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Saturday, 16 January 2010


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Pidgin haters, meet your nemesis. You just want to be as English as the people of Cameroun across the Mungo are French. We are not like that.

Sesseku Arrey.

I find nothing wrong in speaking Pidgin, AS long as a Language is a means of communication, pidgin is a language as it is use to communicate and many understand it.If you want to write Pidgin you will write Pidgin, And if you want to write English you will write english.

I think the World now needs a modern lingua franca as well :-)

Why not decide on a neutral non-national language, taught worldwide, in all nations? As a native English speaker, I would prefer Esperanto

Your readers may be interested in

A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at

The Entrepreneur Newsonline Inc.

...positing that the poor english spoken and written in Cameroon is due to french influence is at most simplistic and at best a cheap political shot to lay blame far where it ought not to be sought.

...Millions of english language speakers in Cameroon and writers from the hinterlands in rural Ndian, Oku and Oshe would have made very little contact with the french language. However, there is no evidence that these persons who have had little contact with french language write and speak better english, to the group that have been exposed to french and the bilingual challenges of Cameroon. Folks from rural Cameroon with little exposure to french are even observed to speak bad english...and heavily infected with the pidgin virus.

To argue that the butchered vernacular called pidgin widely spoken in the english regions of cameroon does not influence the english that even matured scholarised cameroonians speak is an exercise in futility when the evidence abound. And no where is this evidence collated as in the University of Buea where its authorities had sensibly acknowledged the problem.

Harping on instrusive nature of the french language on people who themselves barely speak any french or are even antagonistic to the french language misses identifying the culprit of the poor english spoken and written by native Cameroonians. Unfortunately, the infectious nature of pidgin, its effects which could even be gleaned from the english spoken by Cameroonian scholars (some residing even in the UK or USA for more than 20 years with opportunities to make improvements), such infectious stubborness of the pidgin vernacular defeats the well meaning intention of Cameroon's education authorities.

Click here to listen to an anglophone Cameroonian express herself in english, and glean the challenges of the pidgin contagion:

More importantly, the challenges faced with the pidgin contagion is best described by the negro language or ebonics contagion in African American communities...the unwillingness to learn something better! "sabi yursef no bi cush"

Read more:

Ambe Johnson

I thought the article claimed that French also had a nefarious influence on Cameroonian English and not that french alone was to blame for this state of things????

Ma Mary

French is one contributing factor. That is what the author says and backs up his assertion.

Hey. Who does this remind you of?

You know, a remote control device?

The Entrepreneur Newsonline Inc.

...As remote as the mary in:

The Entrepreneur Newsonline Inc.

Blame game? Sure, French bashing is en vogue and heroic for people who seek circumstancial evidence and not courageous not enough to look themselves in the mirror....

The debilitating blow of the pidgin english, a survilalist vernacular which rose from the ashes of 'anglophone' Cameroon's the colonial past,- natives attempting to communicate with something closer to the colonist's language...has meant that this historic vernacular - a butchered form of the english language - with no structure and construct of its own, spoken by ancestors, handed down to offsprings, has become a primary language for millions of kids. They grow with these supposedly primary language, their brain wired and telewired with butchered english.

School teaching is not enough to un-wire such a permanent construct in the brain. what difference would first-rate transmission and teaching methods make when children return home or to the community to live in the midst of the contagious pidgin virus?

Children are born with the ability to produce speech simply by hearing words and sentences spoken by adults around them,.e.g. pidgin. And so, the children of graduates too speak pidgin (primary vernacular of parents at home!)

Why do even Cameroonian university graduates or residents abroad find it hard to unshackle the pidgin baggage?

It is well established that the majority of children learn a language in the first five years of their lives (e.g. pidgin vernacular); they learn this language with very little error correction and often very little explicit instruction (e.g. pidgin); by the age of five they have a basically intact adult grammar (of pidgin); languages learnt in childhood stick (e.g. pidgin), while those learnt in adulthood rarely do (e.g. structured english).

Primary language programs such as the teaching of structured english and possibly french in anglophone cameroon, fail precisely because of a focus on classroom instruction. That is why the university of Buea position itself to fight the speaking of pidgin in and beyond its campus, in a supposedly 'english speaking province/region' in Cameroon.

Unfortunately the unwilling learners return to pidgin infested communities, and unable to sanitize their brain, they end up not only speaking, but walking, dancing, eating, coughing, writing, interacting and communicating like members of the uncultured community (e.g. around Bonamousadi, Molyko, Deido) where they spent 99% of their lives....

Eyong Kingsley

So let's get this straight; someone rightly or wrongly argues that French is a contributing factor to the falling standards of English in Cameroon and that is "French bashing" but another person argues that Pidgin is the culprit and this person is just stating the facts, right? You guys are so funny; that trait Cameroonian trait of demonizing anything that we disagree with is alive and well - a more delibitating disease than corruption, absence of rule of law, and all those other ills that book people like to mention...



Oyibo pass we for gramma,
We pass dem for Camfranglais!
For Ngola,
You wan tchop,
You go daso tok sei:
Massa, I wan dammer.
For we own kondre,
You wan axe youa kombi sei:
Bo’o, wheti you di fia sef?
You go daso tok sei:
Capo, tu fia même quoi, non?
Na so dis we own langua dei.

Mukala pass we wit Fransi,
We pass dem wit Cameroonese,
Driver wan tok sei,
Dis moto no get book,
Yi go daso tok sei:
L’homme, dis jalopi na clando.
You wan tok for youa small brother sei:
Mek we go, you daso tok sei:
Petit, vient on go.
Na so dis we own Camerounisme dei.

Yoruba dem pass we wit O káàrò!
We pass dem wit Cameroonianism.
You wan tok for youa friend sei,
You wan baratiner some nga,
You go daso tok sei:
Tara, I wan tchatcher da moumie.
Na so dis we own tchat dei.

Spanish pipo dem,
Pass we wit Hola!
We pass dem for Camerounais.
You want tok sei:
Dis akwara done drink ma mimbo free of charge,
You just tok sei,
Mola, da mbock done sule ma jobajo njoh.
Na so dis we own LINGO dei.

German pipo dem,
Pass we wit Guten Morgen!
We pass dem for Majunga Tok.
You wan tok sei,
Dis shumbu foolish taim no dei,
You daso tok sei,
Dis tara na popo moumou.
Na so Majunga Tok dei.

Swedish pipo dem
Pass we wit God morgon!
We pass dem wit Pidgin!
If you sleep for upside,
Youa friend axe you sei,
Massa, na which side you nang today?
You go tell yi sei,
Mbombo, I done nangaboko aujourd’hui.
Na so Kam-Tok dei.

Italian dem
Pass we wit Buon giorno!
But we pass dem wit Camspeak.
You wan tok sei,
Dis woman na ma njumba,
You go daso langua sei:
Dis titi na ma deuxième bureau.
Na so Camspeak dei.

Russian dem,
Pass we wit Dobroye utro!
We pass dem wit Camfranglais.
You wan tell youa oyibo friend sei:
I am going to give this police officer a bribe,
You go daso gist yi sei:
Massa, I wan tchoko da mange-mille.
Na so dis we own tori dei.

Zulu dem,
Pass we wit Umhlala gahle!
We pass dem wit à tout casser tok.
You wan tok sei:
Da katika di mek daso hop eye,
You go daso tok sei:
Da djintete di mek na daso siscia.
Na so tok for Camer dei.

Na some tete for long crayon be tok sei,
“When in Rome do like the Romans”.
From for dat no,
I tok ma own sei:
When in the Cameroons,
Tok as the Camers do!
Lef da yeye Nasara langua!

© vakunta 2009

Va Boy

Vakunta, that was a good one.

The Entrepreneur Newsonline Inc.

I hope you do not imply this your construct is what is widely spoken in the streets of Bamenda and Buea.

Or the style popularised by Lapiro de Mbanga,
you allude to, has taken over the pidgin spoken in CDC plantations in Moliwe?

I wonder howmany of our grandmothers wake up in Bamenda and say:
Tara, I wan tchatcher da moumie.
Petit, vient on go
Ni, da mbock done sule ma jobajo njoh
Da djintete di mek na daso siscia.
When in the Cameroons,
Tok as the Camers do!

....Really? This is how Cameroonians speak?

The Entrepreneur Newsonline Inc.

There is ample evidence that children with multiple language skills develop to adults with better intelligence.

Teach your children from conception day one: structured English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Ngemba, Duala etc,

Begin correcting societal ills with the basic instrument you have: "your involvement". Waiting for teachers to re-wire brains that are steeped in poor wiring from poor home environment is a task that can never be fulfilled....Ask the residents in Harlem, Bronx, etc...Obama was able to compartmentalize and sneaked himself out of the handicap...Negro language?

Empirical evidence abounds in Cameroon's colleges and universities: graduates who memorized huge volumes of material, regurgitated and scored better grades, yet can't communicate, can't hold a reasonable conversation in English or French, after leaving college...can't...can't....can't....can't even help themselves,...can't..........//QED

Enjoy Life and As our grandfathers say in Kumbo and in Oku: 'Dis titi na ma deuxième bureau'...Really?

The Entrepreneur Newsonline Inc.

The style of pidgin you present here,
is what in Cameroon is referred to as
'mboko' talk. Or 'ndos' vernacular.
In english, this is the communication of
rascals ('ndos') and thieves ('mboko').
To posit that this is mainstream in Cameroon
is misleading, especially to caucasian colleagues
who've never been to the field to ascertain the reliability of your construct.

I wonder howmany Pastors and Priests stand in the pulpit and say: 'Dis tara na popo moumou.'

There is intellectual capital to exploit this subset of a vernacular spoken by less than 0.1% of Cameroonian and get publish, but to mislead the world that this is pidgin at its best is disingenous!

Na so so me

I have to agree with Entrepreneur on this one; this is not the good old "West African Pidgin English" spoken (albeit in with variations) in Anglophone Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, etc.)."Massa, I wan tchoko da mange-mille." is NOT pidgin!!! And if today Anglophone academics are telling us that this is what passes for Cameroon Pidgin, then the "politics of Pidgin" may actually be at work, with the slow and steady appropriation of Pidgin English by Francophone thugs brazenly aided and abetted by Anglophone linguists like Vakunta...


So True, franglais pidgin is not pidgin. It is gutter pidgin and not the salt of the earth language spoken by our grandparents.


Language,like anything else is not stagnant. It evolves over time. Pidgin is a form of language and it is evolving like any other language. I have been out of Cameroon for over 25 years and still able to read what Vantuka has written.
Great job Vantuka. Keep it up.


I blame English, Pidgin, French, my parents and the constant movement of the family (Transfers) for not being able to speak my humble dialect.
I spoke English in UB and did business in Pidgin. Agree or disagree I my profit depended on the language. And sure pidgin was my language of choice.

Bob Bristol

Globalisation is taking its toll seriously on even remote areas of the world and anything that seeks to exclude others will only hamper the progress of those within that closed set. It's true that everything evolves including language but when we promote the use of anything that deters progress, we would obviously suffer the long term effects.

I think mainstream anglophone Pidgin is more inclusive than the mix-up that Vakunta has written above. I mean inclusive to other West African varieties. This doesn't erase the fact what he has written is what obtains but how beneficial is that to larger groupings? It wasn't until the highly educated and famous like Vakunta took to the use of this language in public that the uneducated kept aside the ignominy that had been part of them for decades. It was this feeling of inferiority that push them to send their kids to school. It was this same feeling that chased some of them to enrol in adult literacy centres. Today, convincing an uneducated adult that he stands to benefit more from acquiring some certifications has become relatively tedious. Aspirations have been dashed and role models are almost impossible to find.

 Dr Vakunta


Mek I tori wuna dis wan,
Mek wuna ya’ram well,well.
ME, I be na poet of di pipo.
Wheda you long like bamboo,
Or you short like barlok,
Poet of di pipo no get youa taim.

No laugh!
Dis wan no be palava for show teeth!
If you tok nonsense,
Poet of di pipo go gee you!
Foreseka sei poet of di pipo
No get some man yi taim.

Poet of di pipo
Di tok daso yi turu tok,
If poet of the pipo ya lie-lie tok,
Yi go writ’am sei
Dis wan na wuru-wuru tok.
If yi ya correct tok,
Yi go writ’am sei
Dis wan na popo tok.
Na so poet of di pipo dei yi.

Poet of di pipo
No di chop for two pot.
If you tif,
Poet of di pipo go tok sei,
You be na tif man.
If you di tok two tok,
Poet of di pipo go tok sei,
You be na lie lie man.
Na so poet of di pipo dei yi.
Yi no di fia yi some man.

If ngomna tif vote,
Poet of di pipo go tok sei,
Ngomna dong tif election.
Yi no go shut up yi mop.
No man no fit try
For shut up Poet of di pipo
yi mop wit soya.
D’ailleurs sef, poet of di poet
No di chop yi soya!

Wheda you be djintete,
Or you be chargeur for Marché Mokolo,
Poet of di pipo
No di knack hand for you!
Bekoz you no be dirty
Wey you fit fall for yi eye.
If you wan mek poet of di pipo carry youa kwah,
You must tok daso youa turu tok
Poet of di pipo
Badhart koni tok taim no dei!

If you sabi mek wayo,
Taim wey you nye poet of di pipo,
Mek you daso pick tokyo jump for bush,
Bekoz sei poet of di pipo
No di choose some man!
Yi go daso take yi long crayon,
Yi écrire some big buk for youa head,
And da buk no go be na fain waka.
Na so poet of di pipo dei yi.
Oyibo dem di tok sei:
Poet of the people tells it as it is,
He couldn’t care less whose ox is gored!
Ha, dis wan na buk sah!

So no,
All tif pipo dem for Ngola,
All lie-lie pipo dem for Yaoundé,
All koni pipo dem for Sangmelima,
All feyman dem for Douala,
All clando pipo dem for Bonamussadi,
All famla pipo dem for Medùmba,
All Essingam pipo dem for Mvomeka
Mek wuna sabi sei poet of di pipo
No di kop nye.
Wuna must lookot!
Foreseka sei poet of di pipo
No di keep bad ting for yi beleh
Bekoz poet of di pipo yi beleh
No be lantrine at all, at all!
Yi nye yi must langua,
Na so poet of di pipo dei yi.

Copyright Vakunta 2010

Va Boy

Whatever happened to motorboy?

dango tumma

all over the world people go to university to advance their trades and also to advance society at large. what advancement is vakunta doing? for us southern cameroonians. none, maybe to the thieves, the idiots and the rapists of la republique du cameroun, such as lapiro,
thats one more reason why southern cameroons needs its independence yesterday, to sanitize
itself from these wretched lots

The Entrepreneur Newsonline Inc.

Cameroon's inherited culture of French and English Language is Destructive to the language
capital we inherited from our ancestors.

Unable to speak better French or English, we have opted for butchered versions. Adding salt to injury, dishonest public officials have resorted to translating texts by themselves without consulting the experts. This is a slap on Cameroon's bilingualism.

But to opine, and hold steadfast that the pidgin spoken in Idenau, Ikiliwindi, Oku is an influence of french, is a monumental spin....spun out of context.

na wo wan shisha me?
man no run....!
na wo shai da pipi dem dey
whey dem sey dem wan dei un kontri
fo suden kamelun?
Na pidgin go bi dia na national language?

dango tumma

entrepeuner, please stop brainwashing yourself.
cameroun inherited french cultures(a different country) while southern cameroons inherited english language culture.

threst falls in place, are you dumb ass?
even with all these write ups? biya himself have affirmed that. monkey.sombo.

J. S. Dinga

Cameroon Pidgin English is a boon and it is a bane, depending on whose prism one views through. I recall watching two nice Cameroonians almost coming to blows over this issue, one claiming that there was nothing wrong with speaking pidgin while the other thought is was one of the worst things that ever happened to English-speaking Cameroon. “If the white man can come here, learn it and speak it so well” the first argued, “who are you to denigrate it?”
“But the white man who speaks pidgin English is doing so simply for the short duration of time he is here to sell his product” countered the other. “It is in the interest of such a white man to reach as many persons as possible with his product – the gospel, okrika, development project or whatever. He eventually returns to his world, a much wider world where Pidgin English serves absolutely no purpose at all.” And so Cameroonians are left to make their pick.
Cameroonians who speak Pidgin English do so for a number of reasons. Some never had the opportunity of going to school to learn Standard English. Others considered the rigors of grammar, syntax, phonetics and other headaches that go with the language an unnecessary and avoidable headache. Some persons drift between the two, depending on whether they are at home with illiterate family, in offices where nothing better presents itself, at the radio station, at the motor park, in the classroom, amphitheater etc. The field is vast but one thing is true – language as a means of communication is spoken with an audience in mind. It is a waste of time, energy, words etc to speak just for the sake of speaking.
An interesting problem is created when both standard and pidgin English are used to address a certain type of audience. It is pretty much like the tailor who patches an immaculate white shirt using brown or other colored khaki material! Consider this anecdote from one of our nurses dispatched by a surgeon to go and look for alternative illumination following one of SONEL’s many power blackouts. As the doctor was concerned about his patient coming off anesthesia, he called and asked the nurse if she had not found the gas lamp. “I found it but did not see it, doctor” came the reply. Poor doctor! He shook his head in wonderment, how anybody could find something but still not see it. Of course in the Pidgin English psyche of the nurse, it made all the sense in the world. As a matter of fact she was dignifying with some amount of “grammar” what in strict pidgin rendition would have been “I fanam I no seeam”. That is a challenge for those who find nothing wrong with Pidgin English. The other challenge is when examination questions written in French are subsequently translated into English by someone whose command of the language leaves much to be desired, the type of English advocating cleanliness, displayed in boards around Nsimalen airport. Well, most
English speaking students failed the examination, being unable to make sense of the translation. For those who care, Mrs Sophie Lebga wrote a fantastic thesis on the iinterference effect of pidgin Englsih on real English. Why not take a look at her ENS thesis?
When I hear disdainful expressions like “Bamenda English: or “Buea English” uttered by French-speaking Cameroonians who find fault with the quality of language in these Anglophone towns, I marvel at the human mind. Yesterday it was the fashionable thing to do to go to Buea or Bamenda and actually learn the right thing; today both towns are held in contempt. When the Arab allowed his camel to creep into his tent, did he not pay a similar price? English is hardly the only Anglophone trophy that was allowed to go to the dogs simply because of the lofty goal of accommodating “our brothers east of the Mungo”. Short memory is a bad thing. It really is.

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