LSEL 15: Cameroon English Morphology and Syntax

Artikel-Nr.: ISBN 9783895865220
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Cameroon English Morphology and Syntax

Current Trends in Action

Paul N. Mbangwana & Bonaventure M. Sala
University of Yaoundé I

The aim in this book is to do three things: compare, describe and explicate variants in the CamE word and sentence. As concerns comparison, the authors identify and categorize morphological and syntactic variants in CamE vis-à-vis the BrE-norm. As for description, Mbangwana & Bonaventure make an attempt to understand the structure of variants and assess their significance in morpho-syntactic structure in the New Englishes. Finally, the authors account for the variants by bringing out some of the factors, linguistic and non-linguistic, involved in the processes postulated.

The book answers one question: How has English been given a Cameroonian touch both at the morphological and the sentential levels? In answering this question, some of the processes and strategies are explored that underlie what can be called morphological and syntactic Cameroon-ianisms. The typical strategy as far as morphology is concerned is that of remorphemisation and demorphemisation of BrE words. As for syntactic variations, they can be grouped under overt variation (including the super ordinate clause deletion for echo-questions, that-adverbials, indirect yes/no questions, ostensive modificators and modifier relative operators), covert variation (including the special uses of verbs of perception like the verb smell and abuse-verbs, when clauses, until clauses and the conjunction but) and variation engendered by the difficulty of handling BrE transformational rules (including the tendency to avoid movement transformations in questioning and passivisation, the avoidance of self-embedding transformations in favour of right-branching transformations, the conjunctive use of subordinators, post-movement P-deletion and the avoidance of empty categories).

Cameroon, like most ex-British colonies, uses English as a second language by making it a medium of interpersonal communication, useful in expressing their typical meanings and thought patterns. English in such an environment adapts itself to the users’ experiences and ways of life, so as to increase and enrich its level of usability. Mbangwana & Bonaventure demonstrate that the structures christened morpho-syntactic Cameroon-ianisms are structures that were not taught, at least overtly, in class but have emerged naturally and steadily as a generating norm for the Cameroonian community. This explains why certain structures that do not figure in official textbooks, still manage to creep into Cameroonian English. These are strategies introduced to combat the complex grammatical rule system of BrE or to create logic where none existed before in BrE. This means that CamE is acquired (not learnt) in Cameroon. Mbangwana & Bonaventure put forward the Grafting-over-Transfer Hypothesis (GTH) to account for such a phenomenon.

ISBN 9783895865220. LINCOM Studies in English Linguistics 15. 200pp. 2009.

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