Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A General Overview of The Kenyang Language

  By Hamilton Ayuk

This is an overview of the Kenyang language spoken by the populations of Manyu and Meme Divisions, South West Province of Cameroon in Central Africa. It is one of the 286 languages of Cameroon[1] and about 65,000 people speak Kenyang in Cameroon that has two official languages: French and English. Although not all the 65,000 users of Kenyang can proficiently use French and English, it is worth noting that they all speak a hybrid language called Pidgin and in this context, create a new dynamic for survival for Kenyang that needs to adapt to allow its speakers to adequately interact in this multilingual community. There are two major dialects of Kenyang: Mamfe Central Kenyang (some say Lower Kenyang) and Upper Bayang Kenyang. My objective is to trace the adaptability patterns of the Kenyang language. This entails looking at the dynamics within Kenyang language both at the morphological, lexical, phonological, semantic and syntactic levels, as well as emphasizing on “morphology - the domain of maximum differentiation[2].” This is a sample of the Kenyang language.
Sample of Kenyang Discourse.
Bhe yӑ bho bhӑ sɨ chi sɨ bhe bӑ bwɛ ndakghӑ politik. Wɔ twɔ wjá me fӑ. Me chi nɔ fa bhe yaŋ nkap. Me bhɛ ne nereket wah ndak nsai puɛ ndak politik. Mmandem aŋ jet bhese maŋkem.
English Translation.
Many people are telling lies that they ran to escape from political persecution. You will kill me here. I am here to look for money. I ran with my family because of hunger and not because of politics. (Forum member).

1.      THE ORIGIN.

The Bayang people are Bantus who hailed from Kanem Borno. The Kanem Borno Empire was around Chad and Nigeria, and Bantu languages are spoken around this same area. “Two thirds of Africa’s languages belong to the Niger-Congo phylum which stretches from the western tip of the continent at Dakar, east to Mombasa, and south to Capetown[3]”. Most clans were on their fourth to fifth migration before history was recorded, so there is less record before written history of these people. Furthermore, languages evolve as much as the people migrate; the reason for which we have people in the Sudan Basin, Congo Basin and Chad Basin speaking either with the same accent, intonation or just plainly speaking the same language. Some Sudan basin languages in Cameroon are Bakossi, Pidgin, Douala, Bali, Bulu and Bassa, Bakweri, Ngemba and Aghem, Balondo and Mungaaka. Bayang: meaning son of Yang that migrated from Kanea Borneo from the Bantus clan.

While there is nothing like Banyangi or Banyangue because they are all orthographic errors from poor ortheopy, Nyangi is an abbreviated traducement from the former. While Manyaŋ is a singular term for Bayang, in loose context it becomes a macrocosm of the entire linguistic group. On the contrary, Mɔ (singular) and Bɔ (plural) are the adverbs denoting number in Mɔ Manyang (singular) and Bɔ Manyaŋ (plural). In that context, Manyaŋ has the same strength like Mɔ Manyaŋ and Bɔ Manyaŋ for Bayang. The "Ba" in front of Bayang is a prefix for /son of/ similarly to Mc in McDaniel in the West. Consequently, there is Bakossi, Bakweri, Bassa, Bakundu, Balundu, Bafaw and many others.
Villages were founded by an individual who identified himself with the clan of his forbear. Boh “The people of” is as an expansion with the development of the clan, tribe or village. An example is Ntenako (the cleanest town in Manyu Division) was founded by Chief Tanyi Mbi who left and went back to the congregation to call the rest to follow him. That is why the people of Ntenako are called boh and pronounced /Bɔ/ Tanyi Mbi. Abinitio, the prefix went with /mɔ/ (singular) Tanyi Mbi which is “son of Tanyi Mbi”. Bɔ is the plural of mɔ.
As there were many breakups, each called themselves by the name of their leader while trying to maintain their relationship to the main clan by adding the prefix Ba. It is alleged that he had a son called Yang. As such, the people speaking Kenyang in that vicinity called themselves Bayang; meaning children of Yang. As time went on, the nomenclature led to the appellation bɔ Manyaŋ to denote increase in number. With more migrations and contacts, people began misspelling the word to Bayangue, Bayangi from which the misnomer Nyangi came from to denote most of the women who were doing prostitution. Nyangi is never used for males, and Cameroonians do not use it as a compliment. Today, the term is employed not only on Banyang girls, but on any woman whose behavior looks sluttish. Even the term “Graffi” though referring to people from the Grassfield is still disparaging.
With respect to the Bayang people, while Bayangi and Bayangue are variations due to word evolution and misspellings, Nyangi seems more derogatory to use. It is just like the word Nigger that evolved from the word Negro. Yet the word Nigger is still very popularly employed as an insult to the Dark Skinned American.


A.    Orthographic Variations.
Both /Kebi/ and /kibi/ (faeces) are orthoepic variants in the Kenyang language, depending on who is pronouncing the word. The variation may be much enunciated among Upper and Lower Bayangs. In addition, among Central Bayangs some people still say /kebi/ while others say /kibi/. Likewise in English language, there are people (Americans) who pronounce the word medicine as three syllables while others (British) pronounce it as two. Another glaring example is /necessary/, which to some is four syllables but others it is three; hence, they are mere variations.

B.     Ortheopic Variation.

Comparing the two major varieties of Kenyang between the Upper Bayang and Lower Bayang (or Central Bayang), the foremost difference is that while the Lower Bayang would use the combination gh (voiced velar plosive /g/ and voicedless glottal fricative /h/) as a pharyngeal, the upper Bayang use it as velar plosive. For example: 
Who is that?
 Lower Bayang: chi agharɛ nɔ (the g seems to be silent).
Upper Bayang: chi agharɛ nɔ with the g aspirated. 
The major differences or varieties between Central Kenyang and Upper Bayang are at the level of orthography and ortheopy. Whether in orthography or ortheopy, the major disparity is at the level of the affricate and fricative sounds. With Upper Bayang, the combination of the plosive /g/ and the glottal /h/ to /gh/ in a word like /chi agha/ or /agharɛ/ (who-interrogative) gives a word like /chiaga/garɛ/; thereby, silencing the /h/ while with Central Bayang the interrogative pronoun “who” has the same strength like /harɛ/ meaning the /g/ is muted rather. There is a great usage of affricate sounds /tʃ/ though they are not English sounds.
While Manyang (Manyaŋ) is a singular term for Bayang in a loose context, it becomes a macrocosm of the entire division. On the contrary, Mɔ (singular) and Bɔ (plural) are the adverbs denoting number in Mɔ Manyaŋ (singular) and Bɔ Manyaŋ (plural). Contextually, Manyaŋ has the same strength like Mɔ Manyaŋ and Bɔ Manyaŋ for Bayang.
A proper noun like a name with double consonants of /bb/ invites a more serious caesura between the two syllables. So if pronounced properly, one feels the presence of a hiatus between the closed and opened syllables, and so they do not and would not sound the same. For example /bebbeb/ an expression used for AWOL.

C.     Tonal Conflict.
D.    Mbuagbaw (1999) states that “it is fairly easy to find Kenyang words where the only difference between them is the tone”[4].

For example:
Keh rising and keh falling pitches.
Ane a rɔng nɔh ekati keh? Does this one go to school too? Rising
Yi abwɔng mɔh keh.  Does she have a baby. Falling.


The compound word eyʉ bhiti (night whisper) always denotes and connotes evil. If you used the word eyʉ (whisper), it can only be negative if the listener thinks so, but it is not so inherently. If you are gossiping and colluding against people in private, it is considered eyʉ bhiti. Let‟s say you wanted to unsubscribe some people with a contrary view from your forum, and you send a private email to the other moderators to unsubscribe them, Banyangs call such a mail eyʉ bhiti.

Kenyang is an open and closed language in that there are certain words that denote certain meaning while there are others that are formed with the incident and event. For example; when you say dog, everyone knows it is Mmú because they have dogs, but if you said snow, many will not have a clue except those who are enlightened. Those that have seen it, call it nfókópèppep meaning white dust. Nonetheless, like in English, there is an arbitrary relationship between the sounds and the words. In Kenyang, the words are independent. Botha underscores that this way:
"Word structure, however, is independent from phrase structure and does not simply constitute the 'lower' portion of a single homogeneous syntactic representation."[5].

A chief is called nfɔ in a more restricted sense, but in a wider sense, the people use /nfɔ/ chief as a dynamic equivalent when dealing with title holders or a mere sign of respect. That is why even some family heads are called nfɔ . However, a "prince" in Kenyang is called mɔ nfɔ. Bauer establishes that,"…the number of non-established derivatives met in normal text is likely to be
extremely small, at well under one percent of attested derivatives." [6]. The gap between Kenyang speakers and learners of Kenyang have motivated me to add this section. Many works of art, including bible translations are going on in different African languages, including Kenyang, but the currency for mutual intelligibility is necessary for me to elucidate on the dichotomy between meaning, words and their usages. There is a lot of coding and meaning change. There is a use difference in most languages about words and their meanings and how those words change meaning.


The word amaŋ could mean two things: money or kernel. 

1.      Simile- as/like.

A. Mumbɔh- as.
B. Mbɔh- like.

2.      Metaphors:

A. Mmu
i. Mmu- dog (Meliorative).
ii. Mmu- Womanizer (pejorative).

B. Ngem
i. Ngem-python Meliorative.
ii. Ngem-glutton (pejorative).

3.      Idioms.

A. If a palm kernel tree is not ripe, birds will not stop by. Sɨndɨ a bhekepɨ senen a pu ghat.

The word /ghat/ is pronounced differently by Upper Bayang Speakers and Lower Bayang Speakers. The upper Bayang speakers use alveolar or post alveolar trill /r/ while the Lower Bayang will use the Affricate by using the velar and pharyngeal /gh/.

B. Mɔh a sow amɔh, a jie nejie ne bha fors. If a child watches his hands, he will eat with dignitaries.
It means that if a child shows good etiquettes, he can hang out with elders.

C. Nyuɔh a nepbheri ndu a ɨtɨgh bhawɔt. The snake has coiled round the calabash of oil.
It means that there is a dilemma.

D. Mɔh menieh yibhe ngwai nɔh, kerengeh nor bhe jie a wai muet.
The fetus wants to kill the mom, but it does not know it is killing itself.
It means that your decision will instead hurt you though you intend it to hurt another person.

E.     enɔghɔ mɔt a pu tɨgh ntchɔt.
One tree does not build a forest.
A call for unity.


Proverb is a common and most dominant characteristic in African languages since the lexicon is small too. If a man was coming to ask the hand of a girl in marriage, he does not say at once I want to marry your daughter. He becomes genteel in what is termed euphemism.


i.                    Example 1. Ntwo bebhep awoh mɔje ndʉ nebhai.
I have come to ask the hand of your daughter in marriage.
He will say:
Ntwɔ be bhep mbakne wɔ nchɔŋ che mɔh nkɔk ye ntӑ mɔ wӑ
I have come to ask you if you will give your chicken to my child.

ii.                  Example 2.
The verb yɔŋ (to insert or pierce) ke ki ɔŋ yɔŋ yi amek “be careful not to pierce his eye”
Dɔkghɔ yɔŋ eyenghe. It sounds a bit euphemistic “meaning go and have sex”. Normally if transliterated, it will be “go and fuck her” which will be vulgar.

F. Pejorative and Meliorative Meaning

Me chɔnghɔ siepti kɨtɨnghe ke kɔ. I will break those your bristles.
Please give me those broom bristles. Nnek muet cheme kɨtɨnghe kos.
1. Ta-Ashukang a bhet nɔh keh? Is Mr. Ashukang still alive?

Pu yi nɔh a fu menem keh? Is that not his ghost in the village? That tells you he is already dead until he has come out as a ghost. Ghosts are a recurrent phenomenon in the Bayang culture.

A. What is morphology?
Morphology therefore is simply a term for that branch of linguistics which is concerned with the “forms of words” in different uses and constructions[7].

B. Word Formation in kenyang
There are three primary ways in which words are formed in Kenyang.

i.        Compound Words:
There are many compound words formed as a result of word’s nonexistent status in Kenyang language. Words, whose actions are borrowed, are formed by creating a compound with two words. For example: ekereh mandem- Church. The Bayangs did not worship in a church or even in a house. They worshipped in the bush or behind the house though the deity lived in the house. At times the deity could be manifested in a totemic tree, river, bush or hill that was far from the village. The existent of this word ekereh mmandem discards the wrong assertion that the Bayangs were animists who worshiped trees in the place of God. They never called their own deities mmandem. They called them njoh though they had almost a similar form of worship as in the Old Testament. Herewith is an example of some compound words.

aa. nfókópèppep – snow.
nfókó- dust and pèppep-white.  Thus, whitedust.

bb. Senenen nfai- airplane.
Senen-Bird and nfai-sky. The skybird.

cc. Enɔk ne ntaŋ; street lamp.
Enɔk- stick and ne ntaŋ-with moon.

Nenenamek- to bully.

Nenen- open and amek-eye.

ii.       Back-formation: Nyӑ from Nyӑyen meat-simpleton.

Nkwendong is the Kenyang word for simpleton. Some forms of goodbyes are as follows:

In God's safekeeping" Kenyang: "Mmandem Aŋjet".
Good bye (to an individual) ɔŋ kɔ erɨrɨ.
Goodbye (group) Bhaŋ Kɔ erɨrɨ.

iii.    Eponym: mfɔ from mfɔ bharo chief-chief of Baro.
While in English language it may pose a problem to tell which word existed and does exist, in Kenyang there is little or no such problem because words are coined from the existence of things. That is why if anyone asked the best Kenyang speaker to tell them in Kenyang the word missile or suicide bomber, they may realize it just does not exist because no such thing and person exists. Yet because every language is self sufficient, the Kenyang speakers have found a way to create the equivalent. Though words like fellatio and cunnillingus do not exist in Kenyang originally because sex and especially oral sex was regarded as a taboo, there are equivalences in the form of explanation. Thus, you can hear the younger generation say bhɛ sɔk nepen (to suck the penis) for fellatio and yje nɛkwet (to eat the vagina) for cunninlingus.

C.    Pronouns.
It is impossible to discuss morphology without crossing over to syntax and lexicon. It is generally accepted that Kenyang is a noun class; the most common characteristics amongst the Niger -Congo Languages (look for citation) because most nouns are determined by an affix. As a result, this paper will examine in addition to morphology, the syntax and lexicon of the Kenyang language. There are six subjects and possessive pronouns (used alone or as modified nouns). Subject or personal pronouns
iv.    1 –Me.
v.      You- wɔ.
vi.    He/she (no neuter gender)- yi.
vii.  We-bhese.
viii.You- bhɨkӑ.
ix.    They- bhɔ.

D. Homographs.

Kenyang extensively uses homographs.
i. Ndem.
aa. ndem –penis.
bb. ndem- I said.

ii. Kenɔŋ.
aa. Kenɔŋ bicycle.
bb. Kenɔŋ-Jail More precisely ekere kenɔn

iii. Ekah.
aa. Ekah-Meeting.
bb. Ekah-group.

iv. Ntaŋ.
aa.  Ntaŋ a fuh - The moon is out.
bb. Ntaŋ-Month . Example:  ntaŋ akoh atuoh- A new month has come.
cc. Ntaŋ- menstruation.

Ya chi ndu ntaŋ yi. She is on her menses.

v. Nenu.
aa. Nenu- wrestling.
bb. Nenu -Street fighting.

vi. Ekak.
aa. Ekak –leg.
bb. Ekak -age group. That is because age groups belonged to a social grouped and walked together.

vii. Mbwep.
aa. Air-Mbwep.
bb. Mbwep-rat.

viii. Nyien.
aa. Nyien-river.
bb. Nyien-name.

ix. Mayep.
aa. Mayep-water.
bb. Mayep-rain.

N.B. With the above examples, you determine the meaning from the action of the verb.

x. Nyah.
aa. Nyah-meat.
bb. Nyah-simpleton.

That is one of those cases where the stress determines the meaning of the word.

XI. Bhɨrɨ.
aa. Brɨ- Vegetable.
bb. B- Beauty.

XII. Amaŋ
aa. Stones (denotative) /sɔt amaŋ ten kɛnen/ (use stones to crush the kernels).
bb. Money (connotative) ɛtӑwu a bhɔŋhɔ amaŋ (that guy is rich).
cc. Kernel. ten amaŋ. break kernels

XIII. Nebuh
aa. nebuh-sky.
bb.nebuh totem -sky and nebuh totem.

In the examples above, the semantics is not determined by stress; rather it is by the syntax that ensues. On the contrary, in the proceeding examples, the semantics come from the stress patterns. Although both are disyllabic nouns which usually have the stress on the first syllable in the case of the noun and on the second in the case of the verb, one has the stress on the first syllable while the other has the stress on the second syllable.

i. Nekwet.
aa. nekwet-vagina.
bb. nekwet-beatings (pertaining to drums).

E. Homophones

Example 1. i & ii.
i. Eh nen- nine (9).
ii. Enen- It is bitter.
Ne nenen ti; wicked used as a noun. Almost sounding the same.

Example 2. iii & iv.
iii.                 Efɔkghosi-si-ugly face.

iv.                Mpɔh bhi si- ugly  face when the adjective is used as a noun.

Example 3. v & vi.
v.                  Mɔh ekati- Student.

vi.                Mɔh kati- one thousand.

Example 4 vii & viii
vii.              Bhɔ mmu- puppies
viii.            Bhɔmu-dogs

F. Days of the week.

The days of the Week were made by explanation of what people did on that day, or by the market days of the most influential villages around or the explanation of the said day.

i.                    Sunday- njyub bhe chɔkɔk chɔkɔh.
Because Sunday is considered a day of rest, where everyone went to church, it is called the day to sit.

ii.                  Monday- nyuop betek bhe jue ebwɨ. The day that work entered into the bush. It is stating the first day of the week.

iii.                Tuesday-esieh Kembong (A Village).

iv.                 Wednesday- esieh Ntenako (A Village) or nyuop bhetek bhe koreh muet. It explains the day as the middle of the week where work has gone half.

v.                  Thursday-esieh Nfoh or Nfuni (A village).

vi.                Friday-esieh Nchang (A village).

vii.              Saturday-esieh Nekok (Ossing –another village).

G.    Sports.

Most sports words are borrowed from English but pronounced with pidgin intonation.

i. futbɔl- Football.
ii. basketbɔl-Basketball.
iii. volibɔl-volleyball.

H.    Colors

Kenyang has very few colors.
i. Red- tchu.
ii. Black- Kiri.
iii. White- pepep.
iv. Green-Bheyɨ.
v. Brown-Mmek.

I. Forming plural and singular nouns
Mushrooms_Bhjiɔb. It will be pronounced as a diphthong /bhjiɔb/.

J. The use of prefix in Kenyang
1. Miss, Mrs. and Mr.

Most places retain the Mr. but when trying to show respect every woman is address with mama followed by their name or papa followed by their name if they are female or male respectively.
For example; if the lady's name is Hillary Clinton, she will be called Mama Hillary
Women are also addressed by the name of their daughters as a sign of respect especially for non married women.  Nnɔ Agbor- Agbor's mother. 

To apply Mrs. they use the word ngɔreh.
It is amazing that Kenyang has a wider language in sex perhaps because sex has always been an integral part of every people and every culture. For example; there are many expression to have sex- juŋ, soŋ, naigh, deb, kwet . Eroctic talk is called epusi.

In common usage, the third person singular pronoun is replaced with Aa for example:
Aa yieh amang He is eating kernels.
Aa yieh ntʃui. She is eating corn.
In a more standard setting we will say:
Yi a yieh amaŋ.
Yi a yieh ntcwui.

K. Gender

The gender is determined by sight rather than the pronoun because it is rather the neuter gender that is used. Actually pronouns in Kenyang are non gender oriented. They are not explicit. They are used more as neuters. To form plural on subject pronouns, the speaker must use both subject pronouns doing the act
Yam. Eyakagha.
Ewarek: Potato.

L. Synonyms; nebuh deals with totel and epem withcraft to hurt someone.

M. Lexicon
The word mother could have two representations.
If the word starts at the beginning of the sentence we say Mma. Is your mother home?
Mma ye achi ayob eh?
If the word mother is at the end of the sentence, they say Nno. For example:
Yi abhoŋ Nnɔ?
Does he have a mother?

                                    Singular                                                                 Plural




Bhɔ chi






bho setiet






Bho Ntʃan
Plates, Pans, Bowls









To formulate an interrogatory sentence in addition to intonation, there is an addition of the inflectional suffix eh.
Plurals are also formed by indicating the number in case of certain nouns.

 Singular                                                                                      Plural
Nkok Erat
Three fowls
Nso Enui/ bho-nso enui
Four Deer.


Although sometimes the Kenyang syntax is at times ungrammatical, it is semantically useful. For example:
Má jyɛ nyӑ kebɨgh?
You eat uncooked meat?
This is what the Kenyang speaker will hear:
How can you eat meat that is not well cooked?

A.    Kenyang Vs English

In Kenyang there is also lexical decomposition in which sentences are mere paraphrase of each other as demonstrated by George Lakoff[9]. For example:

Mafundem á wai nkɔk- Mafundem killed the fowl
Mafundem á ki nkɔk awu- Mafundem made the fowl to die
Mafundem kӑ ki nkɔk ewu- Mafundem caused the fowls to become dead
Mafundem kӑ ki n nkɔk epu nepem- Mafundem caused the fowls to become not alive.

B.     Grammar.
Grammar in Kenyang is acquired progressively with time. Consequently, we need to do more in our gatherings to teach our people history, culture and language. During monthly meetings, the members could give ten minutes for Kenyang or Ejagham classes.

C.    Tenses in Kenyang.

In fact when it comes to future tense, Kenyang is very opened in the sense that the same verb could be conjugated in at least 2 forms; as it closely relates to Spanish in this case by either leaving out the personal pronoun or using the personal pronoun which really does not influence the meaning. In Spanish, you could say yo voy a la playa or voy a la playa. Kenyang follows the same pattern.

i.                     To eat- jyiɛh.
To tell someone I will eat tomorrow could be said in two different ways.
aa). Me chɔŋ njyieh mbureh (with subject pronoun)
bb). Chɔŋ njyie mbureh (with no subject pronoun)

Note well that the same pattern does not apply with third person singular pronouns or plural pronouns. The future cannot be used without using the personal pronoun.

ii. To Drink - yuh
aa). Yi achɔŋ yuh He will sleep- subject pronoun at the beginning
bb). Chɔŋ yi yuh. He will sleep- subject pronoun in the middle after the auxiliary.

iii. To Sleep- bhereh
aa). Bhɔ bha chɔŋ bhereh kenɔ. They will sleep. Same pattern with the subject pronoun at the beginning and in the second sentence there is no subject pronoun.
bb). Chɔŋ bha bhereh kenɔ. They will sleep.

iv. Dance- Bhe bhen ne bhen.
aa). Mami susanna aching dak nebhen dak. Mami Susanna will kill it on the dance floor.
bb). Chɔŋ mami susanna en dak nebhen.

D.    Syntax

Kenyang has about 4 major sentence structures: simple sentence, compound sentence, complex and compound complex.
1.      Sentence Structrure
A.    Simple sentence: Chi meh. It is me.

B.     Compound sentence: Agborramnabg a gheb mmen, ne ngoreh yi a gheb eyaghka.

Agbrorambang stole a goat, and the wife stole a yam.

C.    Complex sentence: mbuneh meh ntwoh, me chongho cheh woh nkap.
If I come, I will give you money.

D.    Compound-Complex

Bessem-Ebot married Nfortorh, but she divorced when she caught him cheating.
Bessem-Ebot a bhia nyaka nfortorh, ke a fu nyaka nebhia mpoko ne yie kem yi ne ngore tchack.

2.      Coordinating Conjunctions.
Kenyang has three major coordinating conjunctions. neh, Keh, kepuh that will could use the acronym Nekehke.

Furthermore, there seems a problem with the presentation of lexical items. Considering that most people in these villages do not have the luxury to read the language in phonetic transcriptions, it will be expedient to write most words using basic IPA characters than with IPA extensions because all three groups of vowels- monophthongs, diphthongs, and triphthongs and the plosives, nasals, fricative, affricates and lateral sounds could still be produced and used in Kenyang. This will be easier since most people speaking Kenyang have interacted with those letters either in English, or French, or even Pidgin. This will enable even those who are learned but cannot learn the language to easily do so. The easiest way to learn Kenyang is first of all to determine how the syntax works, find out the ortheopy and then learn new words. The rest will follow easily.

3.      Possessive Pronouns
Modified Noun Kenyang
Mine Chi eyӑ My eyӑ
Yours Chi eye Your Eye
His/hers Chi eyi His/her eyi
Ours Chi eyese Our Eyese
Yours Chi eyap Your Eyap
Theirs Chi eyap Their Eyap

In Kenyang instead of using the neuter gender one uses the name of the noun.
For example:
The goat is eating the grass.
Mmen ayɛ takɔ.

The children are going to school.
Bho Bhӑrɔŋ ekӑӑti.

I love Oregon.
Mme nkɔŋ Oregɔn.

The main syntactic structure in Kenyang is the Subject Verb Object.

The birds are eating the corn.
Kenen ke yie njui.

The Hunter has killed a rat mole.
Mtemekenteme a wai ngubók.

We are going to play soccer.
Se rɔŋghɔ dep bɔl.
Some have like Mbuagbaw (1998)[10] thought that Kenyang language has mainly Subject Verb Object (SVO) syntactic structure. Kenyang also has a Subject Verb Complement (SVC) syntactic structure. For example:

She is rude. Yi á saŋ.

Eyere has become a gossiper.
Eyere arob chi mmʉ-menaŋ.

Agbor is now a teacher.
Agbor arub nɛnɛ chi ntɔŋ.

Like in Kenyang, most African languages tend to express comparatives by way of a verb ‘surpass rather than by way of a separate inflectional category” (Heine & Nurse, 2000). In Kenyang, the adjective could either come before the noun like in:
A beautiful woman.
Erɨti ngɔre.

Or before the noun could come before the adjective as in
Mmen ɛsӑ.
Twenty goats.


If the term Bayangi was made accidentally by misspelling it, the continuous usage is not an accident. Another example would be that if the name Agbor was to be written, but misspelt as Agboro, the user can keep calling the individual Agboro and any attempts of the owner of the name getting it rectified or addressed as Agbor will be the error. There is no need for any empiricism to proof that the individual‟s name is not Agboro; it is Agbor because generally amongst the Bayang people, there are no Agboros. Thus, there comes a time when common application supersedes traditional research. Therefore, no one needs any research to prove that the word "Bayangi" is derogatory.

Another level of confusion is the plural of Banyang. Many have posited that the word representing those who speak Kenyang is Manyang. Manyang/Maanyang represents someone or people from Manyu division. In that case it covers the Eyumojock subdivision, Upper Bayang, Mamfe central and Akwaya Subdivision where many do not speak Kenyang.

To indicate plural in Kenyang we have always used the Voiced bilabial /B/ and the fricative glottal h as a combination of Bh. For example: we say “mɔ amot” meaning „One child/ but we say bhɔ bhӑpai . Eyiŋ (thing) Bhe yeŋ (things) in Keyang.
A single kenyang speaking manyuan is manyang but many Kenyang speaking manyuans are bӑyaŋ (ortheopy) for Bayang. So to posit that speakers of Kenyang called mӑyaŋ for singular and manyaŋ plural is a total fallacy.
Now, looking at the historical evolution of ethnic groups in Cameroon, one would agree with that singular is manyang is for the individual who comes from the general Manyu division and Bayang is for the speaker of Kenyang language. The plural of is boh Bayang. Ba is son of for the people of and that initially were the children of Yang.

We say chi mӑyaŋ kӑah chi (is a Bayang) but we say chi bӑyaŋ ke bӑha chi (they are Bayang). Take note of the repetition of the digraph /bh/ to indicate plural forms.
While some may not see the nexus between the /nyangi/ and /banyangi/ or /nyangi/ and derogation, there as those terms /nyangi/ or /Bayangi/were never used to address our people until the advent and permeation of prostitution which was rampant amongst our women. Nyangi is a misnomer and a derogatory term and not a standard variant as stated by Ramirez (1998)[11] and Mbuagbaw (2000)[12]. Nowadays, the word is used even on Beti, Bassa, or any a girl from any tribe they term has a loose lifestyle or mimics promiscuity.
These arguments are based on common application rather than prescriptive sustenance. The idea that since other tribes are already calling the Banyang as Nyangi they should just adopt it into their lexicon could be exemplified in the following analogies.
If someone accidentally made a monster, he or she should let it live since it has been made. If the term Bayangi was made accidentally by misspelling it, the continuous usage is not an accident, it is a deliberate act to injure the character of the bearer. Thus it becomes derogatory.
It should be noted that not all Manyangs speak Kenyang because some speak other languages like (add other languages of Manyu division). The Manyang from Ntenako or Ndekwai did not know bread and tea for breakfast; he/she knew Fufu and Eru. He/she did not sleep on a mattress bed; they slept on mebohs (mud bed). In the morning and afternoon, they trekked to and fro Presbyterian Primary School Ntenako- Ndekwai.
The reason why we bear titles in English language is because first it is the language which most of us use. It helps people situate the titles and know how to address us. If someone was preaching in a Manyu village, he/she will definitely coin and use a title in their local language: Kenyang. Secondly, seeing that most of Africa received Christianity through the second language, they have subconsciously integrated their titles else they had to redefine and formulate their own theology. It was different at the time since there were few scholastic writings on theology from Africans. In addition, literature was more oral than written.


However, fewer and fewer people are still speaking Kenyang because of the general stigma associated with speaking only Kenyang and not being able to speak the two official languages. Consequently, Kenyang has been ligated to rural areas. The migration of the young people to urban areas and overseas, means that Kenyang is running short of a future generation of speakers and listeners. Those who venture abroad easily forget it because they lack people to speak with. They need to do more in their monthly meetings when they gather, so they can teach their progeny their history, culture and language. Those at home should promote the usage alongside English and French as is the case now in most Bayang villages while at school and in official places predominantly made of Kenyang speakers. In addition to the above reasons, there is an urgent need for bible translation and commentary, and seeing the competition between the US and China juxtaposing for the number one country in Africa, learning not only Kenyang but African languages holds the key; thus, the relevance of this paper. Therefore, there is a serious and urgent need for further studies to produce a more unabridged lexicon and simple work that will promote desire and preserve the existence of the Kenyang Language.

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1. Bauer, Laurie. Morphological Productivity. Cambridge [England: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Print.
2. Botha, Rudolf P. Morphological Mechanisms: Lexicalist Analyses of Synthetic Compounding. Oxford [Oxfordshire: Pergamon Press, 1984. Print.
3. Bright, William. International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Vol. 3, P. 7. Print.
4. Bright, William. International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Vol. 3, P.93. Print.
5. Cristi Ramirez. The Kenyang Noun Phrase. Cameroon: SIL, 1998. Print.
6. Harris, Randy Allen. The Linguistics Wars. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. Print.
7. Heine, Bernd, and Derek Nurse. African Languages : an Introduction. Cambridge [England]; New York: Cambridge UP, 2000. Print.
8. Matthews, P. H. Morphology. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press, 1991.Print.
9. Tanyi, Eyong Mbuagbaw. Kenyang Lexicon. Mamfe: SKL & CABTAL, 1998. Print
10. ibid.  Kenyang Orthographic Guide. Yaoundé: CABTAL, 1999. Print.
11. Ibid. Kenyang Segmental Phonology. Yaoundé: SIL, 2000. Print.

[2] Bright, William. International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Vol. 3, P. 7.

[3] Bright, William. International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Vol. 3, P. 93.
[4] Tanyi Eyong Mbuagaw. Kenyang Orthographic Guide. Yaoundé: CABTAL, 1999.
[5] Botha, Rudolf P. Morphological Mechanisms: Lexicalist Analyses of Synthetic Compounding. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Pergamon Press, 1984.
[6] Bauer, Laurie. Morphological Productivity. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
[7] 8 Matthews, P. H. Morphology. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press, 1991. P. 3.

[8] Another variant for the word friend.
[9] Harris, Randy Allen. The Linguistics Wars. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. P. 112.
[10] Tanyi, Eyong Mbuagbaw. Kenyang Lexicon. Mamfe: SKL & CABTAL, 1998
[11] Cristi Ramirez. The Kenyang Noun Phrase. Cameroon: SIL, 1998.
[12] Tanyi Eyong Mbuagbaw. Kenyang Segmental Phonology. Yaoundé: SIL, 2000.

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