Request Realisations in Cameroon Pidgin English

Jean-Paul Kouega (University of Yaounde I)

Abstract


Pragmatic investigations into Cameroon Pidgin English are rare and works on requests are non-existent. This study sets out to outline the rules that underlie requests in this language and the lexical and structural features that realise them. The informants were 30 fluent Pidgin English speakers who were found communicating in Pidgin in public settings like bars and who were willing to join in a writing exercise. The instrument used was a collection of ten request fragments that had occurred in natural Pidgin conversation. These informants were asked to compose a possible conversation between two familiar equals in which one of these fragments like “Put the potatoes in the bucket” could fit squarely. The frame adopted for data analysis was Blum-Kulka and Olshtain’s 1984 research on requests and apologies, whose aim was to specify the particular pragmatic rules of use for a number of languages including English and German. The analysis revealed that the constituents of a request utterance were the same as previous researchers had identified. Besides the most frequent request strategy type used was “reference to preparatory conditions” (31.57% of 38 utterances) followed by “hedged performatives” (26.31%).

Keywords


Cameroon; Discourse structure; Pidgin English; Pragmatics; Request; Speech act

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30564/jler.v1i1.226

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