The (Socio)Linguistic Identities of Islam in Northern Cameroon

Francois Baimada Gigla


This paper hypothesizes that such sociolinguistic identities as Kanuri, Shuwa Arabic, Fulfulde and Wandala which are all Cameroon languages are so much linked to Islam in Northern Cameroon that their development are parallel that of Islam in this part of the country. In order to verify this, observation, three hundred questionnaires and communication with Muslim faithful were used in three Friday mosques in Maroua, Garoua and Ngaoundere, the main cities of this half of the country. The second dimension of Spolky’s (2006) theory on language and religion was used as frame. The paper finds that there is mutuality between these languages and Islam not just due to historical factors, but also because of the influence on the making of a sociolinguistic repertoires and the building of (new) religious communities. As these linguistic identities are reminiscent of Islam, they stand as the main linguistic vehicles of Islam in Northern Cameroon.

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