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Kamdem, Seraphin (2020) 'From dialectal variation to standardisation, production of literature, and pedagogical implications: Revisiting the case of Ghɔmálá’, a Grassfields‑Bantu language from Cameroon.' In: Forlot, Gilles, (ed.), Variation linguistique et enseignement des langues : le cas des langues moins enseignées. Paris, France: Presses de l'INALCO, pp. 233-251. (TransAireS)

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Cameroon is officially a French English bilingual country, but it is actually highly multilingual with 286 local languages, all at various levels of standardisation. But from colonial times, and despite the Independence in 1960, none of the local languages has been granted an official status to be used in education, the administration or the public media. The two official languages of the country are still French and English, inherited from colonial times. These two languages are the ones mainly used in schools, the public administration, the official communication and the media. Local languages in Cameroon therefore stand at a crossroads of contradictions in the 21st century: whereas the majority of Cameroonian communities still use them daily in their linguistic interactions and socio cultural communication primarily in the oral realm, those same languages paradoxically are absent in those key areas of community life that matter most, namely the educational arena, and the public administration and official discourses. To add to the contradictions and paradoxes, the vast majority of Cameroonians do not have any native fluency or mastery of those official languages that are ubiquitous in education and public communication. This chapter examines the case of Ghɔmálá’, a Grassfields Bantu language from the West region of Cameroon, Africa, building its discussion on document analyses, field notes, and some data collected on the current teaching of Ghɔmálá’ within the local speech community in the West of Cameroon. Ghɔmálá’, which was adopted by UNESCO in the 1960s as one of nine languages of wider communication for Cameroon, is considered to be one of those Cameroonian languages that are thriving in comparison to the majority of the Cameroonian languages, and in terms of its print richness and use in formal education, i.e. schools and literacy classes.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
P Language and Literature
ISBN: 9782858313730
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 30 May 2022 11:03

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