Open Access Library Journal

Volume 4, Issue 12 (December 2017)

ISSN Print: 2333-9705   ISSN Online: 2333-9721

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Some Features of the Syntax of Proverbs in Cameroon Pidgin English

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DOI: 10.4236/oalib.1104139    651 Downloads   1,728 Views   Citations


This paper examines the structure of Cameroon Pidgin English proverbs. The data are drawn from a sample of proverbs which seem to have originated from the context of use of the language itself and are therefore not translations from foreign languages and cultures. The analysis, which is done following Quirk et al.’s model of syntactic study [1] [2], reveals that simple sentences occur more frequently than compound and complex sentences, with compound sentences being very limited in number. The SVO and SVC clause patterns are dominant in simple sentences and so are positive structures as opposed to negative ones in the whole corpus. Complex sentence proverbs usually contain adverbial and relative clauses. While the position of relative clauses is fixed, that of adverbial clauses is mobile and as a result, cases of fronting are common. Another the-matisation technique is clefting, where the element “na” (it is… that) reproduc-es an earlier sentence constituent and introduces a relative clause in an other-wise simple sentence. This is one of the structural features of Cameroon Pidgin that obviously does not come from the superstrate English; seemingly, it does not come from the substrate Cameroon indigenous languages either.

Cite this paper

Kouega, J. (2017) Some Features of the Syntax of Proverbs in Cameroon Pidgin English. Open Access Library Journal, 4, 1-17. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1104139.

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