On Context and Second Language Acquisition: The Rural Urban Dichotomy in Cameroon

Louis Mbibeh


The complexity of the linguistic environment in Cameroon raises the question of context and its role in the acquisition of another language. This paper draws a dichotomy between learners in such contexts considered rural and those regarded as urban or cosmopolitan2. Using the irregular verb as a yardstick, an evaluation of the acquisition of irregular verb patterns by 80 final year primary school learners from 2contexts in the Northwest Region of Cameroon was done. Oral and written tests were administered to check learners’ acquisition of verb inflectional categories, verb tenses and general written and oral productions. The findings reveal similar trends in the acquisition of inflectional categories and verb tenses by learners in both contexts and divergent trends in general oral and written productions. For instance, learners in both contexts had similar challenges using the Vs, Ved and Ven inflections with a very low average frequency of 26% and with a high frequency of 67.2 % for the Ving and Vo inflections. Though learners in the urban centres had higher degrees of efficiency in oral productions, their counterparts in the rural areas had more challenges in verbal as against written productions. The paper concludes that second language acquisition is not a consequence of a unilateral context but a result of a plethora of other factors both within and without the learning environment with evident pedagogic implications for stakeholders in the second language acquisition industry.


Second Language Acquisition, Context, Accommodation, Acculturation, Cameroon Linguistic Landscape

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.12n.1.p.68


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