Particle Choices and Collocation in Cameroon English Phrasal Verbs

Napoleon Epoge


The meaning of some phrasal verbs can be guessed from the meanings of the parts (to sit down = sit + down, run after = run + after) and the meaning of some others have to be learned (to put up (a visitor) = accommodate, to hold up = cause delay or try to rob someone) due to their syntactic and semantic complexities. In this regard, the syntactic and semantic properties are expected to be the same in every English speaking context. Thus, this paper aims to explore the input-oriented syntactic and semantic properties of phrasal verbs in Cameroon English. Findings reveal that the syntactic property of some phrasal verbs undergoes innovative processes such as particle substitution (to round up a point), omission (to bite more than you can chew), and redundancy (to meet up with the requirements); while the semantic property undergoes the process of semantic extension (to came out with a pathetic story to justify ones absence from office; to come out with a wonderful strategy to curb corruption), and semantic shift (to put up with someone for one semester). This reveals that, in the New English context such as Cameroon, users resort to the domestication of the alien language as a functional and dominant paradigm to combat cultural imperialism and express new identity.

Keywords: Cameroon English, collocation, particle, phrasal verb, semantics, syntax

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