Structure dataset 35: Santome

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 35.

Santome is a Portuguese-related creole language spoken primarily on the island of S. Tomé in the Democratic Republic of S. Tomé e Príncipe by some 60.000 people (2012), which corresponds roughly to one third of its population, and by an unknown number of speakers in the diaspora (e.g. Portugal and Angola). Compared to previous censuses (1991, 2001), the number of speakers appears to be dropping quickly, which is related to the ongoing shift to Portuguese, the official language. In fact, monolingual speakers of Santome are nowadays hard to find. As a non-official language, Santome is essentially an informally used spoken language that is growingly confined from a geographical, generational and functional perspective, which means it is more likely to find fluent speakers in non-urban settings and among older generations. Music is the one of the few domains where the language is still thriving. The data used in APiCS (default lect) were generally drawn from transcriptions of mostly 40 to 80 year old native speakers from different non-urban areas of S. Tomé who were recorded in 1997 and 2001. A few written sources were used as well. Whenever necessary, the data for the atlas were double-checked or elicited with the help of other native speakers. The speech varieties of the recorded L1 speakers and the consultants are relatively homogeneous but should be seen within a wider picture of L1/L2 variation, language attrition and change.

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No. Feature Value Details Source
No. Feature Value Details Source


Pulmonic Consonants
Place → Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
↓ Manner Bilabial Labio­dental Linguo­labial Dental Alveolar Palato-
Retroflex Alveolo-
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal
/ Epiglottal
Nasal m n ɲ
Stop p mp mb t ⁿt ⁿd k ŋk g ŋg
Sibilant affricate t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Non-sibilant affricate
Sibilant fricative s z ⁿz ʃ ʒ ⁿʒ
Non-sibilant fricative f ⁿf v
Approximant l j ʎ
Flap or tap
Trill r
Lateral affricate
Lateral fricative
Lateral approximant
Lateral flap


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back Close Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open ihigh front unrounded vowel nasalized high front unrounded vowel uhigh back rounded vowel nasalized high back rounded vowel ehigher mid front unrounded vowel nasalized higher mid front unrounded vowel ohigher mid back rounded vowel nasalized higher mid back rounded vowel ɛlower mid front unrounded vowel ɔlower mid back rounded vowel alow central unrounded vowel nasalized low central unrounded vowel

Special segments

Other segments
 ɓ  voiced bilabial implosive plosive
 w  voiced labial-velar glide
 ɗ  voiced dental/alveolar implosive plosive


       Exists (as a major allophone)
       Exists only as a minor allophone
       Exists only in loanwords
No. Feature Value Details Source