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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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6 The construction of youth identities in discourse practice


As previously described, Camfranglais is used for horizontal communication. Language manipulation is a way of expressing an alternative identity. So functionally speaking, Camfranglais is “…the language of fun, leisure time and complicity, a language that invites word play and the creation of neologisms” (Stein-Kanjora 2008:120). This statement is clearly verifiable in the following post, copied from a Facebook group:

Vive le Cameroun - le seul pays dans lequel les gens discutent juste avec des questions. Voici un exemple :

–Gars il n’y a rien pour les pauvres?

–Mon frère que moi même j’ai quoi?

–Un boss comme toi tu pleures aussi le foirage?

–C’est le mois de janvier , tu ignores quoi?…

–Mais tes potes mbenguistes etaient la nor, ils ne t’ont rien lep?

–Je wanda sur toi hein, que mbeng leur donne le lait?

–C’est vrai hein, mais ils t’ont quand meme mis a l’aise nor?

–Sans? La bringue et moi c’etait la mort! Ce sont les dégagements que tu veux voir?

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