Patterns of Code-switching in Multilingual Anglophone Cameroon Pop Music

Vincent Ambe Tanda, PhD, Raphael Tegha Ketcha, PhD


Though contemporary Anglophone Cameroonian pop music songs are American-oriented with rhythmic characteristics of R&B, Rap and hip hop, they essentially display multiculturalism through code-switching, qualifying them as purely Cameroonian lyrics. This paper seeks to describe the patterns of combination of codes during code-switching and demonstrate that a typical Anglophone Cameroonian contemporary pop music singer performs in two or three categories of languages, namely, official languages (English and / or French); pidgins (Cameroon Pidgin English and/ or Camfranglais) and indigenous language(s) which could be the artist’s mother tongue or simply another Cameroonian home language. The data for this paper consist of sixty Cameroonian popular songs performed by twenty Anglophone Cameroonian artists. The data were descriptively analysed using the qualitative and quantitative methods. The paper validates that code-switching in Anglophone Cameroon Pop music consists of bilingual, trilingual, quadrilingual and pentalingual code-switching patterns with Pidgin English as the dominant language that cuts across all patterns of combination. The paper concludes that multilingual display, which stands as a sine qua non in Anglophone Cameroon contemporary pop music lyrics, manifests itself mostly through code-switching andt permits artists to connect with multiple linguistic and tribal groups of people to pass through their message(s), to the widest possible audience, and communicate their emotions while, at the same time, enhancing aesthetics.

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