Chapter 5. Language Blending, Language Mixing and the Strengths of Linguistic Incompleteness in Francis B. Nyamnjoh’s Oeuvre


Hassan Mbiydzenyuy Yosimbom
Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA), University of Cape Town,Cape Town, South Africa

Part of the book: Bilingualism and its Benefits


This chapter argues that Francis B. Nyamnjoh’s oeuvre attests that increased inter- and multi-language conversations informed by the ineluctability of linguistic interconnections and interdependencies challenge Mimbolanders to (re)contemplate Mimboland practical bilingualism as a testimony of linguistic incompleteness. Through his characters, Nyamnjoh factors in on how the interlinkages within and between linguistic categories such as colonialism, ethnicity, culture, geography, class, gender, sexuality, and age affect the form and content of practical Mimboland bilingualism/plurilingualism. Nyamnjoh argues that as tools for socio-economic and politico-cultural communication and transmission, Mimboland languages would be truly enriched by an ever-increasing disposition to accommodate blending and mixing as well as improvisation and innovation. In support of this, this chapter draws on Chinua Achebe’s proverb, from his novel, Arrow of God: “[t]he world is like a mask dancing. If you want to see it well, you do not stand in one place” (46), to assert that Mimbolanders should encourage Mimboland languages to be like dancing masks thereby enhancing their potentials to become truly inclusive tools of communication and transmission that continue to enrich themselves through their open-ended encounters and conversations with the creative diversity of the languages of a truly incomplete but universal multilingualism. The chapter concludes that Nyamnjoh’s novels are treatises on linguistic diversity because they affirm a convivial linguistic blending and mixing that defies linguistic compartmentalizations or categorisations that are finite. It also promotes permanent plurilingual questions and ever-exciting new angles of plurilingual questioning that, in turn, provide space for more enriching and rewarding intra- and translingual intercourses between languages in a world of incomplete people and languages.

Keywords: bilingualism, language blending, language mixing, linguistic incompleteness, translingual intercourses, Franglobridity, Anglofrabridity


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