LINGUIST List 16.3475|
Tue Dec 06 2005
Diss: Sociolinguistics: Denis: 'The Vitality of Came...'
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The Vitality of Cameroonian Laguages in Contact with French
Message 1: The Vitality of Cameroonian Laguages in Contact with French
From: BITJAA Zachée Denis <bitjaa_kodyyahoo.fr>
Subject: The Vitality of Cameroonian Laguages in Contact with French
Institution: University of Yaounde I
Program: Doctorat d'Etat
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005
Author: Bitjaa Kody Zachée Denis
Dissertation Title: The Vitality of Cameroonian Laguages in Contact with French
Beban Sammy Chumbow
Grant D. McConnell
This work entitled The Vitality of Cameroonian Languages in Contact with
French presents the results of a macrosociolinguistic analysis of the
vitality of less dominant Cameroonian languages when compared to French,
the dominant language.
The study is motivated by the fact that the use of local languages is
progressively abandoned in urban and rural areas to the advantage of
French, which has become the language of integration in the urban centres
and the main vehicular language in the Francophone provinces of Cameroon.
From the start, the study seeks to examine whether all Cameroonian
languages are affected by this decrease in usage, or if some are more
affected than others, and what are the factors that favour the phenomenon
in one group or the other. The objective of the study is to put all those
factors that ensure the vitality of a language on one side and those that
reduce it on the other, so as to build a reliable instrument for the
measurement of language vitality.
In order to set this instrument up and carry out the measurement of the
vitality of Cameroonian languages, the study embodies language practices,
language attitudes and the linguistic representations of Cameroonians in
rural and urban areas. It also examines the institutional management of
languages through language policy and language planning in Cameroon.
The study of the dynamism of Cameroonian languages that are in contact with
French has enabled us to understand that Cameroonian languages have
disappeared more from daily usage in urban than in rural areas. All local
languages are affected by this phenomenon though some are more so than others.
The non-transmission of local languages from one generation to the next,
which is one of the aspects of this language attrition, is due, on the one
hand, to sociocultural factors like the acceptance of interethnic
marriages, the location of the main language area inside or outside an
urban centre, the cosmopolitan nature of the urban centre, etc.. On the
other hand, it is caused by the attitude and representations of urban
dwellers who consider French as the prestige language that provides jobs,
material advantages, social advances and other benefits. Hence, they
consciously abandon their native languages in favour of French, that they
transmit to their children.
In semi-rural and rural areas, though the language insecurity generated by
French is felt, local languages are still transmitted normally, from one
generation to the next. French is perceived as an official language which
is suitable for formal situations, whereas the local language is used in
other domains in a true diglossic setting.
The vitality of a language is the result of the conjunction of positive and
negative parameters. The presence or absence of these factors within a
language community help to situate the language at one point along the
language vitality scale proposed in this study.
From a purely epistemological point of view, the pertinent criteria
retained in the taxonomy of Cameroonian languages differ slightly from
those retained in previous macrosociolinguistic studies on the vitality of
languages. This difference in parameters reveals that every linguistic
situation is specific and needs to be treated by taking into consideration
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