A Linguistic Analysis of Mongo Beti’s Language: The Portrayal of Cultural Conflict and Mistaken Identity in his Heroes

By Anthonia Affiong Dickson and Mary Donald Mbosowo.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Man lives in a world of words. Words constitute language. To understand humanity, one must study language which makes humans human. This paper examines not the long-flogged theme of colonization and alienation in the literary works of Mongo Beti, but the linguistic devices used by him to portray and satirise the naїvety, cultural conflict and mistaken identity inherent in the personalities of his heroes, due to their inability to understand neither themselves nor their environment. The paper which adopts a stylistic approach is based on the works of Erickson’s (1959) Theory on personality and identity diffusion. It portrays the naїvety and cultural conflict exhibited by the early African elites and white missionaries and implications of same on the social, political and developmental needs of the African society and Nigeria in particular. Recommendations are made accordingly.

Keywords: Identity, Alienation, Disillusionment, Diversity

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp.93-106. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 658.962KB).

Dr. Anthonia Affiong Dickson

Head of Department, Department of Foreign Languages, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria

Dr. Anthonia Dickson, Senior Lecturer and Head, Foreign Languages Department, University of Uyo, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. She is a female Nigerian. Holds B.A Hons French and education, M.A. French Linguistic, Ph.D French Linguistics (Syntax). Teaches French Phonology, Phonetics, Grammar, Applied and Contrastive Linguistics. Coordinator: Foreign Language students year abroad programme, University of Uyo. Head of Department: Foreign Languages, University of Uyo. Member: Nigeria Union of French Teachers, College Language Association, USA, Linguistic Association of Nigeria. Editor for several journals. Accredited with 21 publications in both national and international journals and books of readings. Well travelled in the USA, Europe and West Africa especially Francophone countries.

Dr. Mary Donald Mbosowo

Associate Professor of French, Department of English & Foreign Languages, Langston University, Oklahoma, USA

Dr. Mary Mbosowo is an Associate Professor of French at Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma, USA. She is also the Director of Center for International Development at the Langston University. This Center coordinates student exchange and Sumeer Study Abroad Programs to several countries around the world. Dr. Mbosowo earned her BA in French at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, her Masters degree in French at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, and her Ph.D in French from the University of Jos, Nigeria. Her scholarly interests and publications focus on the issues that affect African women in developing countries. Some of her publications include: Rural-Urban Migration of young African women in Nuruddin Farah’s Nee de la Cote d’Adam, in Journal of Children and Youth Literature, VOL. 7, 1995/96; African women in the Labor Force and sexual harassment in Ngugi Wa Thiongo’s Devil in the Cross, in Black Academy Review, Vol-3/4, 1997. Her current research deals with African proverbs about women written in English, French and in nine African languages.


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