Research Mate in African Linguistics – Focus on Cameroon

ISBN 978-3-89645-041-8

Research Mate in African Linguistics – Focus on Cameroon

A Fieldworker’s Tool for Deciphering the Stories Cameroonian Languages Have to Tell. In Honor of Professor Larry M. Hyman

Edited by: Beban Sammy Chumbow, Ngessimo M. Mutaka. With contributions by: Akeriweh, Akinbiyi Akinlabi, Stephen C. Anderson, Edmond Biloa, Emmanuel Chia, Bruce Connell, Virginie Dangang, Jonas K. Diokdi, Juliette Clarisse Mabou Fodop, Richard Gravina, Jeanne Chantal Harerimana, Lucy Kenfac, Michel Kenmogne, Frida Kong, Béatrice Kouémou, Myles Leitch, Herman Misse, Ngessimo M. Mutaka, Clotaire Mvakang, Ndzengue Lucia Nassuna, Louise A. Ngamngne, Comfort Che Ngum, Antoine Owona, James S. Roberts, Bonaventure M. Sala, Keith Snyder, Maurice Tadadjeu, Pius N. Tamanji †, John R. Watters. Series edited by: Wilhelm J.G. Möhlig, Bernd Heine.

Series: Grammatical Analyses of African Languages Volume 17

12 pp. Roman, 359 pp.
1 map, 1 b/w photos, 8 illustrations, 49 tables, language index
Text language(s): English, French
Format: 160 x 240 mm
610 g
€ 39.80

In the book dedicated to Professor Larry Michael Hyman (University of Berkeley/California, USA) articles with a broad range of topics are published. Their authors all share a deep gratitude for the inspirations and knowledge they have gained from the honoured professor, who has been working on Bantu for three decades. With the present work the editors want to encourage research on little known Cameroonian languages and provide a working tool for established scholars as well as advanced students of linguistics.

The book consists of four main parts – phonology, syntax, sociolinguistics and a part of general interest including guidelines and questionnaires. Each part is made up of articles on various – predominantely Cameroonian – language groups, i.e. Narrow Bantu, Grassfields Bantu, Bantu Zone A, Ekoid, Mambiloid and Chadic.


PART 1 Phonology

Ngessimo M. Mutaka:
Data building for a lexical phonology analysis of a Bantu language

Michel Kenmogne:
Curiosities in the phonology of Bantu A languages

Stephen C. Anderson:
Phonological characteristics of Eastern Grassfields languages

John R. Watters:
Some phonological characteristics of Ejagham (Etung), an Ekoid Bantu language of Cameroon and Nigeria

Bruce Connell:
An Introduction to the Mambiloid languages

James S. Roberts:
Phonological features of Central Chadic languages

Richard Gravina:
Features of a Chadic Language – the case of Mbuko Phonology


PART 2 Syntax

Edmond Biloa:
Data building for a syntactic analysis of an African language

Pius N. Tamanji:
Issues in the syntax of Grassfields Bantu languages


PART 3 Sociolinguistics

Ngessimo M. Mutaka:
Reading notes on Wardhaugh’s “An Introduction to Sociolinguistics” – an African perspective

Frida Kong:
Non human objects as participants in speech acts within the Nso cultural society

Comfort Che Ngum:
Provoked thunder strikes in Bafut

Virginie Dangang:
Communication entre les hommes et les animaux dans le village de Balengou à l’Ouest du Cameroun

Clotaire Mvakang:
La communication avec les êtres vivants, non-humains chez les sanaga de Ngoro (Province du centre, département du Mbam & Kam)

En dehors des êtres humains, qui peut parler dans notre culture?

Antoine Owona:
Petit Nègre – un parler du français de la rue parlée au Cameroun

Jonas K. Diokdi:
L’inventaire des couleurs et la subdivision des jours, des mois et des années dans la culture màsà

Louise A. Ngamgne:
Fonctionnement des sociétés secrètes dans l’Ouest-Cameroun – le cas du famla

Bonaventure M. Sala:
Fon’s acquisition of wives as a form of performative utterance – A case study of grassfield cultures in the Northwest province of the Republic of Cameroon

Virginie Dangang:
L’expression des sentiments lors de la courtoisie d’une fille chez les Balengou du Cameroun

Frida Kong:
Abuses in Nso'

Juliette Clarisse Mabou Fodop:
Cérémonie d’exhumation dans le canton Bamendjou et aspects sociolinguistiques de l’exhumation dans ce canton

Jeanne Chantal Harerimana:
La cérémonie de dot au Burundi

Jeanne Chantal Harerimana:
L'acte d’accouchement et les rites qui l’entourent dans la société burundaise

Comfort Che Ngum:
The announcement and fight of a natural calamity in Bafut

Clotaire Mvakang et al.:
Les cérémonies d’initiation dans quelques tribus camerounaises (bafia, massa, bamiléké, beti-fang)

Lucy Kenfac:
Communication between the living and the dead in the Bamileke and the Kenyang cultures

Béatrice Kouémou:
L’usage de la parole chez les Bafang

Herman Misse:
The Doualas and their sea

Béatrice Kouémou:
La taxinomie du temps chez les Fe’fe' du Cameroun

Ndzengue Lucia Nassuna:
Taboo and euphemistic expressions in Ewondo


PART 4 General interest

Maurice Tadadjeu:
Basic standardization of all unwritten African languages

Ngessimo M. Mutaka / Emmanuel Chia:
Issues to investigate in Cameroonian linguistics

Ngessimo M. Mutaka:
Hints for solving a phonology problem

Michel Kenmogne:
Questionnaires and data gathering in phonology

Myles Leitch / Ngessimo M. Mutaka:
Guidelines for creating conference handouts

Keith Snider:
Linguistic factors in orthography design

Akinbiyi Akinlabi / Ngessimo M. Mutaka:
Tone in the infinitive in Kinande – an OT analysis


The following analyses, dictionaries and text collections of Grassfields Bantu langues are also available in our programme:

Accompanying material:


[...] "Research Mate in African Linguistics" is an instructive collection of introductive papers in different fields of African linguistics, with particular focus on Cameroon. Many of its papers are surely suitable for integration into an introductory course in African Linguistics. Due to its broad range perspective and its affinity with L.N. Hyman’s research agenda, it is beyond doubt that the honoured professor will have been sincerely honoured with this nice token of appreciation.

Koen Bostoen in Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, 26/1, 2005, pp. 93-95

[...] this book gives an excellent overview of current topics and complexities in Cameroonian linguistics, at the same time pointing to the white spots on the linguistic map where research is urgently needed for a more adequate description of the semantics and pragmatics of Cameroonian languages. Although the book is “weighted” to the applied side and clearly aimed at the student and research beginner in Cameroonian languages, it holds a lot of insight and inspiration for more advanced scholars and will, hopefully, encourage more linguists to direct their attention to deciphering the fascinating stories Cameroonian languages have to tell.

Roland Kießling in Afrika und Übersee, 85/2002, pp. 305-309

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