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A Dictionary of Camfranglais


Hector Kamdem

This book is a simple and clear presentation of the lexis of Camfranglais, an urban youth sociolect in Cameroon. It presents this sociolect as an outgrowth of language contact phenomena that have fossilized especially around the Littoral Region of Cameroon. Methodologically speaking, it uses a lexicographic as well as an ethnographic approach to data collection. Lexical elements have been collected from such diverse sources as Cameroonian popular music, online chat groups and forums like Facebook, blogs, Youtube videos etc. Besides there were group conversations organized for the collection of data. The major strength of this book lies in the diversity and authenticity of its sources which are all traceable. Moreover, all the regular statements it makes about the origin, semantic categories, grammatical classes of the lexis of Camfranglais are the result of the necessary lexical manipulations that should precede these statements. A complete alphabetical lexicon of Camfranglais is presented, and, where possile, etymologies are given. For all entries, real examples are quoted so as to guide the reader to the usage of words. Idiomatic expressions are also presented for different lexical entries. The book will serve as reference for those working on Camfranglais as well as a starting point for lexico-semantic studies on Camfranglais.
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2 Methodology

← 22 | 23 →2 Methodology


This study used a lexicographic approach as well as ethnolinguistic methods ­similar to those used by Kießling and Reuster-Jahn (2006) in their ­investigation of urban youth Swahili in Tanzania. For different lexical items, etymologies are given where possible, as well as example sentences that had been used by ­different speakers in different contexts. Collection of lexical items began in 2010. The ­starting point was a research article on interrogation in Camfranglais and Cameroonian Popular French.10 During the review of related literature a ­lexical base of words and example Camfranglais sentences used by various ­authors was created. These articles were written in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, many of which have been cited in section 1 of this work. A list of such ­articles is given in the reference section of this study. This initial collection yielded a total of 674 uniquely occurring lexical items. The bulk of these lexical items were from the works of Kouega (2003, 2013), Tiayon (1985), Ntsobe, Biloa and Echu (2008), de Feral (1989), Feussi (2006), Fosso (1999), Kießling (2004), Ngo ­Ngock-Graux (2006), Essono (1997), etcetera (see references for a complete list). The ­advantage that these collected words offer relates to their diachronic insight, as words that belong to an older generation were collected. Such words would include, for ­example, “agogo” (watch), “wah” (girl-friend), “sharp” (difficult) and so on, which do not seem to be in popular use any longer. The next stage of the collection of lexical items was recording naturally occurring conversations....

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