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Research Paper REVISED

Research Paper REVISED

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Published by mcr82037
Structure of the English Language
Structure of the English Language

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Published by: mcr82037 on Dec 02, 2013
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Reichard 1 Melissa Reichard Structure of the English Language Dr. Schlitz 30 March 2012 Cameroonian Languages This summer, beginning on May 12, 2012, I will be embarking on one of the greatest adventures of my life thus far. For five weeks, I will be studying in Cameroon, Africa. When I
started thinking of the culture I’ll be encountering, I was thinking of the
things that make up a culture. I imagined their religious beliefs, food, dress, education, music, family structures, and their language. I was told that the dominant languages were French and English. I had to stop
and think, ―What? French and English…
how can that be possible? This is Africa. Not
Europe…‖ I was expecting the language to be Zulu or Swahili; some kind of African language
that is completely Non-
Western; however, to my surprise, that wasn’t the case.
The Cameroon country speaks up to 280 diverse languages. Many of its natives speak at least five different languages depending on their geographic region, the language of their ancestors, and the language used by the aristocracy. My research paper will explore the language evolution and variations across geographic regions and social systems of Cameroon, the language choice of the  people, and comparing their languages to the language(s) of the United States. History plays a large role in language because in large, historical battles for regional supremacy, the country that is victorious is most likely the country that will dictate the government structure, the culture, and of course, the language. Located in West Africa, Cameroon was established in the 12
th
 century A.D. Hunter-gatherers such as, the Baka Pygmies
and the Bantus, meaning ―people,‖ were among the first tribes to settle along t
he southern border
 
Reichard 2 of Cameroon. The indigenous language of these two tribes is known as the Benue-Congo language which constitutes over 140 differentiated languages. Some of the most common are Yoruba, Igbo, Shona, Zulu, and Swahili. According to the U.S. Department of State, the Fulani, a pastoral Islamic people of the western Sahel, dominated most of what is now northern Cameroon, by conquering or relocating its largely non-Muslim inhabitants during the late 1700s and early 1800s. When this event took place, it created another language of West Africa known
as, Fula. It wasn’t until after the late 1870s that Europeans began to move into Cam
eroon due to the enormous window for coastal trade and the acquisition of slaves. As trade began to grow along the coastal regions of the country, German trading posts were established. In 1868, the Woermann Company of Hamburg built a warehouse, thus bringing about the German colonization. When Cameroon became German territory,
its name was known as ―Kamerun,‖ with the capital, ―Duala‖ (now known as Douala), then Buea, and finally, Jaunde (now known as
Yaoundé). However, after World War I, the German Empire in Africa finally fell into the hands of both Britain and France. On June 28, 1919, the League of Nations distributed split land between the French and the British. Gaining a greater capacity of land, the French controlled the outlying regions of Cameroon and Yaoundé. The British territory included a strip bordering Nigeria from the sea to Lake Chad.
However, the colonization didn’
t end there. Driven by their hunger for power, the French wanted to overcome many of the tribes in French Cameroon. As a result, the indigenous tribes rebelled, creating a devastating war that killed over ten thousand people. In 1960, the rebellions ended and the independence for French Cameroon was won, becoming the Republic of Cameroon. The remaining indigenous tribes were forced to the outskirts of their country,
 
Reichard 3 choosing to remain under the band of their true African culture. Both France and Britain maintained considerable autonomy throughout the years. So what does this have to do with the language? Well, as it so seems, the native tongues of Cameroon were driven out when these invaders moved into their country and attempted to westernize them, along with their language. Both France and Britain took control of Cameroonian land that was once inhabited by the Baka Pygmies, the Fulanis, the Bantus, and many others. Their culture was dominated by European culture and their native language was driven out. Today,
Cameroon’s official languages
are French and English which are classified in Lingua Francas, along with Camfraglais and Cameroonian Pidgin English. In addition, there are also the National languages which include 55 Afro-Asiatic languages, two Nilo-Saharan languages, and 173 Niger 
 – 
Congo languages (Lewis
 Ethnologue: Languages of the World)
. Attached to the back of my research paper is a detailed list of the languages, their linguistic  branch, and location of the tribes throughout Cameroon (Lewis 2009). Below, is a map describing some of the linguistic locations throughout Cameroon. As you can see, majority of Cameroon is overcome with the Niger-Congo language, with some scatterings of Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan languages in the northern tip of Cameroon.

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