11 December 2009

Harry Potter in Camfranglais

I'm teaching a course in Speculative Fiction at both the Ateneo de Manila University and the De La Salle University (rival schools in the Philippines along the same lines as Oxford vs. Cambridge and Harvard vs. Yale), where I take up the Harry Potter series. Naturally, I got interested in the blurb of an article that apparently talks about the translation of the first four Harry Potter novels into Camfranglais. This is the only part I can read without paying the pay-per-view rate:

"Camfranglais: A novel slang in Cameroon schools
Jean-Paul Kouega
University of Yaounde

"Camfranglais is a newly created language, a composite slang used by secondary school pupils in Cameroon, West Africa. It draws its lexicon from French, English, West African Pidgin, various Cameroonian indigenous languages, Latin, and Spanish. Secondary school pupils use it among themselves to exclude outsiders while talking about such matters of adolescent interest as food, drinks, money, sex, and physical looks. There are four sections: language in the Cameroon educational system; Camfranglais defined; an analysis of a sample Camfranglais text; and the semantic domains of Camfranglais. There is a glossary of the terms cited."

Someone with access to English Today of Cambridge University Press may want to tell us what the article says about the use of many languages in one (translated) text. (I had an article published in English Today a long time ago, but they did not give me a complimentary subscription as a reward. All I got for the article was a lot of citations and reprints, but I wouldn't have minded a free lifetime subscription. I did say I was teaching Speculative Fiction, didn't I?)


  1. I know it's a while since you posted this, but if you're still interested I'm sorry to disappoint: The article doesn't say HP has been translated, it's just followed by a brief article about the Potter books. There's no connection - except in the minds of search engines.

  2. That's too bad. I'm sure a translation would have sold a lot of copies and provided a database for linguists studying Camfranglais - in short, a boon both economic and academic. Thank you.