English Language Pedagogy in a Multilingual Context: Reversing the Multilingual Curse in Cameroon

Ignatius Ambe Akonwah, Nkwetisama Carlous Muluh


The prioritisation of English has relegated local languages to the background. They are dying out and may eventually go extinct. This paper investigated the extent to which the rich multitude of languages in Cameroon are exploited to the advantage of Cameroonian language users; how English is prioritised to the detriment of local (and other) languages in Cameroon; how translanguaging could be used to facilitate the learning of English and other subjects on the curriculum The paper was guided by the Critical Discourse Analysis, The Cognitive and the Socio-cultural Theories. 106 students and 20 teachers constituted the sample population selected from schools in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. Questionnaires were administered to teachers and students; interviews were conducted with sixteen male and female teachers and students. A video of a live classroom observation was done. The study revealed that the rich multiplicity of languages in Cameroon is not sufficiently exploited to the advantage of learners and users; that English is overprioritised to the detriment of local languages, that translanguaging would be a panacea to local languages.  Recommendations were made to policy makers, the Ministries of Basic and Secondary Education, course book designers, teachers and parents. Suggestions for future research were also made.


cameroonian language users, translanguaging, facilitate, learning of English, curse

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