Accepted Paper:

The Grammar of Indigenous Languages in African Urban Youth Languages: Questioning in Camfranglais in Cameroon  


Comfort Beyang Oben Ojongnkpot (University of Buea)

Paper short abstract:

Speakers of minority languages tend to shift to dominant languages. However, Irrespective of the fact that urban youth language users adopt structures from the dominant languages, their discursive practices are observed to be characterized by structures from indigenous languages.

Paper long abstract:

Non-native English speakers in Cameroon do not adopt the English format of asking and answering questions, thus, departing from that of English native speakers. This study aims at investigating such questioning patterns in order to demonstrate the nature of the use of African indigenous language in urban youth language. It explores Camfranglais question types so as to figure out the trends of usage vis a vis Ejagham and Kenyang, spoken in the Manyu Division in South West Cameroon. The paper explores the hypothesis that the questioning pattern of Camfranglais is more like that of African indigenous languages. Using Bourdieu's theory of Cultural Reproduction, the paper employs a mixed methods design to collect authentic online chats of 50 L2 learners from the University of Buea, Faculty of Arts. 25 Anglophone and 25 Francophone chats were collected. The paper then investigates the trends of indigenous language structures in terms of questioning patterns in Camfranglais. Such structures were matched with Ejagham and Kenyang in order to test the hypothesis of the study. An eclectic model in analyzing data is also adopted in matching the Camfranglais questioning patterns with those of Ejagham and Kenyang and ascertaining the impact on indigenous grammars on the urban language.

Panel P172
African indigenous languages as urban youth languages: the rural-urban exchange