Tag Archives: Socio-pragmatics

The Social Media, Human Dignity and Linguistic Violence in Cameroon: A Socio-Pragmatic Perception (Published)

Conflicts, violence, human rights abuses, and the influence of the social media are the most serious challenges the modern world and emerging democracies face today, and Cameroon, in which verbal and nonverbal violence, has become a daily social fact, is no exception. The language that we speak or write influences our cultural identities, and perception of our social realities. The aim of the present study is to collect and examine specimens of speech acts specific to acts of violence used by the social media practitioners as sociolinguistic facts in Cameroon, in order to analyse the different expressions that typify instances of use depicting verbal or linguistic violence in their discourse. The types of words, phrases and linguistic forms identified and analysed characteristically describe these texts as authentic lexicon specific to discourse of conflict and violence within Cameroon in the context of social tension and the Anglophone crisis. The objective being to create more public awareness on the devastating consequences of violence to unity, human dignity, insecurity, peace and living together in Cameroon. To handle complex sociolinguistic data of this sort, the mixed quantitative and qualitative methodology was used to collect online reports from content creators, trained and untrained media practitioners and to analyse these from a sociopragmatic perspective in order to describe its impact on the readers and Cameroonians in situ. The qualitative discourse analysis used was based on a combination of different theoretical frameworks including the Critical Discourse Analysis, Speech Act Theory, Semantic theories, communicative acts, and sociopragmatics relevant to pragmatically explain some of the vocabulary, frequently occurring in the corpus and characteristic of the lexemes of violence, referred to as linguistic violence. Note that words carry and transmit powerful vibrations and emotional energy discharges capable of igniting feelings of hatred, anger, insecurity, intolerance, bitterness, and consequently gruesomely unacceptable acts of human rights abuses. Equally, after the analysis, findings reveal that the different discourse types employ different performative speech acts and stylistic devices including connotation, imagery, symbolism, synonymy, polysemy, and neologism in the forms of verbal abuses, insults, minimisation, and stigmatisation that characterise the contemporary Cameroon society, which suffers from verbal abuses and indecent language use that communicates specific hate-filled and hurtful messages characteristic of linguistic violence in Cameroon, with an urgent need to be addressed. After the analysis, several findings reveal an unprecedented increase in violence and atrocities committed by both separatists and government military on the Anglophone population in particular and on Cameroonians as a result of the Anglophone crisis in violation of human rights and dignity. While suggesting the need to seek for a genuine and an inclusive dialogue, tolerance, the use of polite and decent speech acts, for peace to return is imperative, findings equally reveal that conflict and acts of violence has greatly enriched the Cameroon English language vocabulary, compounding old words to take on new meanings and introducing new words with connotative meanings from other languages like French, local and Pidgin English languages. 

Citation: Willie Mushing Tamfuh (2022) The Social Media, Human Dignity and Linguistic Violence in Cameroon: A Socio-Pragmatic Perception, European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies, Vol.10, No.7, pp.24-120, 2022

Keywords: Conflict, Discourse, Human Rights, Perception, Social media, Socio-pragmatics, Violence