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University Of Bamenda: Yollande Menguie Defends First Linguistics PhD

Yollande Menguie and jury members

The first-ever Ph.D. thesis in the Department of Linguistics and African languages at the University of Bamenda have been defended before a competent Jury. This was during an academic public defense at the faculty of Arts Board Room on November 10th, 2022, chaired by Professor Mbangwana Paul from The University of Yaoundé 1.

The thesis titled, Multilingualism And Social Networks: The Case Of Lower Fungom Indigenes In The Diaspora, presents research on the possibility that if people who have migrated to urban areas and even out of their natural habitat do not belong to social networks of common identity, they might forget their native mother tongue with time as they will be forced to learn languages close to their environment.

The candidate, Yolande Menguie in interactive nature convinced the jury of five professors with accumulated research in languages on her main research problem.

I noted that their association with speakers of other languages has an influence on their languages and their linguistic repertoire. Residents of lower Fungom who reside in Souza and associate with speakers of other languages influence their language and linguistic repertoire” she said.

On what change the research work shall make in society, Yollande Menguie says there is a great need for people to belong to social networks or create social networks of common identity for the preservation of the respective linguistic repertoire.
We are recommending that since the social networks equally have a negative influence on their linguistic repertoire, more avenues should be created in which they can use more of their lower Fungom languages. There is an absence of sporting activities that have to do with lower Fungom speakers, social encounters, and preservation of languages. More Njangi groups should be created only for Fungom indigenes in the Diaspora”, she added.

On the choice of Souza for the research by the candidate, Yollande Menguie says the indigenes of Lower Fungom residents in the area are very much exposed to other languages like the French language, the native Aboh languages, and Pangeh, making some of the lower Fungom residents in Souza to abandoned their original linguistic repertoire in favor of host community languages because of tee absence of social networks.

There are 7 spoken languages in the 13 villages that make up Lower Fungom and some of these languages are fast dying out.

After an interactive defense session, the jury comprising Professor Mbangwana Paul from the University of Yaoundé 1, Professor Seino Evangeline from the University of Bamenda, Professor Asonganyi Esther from the University of Bamenda, Professor Vincent Tanda of UBa as well as professor Muluh Henry have recommended Yollande Menguie to the university senate for the award of a Doctor of Philosophy Degree with the grade Excellent.

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