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    This weblog is based on DIBUSSI TANDE's personal views on people, places, issues and events in Cameroon, Africa and the world - Citizen Journalism at its finest!

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« When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts | Main | A Lesson of Tolerance in an Era of Religious Fundamentalism »

September 01, 2006

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Nico

True the fact that majority think that speaking pidgin impacts your ability to deliver colorful vocab and understandable grammar. I think it depends on who speaks the pidgin English and also at what stage in your life! A child learning pidgin as a first language will suffer tremendously when it comes to proper English. Or at least I think! This child will later on find it difficult to adhere to proper grammar and syntax of the Queen's language, while his counterparts that started off learning English are well off relatively. I think it all depends on when you learn it and when you use it.

I mean posting signs like that on a University campus is pretty darn ridiculous! These are things that should be enforced in the early stages of child development. You can't let children speak pidgin all through their childhood and teenage years (when they have little to no control over their choice of words and syntax and some of their teachers don't even speak proper English); then come tell them during their adult years (when they can actually control its use, be it written or spoken) and tell them not to use it.

We are fond of doing this in Cameroon. Instead of tackling issues at their roots, we go to the leaves. You cannot fix a problem by tackling peripheral causes. The crux and core of the issue has to be the main focus of attention. You want to erradicate corruption, you take the big wigs that promote it- Presidents, then vices, not Civil Servants who embezzled marginal sums from the state.

I said it, allez dire!

Awudu

Hi Nico,

You seem to have read my thoughts on this matter. What we see here is the continued infantalization of the Cameroonian mind. How can you punish an adult in the university for speaking the language of his or her choice. Are we going to spoonfeed the future leaders for ever? that is why cameroonian university graduates are so ill prepared for the real world upon graduation - there is no one to give them orders, to tell them what to do and what not to do.

I however disagree with you about the effect of pidgin on a person's language skills. We have always spoken Pidgin in my family but that never stopped me from speaking or writing English correctly because I was fortunate enough to have had English teachers who knew what they were doing. That is where the problem lies. I am sure most of us have heard stories of those kids born overseas who spoke only English at home and at school but could never pass O/levels English even if their lives depended upon it.

Teach students to speak and write English correctly at primary and secondary school level and it wouldn't matter whether they speak Pidgin or Mungaka all day long. The UB authorities are simply selling after the market, and adopting a knee-jerk reaction to a problem whose cause and solution are found elsewhere.

Ambenor

Having not set foot on the UBuea campus in the last 10 years, I have no idea what the students speak. I do not think pidgin should be banned or driven underground, I see a problem if students predominantly yap in pidgin on campus. There must have been something that drove the authorities to take these measures. There is not yet a physics textbook in pidgin. In a serious academic environment, there needs to be discussion in the language(s) of instruction.

Hans

In my American university here in the State of Texas, students speak all types of languages on Campus that have nothing to do with "the language of instruction" - Korean, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Urdu, etc. Instead of trying to ban these languages, all students are mandated to take a series of English languages causes at different levels. That is where the solution lies. What is the purpose of forcing students to speak bad English (isn't that the problem) on campus when university authorities are not giving them the real tools for learning to master English?

Ambenor

Sure, Hans, what the American University is doing is one way of achieving mastery of English, but practice through frequent usage is a necessary corollary. American society reinforces the use of English in so many other ways, that cause the Chinese and others to improve their English above and beyond the classes. We are facing more of an uphill battle with the pervasive use of French and the blending of French with English, which is more of a threat to English mastery than pidgin IMO. I just happen to think that encouragement of English is better than the suppression of Pidgin. Pidgin is the language of ease and relaxation. It cannot be destroyed.

paolo  laurent

thats just enforcing the french camerun
idiology of looking down on us southern cameroonians, just as they called all nigerians or any english speaker (biafra)
they sort to think that we dont cant speak
our own language ,onlky pidgin, and since they own the UB,
they would go all length to enforce all sorts of coakroch laws, even killing our sisters and brothers with guns foe seeking
toilets and drinkind taps on campus.
the solution is simple, we bond together and boycott they francs and jobs.
and collective creat our own university ,without accepting a penny from their govt.

Achiri

The real problem with the falling standards of the english language in Cameroon is the influence of french and not pidgin english.I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.All you need to do is take a walk down some street in Yaounde or Douala and have a look at the signposts.Authentic pidgin english is being hijacked by francophones with the inclusion of french words that completely corrupts the language.Telling Cameroonians to shun pidgin english is tantamount to saying that a Bakwerian should stop speaking bakweri or a person of Beti origin should stop speaking beti. Instead of developing the language we are encouraged to shun it. Why do Americans and British,Irish, and Australians speak English their own way?
We need to develop pidgin english to the level of a standard language instead of shunning it.

paolo  laurent

pidgin is not only an identity for
southern cameroonians, but a language used
all over west africa, eg nigeria ,ghana.
is french cameroon education system better than any of these countries?
no. all pidgin speaking countries are far
ahead of french cameroun. soo the idea
is not pidgin is the absence of home rule, TOTAL INDEPENDENCE, SOO SOUTHERN CAMEROONIANS, MAY SPEAK AND DO WHAT EVER PLEASES THEM. IF SOME YAM HEAD AS EYAYA, OR MBONDA THOMAS, OR KOUMSAA ET ALL
DOESNT LIKE IT ,HE SHOULD MOVE BAR TO HIS COUNTRY, LA REPUBLIQUE DU CAMEROUN.
THESE PEOPLE CAME AND MET PIDGIN, IN SOUTHERN CAMEROONS, CAUSE THEY PAYING FOR THE SOLE ANGLOSAXON UNIVERSITY, THEY WANNA BRING ALL SORT OF NONSESENSE.
PEOPLE WHO DOESNT EVEN HAVE THEIR OWN IDENTITY TO START WITH,

THEIR PRESIDENT, MBIYA THINKS HES FRENCH MAN, HE EVN HAVE FRENCH CITIZENSHIP SOO ARE HES ENTUORAGE, YET HE THINKS HES IMMOTAL. REAL BASTARDS.

emmanuel egbe

GREET PROFESSOR PAULINE LYONGA. HOUSING. IT IS ALMOST OVER.

CAMEROONIAN

I DO THINK THAT ALL OF US CAMEROONIANS HOME AND ABROAD SHOULD BE BROTHERS AND SISTERS. WE SHOULD REFRAIN FROM KILLING EACH OTHER.

EMMANUEL  ACHEM  EGBE

GOSSIPING AND EACH OTHER OVERSEAS IS NOT GOOD. ALL OF US HAVE FAMILIES TO FEED. COOPERATE WITH EACH OTHER, SHARE IDEAS, HOUSING, JOBS , AND PROGRESS TOGETHER. TOGETHER WE CAN. YES WE CAN, DO IT TOGETHER.

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