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Milestones in the Corpus of Cameroon English (CCE): research possibilities in an ESL Context Dr. Daniel A. Nkemleke Department of English Ecole Normale.

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Presentation on theme: "Milestones in the Corpus of Cameroon English (CCE): research possibilities in an ESL Context Dr. Daniel A. Nkemleke Department of English Ecole Normale."— Presentation transcript:

1 Milestones in the Corpus of Cameroon English (CCE): research possibilities in an ESL Context Dr. Daniel A. Nkemleke Department of English Ecole Normale Supérieure University of Yaounde I (Festschrift for Paul Mbangwaba, June 2008) Outline  Introduction: Key dates in the CCE  Objective of the corpus  Current state of corpus  Envisaged parallel corpus  Research possibilities  Concluding remarks

2 Introduction: key dates in the CCE  before 1992: link between the then university of Yaounde & School of English, University of Birmingham  1992: initial blueprint of the Corpus of Cameroon English  1992–1994: support from local and foreign colleagues  1994: initial target of a million-word reached

3 Introduction: Key dates in the CCE (Cont’)  1995 onward: exploitation of corpus for research and classroom activities  2003 major research completed, using corpus as database  : over 16 publications/books based on corpus  : corpus underwent major restructuring (editing and tagging)

4 2. Objective of corpus  provide a textual basis for a quantitative study of CamE  provide a database for the description of the main features and problems inherent in the variety of English which is written in Cameroon  serve as a database for comparative studies on CamE in relation to other varieties of English.  provide a source of authentic material for English language teaching in Cameroon and

5 3. Current state of corpus (Table 1) Text categoriesNo. of textsNo. of words A: Official Press257126,539 B: Private Press4249,098 C: Novels & Short Stories2177,096 D: Religion1996,380 E: Tourism526,881 F: Official letters7712,285 G: Private letters25079,386 H: Students’ Essays83137,399 I: Government Memos1671,368 J: Advertisement104,875 K: Miscellaneous22139,247 TOTAL802820,554

6 4. Envisaged parallel (written) corpus: ICE- CAM (Table 2) Printed Student Essays (10) Exam Scripts (10) Social Letters (15) Business Letters (15) Non-printed Humanities (10) Social Science s (10) Natural Sciences (10) Technology (10) Social Sciences (10) Natural Sciences (10) Technology (10) Press reports (20) Novels (10) Skills/hobbies (10) Editorials (10) Administrative (20) Total 400,000 words

7 4. Envisaged parallel (written) corpus: ICE- CAM (Cont’) (Table 3) Dialogue Conversations (90) Phone calls (10) Class Lessons (20) Broadcast Discussions (20) Broadcast Interviews (10) Parliamentary Debates (10) Cross-examinations (10) Business Transactions (10 ) Monologue Commentaries (20) Unscripted Speeches (30) Demonstrations (10) Legal Presentations (10) Broadcast News (20) Broadcast Talks (20) Non-broadcast Talks (10) Total: 600,000 words

8 5. Research possibilities  Serve as a basis for qualitative and quantitative comparative research on Cameroon English and other varieties of English - Testing frequency and/regularity of features of CamE usage (e.g. see Simo Bobda 2002) & comparing with other corpora

9 5. Research possibilities (Cont’)  Provide a basis for practical and lexicological description of Cameroonian English: (a) How common are different words? (b) How common are different senses of different words? (c) Do some words have systematic associations with other particular words?

10 5. Research possibilities (Cont’)  Investigating interference features in CamE  I have been wondering whether I should look for a non-logement certificate and marriage certificate again for the money to go through? (PL001)  But as they say "L on ne lache jamais les cops". (PL12)  I heard that your gastric is dealing with you. Weh h h ! Ashiaii ! (PL 236)  Brother, Masa don't be angry with me. I regret the silence. (PL 239)

11 5. Research possibilities (Cont’)  Investigating register variation within CamE using MF/MD approach (Biber 1988)  Lexical classes -conjuncts (e.g. consequently, furthermore, however etc.) -downtoners (e.g. nearly, barely, slightly etc.) -hedges (e.g. at about, something like, almost etc.) -amplifiers (e.g. absolutely, extremely, perfectly etc.) -demonstratives (e.g. this, that, those etc.)

12 5. Research possibilities (Cont’)  Modals -possibility (e.g. can, may, might, could) -necessity (e.g. ought, should, must) -predictive (e.g. will, would, shall)

13 5. Research possibilities (Cont’)  Nominal forms -nominalization (ending in –tion, -ment, -ity) -gerunds (participle forms functioning as nouns)  Passives -agentless passives -by-passives  Lexical specificity -type/token ratio -mean word length  Questions -direct WH-Questions

14 5. Research possibilities (Cont’)  Specialized lexical verbs -public verb (e.g. assert, declare, mention, say) - private verbs (e.g. assume, believe, doubt, know) -suasive verbs (e.g. command, insist, propose)  Pronouns - first person pronouns (e.g. I/we) - second person pronoun (e.g. you) - inclusive pronoun (e.g. we, us)

15 5. Research possibilities (Cont‘)  Investigating features of spoken English (a distant possibility??) - corpus phonology

16 6. Concluding remarks  the CCE is brainchild of Professor Paul Mbangwana  prospects students’ participation crucial the spoken component, an immediate challenge

17 Appendix I: some research undertaken on the CCE so far  Nkemleke, Daniel (2008) Modality in novice academic writing: the case of African and German university students. English Projects in Teaching and Research in Central Europe. Göttingen: Cuvillier  Nkemleke, Daniel (2007) Frequency and use of modals in Cameroon English. Lagos Papers in English Studies, vol. 1(2),  Nkemleke, Daniel (2007) Frequency and use of modals in Cameroon English and application to language education. Indian Journal of Applied Linguistics, vol. 33, No. 1,  Nkemleke, Daniel (2005) Must and Should in Cameroon English. Nordic Journal for African Studies, vol. 14 No. 1,  Nkemleke, Daniel (2004) Context and Function of Need and Be able to in Cameroon English. Indian Journal of Applied Linguistics, vol. 12 No. 2,

18 Appendix I: some research undertaken on the CCE (Cont‘)  Nkemleke, Daniel (2004) A corpus-based study of the modal verbs in Cameroonian and British English. CASTALIA: Ibadan Journal of Multicultural & Multidisciplinary Studies, vol. 19,  Nkemleke, Daniel and Paul Mbangwana (2001) The modals of and Obligation and Necessity in Cameroon English. CASTALIA: Ibadan Journal of Multicultural & Multidisciplinary Studies vol. 6,  Tiomajou, David (1993) Designing the Corpus of Cameroon English. ICAME Journal, 17,  Note: Hans-Georg Wolf used data from the corpus in his book English in Cameroon, published in 2001 by Mouton de Gruyter (Berlin/New York).

19 Appendix I: some research undertaken on the CCE (Cont‘)  Nkemleke, Daniel (2008) Please-requests in Cameroonian and East-African private (social) letters”. Discourse and Interaction 1/2. Brno: Masaryk University.  10. Nkemleke, Daniel (2008) Frequency and variety of if- constructions in Cameroon English. In: English Studies and Language Teaching 3, Department of English, University of Pilsen.  11. Schmied Josef and Nkemleke, Daniel (2008) Prepositions in Cameroon and Kenyan English: corpus-linguistic comparisons of simplification and expressivity. World Englishes: Problems- Properties-Prospects, to be published by John Benjamins.  12. Schmied, Josef and Nkemleke, Daniel (2008) Reference, coherence and complexity in students’ academic writing: examples from Cameroon and East-Africa corpus. Pragmatics, Language and Literature: A Festschrift for Efurisibina Adegbija.  13. Nkemleke, Daniel (2008) The Expression of Modality in Cameroon English”. Approaches to Cameroon English: Features, Structure, and New Perspectives, for the series Varieties of English around the World (John Benjamins) Edited by Edgar W. Schneider.

20 END THANK YOU !


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