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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

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UnitedstatesofAfrica

I sense some European superiority in this writer's tone...and why are you surprised Anglophone Cameroonians don't adhere to the Queen's English in everyday life? are we governed by the queen? what an idiot. I would advice you to read some A' level Literature scripts in Cameroon. Then you will discover that we write better English than those alcoholic British teenagers who spend their time having sex and "hot-boxing" tents.

Samm

Why should we speak Queen English when we are not English? Dow n right stupid think to think about

Reex Flames

I guessed the writer in his mindset journeyed to Cameroon in order to watch black monkeys satisfy his curiosity, such as speaking the Queen's language and upon discovery of Pidgin English, he thinks he has discovered a novelty about the African country...What a disgusting point of view! This demonstrates a degree of ignorance coupled with idiotic arrogance, not even forgivable on the standards of education earned at Cambridge University!

First of all, he does not seem to know that Pidgin English was imported by the missionaries, accompanied by freed slaves from the English-speaking world and it was the only medium of communication between the Western world and the Africans - sort of a compromise between the the English spoken by the explorers and the natives, and facilitated by the freed slaves. He seems to assure himself he has mastered the language in 6 days and could further instruct other expatriates on the intricacies of Pidgin English. This is so typical of Europeans!

Secondly, he is so stupid to realize every part of the world has an accent over a language. Even in Britain not everyone understands the Cockney accent. What does he really mean by "Special English"? He tries to attach some inferiority that Africans speak English slowly...can he speak the local languages in Cameroon at a fast pace? This is what baffles me about some of these Europeans whose shallow view narrows their understanding! I shall propose he visits a neighboring EU country and peek at the different language accents that pervades the country. I would love to invite him to visit Germany and try a taste of Bavarian German in comparison to Ruhr German. Would it be that some Germans speak "Special German"?

Finally, I think he should re-read his history/geography books. If he thinks Cameroon belongs to the British dominions, then he should recheck his senses. Even Australia - one of the British territories that respects the Queen as a ceremonial Head have expressions in English that differ from the so-called Queen's language.

In fact, the writer had embarked on a journey in Cameroon to self-glorify himself as a master White man coming to help and illuminate the poor Africans and was rather dismayed that his expectations were not satisfied. After failing to confirm the nauseating clichés propagated in the western in media about Africa, he resolved to select the language topic as a means of reminding himself on his alleged superiority.

If he reads my comment, I would like to sit down with him and have a chat with him in various languages, beginning with my local native tongue originating from the Ndop plains... If he succeeds to speak faster than me, I shall scrape off my comments, else he shall owe all Cameroonians an apology for his mockery-laced, self-glorifying article.

nadine

Most Cameroonians speak more than one language which means that the other languages they speak will definitely affect the way they speak English.Is English our mother tongue?How many languages can he speak?I am in the UAE, a country where every British can be a teacher because he/she speaks English "stylishly".

nad

IGNORANCE AND STUPIDITY CHARACTERIZES THIS WRITER!


UnitedstatesofAfrica

I don't know why The Post always insists on publishing such racist rubbish from "Oyibos" who visit Cameroon...and in case the writer didn't notice, I referred to his or her skin color in PIDGIN not the "Queen's English". You have a problem with that? go suck an egg.

routine

I wish I met that ignorant idiot to compare our knowledge of the English language. And above all to discuss with him in the French language and some ngemba dialects. That would make him never to write such trash again.a

Le Chiffre

The Tittle alone amuses me. It reminds me of when i was in a University in the Netheralnds and the Business english professor outrightly told me 'Cameroonian English is not really English' - I laughed before responding to his ignorance (becasue a few minutes later he realised i had the highest TOEFL results of 8 on 9 in the class) - he was a dutch guy who had studied i the Uk for 3 years and thought he could speak with an english accent.

Such Ignorance and Stupidity

Steve Jackson

Just wanted to remind the people who put this website together that it is customary not just to steal blog posts from other blogs without, at the very least, providing crediting the author and providing a link.

I'll do it for you in this instance.

The link is here:

http://intlmanofmystery.blogspot.com/2009/04/not-queens-english.html

Reex Flames

I agree with Steve Jackson about crediting authors of copied articles. As a Cameroonian, I find it appalling to discover the article was actually copied and pasted here without due credits to the author.

Sadly, this negates our whole effort of criticizing the contents of the article and renders the contributions of bloggers less effective.

Anyway, I would love the author to comment on the reaction from the bloggers and for the sake of debating, I will emphasize our comments were not meant to be inflammatory but to clear some common clichés, which are used to describe European-African interactions - most of the time over-simplified representation of Africans and their cultures.

As the blogger (Malum from the blog site: http://intlmanofmystery.blogspot.com/2009/04/not-queens-english.html)stated to the author (Shawn) of the article: "You also got some challenges - hoping to see if your take on it."

oyibbao


This guy does not understand what is meant by language twisting.Being in the best university does not make him an intellectual because he fails to think before writing.Language has being and will always be a means of communication that is influence by TIME,PLACE AND EVENTS.He refused to understand that he was now an immigrant in Bamenda where he was supposed to learn the language and culture of the people in that region.What does he mean by the queen's language.we have hundreds of languages that are enough for communication,so when visiting cameroon next time he shouldn't forget his pen and paper for the definition of language and first lessons on how to integrate.

Atanga Belmondo

This is absulute nonsece which must not be even published to abuse blacks in general and Bamenda people in particular.Who on earth told this wonderer that the so called Queen's language is automatic and must be spoken all over.Who tried to find out why he could not speak our own local language also or what makes him think that we must be expert in in imported language that has little or nothing to do with the day to day life of a typical African man.Who gave him the powers to judge some ones language and put his own on the superlative position.Nonsence this a phobia which this guy who thinks because he is whiote man gives him the right to go away with any nonsence that comes out of his brains.
South Africans speak their local languages and even make them official yet they are advance yet we get a lingua racist who thinks for his mother the Queen as if she has any thing to offer us

UnitedstatesofAfrica

Atangha,

I agree a hundred percent. Some of these European think that we are still in the colonial era. The Queen can go suck William's balls as far as I'm concerned.

Ras Tuge

Frankly, i am aghasted that people get enraged by this article which i find simply satirical. There is truth in most of what the student indicated as we all know. However, he distinctly employed humour to deliver his criticism of whatever he figured was strange with our way of speaking english.
Now, i simply want to remind this person that Africans don't need to speak english like english people. We have our manner of speaking, with words that simply cannot be translated to english as he obviously noticed with our Pidgin english.

Steve Jackson

I would also like to point out that this guy may attend a British University, however, it appears that he is American.

Finally...

As another Cameroon-based blogger this blog has also stolen posts from me without crediting me or linking back...it's time this was stopped.

The One

Hey Steve,

Last year, one of the early posts which you wrote when you arrived in Cameroon made the rounds on Cameroonian forums, unattributed - no link no author except the reference to a VSO in Bamenda. It eventually ended up in the print edition of The Post and was reproduced here since this was the newspaper's blog. So I am not sure that the Post deliberately "Stole" your write-up.

BTW, the note at the top of this blog explains that this is a new site with a new crew of bloggers, so it is unfair to accuse the new crew of stealing your article at a time when they did not even exist...

On another note, based on the amount of flack that our Cambridge friend has received thus far for his article, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the managers of the site deliberately left out the link to his blog to prevent him being inundated with "hate mail". Thus, I believe you did him a diservice by posting the link to his blog... But it is just me...

Reex Flames

Well, I am neither enraged at what he said nor I am attacking him through my posts, but I am more or less sick and tired of the attitude demonstrated in his report; it is quite typical of the generalized Europeans mindset in Africa-related affairs.

I have been abroad for 4 years yet my trusted European friends still vaguely cherish the idea of being more special than Africans.

I have met some who don't have a clue in history, lest a detailed knowledge of African history or simply western intervention in African affairs, yet they try to preach their knowledge of Africa as handed by their media. It ceases to become a subject of humour when they keep reinforcing the negativity associated with Africa.

It is true some Anglophone Cameroonians can neither speak English nor speak fluently but it does not apply to the majority. The author may have visited some areas but statistically not enough to pass judgment on the the majority of Anglophones. Everybody is aware of a decline in our educational quality over the years BUT statements such as: That said, most of the Cameroonians I have met in this region can speak and understand English fairly well, as long as you adopt what the Peace Corps folks call “Special English.” are blatantly untrue. They remind me of views held by some Europeans, who think Africans watch Western movies just to enjoy the action, while not appreciating the cinematography artistically, politically or culturally. Such statements tend to present Africans or English-Speaking Cameroonians in particular as slow and less smart.

I have read other blogs on the author's (Shawn) blog and although I think of the author as good-intentioned, I still reserve my views that he basks in the glow of self-glorification, which is a common trait of most Europeans who visit less-developed countries. It is an aspect they may be aware of but it is deep rooted in their psyche. They always think they are better everywhere, better than the natives in their homeland!

Moreover, in their lust for hero-worship (more or less ethical egosism), they adore the image of saviours or knights in shining armour, sent out to save the unfortunate, not out of goodwill but in expectation of a big THANK YOU and further reverence from the subjects who treat them as demi-gods.

The other bloggers are simply reacting to what they deem offensive, which is understandable in view of the distortion that bests depicts the African man/woman/child as a diseased (favorably by HIV/AIDS), war-stricken (in perpetual conflict), poor human(living under less than 1$ day with buzzing flies around the malnourished kids) with outstretched hands (in dire need of aid from the rest of the world) battling to survive (life expectancy is ridiculously low - about 35 years old).... I am tired!

Steve Jackson

The ettiquette is simple - you take someone's words you, at the very least, credit them and link back.

I find it incredible that you think it is okay for this person to be criticised on here but does not have the right of a reply, because they simly don't know that the article has been reproduced.

Your site carries advertising, and as such, you are attempting to make money from its content. You can't simply steal that content without credit.

The writer has already chosen to put his words on the net and they are in the public domain and as such he has the choice to stand by them or apologise if he has caused offence.

Perhaps you should read this:

http://www.dailyblogtips.com/copyright-law-12-dos-and-donts/

Reex Flames

Hi Steve,

The responsibility of blame about the uncredited story lies with the Post. As The One stated most bloggers here just contribute to comments and are not guilty of pasting articles here. For example, I simply comment on the articles here but I do not post the topics. If you read my earlier comments, I agreed with you about the accreditation of the post. I never realized until your timely post hinted about the right ownership of the article.

I think the web masters/operators/admins of this blog should apologize for the lack of full accreditation of the article, even it is to protect the author's privacy; because it is totally unethical to represent/reproduce someone's work without full consent of the author; except otherwise expressed, a reference to the source should be indicated, in due recognizance of the creative work of the author .

Nevertheless, I haven't read anywhere on the blog that the original author does not have the right to reply. In fact, I mentioned in a previous post, quoting one of the bloggers (Malum) on the author's site (http://intlmanofmystery.blogspot.com/2009/04/not-queens-english.html): "You also got some challenges - hoping to see if your take on it."[sic]

I would like the author to make a reply, even to defend his points. I also wish to apologize if my first article under the article sounded offensive - particularly with words like stupid, idiotic, etc. Nevertheless, I stay firm on my major points and hope the author engages in a discussion on this point.

Anyway, he is describing his experiences Cameroon on his blog - he just needs to defend them; else the world may be bound to take his view as true if not opposed on the grounds of fairness.

Steve Jackson

Reex,

I think there are some issues here and by not linking back to the blog the article is taken out of context.

Firstly, the "Queen's English" phrase, said by an American would be deemed as jokey, rather than by an English person who you might suggest actually "means it".

If people miss that then it does put a rather sterner spin on the whole piece when as, Ras Tuge pointed out - it was meant to be more satirical (though probably misjudged in that respect).

Like you I believe the author is "good intentioned" but would probably regret some of the language he has used.

As an Englishman (and blogger) working in Cameroon I know there is always the possibility of offending someone. I am also aware that many people write blogs never imagining that people outside of family and friends will read it.

While that doesn't defend content - it might mean that they understandably haven't considered the impact of every single word - wondering whether they might offend (as perhaps they should have).

Either way, I hope he adds to the debate here and now that he is aware of the article being used here, he can do that. I am sure that given the right of reply he would want to clarify some of the phrases used.

A quick look through this website and you can see plenty of articles and photos where their source is uncredited. Reasonably everything should be credited and linked - but, especially an article like this which might cause offence. A link will also alert the blogger so they can defend what they have written.

I think the Post/Up Station Mountain Club needs to look at how they conduct themselves and start crediting writers and photographers.

The One

Hey Steve,

I never claimed to work for either The Post or Up Mountain - just giving my own take on the issue that you brought up. I am not insider but the little I know about the post is that they take their own pictures, so there is no need to credit photographers. Beiing in Cameroon, I am sure you can confirm that the pictures that show up here also appear in the print issue.

Anyway, no need to belabor this point.

Papa Mama

Stevo Jackson relax, my man. You have provided the link to the original. That is good enough. Tell your friend to come over and deal with the firestorm that he has generated. It will not be the first time that an article written somewhere else starts a fire in a remote part of the web. Interesting dynamics, that I wish I knew how to exploit. I hope someone in the next couple of days puts a live link to the original article.

A couple of months ago, I wasted a whole half day crawling through the blogs of assorted PCVs and European volunteers in anglophone Cameroon (former West Cameroon or Southern Cameroons). It was an interesting mixed bag. Some pieces are charming, others reflective, some humorous and a few condescending. Most Cameroonians do not go searching out those blogs, and it is interesting to see the venom produced by my contri peopo at this exemplar.

As someone who has lived in America for a while, one of the most striking things about the natives is that they are extremely inward looking. For example, most Americans do not know that they have accents. They think it is always the "furner" who has one. Even the queen of England is thought to have one. By the way, "furner" is an example of what the author calls a contraction, this time for foreigner. We say "foreener". Both "furner" and "foreener" are accents. The author of the piece is clearly an American, even if he is a Cambridge U student. Let me go further into this inward looking deal. Most Americans do not know the governor of their state, do not know the name of the President of Mexico, cannot show you Iraq on a map or Nova Scotia nor even Missouri. I will let that one go for now, although I have a whole manuscript on the subject.

The beauty of the internet is that mighty Europeans and Americans are forced to sometimes listen and read the thoughts or stupid slow talkers like us, whereas once upon a time we had no power to respond or to dialogue in anyway with massa.

BTW, Steve, what is the link to your blog?

Slomo

Why are you complaining again? Thats the outcome of our local press today, who fail to take take into consideration certain realities before publishing such baseless things.
And you all commenting as a consequence rush in order to unleash venom without any second thought.
when the make-up story on Dr Azu'u Fonkam was published in the local press, who amongst you did not affirm with such damning prejudice that he was guilty of all what he was reproached of. Today where are you?
I am in no way in support of what that guy said. its only his opinion based on conclusion hurriedly drawn.
My problem is why did the post publish it knowing fully well that its all baseless and full of clichés whose outcome will be an insult on cameroon's past and cultural realities.
Who is he to attrack such attention?
Its the Post that published it. Sure it has the guy's full contact details. To ammend this, the Post should send these comments to the guy and apoligise to the people of cameroon.

Metuge Ekane

Reex,
it surprises me that you're still missing the point in this article. The writer's factual account is completely justified, as he premised his argument on some valid aspects of our grammar, our way of speaking, and our society. You certainly agree with his assertion that Pidgin is the true lingua franca back home.
The writer's way of thinking might be different from yours, but it is utterly relevant to his satire. You mustn't always like what you read, but i am sorry to remind you that an overwhelming majority of Anglophones, including some university lecturers have a very wanting command in spoken english.

Caitlin

It seems to me that most of the commenters have entirely over-reacted to this post. English is spoken differently in every English-speaking nation and in some countries those differences are more marked than others. In English there is no single right version of English - the 'Queen's English' is simply an expression and ranked no higher or lower than, say, Jamaican English - whereas in French, there is an Academy that determines whether or not something is 'proper French'.

I don't know the author but based on what is written, I don't think the intention was to denigrate. To me it comes across that the author is laughing at himself for his assumption that he'll be able to communicate in an English-speaking country when in fact the type of English may not be anything like his own.

Perhaps was not sufficiently tactful given the lingering resentment over colonialism and imperialism in Africa and should probably have done more to qualify his statements and ensure they weren't taken out of context. But bear in mind this originally appeared on his own blog and probably had a foreign audience in mind who were not likely to be quite so touchy!

Steve Jackson is entirely right to point out that this site is guilty of copyright theft. It's quite wrong to excuse this for any reason and it's quite wrong to assume it's now all okay because Steve provided a link to the original post. It's only okay if the original poster, who owns the work, says it is, and he is entitled to demand financial compensation.

Steve Jackson

Papa Mama - my blog url is www.ourmanincameroon.com

Papa Mama

Caitlin---there are no longer any "foreign audiences". The concept is now an anachronism. We shall soon achieve the proverbial level playing field, in your lifetime I assure you.

Regarding matters of copyright and such, we have to level the playing field too. You guys write the rules and force compliance upon us.

The issue of Somali pirates caused me to reflect on some historical truths. England, Great Britain is really like a pirate aircraft carrier and super port, and has been that way for centuries. Its power only waned in the late 20th century. Its kings and queens sent out pirates to attack other lands and others ships, to extract goods and labor in its terms and to its exclusive profit. It wrote the rules to suit it, making concessions to other Europeans for purposes of accommodation. It created great myths and quite effective laws to maintain that extractive pirate order for the longest while. The bottom line, Great Britain was just like the Somali pirates, just flashier, more organized, better fire power, more corporate, and brandishing the patents of the monarch, to whom they had sworn blood curdling oaths of fealty.

Le Chiffre

What a tough crowd!

Did anyone else find Shawns take and interest in the word 'pussy' and 'pikin pussy' funny?

Just trying to unwrinkle those clenched faces!

CHILAX People - everyone is entitled to their opinion. Lets all agree to disagree. Consensus

Jam

It is nice to see my environment through some one's eyes .
Some of the things that are taken for granted and have become routine strikes a stranger as novel.
Might have felt the same if I left the village and went straight to the UK or US.


Jam

Ngu

This blog's banner says "man no run". Since it was launched, I had been waiting impatiently for a "man no run" article and this is just it. I urge those managing the blog to come up with similar articles that spur debate; don't be distracted by those who argue that only certain types of "politically correct" articles should appear here, to the exclusion of those written by "imperialists". Anything that sparks a debate should find its way here... even articles from die-hard CPDM folks.

Thank goodness for Up Mountain Club!!!

facter

I find it funny too. Many young people in America do not know that pussy cat is the original use of the word, so it is the American usage that is really weird. Its the same thing with 'gay'. When I was growing up 'gay' meant happy, then they co-opted a perfectly good word again LOL. If you go to America be careful how you speak, because it is English, but a whole other English.

Pickin is a variant of picanini, which means small child in a number of different creoles.

I agree, lets not get too hot about this. We can joke about ourselves.

Jonny Who?

From Steve Jackson's blog:

"...any blogger will tell you that someone taking your work and giving you neither credit nor payment for it in return is pretty annoying.

However…

THERE ARE TIMES WHEN YOU ARE VERY GLAD INDEED.
...

So I am reading the The Post Online...

And there’s a byline where it says By a VSO Volunteer - and I think - this’ll be interesting.

Turns out I am that volunteer and the post was taken from this blog. But now, of course I am worried because it wasn’t a glowing portrayal of Bamenda - written, as it was, during a time of pretty consistent power black outs.

... Anyway, as I said, sometimes you SOMETIMES YOU ARE GLAD TO BE ANONYMOUS."

MY COMMENT:
Steve, as your own words show, things are not as black-and-white as you have been claiming in your different comments above - there are also shades of grey. This does not justify the none attribution of sources, but it proves that sometimes the "Victim" is not always "the victim".

BTW, I have a feeling that your (justified) insistence on copyright issues seems to be an attempt to distract readers from the "heart of the matter", i.e., the views of our good friend from Cambrigde. I di lie???

Steve Jackson

Jonny - sometimes you are glad to be anonymous - but when we you are taking a kicking from the audience you want to know so as to have the right of reply.

Luckily what I wrote was actually very well received by commenters here.

Why would i care about distracting readers? - I have never met the guy, he's not from the same country as me (I repeated he is American not English - he is not from Cambridge - he is a student there).

Ambe Johnson

For another foreigner's take on how Cameroonians speak or do not speak "correct" English, see this piece from a peace corps volunteer titled "i am speaking english-small small catch monkey " at: http://tinyurl.com/d6ovfq

UnitedstatesofAfrica

The issue is not that we can't handle jokes...the focal point of this debate is that we are dealing with an egocentric caucasian who is overtly displaying a condescending attitude towards the linguistic culture of Anglophone Cameroonians. The article is just flat out racist and The post's insistence on posting racist articles by 2.0 GPA European students who come to Africa to feel good about themselves by making a "difference" just startles me.

And to this Jackson fellow who has made it his mission to defend this cambridge guy, I could care less whether the guy is American or British. The damage has already been done and his nationality is of no particular importance.

The Post should

first, credit the author (Haven't you guys heard of plagiarism? and this was suppose to be the renovated site...smh)

After crediting the article, erase it from this site. We will not tolerate free press to racists. If you want to keep it on the site, at least offer commentary castigating the tone of the language.

Ndu

Mr Africa,

You sound like the typical African bonehead dictator: "We will not tolerate free press to racists" Just like Biya saying "We will not tolerate free press... to troublemakers, secessionists, journalists, free thinkers, lawyers, etc."

Ras Tuge

USofAfrica,
you need to refrain from making such unwarranted incendiary remarks. Your acrimony is unfounded, because the facts written by the 'white man' are simply not deniable. There is nothing denigrating about the article, except for the fact that hordes of people like you, and the pompous Reex seem to suffer from persecution complex, and thus are totally incapable of taking a joke.

Why do you get unnecessarily infuriated, when you basically can't issue a point-by-point rebuttal of the humourous claims of the writer? It is true that the main lingua franca in Anglophone Cameroon is Pidgin, and hence you can't deny its ubiquity. Now, instead of enlightening this 'white man' on the extremely intricate nature of Pidgin, you assail him with a stream of invectives.

I wonder why some Africans always seem to get overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy each time a 'white man' teases the truth out of them.

Reex Flames

Dear Rage,

Nice reading from you. Do you carefully read my posts? I already apologized on the offensiveness of some words I used. However, I stand by my major points. If you don't know the points, ask and I will elaborate on them.

It is interesting you call me pompous, even though I stated the author of the article had his full rights to comment, debate and defend his points. Any implications of being pompous?

Moreover, you accuse me of suffering from persecution complex and that I find it funny. You did not elaborate on the type of persecution. It suffices to take a glance at the global socio-political landscape and notice the position assigned to Africans. If you feel it is a complex to point out that Africans are still prevented - 50% by fellow Africans and 50% by the external World, to climb out from the Well of Despair, then I will suggest you should remain comfortable in your blissful world.

...are totally incapable of taking a joke. Well, I love jokes, satire and sometimes cynical remarks but the context also matters. For example, I sometimes joke with my European colleagues that I don't love chocolates because it gives me an internal tan and that might be a surplus of the external brownness of my skin...BUT a joke once directed at me in a party, where a French guy told me to repeat a narrative thrice on the grounds he loved my accent...you can guess - it crossed my limits!

We are not feeling adequate but as Papa mama stated The beauty of the internet is that mighty Europeans and Americans are forced to sometimes listen and read the thoughts or stupid slow talkers like us, whereas once upon a time we had no power to respond or to dialogue in anyway with massa

Criticism from a white man is not a bad thing but from examining the author's statements, it is not so much of an analysis of a problem, it is rather humour about a deficiency that on all counts of justice, it is totally unfair. Never have Europeans been judged on the standards of our culture. How many times has a European been laughed at because he could not pronounce or speak our local words correctly? From the records, look at the areas in Cameroon, which where actually assigned names by the Europeans because they could not easily pronounce the local names. Even consider the case of India, where Mumbai became Bombay, Kolkatta became Calcutta because it was difficult for the British to pronounce the original names! Nobody criticized them about these alterations, because they made the rules and they imposed their cultures on the locals.

Deducing from your previous post and the current, I may rightly hypothesize you may still be suffering from the colonial syndrome. The symptoms are literary present. If ever your colonial masters are criticized, you swiftly come to their rescue because you feel provoked when they are judged. You may ramble that we are overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy 'whenever truth is teased out of us' but what is the truth? Is the truth that most of us speak English fairly well only when the western speaker adopts a technique, derivatively termed Special English? Is it the truth to affirm this 'teasing', from a guy who has just spent 6 days in the Anglophone zone in Cameroon?

I am obliged to reason that you would not have criticized any opposition to the above teasing statements, if they were even authored by a Cameroonian.

To fully assure you, I always criticize such 'teasing', even if they are written by you, on the assumption you are a fellow Cameroonian or African.

One last point: avoid attacking others on debate issues. I miserably made the same mistake in the first post on this topic and I regret the mistake. That is why I apologized (I can see you rushing to condemn me as being pompous again...don't worry it was just a tease from me).

Reex Flames

sorry Ras Tuge for the contraction of your pseudonym/name from Ras Tuge to Rage - my mind sort of played tricks with the words...

Erratum:

Moreover, you accuse me of suffering from persecution complex and that I find it funny.

should be read as:

Moreover, you accuse me of suffering from persecution complex and that I find funny.

Shawn

Hello,

I am the author of "not the queen's english," which was copied from my personal blog and posted here. I have posted a reply to the comments above on my blog: http://intlmanofmystery.blogspot.com/2009/04/response-to-my-critics-re-not-queens.html

I'm also pasting my response here, but I don't think the embedded links will come though:

I had intended to suspend the blogging and focus on schoolwork for a while, but it's come to my attention that my "not the queen's english" entry was reposted on a Cameroonian website and has generated a lot of pretty heated commentary- including accusations of ignorance/stupidity/idiocy (which I don't really mind) and racism (which I do). Some of the commenters expressed hope that I would respond, so here I am.

First of all, I want to assure my critics that I intended no disrespect toward Cameroonians, and I regret that I have offended some readers. I believe that many of the people who wrote comments have misunderstood the spirit and intent of my post. But taken out of context, I can see how what I wrote in those few paragraphs came across as inflammatory and condescending. There are also parts of the post, the "Special English" paragraph in particular, that in retrospect I should have worded differently.

The reference to the "Queen's English" was obviously the source of a lot of misunderstanding (see posts by Afrika/Unitedstatesofafrica, Samm, oyibbao, and Atanga Belmondo). As commenter Steve Jackson pointed out, I am not British, but American, so I myself do not speak "the Queen's English" either. I meant "Queen's English" as an ironic rhetorical device, not as any kind of statement of how people "should" speak, and certainly not as any kind of statement of a pro-colonial attitude. I do not see language in terms of better or worse, right or wrong. I agree with commenter oyibaao's observation "language is a means of communication that is influenced by time, place, and events." To borrow a phrase from the Bible, language is for people, not people for language.

So why would I write about differences in the way Cameroonians and I use English? As commenters Caitlin, Ras Tuge, Steve Jackson, Le Chiffre, and facter all surmised, the main motivation was humor. I write about this stuff because it’s funny—not in the sense that I am mocking Cameroonians or viewing myself as better than they are, but because language differences are one of the great sources of humor in travel. On this blog, I have written about the differences between British and American English here, here, and here, and about New Zealanders' accents here. In my previous blog, I wrote about differences in the way Americans and Filipinos use English. I was no more trying to insult Cameroonians in the post under discussion than I was trying to insult Brits, New Zealanders, and Filipinos in those other posts. If more Cameroonians had a chance to visit Britain or the U.S.—and I regret that so few have that opportunity—there would be things they would find funny about the way Brits and Americans speak. And I can assure you, Reex Flames, that during 3 weeks in Cameroon I was the subject of plenty of mockery because of my speech, dress, and all of the other things that make us different from each other. But I was a guest in Cameroon, so I don’t think I have any right to complain.

I think a lot of commenters missed that some of the humor was directed at me and at Americans. As commenter Caitlin correctly remarked: “To me it comes across that the author is laughing at himself for his assumption that he'll be able to communicate in an English-speaking country when in fact the type of English may not be anything like his own.” I also made reference to the “ugly American” stereotype: the tendency of Americans who speak only English to assume, absurdly, that if they just speak slowly and over-enunciate enough that non-native speakers of English will understand them. As I said, the “Special English” paragraph was not the best written, but I was merely pointing out the irony that "ugly American" English has some similarities with the version of English spoken in Anglophone Cameroon. I emphatically was not suggesting that the pace or lilt of Cameroonian English is evidence of stupidity—though I can see how it might have come across that way in the original post. (In fact, I was grateful that people spoke English slowly to me so that I had a chance of understanding them.) Just speaking for myself and my own background, I am glad that, as commenter facter put it, we Americans “can joke about ourselves.”

I wanted to highlight the excellent point made in different ways by Naneh, Reex Flames, nadine, and routine, about the multilingualism of Cameroonians. I came away impressed by how many languages Cameroonians speak, especially because I come from a culture that (sadly) does not put much value on learning other people's languages. I am a little bit embarassed that I only speak English fluently, though I have enough French, Spanish, and Tagalog to get by. The average Cameroonian is far ahead of me on language abilities.

I also appreciated Papa Mama's point (even if it was made in a sarcastic way) about the internet leveling the playing field between people in different parts of the world. Papa Mama points out that the internet enables Europeans and Americans to be exposed to the thoughts of Africans. To that I say, amen and hallelujah. I am grateful that we are able to have this dialogue, which in earlier times would have been impossible, and I hope that we will be able to learn something from it.

Finally, I strongly object to the insinuations made by Reex Flames (for which, to be fair, Reex Flames later apologized) and Unitedstatesofafrica that I went to Cameroon with fantasies of “helping” or “making a difference” by bringing the light of my Euro-American brilliance to the Africans. If you read more of my blog or talked to me about development efforts, you would know that I am very skeptical of arrogant Western attitudes about helping lower-income countries. My motivations for traveling were to learn about Cameroon and Africa, and to spend time with a special someone. As a few commenters pointed out, I was writing for my friends and family, and I had no intention of offending a whole bunch of Cameroonians. But since I did, I am grateful for the opportunity to clarify and continue the discussion.

Ras Tuge

Reex Flames,
you write really well man. But i just can't figure out why you're perpetually superfluous. Well, i guess you must express that terrific anger that definitely charaterise you brief sojourn abroad. How long did you say you've lived in babylon? Four years? Well, there's still alot more in store for you to experience.

When i described you as pompous, i referred to the fact that you are taking this little drama way too seriously bro! I can't understand why a seeminly well-read guy like you would show so much obvious hostility towards someone who simply satirized about our english.

As a Rastaman, i am the mightiest rebel against western treachery, and their untold atrocities in Africa. Nonetheless, attacking this 'white man' on this article was just a lugubrous miscarriage of justice. You may want to visit my blog?

Shawn

Hello,

I am the author of "not the queen's english," which was copied from my personal blog. I have written a response to the issues raised in these comments in my blog:
http://intlmanofmystery.blogspot.com/2009/04/response-to-my-critics-re-not-queens.html

Thanks,
Shawn

Shawn

I'll also post the text of my response here- I tried before and it didn't seem to work, so I apologize for any duplication. By the way, there are links embedded in the original post that will not show up here.

a response to my critics re: "not the queen's english"

I had intended to suspend the blogging and focus on schoolwork for a while, but it's come to my attention that my "not the queen's english" entry was reposted on a Cameroonian website and has generated a lot of pretty heated commentary- including accusations of ignorance/stupidity/idiocy (which I don't really mind) and racism (which I do). Some of the commenters expressed hope that I would respond, so here I am.

First of all, I want to assure my critics that I intended no disrespect toward Cameroonians, and I regret that I have offended some readers. I believe that many of the people who wrote comments have misunderstood the spirit and intent of my post. But taken out of context, I can see how what I wrote in those few paragraphs came across as inflammatory and condescending. There are also parts of the post, the "Special English" paragraph in particular, that in retrospect I should have worded differently.

The reference to the "Queen's English" was obviously the source of a lot of misunderstanding (see posts by Afrika/Unitedstatesofafrica, Samm, oyibbao, and Atanga Belmondo). As commenter Steve Jackson pointed out, I am not British, but American, so I myself do not speak "the Queen's English" either. I meant "Queen's English" as an ironic rhetorical device, not as any kind of statement of how people "should" speak, and certainly not as any kind of statement of a pro-colonial attitude. I do not see language in terms of better or worse, right or wrong. I agree with commenter oyibaao's observation "language is a means of communication that is influenced by time, place, and events." To borrow a phrase from the Bible, language is for people, not people for language.

So why would I write about differences in the way Cameroonians and I use English? As commenters Caitlin, Ras Tuge, Steve Jackson, Le Chiffre, and facter all surmised, the main motivation was humor. I write about this stuff because it’s funny—not in the sense that I am mocking Cameroonians or viewing myself as better than they are, but because language differences are one of the great sources of humor in travel. On this blog, I have written about the differences between British and American English here, here, and here, and about New Zealanders' accents here. In my previous blog, I wrote about differences in the way Americans and Filipinos use English. I was no more trying to insult Cameroonians in the post under discussion than I was trying to insult Brits, New Zealanders, and Filipinos in those other posts. If more Cameroonians had a chance to visit Britain or the U.S.—and I regret that so few have that opportunity—there would be things they would find funny about the way Brits and Americans speak. And I can assure you, Reex Flames, that during 3 weeks in Cameroon I was the subject of plenty of mockery because of my speech, dress, and all of the other things that make us different from each other. But I was a guest in Cameroon, so I don’t think I have any right to complain.

I think a lot of commenters missed that some of the humor was directed at me and at Americans. As commenter Caitlin correctly remarked: “To me it comes across that the author is laughing at himself for his assumption that he'll be able to communicate in an English-speaking country when in fact the type of English may not be anything like his own.” I also made reference to the “ugly American” stereotype: the tendency of Americans who speak only English to assume, absurdly, that if they just speak slowly and over-enunciate enough that non-native speakers of English will understand them. As I said, the “Special English” paragraph was not the best written, but I was merely pointing out the irony that "ugly American" English has some similarities with the version of English spoken in Anglophone Cameroon. I emphatically was not suggesting that the pace or lilt of Cameroonian English is evidence of stupidity—though I can see how it might have come across that way in the original post. (In fact, I was grateful that people spoke English slowly to me so that I had a chance of understanding them.) Just speaking for myself and my own background, I am glad that, as commenter facter put it, we Americans “can joke about ourselves.”

I wanted to highlight the excellent point made in different ways by Naneh, Reex Flames, nadine, and routine, about the multilingualism of Cameroonians. I came away impressed by how many languages Cameroonians speak, especially because I come from a culture that (sadly) does not put much value on learning other people's languages. I am a little bit embarassed that I only speak English fluently, though I have enough French, Spanish, and Tagalog to get by. The average Cameroonian is far ahead of me on language abilities.

I also appreciated Papa Mama's point (even if it was made in a sarcastic way) about the internet leveling the playing field between people in different parts of the world. Papa Mama points out that the internet enables Europeans and Americans to be exposed to the thoughts of Africans. To that I say, amen and hallelujah. I am grateful that we are able to have this dialogue, which in earlier times would have been impossible, and I hope that we will be able to learn something from it.

Finally, I strongly object to the insinuations made by Reex Flames (for which, to be fair, Reex Flames later apologized) and Unitedstatesofafrica that I went to Cameroon with fantasies of “helping” or “making a difference” by bringing the light of my Euro-American brilliance to the Africans. If you read more of my blog or talked to me about development efforts, you would know that I am very skeptical of arrogant Western attitudes about helping lower-income countries. My motivations for traveling were to learn about Cameroon and Africa, and to spend time with a special someone. As a few commenters pointed out, I was writing for my friends and family, and I had no intention of offending a whole bunch of Cameroonians. But since I did, I am grateful for the opportunity to clarify and continue the discussion.

Reex Flames

In response to Shawn on his blog:

Hi Shawn,
Thanks for the clarification on the article. I think all misunderstandings have been cleared after reading the follow-up to your post. I know it may come surprisingly to you to discover the extreme reactions you got from me, USAofAfrica and the other bloggers from the Postnewsline blog but as a matter of fact, cultural interactions between the West-Sub-Saharan Africa has been far from balanced over the past despite the progressive changes taking place. Furthermore, misunderstandings easily arise when both sides feel their cultures are being threatened. In such situation, some individuals shy from expressing their mind in fear of reprisals OR engage only in issuing political correct statements, while others react more radically. I admit I did react at first radically and that is not the true spirit of debating.

Anyway, I appreciate your clarification on the issue and that is significant because at the end of the day, it is all about free speech, where we may either agree to disagree, or disagree to agree, or agree to agree :-)


To Ras Tuge:

Hi, Thanks for your contribution. I may emphasize that I am not hostile towards the writer. My posts were based on my understanding of the issue, which have been fortunately clarified by the author on his blog.

Hence, I am neither expressing some anger as you suggest nor taking the drama intense.
I don't see why arguing on a point means dramatization or being superfluous. I always take as a philosophy to back-up my argument as far as possible, even if some of my points are flawed (I will expect my opponent to point them out to me)rather than saying less and thus offering a weaker argument.

I would be interested to visit your blog, maybe to support or oppose some of your ideas. I am sure it may shape or broaden my experiences ( as you have suggested ;-))

UnitedstatesofAfrica

Ras Tuge,

I know your white girlfriend forced you to write a rebuttal and defend that outrageous article. I understand how those things go.

Once again, you missed the mark. This is not about facts or not being able to handle jokes. This is about the derogatory and condescending tone of the writer towards the linguistic culture of Southern Cameroonians. Not to be repetitive, please read REEX FLAMES WONDERFULLY WRITTEN WRITE-UP. HE HIT ALL THE MAIN POINTS.

you? a rastaman? bitch please. Dreads does not equal wisdom.

Ras Tuge

USofAfrica,
i am an intelligent man, and i love to share ideas with intelligent people. My objectivity and sanity have enabled me to visualize issues from a very sound perspective, and this has earned me a wide appeal. My ideas are mine, and this bespeaks my good judgment.

Why don't you act like a learned man, and just be gracious in your shortcomings? Why struggle so hard just to express yourself like an insolent infant? You seem to be someone who knows the right answers to the wrong questions! Please visit Shane's blog, and spare yourself from more embarrassment. I will not be dragged into a gutter by you.

'Fools die for want of wisdom' (Peter Tosh)

Reex, thanks for your maturity man. Feel free to visit my blog at; www.metrobloggen.se/rastatuge
Enjoy the wicked tunes as you surf through, and please leave a comment if you may. Jah Guide

UnitedstatesofAfrica

Ras Tuge

where did you copy and paste those words from? bob marley's songs of freedom? bitch please. Spare me the pseudo-intellectualism and the self-righteousness. Climb down from your high horse and stop disgracing yourself. You even have the nerve to boast of being an "intelligent man" and having "good judgment". During your initiation into the rastaman clan, did you skip the teachings on humility? and then you top it all off with some shameless self-promotion aka providing a link to your blog.

Since we are all in the mood of quotes today, let me remind you of a well known adage.

"Pride goeth before a fall"

Anglocameroonian

The day to day language in Anglophone Cameroon is pidgin. Thats the truth!!!!!

Nyohnji Ngenge

It is not only in Cameroon where you can find a strange kind of English my dear friend from Cambridge,Even in the United Kingdom,the Scots speak a kind of English that can not be understood by any contemporary English speaker.

Ma Mary

Southern Cameroonians should avoid calling themselves "Anglophones" because it makes them less powerful and causes them to lose their identity.

To be an anglophone means you can speak English, but it is not the ability to speak English that makes a person a Southern Cameroonian. By attaching our identity to speaking that adopted language, it denies those who cannot speak English their rights. It is about a place, a territory, with its geography, culture, politics, history and sovereignty. My forebears who could not speak English were as Southern Cameroonian as the child with an Oxford DPhil.

That is why the stranger who wrote this article goes to Bamenda, thinking he is going to a place called "Anglophone" and then gets totally confused. He has adopted the simple, confusing preconceptions of the occupier who conveniently wants us to forget from whence we came.

Caitlin

@PapaMama, re 'foreign audiences'. You are quite correct that in the age of the internet there's really no such thing, but it's still relevant to try to understand his likely mindset when he wrote the piece. Context is everything and not only did the Post have no right to reprint it, the fact that they did has changed the meaning. The words carry an entirely different meaning on this site than they would on his own personal blog.

As for imposing copyright law on Africa, it's not really about that. We're not talking about the little guy copying a music CD or movie DVD and stealing the copyright of the big faceless corporation. In this case it's the business that has stolen from the little guy. It's not even really about the money - it's about the moral rights to be named as the author of your work and have control over where it goes.

I don't really see how the Somali v British pirates thing is in any way relevant. I'm not defending imperialism. Given that I'm from Australia, itself a former colony, why would I have any interest in doing that?

It just seems to me that the actual text of what the guy wrote was not offensive and was not intended to be offensive, but people with a chip on their shoulder are reading things into it that he didn't write. There have been plenty of cultural imperialists over the years who have laughed at how Africans speak but he's not one of them. He was simply pointing out differences and his own experiences in dealing with those differences. I might write the same thing about the differences in language between British, American and Australian English.

atok angeh

mr steve should learn our language before going to cameroon.Henceforth he should study the language of Ndu people for 6 month on arrival before living in Ndu.

Nico

I agree with the writer, if you are going to brand it “English speaking” Cameroon, then the people should damn well speak English at the least. An as far as the writing thing goes, ( as an earlier blogger commented) just read some of the articles on this blog….. the best once are elementary. We (as a nation) still have a lot of work to do and a long way to go and that has nothing to do with superiority of American and Europeans who when it comes to this matters (their language) are frankly better than us.

Lumumba

The hae been so rewarding reading the various view points and getting what shawn really was trying to communicate to his friends.
I feel this is a forum to enhanced better interactions amongst human beings of interests. In SA the so call Queen language is not that serious because the other 10 local languages are also official languages.
Its a pity that we Africans have greatly look low on our dialects and look at the colonial languages as a way forward and this goes to hinder us as a very unique people. Our hospitality has beeb abused by the so call Oyibos, I don't call them "white" because they'ren't white.
I know thats another debate, but lets use this foreign colonial languages to fruther empower ourselves!!
Lets see how we can unity ahainst the WEST exploiting our Continent!!
Peace!!
Lets debate abt the Negative impacts of the world bank, IMF on Africa with their neo-liberalism policies!comradelumumba@gmail.com lets talk on this issues,Amandla!

Papa Mama

With the benefit of hindsight, this was really a funny exchange. Keep them coming, Shawn and friends.

pet supplements

The hae been so rewarding reading the various view points and getting what shawn really was trying to communicate to his friends.The challenge is that of harnessing them for efficient and effective delivery.Important determinations will certainly include an identification of the target audience and media outlets that cannot be easily tampered with by the government.He has adopted the simple, confusing preconceptions of the occupier who conveniently wants us to forget from whence we came.

J. S. Dinga

Take heart, fellow Cameroonians. It is the nature of our world today that egos and ethnocentrisms abound. Here in America, I learned not to question the quality of Englsih spoken because it is the dollar that matters. Besides, as one heavyweight reminded me, it is American innovation and creativity at work. If you doubt it, let me remind you that Sarah Palin (the one American who "refudiates") and George Herbert Walker Bush, Jr. (He misunderestimated me) are trend setters in the Queen's Enlgish out here. Can you beat that? Thanks to the Internet and the international market place of ideas.

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