Influence of Cameroon Pidgin English on the linguistic and cultural development of the French language

George Echu

Abstract


In multilingual Cameroon, where 247 indigenous languages co-exist side by side with Cameroon Pidgin English and the two official languages (English and French) of the country, the languages in place mutually influence one another. In this multilingual context, Cameroon Pidgin English (CPE) stands out prominently in view of its status as a lingua franca that transcends ethnic and regional boundaries. And though prohibited by educational authorities at different levels and very often relegated to the background, its impact continues to be felt nation-wide. Today, CPE exerts considerable linguistic influence on both English and French, be it in the area of borrowing, interference, loan translation or code switching. This paper focuses on the influence of CPE on the linguistic and cultural development of the French language. It is observed that the French language is enriched linguistically and culturally by CPE through loans which bring some vitality to the language by enabling it to express more vividly certain realities, feelings and emotions proper to the Cameroonian way of life. Thus, through the use of CPE words and expressions, new shades of meaning are brought into the French language. Consequently, CPE contributes significantly to the shaping and development of a regional variety of French peculiar to the Cameroonian context. This variety brings into the French language a lot of dynamism both on the linguistic and cultural plane in terms of vitality, lexical and semantic enrichment, semantic precision, communicative accuracy, and cultural awareness.

Keywords


Cameroon Pidgin English; language contact; French

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References


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