A Grammar of Pichi by Kofi Yakpo

By Kofi Yakpo

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Sample text

However, Port Clarence was one of the busiest ports in the region and the majority of ships that called there flew the British flag (Lynn 1984: 265-266). The small population of Port Clarence provided indispensable services to the ships and dealt routinely with the crews of ships moored in the harbour. Some of the communication in such situations presumably took place in English. There was thus probably enough opportunity for non-literate residents of Port Clarence to acquire some competence in English and sufficient possibility for lexical and structural influence on Pichi.

14) Pichi a. b. 5 AFFILIATION c. d. e. f. frɔ̀n smɔl big (s)trɔn [frɔ̀n ~ frɔ̀m] [sìmɔ́ ~ sùmɔ́] [bík] [(s)trɔ́n] frɔ̀m smɔl big (s)trɔng [frɔ̀m] [smɔ́l] [bíg] [(s)trɔ́ŋ] ‘from’ ‘be small’ ‘be big’ ‘be strong’ Other differences in vocabulary, phonology, and grammar stem from the divergent sociopolitical development that Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone have gone through in the last hundred years. In Sierra Leone, British colonisation and the retention of political, economic and linguistic ties with Britain after independence have reinforced the relationship between Krio and English.

Today, the language also plays an important role for the self-identification of those who grew up on the island in the face of an accelerated pace of internal migration by Equatoguineans from the mainland. Bɔn nà ya, gro nà ya, ‘born here, grown up here’ is the mark which distinguishes Pichi-speaking islanders, irrespective of their ethnic background, from the late arrivals of mainland origin who speak little or no Pichi. Equally, the burgeoning oil economy of Equatorial Guinea has led to increased urbanisation, extending multi-ethnic social networks and the spread of Pichi as a native language.

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