The teaching of English to French-Speaking Cameroonian learners at the secondary level of education in Cameroon: A Phonological Appraisal


This work set out to examine the teaching of English in the Francophone subsystem at the secondary level of education in Cameroon. The researcher was motivated by the fact that, in Cameroon, when Francophone learners leave secondary school, despite their rich syllabus, most of them still perform poorly orally. Their speech is generally full of phonological errors that pose problems of intelligibility, as each of them typically adds in his/her own speech some idiosyncratic features reflecting his/her particular native language, educational background and personal temperament. The data – which were drawn from both phonic and written sources thanks to some survey methods like questionnaires, interviews as well as textbooks and English papers in official examinations – were systematically analysed within the theoretical frame of Needs Analysis. Interestingly, the findings reveal that most Francophone learners still perform poorly orally when they leave secondary school because aspects of spoken communication like phonology are not given sufficient attention. In fact, the teaching of English at the secondary level of education in the Francophone subsystem does not respect the syllabus specifications for the teaching of English to Francophone learners; rather, it is examination-oriented. Thus, only aspects of written language (grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, essay writing) that are evaluated by official examination English papers are sufficiently taught. Our findings equally reveal that, in the textbooks that are designed for the teaching of English to Francophone learners, phonology is totally downplayed. With regards to the English paper in official examinations, our findings show that no consideration is given to phonology. The four sections that make up the paper are based on grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension and essay writing.

Keywords: Cameroon Educational System, Francophone subsystem, Phonology, input.

Unique Article ID: IJELD-117

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