Colonial Letters and the Contact of Knowledges

Julius A. Eyoh

Linguistics and African Languages

University of Yaounde 1

Research Focus

Language Standardisation, Language Endangerment and Revitalisation, Language Description and Documentation, Ngwo Language Teaching and Learning, Sociolinguistics and Ethnolinguistics, Language Translation.

Selected Publications

Summary of research topic in the CL&CK project

The quest for change and its implications as evidenced in colonial letters from British Southern Cameroons

The quest for change is a human characteristic that has lasted since the existence of humanity, and can be studied in the precolonial, colonial and/or post-colonial times. From letters written during British colonisation of Southern Cameroons (1916-1961), I try to bring out attitudes, implications, the language used and the strategies put in place by different actors either to achieve change or to resist it. Implications here refer to the possible future effects of an action, event or decision. Whether it is to initiate change or to resist it, the actors involved employ different attitudinal strategies and a form of language that they use.  I make a retrospection of the struggles and challenges faced by the colonised and coloniser in either effecting or resisting change as evidenced in the colonial letters. In most of the situations, while the coloniser has put in place colonial structures (in different domains) to maintain the status quo, the colonised seek for change for their own interest. The domains for change (and which sometime overlap) can be diverse, ranging from political, administrative, cultural, economic, infrastructural, institutional, psychological, among others.