Africa is home to the highest linguistic diversity in the world, with over 1500 different languages. It is only during the colonial era that other languages were introduced on the African continent. Languages like English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
So even before the colonial masters came to the continent, Africans had their indigenous languages. But things started changing when Africans were required to speak the language of their masters. By means of education and also with the introduction of Christianity and the Islamic religions.
How Africans spoke these languages of course was kinda different from how the colonialists spoke. This of course was attributed to the influence of their first languages.
It was also the same case for those Africans who were taken to the America’s as slaves.
A certain form of language developed among these Africans because they came from different backgrounds coupled with the fact that they had to try to speak their master’s language. Scholars refer to this language as pidgin or creole. And it was mostly spoken in West Africa.
In a country like Nigeria, pidgin has become a more informal alternative to English, as well as the country’s indigenous languages, which often aren’t given sufficient attention by schools.
But these languages have started becoming more and more recognised following the huge number of people who use them. Just recently, the BBC launched a pidgin service for West and Central Africa in August 2017. So it shows the popularity of this form of language.
Cameroon is a bilingual country That means it has French and English. They also have their form of pidgin, pidgin English, kamtok as well as camfranglais. Camfranglais is a mixture of French and English and other cameroonian local languages.
The use of pidgin is so widespread in Cameroon that they even have a television station that uses pidgin English. Am talking about Equinoxe TV. This is how news is covered in pidgin in Cameroon.
And if you thought that was enough wait till you hear pidgin in hip hop music and rap music from some renowned Cameroonian artists. I take the example of Koppo. His kind of style is urban and he is well known for his camfranglais lyrics. Pay attention to the words and you’ll sure hear the form of language am talking about.
I wouldn’t really be fair talking about pidgin without an example from Nigeria. Those who watch Nollywood movies, you get to hear a lot of pidgin. Nigerian songs for example are full of pidgin English.