Testing TwoChanging Colonial Linguistic Boundaries: A Sociolinguistic Survey of English Spread in Cameroon between 1960 and 2018

The paper examines the status and growth of the English Language in all its varieties and in terms of numbers and geographical space it occupies in Cameroon. The country uses post colonial languages: English and French as Official Languages of equal status but with unequal distribution at the national level. We focus on the linguistic geography (geolinguistics) of Cameroon; the distribution and actual representation of its people’s English language practices from independence to today. We assert that
the geolinguistic distribution of Cameroon-Francophone and Cameroon-Anglophone is being narrowed by the national spread of English. Francophones are now making more efforts consistently to learn and use English in more and more domains of their daily life. 45 % of children in the best performing Anglo-Saxon sub-system schools are of Francophone origin. This led us to pose the following questions: Why the English language is changing in Cameroon? How are specific resources associated with English effectively being spread to Francophone Cameroon? How are the new people in Francophone Cameroon effectively using the English resources? We came out with these hypotheses that guided the study: 1. Determination of Anglophones to maintain and develop their cultural heritage and increase in numbers of Anglophiles; 2. The Anglophones quest for jobs and other survival needs in Cameroon and the government’s bilingual policy; 3.The Francophones aspire for a better future in English speaking nations of the world. These factors have pushed and spread English from two regions to the other eight French speaking Regions of Cameroon. Survey Data was collected from archives and from the administering of 150 questionnaires, 20 observations and 20 interviews on the phenomenon of English language dynamics in Cameroon. Analysis of Census figures from 1960 and the current language dynamics in the country reveal significant increase of the English speaking population of Cameroon from [1.083.587 (20%)] in 1960 to  [12.915.070 (52%)] out of a population of 24,836,674 in 2018. 

KEY WORDS: English language, status, spread, geolinguistics, anglophiles, push and pull factors

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