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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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4 Lexical elaboration of Camfranglais


Camfranglais lexical items can be grouped into different semantic domains. As we all know, there are several types of meaning, such as denotative, connotative, associative, and stylistic meaning. What this entails is that a single lexical entry may have several shades of meaning, and thus belongs to different semantic domains. In such cases, it will be found under these different domains. Semantic domains tend to overlap, as one may entail or include the other. Some word types have a relatively low frequency of occurrence and they are grouped instead of creating separate semantic fields for them. The idea in grouping words into semantic domains is to indicate what the preoccupations of speakers of Camfranglais are, and which domains appear to be more represented than others. For example, words referring to sex, homosexuals and sensuality have been grouped under the umbrella semantic domain “Sex and Sexuality.” Terms used to denote homosexuals have also been listed under the domain “Humans and Social Relationships. All in all, there is great overlap between the different domains. Items that do not fall in any specific semantic domain were listed under the catch-all category, “miscellaneous.” Data manipulation reveals the following major semantic domains. They are first presented in the table and then discussed.

Table 2: Major semantic fields in Camfranglais


Aboki, Acteur, Aise, Akondjoh, Alamimbu, Allô, Alhadji, Anglo, Anniv, Affichage, Afficher, Ass/Asso, Atalakou, Ambiances, Ambiancer, Ambianceur, Baby, Bahat, Bala, Bams, Bamenda, Bao, Boss, Beau,...

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