Journal article

Orthography and identity in Cameroon

S Bird

Written Language and Literacy | Published : 2001


The tone languages of sub-Saharan Africa raise challenging questions for the design of new writing systems. Marking too much or too little tone can have grave consequences for the usability of an orthography. Orthography development, past and present, rests on many sociolinguistic issues having little to do with the technical phonological concerns that usually preoccupy orthographers. Some of these issues are familiar from the spelling reforms which have taken place in European languages. However, many of the issues faced in sub-Saharan Africa are different, being concerned with the creation of new writing systems in a multi-ethnic context — involving residual colonial influences, the constr..

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