A Linguistic Awareness of Usage in Bi-multilingual Classrooms:
Language Awareness for Improved Teaching-learning and Social Inclusion
Keywords:Bi-multilingual, Language awareness, Linguistic, social stereotyping
Learners chuckle or comment ''She/ He is a Francophone/ an Anglophone'' in reaction to another’s lexical or syntactic usage, or phonological realisation; a stereotypical practice that elicits learners’ extent of language awareness. The aim of this paper therefore, is to identify and analyse some linguistic and social variables that influence language awareness in a bi-multilingual classroom, and propose strategies for improved teaching-learning and social inclusion. The objectives are to identify the variables that influence linguistic awareness of usage in a bi-multilingual classroom; analyse the extent to which these variables influence language awareness; and explore the outcomes for pedagogic and social enhancement. The dynamics of social and linguistic stereotyping are highlighted in the context of Cameroon’s bi-multilingualism, language (un)awareness and learner centred learning. The sample population comprises 43 students from two faculties and one school of The University of Bamenda. A coded open-ended questionnaire focused on the micro (linguistic) and macro (social) aspects of language awareness is administered; part self-completion and part face-to-face as an interview. The descriptive statistical method and the qualitative method are used to analyse the data. Findings prove these varieties of English include sociolects with linguistic processes such as alveolar plosives substitution for inter-dental fricatives; English rolling /r/ vs. French uvular /ɹ/; recurrence of a Cameroon Pidgin English syntactic feature in place of the English interrogative close; the Wh inversion in questions; literal translation, use of pejorative adjectives and adjectival phrases. Learners’ awareness of the variation triggers social and linguistic stereotyping, but there is unawareness of the negative impact of stereotyping, one of them, social exclusion. As a proposal for enhanced teaching-learning and social inclusion or tolerance in bi-multilingual classrooms, language teaching could include integrated modules of language awareness and contrastive linguistics to enhance learners’ analytical language skills and critical awareness of the social realities....
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