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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

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Academic Paper


Title: Explicating some prepositional usages in Cameroon English
Author: Alain Takam
Linguistic Field: Phonology; Sociolinguistics; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Pidgin, Cameroon
Abstract: This study investigates a number of non-interference sources of some Cameroon English (CamE) prepositional usages. It is based on the observation that the investigation of causes or sources of post-colonial Englishisms (peculiarities of newer varieties of English spoken in former English and American colonies) has so far favoured the interference factor. More clearly, post-colonial English (PCE) specificities have generally been attributed to the influence of the speakers' other tongues on their (English) production (see, for example, Platt et al., 1984; Mbangwana, 1989; Bokamba, 1992; Gramley & P├Ątzold, 1992; Asante, 1995). Although the interference factor is indeed easily perceptible in CamE, it is interesting to note that other factors might have played a major role in the emergence of English in Cameroon. In reality, there are several non-contrastive causes that could underlie some grammatical constructions of PCE in general and CamE in particular. Many such causes are being studied, especially at the phonological level. However, few studies have been devoted to the non-interference sources of CamE grammatical usages in general and preposition use in particular. This paper will thus examine how CamE speakers use prepositions to express direction and location. From the analysis, non-interference sources of a good number of CamE specificities such as the colonial factor, logicalization, analogy and tacit national norm seem to be some of the autonomous routes unconsciously used by CamE speakers to yield a variety of English that markedly differs from the standardized varieties of British English (StE), officially the target of national education.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Today Vol. 29, Issue 4.

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