The Use of Lexis in Cameroonian Movies: The Implication of Language Learning
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This study sets out to characterize the vocabulary of some selected Anglophone Cameroonian movies. These movies have been criticized for not providing the lexical needs of young language learners and contributing to the decline in the standard of English in Cameroon.
Some three films were watched several times and the different lexical choices namely idioms, phrasal verbs, proverbs, figurative expressions were identified and classified. This study found that although most homemade movies were criticized for not meeting the standard, they nevertheless provide the basis for the acquisition of vocabulary.
Some films were acted in poor English which is not recommended for language learners whereas, some of the dialect included in the films was to spice up the film. One can recommend proper editing of movie scripts and also the need for hard work and mastery of vocabulary by actors and they should refrain from speaking Pidgin English in order to promote English Lexis through movies.
Background of the study Origin of English Lexis
English is widely spoken by many as the first language in countries like the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the Anglophone Caribbean. Also, many countries in Africa and in Cameroon to be precise use English as a second language.
According to the Cambridge encyclopedia of English language, a historical account of this language will promote a sense of identity and continuity and enable us find coherence in many of the fluctuation and conflict of present-day English language use.
Etienne Ze Amrella et al (2005) observe that the first inhabitants of Britain were English who originated from the Celts who are presumed to have moved to the land around the fifth century B.C. the Celtic language was a branch of the Indo European language families. Celtic words such as Shamrock, broque, crag, cumb, haxe, survived into modem lexicology.
Ze Amvella states that the Celts were defeated by the Roman Empire under the leadership of Julius Caesar in 55BC. This defeat exposed the Celts to the Latin language that was used by the Latins, mainly by the Roman army. Some of the Latin words that have survived to modem English include anchor, belt and pepper.
Arthur Apple bee et al (1997) remarked that a great impact on the development of English was the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain. The Angles, Saxons, Jutes were known as the Germanic tribes which were actually called upon to help defend the Celts from the Scots, but seeing that they outnumbered the Celts, they later decided to rule the Celts.
During their invasion, they introduced the runic alphabet which featured in old English writing, in old texts such as Beowulf. Anglo-Saxon grammatical words such as be, in, that and lexical words such as name, father, arm, leg and hear have survived into modern English.
The English language was equally influenced by the Old Norse language of the Viking invaders. The Norman Conquest brought about a stage in the history of English called, die Middle English Period, this period was heavily characterized by borrowing of lexis from the French Normans and other countries.
Also in this period, compounding and Affixation were established. Therefore, historians will bear with me that the institution of English as a second language in Cameroon dates far back to the defeat of the Germans during the First World War leading to the transfer of administration of German colonies to Britain and France worth the case of Cameroon.
Since then, French and English have been used as national languages. Although French has dominance over English in Cameroon, English is used by journalists, playwrights, actors and socio-economic and political domains of life.
The influence of Pidgin English and native languages on the English language calls for attention. This deviation has raised an alarm for some writers to propose some alternatives to some English sounds in particular. For instance Mbangwana (2006) has proposed counterparts of some sound in Standard English.
Background of Film Production in Cameroon
The film industry in Cameroon is still in its infant stage and with that, experts are coming into the country to help nurture the industries. It started slowly in the country with the production of the first Cameroonian home movie “Love has eyes” with Mfuh Ebenezar.
There are other productions such as Potent Secrets, Last of Serpent, Peace Offering, Wendy Blues, Sweetest Bitterness, Paris at all cost, China Wahala, Family Plight, And The Colanut said No, The Company, Great Obligation just to name a few. It is however unfortunate that Cameroonian films are facing a marketing problem since many prefer Nigerian movies to Cameroonian movies which many say are of no match with Nigerian movies.
Little advertisement is also done since TV stations such as STV and others have devoted their time to the adverts of Nigerian movies. It is also important to note that the Cameroonian film industry has been greatly hindered from progressing faster by the unavailability of finance.
Statement of the Problem
A good number of Cameroonian spends most of their time watching Nigerian Movies and this is gradually replacing reading. When these films are watched twice or thrice, some of the expressions find themselves in our own expressions.
If these expressions are used wrongly, the audience is liable to be misled and vice versa. This therefore requires that an investigation be conducted into the influence these movies could have on the acquisition of Lexis especially by Anglophone in Cameroon.
Aims of the study
This study is aimed at discovering whether lexis in Cameroonian movies are used correctly or wrongly so as to ascertain whether they can act as a good pedagogic tool or not. It is also aimed at providing a guide to the film editors and act as a warning to those who will watch them or as recommendations. This study is also aimed at making a partial fulfillment of the B.A. programme in the English department.
Objectives of the study
The primary objectives of the study are:
- To describe the use of Lexis and vocabulary in some selected Cameroonian films.
- To classify lexical items and to assess the effectiveness of their use in the films.
- To recommend on the basis of the errors found ways by which movies can be made to meet the language needs of viewers.