Structure dataset 18: Cameroon Pidgin English

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 18.

Cameroon Pidgin English is spoken in the Republic of Cameroon and in many diaspora communities, e.g. in France, the UK, Germany, the USA, and South Africa. The number of speakers is difficult to determine as it is spoken by different people with varying degrees of competence: these range from L1 speakers and fluent L2 speakers to people who use it only sporadically as a rudimentary and ad hoc means of communication in trade situations. In Cameroon, in addition to the two official languages French and English, there are approximately 280 indigenous languages spoken at the local level, out of which 7 or 8 as well as Cameroon Pidgin English have attained the status of regional lingua francas. Of these, Cameroon Pidgin English is probably the most important one. All these languages (indigenous and official) exert an influence on Cameroon Pidgin English, and therefore variation in this language is determined by varying degrees of approximation to Cameroon English and to French at the acrolectal end (usually associated with educated speakers in urban environments) and varying degrees of influence from the indigenous languages at the basilectal end (usually associated with less educated speakers and rural areas). The variety taken as the default lect for the features in APiCS ranges between the two ends of this gradatum and is usually described as ‘broad variety’. All examples are either taken from published descriptions of the language (as indicated in the dataset) or constructed with the help of Dr. Balbina Ebong, a native speaker of Cameroon Pidgin English.


I would like to thank Dr. Balbina Ebong, who - as a native speaker of Cameroon Pidgin English - crosschecked all constructed examples in this survey

Glossed text (53.4KB, application/pdf)
No. Feature Value Details Source
No. Feature Value Details Source


Pulmonic Consonants
Place → Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
↓ Manner Bilabial Labio­dental Linguo­labial Dental Alveolar Palato-
Retroflex Alveolo-
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal
/ Epiglottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop p b mb t d k ŋk g ŋg
Sibilant affricate t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Non-sibilant affricate
Sibilant fricative s ⁿs z ʃ
Non-sibilant fricative f v θ ð h
Approximant l j
Flap or tap
Trill r
Lateral affricate
Lateral fricative
Lateral approximant
Lateral flap


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back Close Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open ihigh front unrounded vowel uhigh back rounded vowel ehigher mid front unrounded vowel ohigher mid back rounded vowel ɛlower mid front unrounded vowel ɔlower mid back rounded vowel alow central unrounded vowel

Special segments

Other segments
 w  voiced labial-velar glide


       Exists (as a major allophone)
       Exists only as a minor allophone
       Exists only in loanwords
No. Feature Value Details Source