Handicrafts and Appropriate Technology

Cameroon Blog

French Cameroon Culture

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French Speaking Cameroon Languages

LTK: Can you talk a little bit about what languages are spoken in Cameroon?

Dr. Lathers: French and English are the official languages, but there are dozens of indigenous languages in Cameroon. In general, all people speak the language of their “village” (or their parents’ village if they did not grow up there), which is related to other local village languages. I live in the village of Bafounda in the Western Province. The native language is known as “Bafounda” but usually people just refer to it as the “patois” (French for a local language).

LTK: What differences do you find between the French spoken in Cameroon and the French spoken elsewhere?

Dr. Lathers: The French here is of course a bit different from that in France: a small example is that instead of saying “Comment ça va?” or “Comment tu vas?” (How are you?) when you great someone, you say simply “Comment?” (How?). I found this disconcerting at first, but now I’m used to it!

LTK: Out of curiosity, what are you speaking in Cameroon most of the time? Have you learned any of the indigenous languages yet?

Dr. Lathers: I speak English with my housekeeper and driver. They are from the English part of Cameroon. They speak Pidgin’ to each other and I have picked up just a few expressions in that language. It is made from English but it is really incomprehensible to Americans. Instead of “I am eating,” for example, they say “I chop.” Instead of “Did you sleep well?” they say “you sleep fine?”

I use French with villagers and colleagues and students, of course. My daughter’s schooling is in French. But we have both learned a few words of the local patois, which we hear a lot of. It does not have a written form, but I will approximate here:
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 2:31 PM, ,

The Royal Rehabilitation Centre

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The Royal Rehabilitation Centre (RHC)
for the Care and Treatment of Mentally Handicapped Persons
The Royal Humanitarian Development Reformation Centre (RHDRC)

Alah-Mankon Bamenda,
North West Region,
Republic of Cameroon
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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 4:27 PM, ,

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