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Multilingualism as a model: Fifty-four years of coexistence of English and French with native languages in Cameroon / Modèle de multilinguisme : Cinquante-quatre années de coexistence de l’anglais et du français avec les langues maternelles au Cameroun

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Lozzi Martial Meutem Kamtchueng and Pauline Lydienne King Ebéhédi

The authors in this volume study various facets of the long-term coexistence of French and English with native languages in Cameroon. This coexistence has many linguistic, educational and political implications. The data analyzed in the papers are collected through various methods and from various sources: questionnaires, interviews, participant observation, online sources, social media, written documents, recorded speeches and informal conversations, etc.

Les auteurs de ce volume étudient sur plusieurs facettes la coexistence de longue date entre le français, l’anglais et les langues maternelles au Cameroun. Cette cohabitation offre beaucoup d’implications linguistiques, éducatives et politiques. Les données analysées par les différents contributeurs ont été collectées au moyen de méthodes et sources diverses : questionnaires, interviews, observations participantes, sources internet, réseaux sociaux, documents écrits, discours enregistrés et conversations informelles, etc.

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General Conclusion

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As a whole, it can be retained that French is the most influential superstrate in Cameroon. This can be observed in the significant proportion of lexico-semantic items attested in Cameroon English and which originate from French. These linguistic items are integrated into Cameroon English through borrowing, compounding, derivation, word class shift, backformation, semantic extension and shift. The overwhelming dominance of the French language can also be observed in the official texts made available to the Cameroonian public: many official texts in Cameroon are available only in the French language. This problem can be solved through a good practice of translation in the country. Such a practice can contribute to the reinforcement of Cameroon official bilingualism and go a long way to consolidate national unity. On home languages, the influence of French and English is very perceptible. The long-term contact between English, French and home languages has brought Cameroonian indigenous populations to borrow from these superstrate languages many lexes which denote realities that do not originate from their sociocultural environment, but which are found therein. Such lexes are the product of western civilization. They generally belong to the domains of science and technology, administration, education, housing and accommodation, etc., and are integrated in these home languages through various linguistic processes.

The coexistence of French and English with home languages in the country has favoured the phenomenon of linguistic creativity which can be perceived in various domains of the Cameroon artistic and socio-economic life. In the domain of...

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