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The Influence of Mungaka on the English Language

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Qualitative research
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This work examines the influence of Mungaka on the English language. It identifies those aspects of Mungaka which influences the English language. The data used here are primary and secondary. Primary from filed work with the help of a language consultant and secondary with the use of an instrument like questionnaires.

The primary objective of this work was to describe or to show how Mungaka influences the English language. Thus this work argues that Mungaka has an influence on spoken English Language.





This study examines and analyses the influence of Mungaka on the English Language. Mungaka is a native language spoken by the Bali Nyonga indigenes in the Bali Sub Division in the Mezam Division in the North West Region of Cameroon.

However, this chapter presents the geographical location of Bali, a brief historical background of Bali Nyonga, the linguistic situation of Mungaka and also a brief history on the origin of Mungaka. Thereafter the statement of the research problem, the hypothesis, objectives, scope, significance, theoretical framework, methodology and then the conclusion are all shown in this chapter.

Geographical Location of Bali Nyonga

Bali Nyonga is one of the five Chamba kingdoms of the North West Region of Cameroon. It is one of the sub-division of Mezam. Bali Nyonga is located within 9°40E and 10°50E longitude. It extends from latitudes 5°50N to 6°ION of the equator. The sub-division is bounded in the North and East by Bamenda Central Subdivision in the South by Batibo Subdivision and in the West by Mbengwi Sub Division.

The Bamenda – Mamfe road passes through Bali from this principal road. There are many secondary roads leading to villages within the subdivision and beyond. There is also an airport that connects Bali to other towns.

The Bali Nyonga subdivision covers an area of about (Conrade, 1974) with a population density then, of 125 persons per square km. Presidential decree No 66/DF/433 of 26th august 1966 initially made Bali an administrative district within Mezam division. But owing to several intervening dynamic factors, the government decided by decree No. 79/469 of 14th November 1979 to raise it to the statues of a subdivision.

Many geographical factors have enabled the Bali Subdivision to develop relatively faster than other chiefdoms in the western grass field. These include the relief structure, the drainage pattern, the climate, the vegetation and soil.

The Bali Nyonga subdivision lies at the foot of the Bambutu plateau which is the south-west limit of the western highlands. To a large extent, the sub-division is separated from its North Eastern neighbours by an escapement while her North Eastern neighbours: Nsongwa, Mbatu, Chomba, Mbu and Pinyin are located on the limits of the Bambutu plateau. Thus, Bali is a low-lying region or a basin receiving the rivers from the rest of the high land places. These rivers bring aluminium that adds to the fertility of the subdivision, making it the grain winner of the province.

It is important to note that in spite its basins structure Bali has also highlands with peaks such as Oluku (1.467m) Mbutu, Kobpin (1.388m) Mbeluh, Kumbat, Fukang (1.535m) in the North East and South-East regions. The land slopes gently from these regions into the west region has some highlands such as; Ntanko’o (1.348) Gawola a Ngwenjang.

There is also broad river valley generally oriented North East/South West following the topographical structure. Some of these include Naka Tob Mbufung, Mantum, Boh-Montoh, sepua and Kontan.

As earlier stated, Bali is drained by many rivers rising from the highlands of the Northeast and East of the region. Most of the river re intermittent whereas some are the main tributaries of big rivers. An example is the river Naka which is an important tributary of river Mentchum.

Although Bali belongs to the humid tropical zone, the rainfall is moderated by the altitude and distance from the sea. Rainfall varies between 2.000 and 3.000mm per annum. The rains are brought the by the South West monsoon trade winds which flow in perturbed over the Bali land but sometimes cannot climb the escarpment owing to the high altitude, thereby enabling Bali to receive relief raising because of its structure. The rainfall is seasonal, between March and October. The dry season starts from November and ends between March and October. The dry season starts from November and ends in mid-march recording tilted rain.

Bali is the foot of the extinct volcanic mountains consequently it belongs to the volcanic soils. The rich soils as well as the alluvium brought by rivers and the rather long rainy season have altogether favoured two farming seasons in Bali. Meanwhile, the hill slopes which are generally underlined by lateritic soils are less fertile but enable the growth of grass on which cattle is grazed.

It will therefore be noticed from the foregoing brief geographical introduction that, Bali subdivision lies on a favourable relief feature and it is blessed with a good drainage pattern that does not only supply water but also brings alluvium to add to its fertility. The climate and vegetation is a combination of enviable human and animal attractions and the geology underlining, adds to the basic soil requirements for man’s habitation since time immemorial. Such an attraction must have led to many groups scrambling for its occupation so much so that, it is difficult today to state who the original occupants were. Our attempt to trace the outline history of Bali however will lead us to identify some of the recent occupants of this admirable region.

A Brief Historical Background of Bali Nyonga

The exact origin of the Chambas is not clear but oral traditions say that they came from the East via Sudan and settled in the North between Nigeria and Cameroon. At their settlement near river Benue, they founded the Dindi Kingdom and Mingled with the Puli Mbatsu’ (Redlip Fulani), and taught them farming and occasional Fulani raid led by Adama forced them to leave their settlement in the Adamawa Province of Cameroon. On their way to Adamawa, they incorporated the Balo – Kontcha, Nauli, Balede and the Buti Suga tribes into their kingdom. On reaching Adamawa, they settled East of Ngaoundere where some Tikar groups joined them to form a Chamba raiding mounted – bowmen to which the name “Ba’ ni” was given. They camped in Wiya clan and carried out several raids during which time Bui’s old capital of Kovifem was raided. They then moved Eastwards while incorporating the Kufads and finally to Banyo where some Tikali and more Buti people joined them.

Due to some unknown reason, the Chamba tribe broke into two, one led by Gynda moved North westwards towards Takum while the other led by Gawolbe, son of Gangsin moved to the Bamenda area while continuing with their war raids. Gawdbe’s contingent set up a war camp at Ngie, while some raiding parties succeeded, the one that went to Mundani and southern Moghamo had a counter-attack. Consequently, a joined group fought at Bakem – Bafu funding near Dschang where they lost most men, horses and most of all, their leader Gawolbe. The death of Gawolbe caused a split of the Chamba into seven continents. Ganyama led the Mudi contingent North words through Bamenda to form the Benue Chamba. Part of Ganyama formed a village now in the Fru Awa district in Menchum division. Galanga led his group and founded Bali Kumbad, Gavabi founded Bali Kumbad, Gavabo founded Bali Gangsin and Gaam founded Bali Gashou in Ndop subdivision. Nyongpasi – son of princes Na’ Nyonga founded Bali Nyonga. Bali N’Kohtan whose leader is not known first settled at the present site occupied by Bali Nyonga.

Nyongpasi led his contingent where in an attempt to defeat them was instead expelled with his followers. They incorporated the Batis, wons, kundems, Fulengs, Munyams, Ngiams, Sangams, sets, Ngods, laps and the Ndiangs and crossed the River Nun to acquire their present site. The Batoks (Bawocks) and the Kumjas came in later. Today, all the incorporated people form the major population of Bali Nyonga and are referred to as “Banten or Lo’Lo” people. The ba’nis who are the indigenous Bali comprise the Peli Buti Kontcha, Buti Suga, Tikali, Kufad and Ti. There are still many people who came from other tribes living in Bali Nyonga. Source: (Fokwang John in his Bali popular Names)

Linguistic Situation of Mungaka

Haven situated Bali Nyonga geographically and historically we shall now discuss its linguistic situation or classification. Before doing that we shall, first of all, understand what linguistic classification is all about.

Classification deals with the grouping of languages into families according to their linguistic typologies. Linguistic classification helps to establish a historical relationship between languages. Many linguists have attempted the classification of African linguist have attempted the classification of African languages but the most used is that of Joseph Greenberg (1966). The classification of languages however led to the discovery of four language phyla that is Afro-asiatic Nilo – Saharan, Niger Congo and Kohisan.

According to Grimes (1992), the Niger Congo language phylum has 1.436 languages and as such possesses the largest phylum in the world. Cameroon, therefore, is blessed not only with having the largest phylum but with Afro-Asiatic and Nilo Saharan phyla.

Cameroon, therefore, is not an African in miniature in natural resources but also in language

Statement of Problem

This first language which children get to know, understand and communicate with is the mother tongue. Before a child is ever exposed to other languages or languages he or she must be versed with what is spoken in the community in which they live. The first language (LI) or the mother tongue which a person gets to know has an infinite influence on other subsidiary languages.

He gets to learn for example Lamso spoken by the Banso people has greatly influenced the way the pronounce and write in the English language. The case of the Bali Nyonga people cannot be otherwise.

It is in line with this that this study sets out to find out to what extent has Mungaka influence the way Bali Lyonga speakers pronounce and speak the English language,

Research Hypotheses

Given the objective surrounding the research, the following positions have been made to guide the research to completion.

The Null Hypotheses

Mungaka has an influence on spoken English language

The alternative Hypotheses

The interference between Li and L2 has made fluency and

flexibility in spoken English Language difficult and so affecting their proficiency

Objective /Aims of the Study

In-suite of the silence on the part of Cameroon government, different organs have been working relentlessly towards the promotion of indigenous languages. This is the case of PROPELCA {programme de Recherche Opérationnelle pour l’Enseignement des Languages au Cameroun) which has been active since 1997 as regards mother tongue education in Cameroon. The Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy (CAPTAL) and natural Association of Cameroon language Committees (NACOLCO). Equally significant, is the harmonization of Cameroon languages m 1979 factor that contributed immensely to the standardization of some indigenous languages.

Consequently, the revised constitution of 18th January 1996 which guarantees the pursuit of a policy of official bilingualism and the promotion of national languages only goes a long way confirm the fact that both the official and indigenous languages all belong to Cameroon heritage. It is therefore not exaggerated to affirm that, although the indigenous languages have always been marginalized, they have never been completely annihilated. Hence they continue to Plav an important role in the socio-linguistic life of the people since they express the indigenous.

It is in line with this that this study aims at analysing the influence of Mungaka  on the speaking of English language (L2) to the people of Bali Nyonga or the Bali Nyonga indigenes in

terms of some linguistics feature like morphology, phonology and syntax, in order to ascertain the cause of this problem.

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