Indigenous Language Use and Development Communication in the Health Sector: The Case of COVID-19 in the Cameroon Media
|African languages and Linguistics|
No of pages
|MS Word & PDF|
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One of the considerations of effective development communication is the use of a common language between developers and those that the development has to impact. This is even more critical in the health sector where epidemics and pandemics sometimes break out and raise the need for emergency response. Cameroon finds itself in a situation where there are over 280 indigenous languages with only two official languages which are not spoken by all citizens. Obviously, therefore, English and French are not the only languages used in public sensitization for development projects. But the indigenous languages are not given the same importance as the official languages despite their critical role in the success of development projects. This study, therefore, focuses on the use of indigenous languages in the public sensitization about the COVID-19virus by the Cameroon media. Underpinned by the diffusion of innovation theory by Everett Rogers, the knowledge gap hypothesis of Tichenor et al, the Sapir Whorf, and two-step flow theories. The study adopted a mixed method. The quantitative data was analyzed using a chi-square test statistical data and a thematic analysis was employed for the qualitative data. The findings revealed that, due to the literacy and socio-economic difference that exists between Cameroonians, there is a discrepancy in the media distribution of COVID-19 information in different communities in Cameroon. Hence, the population’s poor adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures. The finding, therefore, confirmed the main hypothesis that stipulates that development projects have been impacted by the use of indigenous languages in the media. The study recommends that the government should use the indigenous language of each community through its local radio for the effective sensitization of the population of Cameroon on development projects.
Further reading: Projects topics with materials in African langauges and linguistics