Research Key

The motivation of learners of the English language at the linguistic Centre Buea

Project Details

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International: $20
No of pages
Qualitative method
Analytical tool
Descriptive statistics
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People want to learn the English Language for a number of reasons. These reasons range from:- travelling purposes, to having a job, to passing the English language course, to ameliorating their English, and to being bilingual. This multiplicity of motivations all revolve around one concept in the country which is bilingualism.

The study began with a survey of the socio-political and historical background of Cameroon from the colonial area to independence and the subsequent consequences of the coming together of the two Cameroons. Moreover, the literary review of related works was also examined in this work as well as the different theoretical frameworks.

Questionnaires, interviews and focused group discussions were some of the methods of data collection that were used. The various means by which this data was analyzed included qualitative and quantitative approaches these methods were used to obtain data from learners of the targeted levels. According to their various responses, the majority of these learners want to leam English in order to be guaranteed a better tomorrow.

Interview and note-taking were used as means of data collections. This interview was conducted on one- on- one basis. Results from this interview show most of these learners are motivated by the fact that the mastery of French and English are the main password to secure a better job in the country. The hypotheses and limitations encountered were also pointed out.

The data that was established from the fieldwork was presented through the use of descriptive, statistics, frequency tables, graphs and charts. The study ended up with a summary of the work done, followed by recommendation suggesting solutions to the situation which lead to the reason why some people are urged to leam English languages at the linguistic Centre Buea.



General Introduction

Cameroon is a land of the diversity of cultures found in Africa. It uses French and English as its main languages. This has given Cameroon an outstanding position in Africa as the only country that uses French and English as official languages. This makes Cameroon a Bilingual country.

In spite of its bilingualism, some Anglophones as well as the Francophones are disgruntled as they feel that they are not proficient in English. Anglophones in Cameroon feel they are marginalized by Francophones because of the inadequate repartition as far as the 10 regions are concerned.

This notion dates back as far as the reunification of the two Cameroons in 1961. In this process of acquiring a job in the public services, Anglophone must show competence in speaking French. This aspect of using French as a language of circulation is also the case of English in some of the country’s academic institution like the University of Buea, administers its lectures mostly in English regardless of the Francophone students.

Nevertheless, some programs had been created to consider the bilingualism of students known as “Formation Bilingue” in Yaounde and the Linguistic Centre in Buea were both the Anglophones and Francophones learn either language as their second language.

Historical Background

Historically, Cameroon was founded around 1472 by a Portuguese navigator called Fernando Po who arrived at the Bight of Biafra, then sailed up the Wouri River situated in the Coastal Region. The navigator was surprised to see shrimps in the river, and also baptized the river “Rio dos Cameros” (River of shrimps).

This name which was to be associated with the country became “Kamerun” during the German colonial rule. In 1884, Germany annexed Cameroon. The signing of the Germano-Douala treaty in July 1884, whereby Cameroon became a German protectorate, marked this event.

But with the defeat of Germany in 1916 during the first world war, Cameroon was divided into two between Britain and France and administered first under the league of Nations mandate and later under the United Nations trusteeship. Britain get two discontinuous strips of land about 90.000km2 along with the Nigerian, border, the strip to the North was called “Northern Cameroon” and that to the South was called “Southern Cameroons”.

The French got the lion’s share and administered it as an independent history, whereas the British administered theirs from Lagos Nigeria. French Cameroon became independent on 1st January 1960. Then on 11th February 1960, British a Southern Cameroons voted for a Union with French Cameroon through a Federation made up of two states called West Cameroon and East Cameroon.

The Federation survived till May 20* 1972 when a unitary state made up of seven provinces was created. Later in 1984, the number of provinces was increased to ten through a presidential decree (Encyclopedia Britannica, (1995)).

In the area of education, two sub-systems exist in Cameroon. The Anglophone system of education based on the Anglo-Saxon model and the Francophone system based on the French model. Although the two are used side by side, a Bilingual system of education is also operational at the university level where studies are carried out in both English and French.

Following the February 11th 1961 Reunification, the British Colonial government made use of the Bilingualism of the country to provide national integration. Hostilities sparked up during the Foumban Constitutional between the Anglophone and Francophones.

The constitution that was drawn up showed that the French version was to be authoritative even though it was made in both languages by the participant at the conference in Foumban headed by the then Head of State Amadou Ahidjo. Hence, English was like a second language in Cameroon (Ngeh 1996). This situation has led to much instability in the country, nevertheless, the country still maintains its status as the “So-called” bilingual country.

The South West Regional linguistic Centre, Buea as it is known today is a Federal government structure set up to teach West Cameroonian government officials the French language. A similar structure was created at Nikonkaek in Yaounde to teach English to Cameroonians. As the country evolved, so too did the two institutions. The Nikonkaek Centre closed down when the project for the teaching of English to civil servant opened its doors in 1986.

Buea continued to thrive as a linguistic Centre especially in the teaching of French with Dr Mossongo as Director.

In 1990, the presidential decree No.90/196 of 3rd August 1990 created the Bilingual training programme. This decree also made provision for the opening of a linguistic Centre at each regional headquarters.

The Buea linguistic Centre was therefore absorbed into the Bilingual Training programme in 1991 with Mr Patrice Ngantu as its first Director. In this institution therefore we find people of different social class of different ages and culture who go there either to learn or to reinforce their English language.

Statement of the Problem

There is a growing concern that many Cameroonians, both ESL and EFL learners still confront difficulties in speaking the English language fluently. This is due to the fact that some ESL learners did go to school at all and want to

learn the language at least to communicate. Some ESL learners seek to reinforce their English. On the other hand, the EFL learners learn it for official purposes (travelling, curriculum.) and also to be able to interact in the language. Many countries have declared English as an official language, and it has become a language of teaching and learning in higher Education though learning it is not easy.

However, the standard of English amongst students of the Linguistic Centre of Buea has continued to be on the decline despite learning English for several months, they are still very weak and commit error especially in pronunciation.

According to James, (1988) errors in writing such as tenses, prepositions and weak vocabulary are the most common and frequent types of errors that are committed by learners. Other reasons why some ESL and EFL learner seek to learn English at this linguistic Centre is because they realized that their communicating skills were not well-founded, which made them a bit limited in interaction with others.

The adult learners are most interested in learning the language in order to be able to speak it to their children at home and also to shifts from their sociolect to better performance. It is on this note that the researcher seeks to find out “Motivations of English learners at the Linguistic Centre Buea”.

Research Questions

  • What are the reasons why ESL and EFL learn English at the linguistic Centre of Buea?
  • When did they realize that they needed to learn the language?
  • Is their learning due to the fact that the English they learnt in secondary school was not enough?
  • What ages are they?


The hypothesis consists of either intrinsic or extrinsic motivation

Ho: There is no difference in the proficiency of students who acquired English at home compared to those who learned it in school for the first time

HI: There is a difference in the proficiency of students who acquired English at home compared to those who learned it in school for the first time

Ho: There is no difference in the motivation of students who acquire English at home

HI: There is a difference in the motivation of students who acquire English at home

Ho: The type of school one attends does not influence their proficiency HI: The type of school one attends influences their proficiency

Aims and objective of the study

This study attempts to look at the motivations of people who learn English at the linguistic Centre of Buea. The study also aims at describing the types of learners that are involve in the process. Hence the study will have the following specific objective;

  • Describe their social class, age groups and linguistic background.
  • Describe their attitude towards learning the target language.
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