The book describes Cameroon Pidgin English, focusing on its pronunciation,
grammar and vocabulary.
Pidgin English has been in active use in Cameroon for over 500 years; it
started in the Slave Trade years, resisted a German ban during the German
annexation period (1884-1914) and survived post-independence neglect. It
took flight when it became a makeshift language used in plantations and,
today, it has left the plantations for the homes and other domains of
The first attempt to codify this language was made by the Catholic Church,
which used it to produce a number of religious materials including the
catechism. The second attempt was made by textbook writers for American
Peace Corps, who have to learn the language when they arrive Cameroon as
they need it to communicate with people in rural areas. The present work
sets out to bring together, in a single document, the characteristic
features of this language.
The work is divided into two parts. Part One comprises two chapters. The
first gives background information on Cameroon, focusing on its geographic
and economic situation. Then it examines the evolution of Pidgin, the place
of this language in the linguistic landscape of the country, the users of
this language, the domains of its use and finally the status and future
prospects of this language in Cameroon. The second chapter, which describes
the linguistic features of the language, outlines the research design that
underlies the subsequent study of the pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary
of this language.
Part Two is a dictionary which provides a lexical inventory of common
present-day Pidgin English items used by spoken media practitioners to
inform and entertain listeners and viewers on a daily basis. In the
Appendix, sample spoken media texts are reproduced.