linguistic implications of appreciation in Ngemaba language
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1.1 Background to the study
When we talk of gratitude or appreciation, we generally refer to the quality of being grateful or thankful for something or to someone. Oxford dictionary defines gratitude as a state of being grateful.
This chapter introduces the study entitled “forms of appreciation in Ngemba”. A narrow grass fields language spoken in the North West Region of Cameroon. It presents the general background information on the topic, the problem that is being addressed, the questions asked, the aim of the study, the scope of the work, literature review and method of data collection and treatment. The data also presents the theoretical framework used for the research.
The speakers of the Ngemba language are located in the North West Region of Cameroon. Noupa (2013) notes that the language is specifically located in the Santa Sub – Division precisely in the Mezam Division of the North West Region. According to her the chiefdom of Ngemaba otherwise known as “small London” shares boundaries with Awing, Mendankwe Mbatu and Mbe (Santa). As she notes, the Ngemba community stretches for about twenty (20) kilometres from Bamenda–Bafoussam highway. The stretches begin for about five kilometres from the Bamenda government station right up to the boundaries between the North West Region in Mezam Division. She further confirmed that the village is located at a height of about one thousand five hundr4ed and twenty-four meters above sea level on a chain of mountains known as the Bamboutous range. This range stretches to the Western Region and the hills which are usually covered with grass are watered by numerous streams which flows into the Mankon plains, washing away all the fertile soil from the slopes.
Just like most of the Cameroonian kingdoms and ethnic groups, the people of Ngemba are presently settled in the North West Region as a result of migratory patterns. Given that the early history of the people was rarely documented, available information on the history of the people is only passed down from one generation to another through oral tradition. In this light, oral sources hold that the Ngemba people originated from Widikum, precisely from a place called Jesta in the 17th century. The name Ngemba was formally articulated as Baghangu. It is said that the name originated from the Bali who thought that a man called Aghagum was the leader of the Ngemba clan. It is known that the people travelled westwards from Widikum through the Meta village to a place called Mundum. In search of fertile lands, the people again migrated from Mundum where they were led out by four brave men known as Fumungom, Atamichangneh, Achomgwe and Ngwashi. This movement resulted to a change in the name of the people from Baghangu to “Mbәkùm bì nәkwa”, meaning “the four Akum”.
The Ngemba language is spoken in the grasslands of western Cameroon, Niger-Congo, Atlantic Congo, Benue – Congo, Southern Congo, Bartoid, Grassfields, Eastern and Ngemba. The Ngemba language falls under the Niger-Congo family.
Socio Linguistic Situation of Ngemba
The languages spoken in Ngemba are pidgin, English, French and Ngemba. English is used in schools as a medium of instruction and it is also studied as a subject. Also used in homes markets and church. French is studied in schools as a subject and it is also spoken in homes (isolated cases0. Pidgin is used in homes, markets and churches.
Ngemba is used in homes, markets and churches. The Ngemba people have their traditional wear known as àtŏg. They also have traditional dishes such as achu and yellow soup, fufu corn and vegetable (“katikati”). Apart from their own traditional dishes, they also eat other dishes from neighbouring villages and other parts of Cameroon. The Ngemba people have a traditional dance known as “njang”.
1.2 Problem Statement
The problem that has motivated this research is the observation that very little or nothing has been done in the Ngemba language as far as the norms of appreciation are concerned. This, therefore, makes the language endangered given that the youths who are supposed to be the transmitters of the language and culture to future generations are gradually losing important skills in it, one of which is the norms of showing appreciation. This, therefore, poses a serious problem to the language and thus worthy of being investigated.
1.3 Aims and Objectives
The aim of this study is to show how appreciation is shown within the perspectives of Ngemba community in this light, we aim to bring out the various linguistic implications of appreciation in Ngemaba and the non-verbal implications of appreciation in Ngemba and the linguistic strategies of appreciation in Ngemba. Thus, we set out to find out if there is a difference between the strategies used by youths, children and adults.
1.4 Research Questions
With regard to the above problem, the following questions have been asked.
- What are the linguistic implications of appreciation in Ngemba?
- What are the linguistic strategies employed by the Ngemba people to show appreciation?
- What are the non-verbal strategies of showing appreciation in Ngemba?
- What are the socio-cultural implications of appreciation in Ngemba?