Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Frananglais in Cameroon - but what exactly is it?

The BBC has recently reported that "Teachers in Cameroon are concerned that the new language frananglais - a mixture of French, English and Creole - is affecting the way students speak and write the country's two official languages." An interesting language contact story, in a remarkably multilingual country none of whose own languages are used for official purposes; shame you can read straight through the article without being any the clearer on whether Frananglais is a system in its own right or just what they choose to call the local brand of code-switching between the two. Many of their examples suggest a French syntactic frame with English vocabulary inserted ("Tu as go au school", "Tu play le damba tous les jours?") - raising the possibility that certain English words consistently replace their French counterparts, while others remain in French - but other examples suggest plain old code-switching, ie shifting from one language to another in mid-sentence ("Tout le monde hate me, wey I no know", "je ne suis pas sure about this"). The one other example of frananglais I could find online is very much in line with it having a French frame with English words (and at least one Italian one) inserted, but there simply isn't enough data to see whether the replacement is systematic or ad hoc. I wonder if anyone can tell me :)
Quand je tellais aux djo de came put leur hand dans la marmite ici ,les djo me tellait que je ne suis pas reglo,que sam est un reglo,l'autre que france foot ne prenait pas en consideration de tels votes,et l'autre que je devais plutot appuyer ma petite au lieu de stay ici un saturday afternoon a game come les muna.(au fait moi je l'ai appuyé hier).Je remercie tous les toileurs qui ont sensibilisé le peuple et qui continue a do leur work reglo.Un seul mot....................jusqu'à ce que notre muna soit en haut sur tous les yahoo de ce web.Je vous en prie camez ici sur yahoo italie,la situation se fait inquietante,que les djo des state là quando tout le monde ici en europe nang deja began a do ce qu'ils Know.C'est notre arme segrete,la force du muna c'est le jour,et nous les grands continuons a work meme la nuit grace aux djo des state.J'ai began a speach avec notre frananglais parceque les djo tell qu'ils y'a des Mazembe ici qui boblé nos tactiques et vont les appliquer pour eux memes.Alors il faut qu'on leur show qu'on peut speach sans qu'il ne yah rien..... - Saittout, le 26/10/2006 à 15:33, Lions Indomptables

UPDATE: Language Log has a helpful post on this, citing some literature. See comments also - apparently it is very much a system rather than code-switching.


Anonymous said...

To have a better understanding the franglais phenomenon, a certain facts are in order.

1. 80% of Cameroonians speak French and 20% speak English

2. Franglais is spoken primarily in the French-speaking parts of the country. It is in essence, French spiced with with a (heavy or light) dose of English. It is a system on itself and totally different from code-switching which is quite common among bilingual Cameroonians.

3. There is actually a version of franglais, spoken primarily among less literate francophone cameroonians, which is about 60% pidgin english (local creole) and about 40% French.

4. Increasingly in English-speaking parts of Cameroon, the regular "West African Pidgin English" is slowly being infiltrated by the French language - a normal consequence of the predominance of the French language.

Hope this helps. The bill is in the mail:-):-)

Anonymous said...

Lameen Souag الأمين سواق said...

Thank you! This is much more helpful than the BBC article :) What does the second version of franglais (the 60% pidgin English one) sound like - any examples?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lameen,

I have a question from Adobe bookstore in SF about the word effendi: is it Greek or Turk?

Wikipedia: "According to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica the word is a corruption of the Greek aphentes (afendis in Modern Greek's "lord" or "master"). Or it may have derived from the Old Turkic apandi, a title of nobility, since it appears in Old Uyghur."

I also, thought you might like this on tech company names:


Lameen Souag الأمين سواق said...

Hi Rich, good to hear from you! How's it going?

I can't find this supposed Greek word aphentes anywhere in Liddell & Scott - but on the other hand, I seem to recall that f scarcely ever occurs in native Turkish words (and a quick look at a Turkish dictionary seems to bear out my impression.) It's certainly not Arabic, anyway... I'll have to look around to see if I can find clearer evidence of its etymology.

Anonymous said...

Recently I've read it's from Greek authentes. There are documents by Mehmed II in Greek that mention him as O Megas Authentes. Interpret the [θ] that Turkish doesn't have as [f] (as in Russian, BTW), add vowel harmony, et voilà...

Anonymous said...

Announcement. Arms are ready.Beware!!!!

Southern Cameroons: Urge People not to Vote

Below is an article published by the Southern Cameroons National Council;

Describing the call by the SCNC to Southern Cameroonians to “boycott” the legislative and municipal elections as “unpatriotic and unreasonable” he [Mr. Simon Ndeh Chi] pledges that his organisation “has as primordial role to sensitise and educate the population of Cameroon on the importance of getting their names on the voters register”. But which Cameroon?

While congratulating Mr. Ndeh Chi and his CAHRDP for their ambitious programme, we however regret his misunderstanding of the SCNC position on La Republique du Cameroun’s elections. We have not called Southern Cameroonians to “boycott” the elections. To boycott an election is to express and demonstrate your disapproval of, for example, the bad electoral law, poor registration of voters, among others. Why? Because, being undemocratic, you are convinced that your party will be disadvantaged. It is a political party that boycotts an election for it has legal and legitimate stakes in the elections. But the SCNC has nothing to do with NEO and MINATD or ELECAM nor La Republique du Cameroun’s elections in general.

The message of the SCNC to Southern Cameroonians is clear and simple. Southern Cameroonians are not citizens of La Republique du Cameroun and as such they have nothing to do with elections of a foreign country.

It is interesting to note that Nde Chi understands that the SCNC is clamouring for the independence of Southern Cameroons. In reality the SCNC is engaged in a pacific struggle to restore the statehood and sovereign independence of Southern Cameroons. Southern Cameroons that became self-governing in 1954 and during the centinary celebration of the founding of Victoria in 1958 was described by Commissioner J.O. Field as a promising emerging nation of the Commonwealth has never been an integral part of French Cameroun that became self governing in 1957 and independent as La Republique du Cameroun on January, 1, 1960. Under international law once a nation a[c]cedes to independence its international boundaries become inviolable and immutable.

May it please Ndeh Chi to know that in Africa there are two Congos and three Guineas. Respecting inherited colonial boundaries, the foundation of modern African nations, each exercises its sovereignty and elections in Congo Brazzaville, for example, do not involve citizens of Democratic Republic of Congo - Guinea Conakry respecting its colonial boundaries inherited at independence as declared by the African Charter and International Law, did not annex and occupy Guinea Bissau after helping to oust imperial Portugal in a bloody anti colonial war. Consequently citizens of Guinea Bissau do not vote in elections of Guinea Conakry.

In case Ndeh Chi is hungry for some election money from Yaounde as he says it is the duty of his organisation to campaign for voters registration, it is their belletic democratic right to join the band wagon as we hear there is much of the money circulating around just for the asking. But may we remind him that General Charles de Gaulle never for any moment campaigned for his country men of France, to support Hitler when France was occupied by Germany in the second world war. Charles de Gaulle never for a moment recognised even Hitler’s Vichy puppet regime installed in the South of France. Though led by a French man, Maretchal Petain, de Gaulle and other French patriots and nationalists denounced the Vichy puppet regime as traitors and mobilised both French men and international support and Hitler’s Germany was defeated and the Vichy puppet regime collapsed like a park of cards. France was liberated and restored to its sovereignty.

Charles de Gaulle in his campaign to [solicit] support from French Africa held meeting in Brazzaville for French Equatorial Africa. French Cameroun was there and contributed massively for the war effort for the liberation of France. Southern Cameroons as a UN Trust Territory under UK Administration was not party to the Brazzaville Conference nor did a single Southern Cameroonian die fighting for “vive la France.”

Ndeh Chi in further manifesting his ignorance describes SCNC’s position as “unpatriotic and unreasonable”. Certainly Ndeh Chi will describe General Charles de Gaulle as unpatriotic and unreasonable to Hitler’s Germany. But ask any French man and any who claims to be the “best pupil” of de Gaulle or of any other French president and you will be told without mixing words, that President Charles de Gaulle is the greatest French nationalist, patriot and leader. Ndeh Chi should like to know why?

Because he removed the national humiliation France suffered under Hitler’s Germany and restored France to her sovereignty, prestige, grandeur and glory. Is France not a superpower in the world?

Having removed the blinding scales from Ndeh Chi’s mind’s eyes may he now come to terms with this reality. SCNCs stand and campaign is the evident mark of nationalism, patriotism and reason fortified by international law, international treaties governing the boundary that separates Southern Cameroons from La Republique du Cameroun just as the latter is separated from Gabon, Congo Brazzaville and Chad by international boundaries that must be respected.

Elections the world over are territorially organised, defined and determined. This explains why:

1. When citizens of le Cameroun Francaise voted in February 1960 to transform their country into a Republique, citizens of Southern Cameroons were never involved.

2. When citizens of Southern Cameroons voted in the UN - sponsored plebiscite of February 11, 1961, were citizens of La Republique du Cameroun involved? No.

3. When even in the defunct Federation of 1961 - 1972, citizens of West Cameroon (Southern Cameroons) went to the polls in 1968 to elect their parliamentarians, did the citizens of East Cameroon (La Republique du Cameroun) vote? The answer is a capital NO!.

Simon Ndeh Chi as a full blooded Mankon man will agree with me that the day “fire - quenches” or the “sun sets” in Mankon as our people de Motaphorically do say and the Kingmakers are concerting for a successor, not even, Nkwen, Bafut or Chumba, Kingmakers or Fons will be consulted.

We are happy Ndeh Chi fully reckons with the effectiveness of the SCNC campaign for ZERO VOTER REGISTRATION! ZERO VOTE! through out the length and breadth of Southern Cameroons. Southern Cameroonians by not registering to vote in the June elections organised by La Republique du Cameroun are body, soul and mind;

a) Voting for the restoration of their statehood and sovereign independence.

b) Calling on La Republique du Cameroun to withdraw its occupation forces and administrators from Southern Cameroons and give peace a chance in the Sub region.

c) Calling on the international Community to recognise and in conformity with international obligations and norms defend the inalienable right of Southern Cameroons to national self-determination. This is an inalienable democratic right of Southern Cameroonians.

With these clarifications Ndeh Chi will certainly become a true human rights defender, a true promoter of democracy and a true preacher of sustainable peace which can only be founded on JUSTICE and TRUTH. Southern Cameroons is a distinct nation and its identity must be preserved, defended and projected by its citizens

The international Community, which highly commends the pacific struggle of the Southern Cameroonian people is fully aware of the SCNC campaign for ZERO VOTER REGISTRATION! ZERO VOTE!! and is anxiously monitoring to see its effectiveness, result and the sacred determination of the Southern Cameroonian people to put away the yoke of annexation and occupation so that Southern Cameroons takes its seat as a free sovereign nation among the family of nations of the democratic world.

That the campaign is successful is not only attested to by Ndeh Chi, the anxiety and confusion in the CPDM and SDF camps is self eloquent. Have you ever heard of votes being bought even in the open market? Have you ever heard of opposition parties, MPs and aspirants raising money to bribe CPDM DOs so that eligible voters are registered? Will the loyalty of the D.O’s be to their MINATD boss or to the givers of envelopes they receive from opposition?

I take this opportunity to wholeheartedly salute the NEW SOUTHERN CAMEROONS NATIONALISM for national rebirth. SOUTHERN CAMEROONIANS stand firm. Victory is on your side.

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Southern Cameroons: Urge People not to Vote
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Anonymous said...

Hi all,

it is not called Frananglais but Camfranglais. Frananglais is supposed to be a Canadian slang.