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International Journal of English Language Education

Teaching a Standard Variety of English or a Local Standard: The Case of Cameroon

Patrick R. Belibi
School of Education, State University of New York at Albany P.O. Box 12222, Albany, New York, United States
Abstract :
The linguistic and cultural legacies of British colonization include, among other things, the 
emergence of several varieties of English shaped by the social, ecological, cultural, historical, 
political and linguistic realities of the different places where the language was introduced. In 
postcolonial settings, the growth of new nations was inextricably bound with identity 
construction in the use of English, both as a symbol of independence from the colonial power 
and a marker of identity from other varieties of English. Looking at English language 
teaching and testing, however, that quest for identity is easily silenced; there is still a strong 
dominance of the standard language ideology, with British and American varieties providing 
norms for teachers all over the world. This paper investigates major controversies 
surrounding TESOL practice and highlights the dilemma faced by the non-native English 
teacher in the process of choosing a variety of English for the language classroom. Taking 
Cameroon as case study, the paper shows that it is not plausible to teach only one variety of 
English in that country, be it British, American or Cameroon English. While English 
multi-dialectalism in Cameroon requires exposing learners to many varieties of English, 
teachers can reach that goal by taking advantage of the linguistic creativity found in literary 
Keywords :
TESOL, standard language ideology, Englishes, pedagogy

Date Deposited : 25 Apr 2014 16:29

Last Modified : 25 Apr 2014 16:29

Official URL:

Volume 1, Number 3, - 2013 , ISSN 2325-0887

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