Media language use in Cameroon: Implications for information dissemination on the COVID-19 pandemic

Authors

  • Marthe Bekele Matanda Department of Linguistics and African Languages, University of Bamenda, Cameroon
  • Victor Ngu Cheo Department of Communication and Development Studies, University of Bamenda, Cameroon
  • Vincent A. Tanda Department of Linguistics and African Languages, University of Bamenda, Cameroon

Abstract

This study investigates the extent to which language choice in the media against the COVID-19 pandemic is efficient in Cameroon. It examines the language choice in the media for the dissemination of COVID-19 information in rural communities in Cameroon as well as the outcome of this choice on the population. The study is guided by the Sapir-Whorf theory which stipulates that, every information passed down to an individual regardless of the channel used, has to consider the subconscious agreement that individual has with his own language. It adopts a mixed- methods of research and 313 people were selected from the communities of Batcham, Mbangassina and Mouanko. A questionnaire was randomly distributed to 308 respondents, while an interview was carried out with three medical personnel and two media personnel. The study reveals that, the choice of language by the media highly influences the people’s adherence to the preventive measures of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Cameroon, the languages mostly used by the media are the two official languages. Though the media equally uses the indigenous languages, however, the time allocated to these languages is very limited and therefore prevents the majority of the population to have to access vital information. It therefore recommends the use of indigenous language for efficient communication with people living in rural communities.

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Author Biographies

Marthe Bekele Matanda, Department of Linguistics and African Languages, University of Bamenda, Cameroon

Marthe Bekele Matanda is a Ph.D. candidate at The University of Bamenda (UBa), Department of Linguistics and African Languages. She holds a Bachelor Degree in English Modern Letters from the University of Yaounde 1, obtained an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the UBa and is currently a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the same University. She attended several academic conferences as a participant and as a presenter. She has two peer-reviewed journal publications in progress. Her interest is in the field of communication development through indigenous languages for the sustainable development of Africa.

Victor Ngu Cheo, Department of Communication and Development Studies, University of Bamenda, Cameroon

Victor N. Cheo holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Modern Letters from the University of Yaounde 1, Master of Arts Degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and a PhD in Communication and Environmental managementfrom Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus, Germany. He lectures in the Department of Communication and Development Studies at The University of Bamenda, UBa and he is an adjunct lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Buea. He has held several administrative positions and is currently the Director of Academic Affairs of UBa.

Vincent A. Tanda, Department of Linguistics and African Languages, University of Bamenda, Cameroon

Vincent A. Tanda is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Bamenda (UBa). He obtained a Ph.D. in Computational Linguistics from the University of Manchester, UK. Since 1994, he taught courses in theoretical and applied linguistics, as well as computer-assisted machine translation at the University of Buea (UB), Cameroon. There, he also served as coordinator of the linguistics program, and pioneer Head of the Department between 2005 and 2015, when he was transferred to UBa. He has co-authored two books and has over thirty publications in peer-reviewed journals. He also supervised several M.A. dissertations, and Ph.D. theses, with a wealth of experience in university administration.

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Published

2022-09-02

How to Cite

Matanda, M. B., Cheo, V. N., & Tanda, V. A. (2022). Media language use in Cameroon: Implications for information dissemination on the COVID-19 pandemic. Nairobi Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 6(2). Retrieved from https://royalliteglobal.com/njhs/article/view/879

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Articles