3 Sociolinguistics of Camfranglais
← 28 | 29 →3 Sociolinguistics of Camfranglais
Sociolinguistically speaking, Camfranglais is viewed as (1) a register and (2) a sociolect. Furthermore, (3) its use and importance has grown since the end of the 1990s.
One of the main functions of Camfranglais is as a youth identity language. Youngsters learn it as they grow up, now even as early as in primary school. It is used in different peer-groups as a marker of in-group belonging and solidarity. As an identity marker, it is also used to indicate belonging to urban youth and modernity. For the biggest Camfranglais Facebook group (Ici on Topo le Camfranglais: Le Speech des vrais man du Mboa) it is “le speech des vrais man du mboa” [the way of speaking known only to true Cameroonians]. This broader Cameroonian dimension makes Camfranglais not a uniquely youth phenomenon. However, youths tend to speak it more often and better than grown-ups, who tend to speak more formally. Camfranglais is predominantly a phenomenon of the urban youth in major urban centres, but in some rural centres it may be found in secondary schools as well. In some peer-groups, it is important to be able to speak Camfranglais so as to prove one’s social maturity. However, Camfranglais is no longer necessarily spoken with antilinguistic intentions. Youths who use it do not necessarily want to hide something, although this is still a possibility. Typically, parents would not want their children to speak Camfranglais, as they view it as an impediment to speaking and writing formal French. In its...
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