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Cam Tok & Other Poems from the Cradle is the poet’s attempt at capturing in print the orality characteristic of Cameroonian discourse and speech mannerisms of the proverbial man in the street. Pidgin English, also called broken English, is a lingua franca spoken throughout the national territory of Cameroon. Of the over 200 languages spoken in this African country, only Pidgin enjoys the rare privilege of being spoken by people from all social strata and walks of life, regardless of educational standing. Indeed, Pidgin has acquired the status of an independent language in Cameroon.It is no longer restricted to small talk, business and music; it is now the language of Cameroonian literature. Francis Njamnjoh, Patrice Nganang, Kangsen Wakai, Mercédès Fouda, and Gabriel Fonkou to name but a few, have adopted Cam Tok as a medium of expression in their literary works. They continually imprint their creative writing with Pidgin English and Camfranglais words and expressions. These writers constantly resort to pidginization and code-switching as a mode of literary indigenization and cultural appropriation.This anthology of poems is inspired by the poet’s desire to salvage a language that is threatened with asphyxiation by self-styled linguistic purists in Cameroon who have subjected this lingua franca to denigration on account of its being non-standardized. Pidgin English translates the worldview of Cameroonians; it conveys their imagination, sensibilities and lived experiences. Although Pidgin has, hitherto, been regarded as a language used mostly by the not so educated people in Cameroon and beyond, this hybrid language has now gained currency among the elite. Learned Cameroonians often resort to Pidgin English for the purpose of phatic communion in informal circles.

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