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Billboard Languages: The Case of Malingo Street, Buea

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International: $20
No of pages
Qualitative research
Analytical tool
Descriptive statistics
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The study was aimed to investigate “Billboard languages: The case of Malingo street, Buea.”This project was to investigate and observe the languages written on billboards at Malingo street, Buea. Some theories where being employed in these findings such as; Language, when used effectively, can hold peoples interest.

It can also persuade people to act (Arokoyo, 2011), Spoken or written, Reece-Myron (1998) is of the opinion that the clarity of the language of expression remains the issue of first priority in billboard advertisements.

The mode used to collect data was via observation and interview. The result of these findings shows that the English language was mostly used on the billboards at Malingo street, Buea.

Malingo Street consist of about 50 billboards, and only two billboards were written in French and two in both English and French languages. It was noticed that although the area is highly plagued with Pidgin, no billboards were found written in Pidgin.



Background of the Study

According to Wikipedia, Malingo Street is situated in Buea, in the South West region of Cameroon. Buea is found in the Fako division; it is located on the Eastern slopes of Mount Cameroon and has a population of about 150,000 people.

Apart from Malingo Street, it is surrounded by other quarters and villages such as; Bova, Bonjongo, Muea, Bomaka, Great Soppo, Bolifamba, Molyko, Bokwaongo, Tole, Likombe, Buasa, Dibanda, Bwitingi, Mile 18, Bunduma, and surrounding villages.

Being located at the foot of Mount Cameroon, the climate in Buea tends to be humid, with the neighbourhoods at higher elevations enjoying cooler temperatures while the lower neighbourhoods experience a hotter climate. Buea host the University of Buea, Cameroon’s first Anglophone university.

It is the site of several other institutes of learning, including St Francis Schools of Nursing and Midwifery presently known as Biaka University Institute of Buea (BULB) and one of Cameroon’s three Catholic universities and many others.

Historical Background of the study

As stated on Wikipedia, Cameroon is a Central African country where less than 20 million people speak close to 280 languages. Cameroon owes its linguistic uniqueness in part to its history under colonialism. Germany, being its first colonial master, was defeated and her colonies were confiscated and divided between the other major imperialist powers, Britain and France.

The Southern and Northern Cameroons were given to Britain and East Cameroon to France respectively. France integrated the economy of Cameroon and improved the infrastructures with capital investment and skilled workers, modifying the system of forced labour.

The British administered their territory from neighbouring Nigeria. Natives complained that this made them a neglected “colony of a colony”. Nigerian migrant workers flocked to Southern Cameroons, ending forced labour altogether but getting the local natives angry, who felt swamped.

At independence (1st January 1960), French Cameroon gained independence from France. On 1st October 1961, the former British Southern Cameroons united with French Cameroon to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. Yaounde became the political capital and Douala economic capital. English and French became the official languages of Cameroon, which is used as a means of communication in the two regions of Cameroon.

Buea was the colonial capital of German Kamerun from 1901 to 1919, the capital of the Southern Cameroon from 1949 until 1961 and the capital of West Cameroon until 1972, when Ahmadou Ahidjo abolished the Federation of Cameroon.

The German colonial administration in Buea was temporarily suspended during the eruption of Mount Cameroon from 28 April until June 1909.

The buea population originally consisted of Bakweri people. In addition to that, Buea to present date is the capital of the South West Region of Cameroon. It is located on the Eastern slopes of Mount Cameroon.

The Buea municipality has a good number of quarters namely; Bokwaongo, Muea, Bomaka, Tole, Bolifamba, Dibanda, Bonjongo, Likombe, Malingo, Molyko and Bwitingi. However, owing to its status as a university town and the regional capital, there are significant numbers of other ethnic groups.

Statement of the problem

Since the 19th century, billboards have continued to compete as a top advertising channel. With such a life span, there is something convincing about a large, physical display that attracts a consumer’s eye for a few seconds before returning to their previous trend of thought. Visual emphasis is seen to be an emerging process identified with all outdoor advertising media. They appear to be a dual impression of the multiplicity of outdoor

billboards advertisements in recent times. Having fascinating pictures and writings excessively engage the concentration of viewers rather than create the urge in the commuters. There are many elements to consider when creating a successful billboard such as the design features, geographical placement, and simple construction of sentences, target audience and the goal of the campaign.

When assembled together, these elements listed above will constitute our statement of the problem. This is because, with all the above elements, we can form an effective billboard which will, of course, satisfy travellers, students, passers-by as well as the population of Malingo Street, Buea.

Buea is gradually shifting away from English and French language expressions to Pidgin English with reference to the fact that it is greatly used and could be easily understood by the indigenes and students living at Malingo.

More contentions are springing up against the effective display of billboards in urban centres given the fact that there is an obvious challenge that outdoor advertising is characteristically a rapid communication medium that limits copy to a few words for comprehension.

Language has a plethora of implications for creative diversities that are of unassailable identity. People with individual differences will not be able to understand the language being postulated on the billboards.

For instance, the uneducated indigenes of Malingo Street, Buea such as the bike riders, taxi drivers, the old as well as truck pushers of that locality will find it very difficult to understand some of the messages being passed on the billboards. Hence, hindering the purpose and objective of the billboards.

Language is the formative organ of thought, being the basis of all communication and should be noted that without it, no society will be able to develop. However, our research shall be focusing on the examination and analysis of language on billboards along Malingo Street in Buea.

Objectives of the study

This study is being guided by the following objectives:

To investigate the type of language used on billboards.

To demonstrate the accuracy of language on billboards.

To show the competence of billboard languages on the Malingo street.

To investigate the impact of billboard languages.    

To show the importance of language as a means of communication.

Billboard Languages: The Case of Malingo Street, Buea


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