Rachel Ayuk Ojong Diba

Dr. Rachel A. Ojong Diba is Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the Department of Linguistics, University of Buea. Rachel’s full CV.

She was supported by the KPAAM-CAM project for her PhD thesis entitled “A study of the sociolinguistic dynamics of multilingualism in rural Africa: the case of Lower Fungom (NW Cameroon)”, which was co-supervised by prof. Ayu’nwi N. Neba and Dr. Pierpaolo Di Carlo. The thesis has been defended in December 2019.

Summary of Rachel A. Ojong’s thesis

This thesis investigates and describes multilingual practices in an intensely linguistically diverse locality in the North West Region of Cameroon. It offers a case study in an otherwise under-researched topic examining the daily linguistic habits of a small group of highly multilingual individuals in Lower Fungom, a rural highly linguistically diverse community in the North West Region of Cameroon. We give particular attention to concomitants of multilingualism such as di/polyglossia and code switching. The central research question of the study is how do rural multilinguals use their linguistic repertoire? We argue that localist ideologies having to do with participants, settings and the covert intention of the speaker condition the code choice of individuals in this area. Languages are used to index relational rather than categorically identification, a crucial addition to scholarly perspective on African multilingualism. Through the use of recorded natural occurring conversations, questionnaires and direct observation, it emerges that multilingual individuals still maintain and deploy in daily interactions their rich linguistic repertoires, with each indigenous language given equal value in ways that suggests the existence of a language ideology that radically differs from that dominating in urban centers. This ethnographic qualitative study serves as a contribution to sociolinguistic studies on rural multilingualism in Africa.

The thesis can be downloaded here

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