Research Key

Language Interference: The English Language on the Bafaw language and the Bafaw language on the English Language

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International: $20
No of pages
Qualitative method
Analytical tool
Descriptive statistics
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Background of the study

It is a well-established fact that the English language has established itself firmly in Cameroon. Thus, its importance cannot be overemphasized. Apart from being an official Language, Adebite(2004)says that the English language is the rope that ties members of the different speech communities together in continuing inter-relationship. The English language has become a common instrument used for socio-cultural identification.

Institutionally, research has shown that the English language is the only means opened to individuals from different ethnic and linguistic groups for interaction. This shows the colossal status accorded English language in Cameroon. As summarized by Alaindele and Adegbite (1999), “English performs three broad functions of accommodation, participation and social mobility”. It means that the international status of the English language makes it performs exceptional rules and its ability to adapt easily to contextual variables is an added advantage.

On the international level, the English language plays a global integrative rule and has become the world’s lingual Franca per excellence. The quest and yearning for science and technology are also satisfied through the English language. In Cameroon, the English language performs a dual rule. It is a language of instruction, as well as a. subjects in schools and universities.

The English language is said to be the human-specific mode of expressing our thoughts through verbal and non­verbal means (that is spoken and written). We are therefore reiterating with this that the English language necessarily serves human in a multitude of ways. (Finegan 1977-1978) saw English have a great impact on the cognitive development of man: Man is able to express his thoughts and view.

In many countries, including Cameroon, English is the main language of instruction in schools. It is also used in business and other official transactions and interactions. (Otagburuagu) states that, English came into Cameroon through British colonization centuries ago and three men group of people emerge from this contact of English with the indigenous languages of Cameroon.

These groups are the British, the new Cameroonian elites trained in Nigeria and Britain and the native indigenous population trained in Cameroon. A local variant of the English language emerged from the mixing of these group of people.

This local variant of the English language was coloured by the influences of the local languages. For instance, borrowing indigenous ideas and words into English is a result of this contact. These borrowed words are called “loan words”. (Otabugburuagu 1)

Today, as the English language is used in almost every fact of life in Cameroon, is still In contact with practically all indigenous Cameroonian languages in the English speaking regions of Cameroon. When Cameroonians speak the English language, words from their indigenous languages occur in their speech and vice versa. This has been the shift of mother tongue attributes to English language construction and the result is called Pidgin English.

Statement of the problem

Before the advent of British traders, missionaries and colonialist, indigenous Cameroonian languages were capable of defining every aspect of their speech, ranging from religious, cultural, political, economic, and social to every other aspect. The language functioned effectively to deal with anything relating to the day-to-day existence of the people. However, the arrival of the British, concomitant with the English language, provided a language contact situation with an attempt to a language shift in the population.

A new set of ideas, concepts and values were introduced to the system where indigenous local languages had previously been self-sufficient rendering them inadequate to deal with the new concept introduced by the British particularly in the areas of formal education. The result was the initial subtle and later blatant instruction and influence of the English language on domains that were the exclusive preserve for indigenous languages.

Jones (1960) says, one of the problems is that British sentences are characteristically altered with variation in pitch which is referred to as intonation. This is often an area of difficulty for second language users of English who have tonal languages as their first language. This is one of the major problems encountered by learners of the English language. Other areas of problems encountered are Sentence and word stress, vowel sounds and English speech identification.

To the above, The Bafaw language is not an exception. It has been discovered that a lot of Bafaw speakers of the English language display a number of error which in some cases are lucid. Most of them exhibit these errors without any sense of remorse.

On the other hand, some sense erroneous items in their speech but to correct them, they do not have an idea. These errors manifest lexically, phonologically, syntactically, morphologically, grammatically, and even at the discuss level. All these put together to form the basis of this research.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this research is to find out if Bafaw native speakers learning the English language exhibit interference of their native language (Bafaw dialect) in the English language communicative environment and vice versa. If they do, the researcher will then identify areas of such interferences. The researcher hopes to trace them to the indigenous language, the Bafaw dialect which they use in their day-to-day communication within the community.

This study will also cover why these interferences infringe on their English language competence as well as when they occur.

Research questions

  1. Does the phonology of the Bafaw dialect interfere in the use and proficiency of the English language by its users and vice versa?
  2. Does the syntax of the Bafaw dialect interfere in the use and proficiency of the English language by its users and vice versa?
  3. Does the phonological system of the Bafaw dialect interfere in the use and proficiency of the English language by its users and vice versa?
  4. Does the morphology of the Bafaw dialect interfere in the use of proficiency in English and vice-versa?
  5. To what extend do both languages affects each other.?
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