article is about the language. For the style of music and dance from northeastern Brazil, see Forró.
Forro (Forro)
Spoken in: São Tomé and Príncipe
Region: Gulf of Guinea Islands
Total speakers: 69,899
Ranking: not in top 100
Genetic classification: Portuguese Creole
Official status
Official language of: none
Regulated by: none
Language codes
ISO 639-1none
ISO 639-2cpp
See also: LanguageList of languages

Forro is a Creole language based in Portuguese spoken in São Tomé and Príncipe.

The São tomean Creole is most known as "Forro"1, language of the freed slaves or Crioulo Santomense, not to confuse Crioulo Santomense with Santomense (a variety and dialect of Portuguese in São Tomé and Príncipe).



São Tomé is an island of the Gulf of Guinea, discovered by the Portuguese in the 15th century. It was uninhabited at the time, but Portuguese settlers used the island as a center of the slave trade, and there was a need for slaves in the island. Since both parties needed to communicate, a pidgin was formed.

With the arrival of several settlers from Portugal, there was a need for women and the Portuguese quickly began having affairs with free African women. This was not only a cultural matter, even the Portuguese kings supported it for the sake of settlement. The continuous influx of slaves, helped the Portuguese pidgin to become a stable, systematic and structured native language. Later because of Dutch and French pressure to gain the island, many Portuguese settlers left. It must be remembered that children of Portuguese and black women were, eventually, not considered as African or slaves, some were considered as full right Portuguese citizens. Those mixed-raced that did not had the status of Portuguese, darker skin, often gained a "forro" declaration; because their Portuguese fathers did not want to enslave their children. Thus, this people, gained the name "forro".

Classification and related languages

Creole - Portuguese-based

Forro is a creole language based on Portuguese, the superstrate language. The substrate languages were from the Bantu and Kwa groups.

The most similar creole languages are Principense, Angolar and Annobonese, all the three are also Portuguese creoles.

Geographic distribution

Forro is spoken mainly in São Tomé Island (most of it), there are some speakers in Principe Island.


Due to the great similarity, Annobonese of Annobon, Equatorial Guinea and Principense of Principe Island can be seen has dialects of Forro.


Although the São Tomean Creole had (and still has) a restricted contact with Portuguese (seen as a prestigious language), it did preserve a larger number of the substrate languages elements, more than the Creoles of Cape Verde, that preserve fewer traces. Roughly 93% of São Tomean Creole lexicon is from Portuguese and 7% of African origin.

Although 95% of São Tomeans speak Portuguese; the islands' national language is Forro (spoken by 85%). Even though it does not have the prestige of the Portuguese language on the islands, it is evident that continuous contact with the large number Portuguese speakers did not destroy Forro, many relearn Forro when they become adults. The rich São Tomean culture also preserves an unique mixture of Portuguese and African cultures.

Writing system

There is no ortography, but the São Tomean government is already studying one, that is now being implemented.


Hello: Seja lovadu! (proposed: sejalovadu); From Port. seja louvado
Good Morning: Bom dja ô (proposed: Bondja o); From Port. Bom dia
Good Afternoon: Bos tadji ô (proposed: Boxtadji o); From Port. Boas tardes or Boa tarde
Good Evening: Boj notxi ô (proposed: Bojnotxi o); From Port. Boas noites or Boa noite
What's your name: Que nomi bo e? (proposed: Ke nomi bo e?); From Port. Que nome você tem?
My name's Pedro: Nomi mu sa Pedro; Possibly from Port. Nome meu é Pedro (somewhat incorrect Portuguese; only used in poetry).

Not everything is from Portuguese,

I live in Neves (São Tomean City): Nga-ta Tlaxa. (-ta is from "esta" and Tlaxa is from "praça")


  • [1] Forro was a declaration of freedom of a specific slave used in Portugal and its colonies. These were the most wished documents for the enslaved population.


  • Forro ( Ethnologue report on Forro.
  • Declaraçón Universal di Dirêtu di Hómé ( Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Forro

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