English in Cameroon

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The multilingual situation in Cameroon and the status of English as a co-official language constitute a unique and fascinating case for sociolinguistic investigation. Drawing from first-hand material, the author investigates several aspects of this complex configuration, including the historical development of English in Cameroon, the various languages and lingua franca areas, the linguistic policy, the de facto status of English and the situation in the anglophone provinces. The speech community of the Anglophones is highlighted as a rare example of an ethnicity tied to the second language. Apart from important sociolinguistic findings, the work includes a novel, corpus-based analysis of Cameroon English. Certain lexical phenomena are explained by the cognitive coding of culture - particularly the African cultural model of community, which also underlies the self-perception of the Anglophones - a perspective hitherto neglected in the study of the New Englishes.

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Editorial Reviews

Arguing that "it is a myth to assume that a language is a homogenous entity and can be studied as such," Wolf (English and American studies, Humboldt U., Germany) identifies Cameroon English as an independent English second language national variety and examines it through the lens of sociolinguistics. He further attempts to integrate cognitive anthropology's concept of "cultural models" into the discussion in order to understand the natural processes of language- culture interaction. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Hans-Georg Wolf is Assistant Professor at the Humboldt-Universit├Ąt Berlin, Germany.

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Table of Contents

List of abbreviations
1 Introduction 1
1.1 Object and aim 1
1.2 Metatheory, methodology, and terminology 9
2 English in West Africa 29
The Gambia 33
Sierra Leone 36
Liberia 38
Ghana 40
Nigeria 41
3 English in Cameroon 45
3.1 The historical background of the linguistic situation in Cameroon 47
3.1.1 The linguistic situation before the time of the first contacts with the Europeans 48
3.1.2 Early English influences 49
3.1.3 German rule 52
3.1.4 British and French rule 64
3.1.5 The Federal Period from 1961-1972 126
3.2 The present linguistic situation in Cameroon 144
3.2.1 The legacy of France and Britain and foreign influences upon Cameroon 144
3.2.2 Languages and lingua franca areas in Cameroon 149
3.2.3 Language policy and national integration 169
3.2.4 The de facto status of English in Cameroon 179
3.3 The linguistic situation in the Anglophone provinces 187
3.3.1 The endoregional status and functions of French, Cameroon English, Pidgin English and the indigenous languages 187
3.3.2 The speech community of the Anglophones 194
3.3.3 The conditions of the acquisition of English 198
3.3.4 The acquisition of CamE through the educational system and the problem of finding a teaching model 201
3.3.5 The linguistic potential of the Anglophone speech community 217
3.3.6 The Anglophones' attitude towards English and the constitution of Anglophone "identity" 223
4 Cameroon English as a national variety 239
4.1 Some lexical peculiarities of CamE 243
4.1.1 The Frenchification of the lexicon of CamE 249
4.1.2 The nativization of CamE 261
4.2 Contextualization 267
5 The cultural model of 'community' realized in African English in general and in Cameroon English in particular 275
6 Summary 301
Maps 307
References 311
Index 351
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