Friday, November 03, 2006

Na this God He breeze been make all thing

I have spoken before about pidgin English. It is the day to day language used by so many. However there is now a act against it. Marceline's youngest brother and sister do not know pidgin, their father decided it is better to speak English properly. So when they grew up no one in the family was allowed to speak pidgin to them. They are called modern children. I think it is great to move away from pidgin however it gives Agbol a disadvantage as he cannot understand his class mates in the play ground, once the bell rings they all revert to pidgin.

The older generation especially those with little or no education only speak pidgin. This causes me great difficulty trying to communicate with them. I am beginning to understand people when they speak in pidgin. However I do not think I could every actually speak it. When ever I am working with these people someone has to come with me to translate!

To give you a taster of pidgin here is the 1st book of John. And so you can understand it a pidgin/English dictionary.


Ann said...

I can understand the need to move away from pidgin but it does have a beauty about it, doesn't it? I enjoyed looking through the dictionary. And I absolutely love the phrase "afraid catch me." So perfect.

Dibussi said...

The anti-Pidgin English campaign is nothing but misplaced elitism and snobbisim by Cameroonians who wrongly think they are acting "white" or "civilized". If English is taught correctly in Cameroonian schools, then it wouldn't matter whether people speak Pidgin or not - Just as learning French should not affect an individual's ability to speak English or any other language.

As a prominent Cameroonian linguist has pointed out, "Pidgin is the language of playfulness, informality, vulgarity, transgression, trade, celebration, and family." It is not a language of "those people" but the language of "the people" in Cameroon.

Without a mastery of Pidgin, no one will ever be able to integrate the Cameroonian society no matter how long they live in the country or mingle with Cameroonians - they will always be outsiders, even to those "upperty" Cameroonians who claim that they do not speak Pidgin - hint, hint, hint:-)

For an insight into the Pidgin English debate in Cameroon, check out the popular Cameroonian blog, "Scribbles from the Den" at: