PhD Research School in Linguistics and Philology

Francis Badiang Oloko

Climate change in Cameroon political discourse

Main content

The proven and often tragic consequences of climate (change) across the world have led to a quasi-general mobilization experts and organisations from various fields. Political authorities have also shown concern and participation to the ongoing discussions on the challenges the world faces in relation to it. These consequences are witnessed almost everywhere but developing countries, including Cameroon, are those who arguably suffer them the most. Yet these countries, as some reports conclude it, are also the least polluters. This recently gave birth to interesting and partially contradictory messages between partners in the negotiations on climate. At the heart of these discussions is language and how it is used. This is how it can be the focus of a research project.  Hence the following major question: How is the debate on climate introduced and developed in the Cameroon political discourse? I have chosen to tackle this question from a polyphonic perspective and I will base my undertaking upon two major polyphonic theories: the ScaPoLine approach by Scandinavian linguists (Nölke et al. 2004) and the praxématique approach by Bres (Bres et al. 1999). This choice is made in a bid to implement Gjerstad’s (2011) postulation of a discursive polyphony. However, it seeks to narrow its scope. The method is the qualitative approach with a selection of the speeches made by the current president of Cameroon and those of his minister in charge of climate issues over the last eleven years (2005-2016). The major aims of this project are (1) to demonstrate that the complexity and the importance of climate-related challenges led into the conscious and often unconscious interaction with other voices within one speech. (2) Furthermore, through polyphonic markers, the study seeks to identify Cameroon official stands on the climate issues and (3) its potential evolution across this time span.