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Paper Details

Le traducteur comme agent de préservation et de diffusion du patrimoine linguistique et culturel : l’exemple du « mbôkou », une poésie orale peule du Nord-Cameroun

Oumarou Mal Mazou

Journal Title:Critic

The “mbôkou”, an oral Fulani poetry genre from the Northern Cameroon, is currently under the threat of extinction because it is no longer practiced. The transmission chain has broken due to the progressive disappearance of the poets and to the lack of interest by the new generations. Audiotapes, videotapes and some texts transcribed and translated are to date the only means of access to these poems that played an important role in the Northern Cameroon’s linguistic and cultural landscape during the 19th and 20th centuries. Themes like death, diseases, hunger, corruption, as well as major historic events (wars, colonization, slavery…) are presented with humour and linguistic prowess by the poets who sing in an adapted melody. Translation, along with the audio/videotapes are the rare means for the preservation and dissemination of these poems. This paper aims to highlight the essential role translators can play in the conservation and diffusion of this Fulani linguistic and cultural heritage. Apart from linguistic and cultural tools the poems promote, one can use the bilingual versions of the texts for linguistic, didactic, literary and translatological purposes in this multilingual context whereby national languages are overshadowed by English and French, the two official languages adopted by Cameroon.   Keywords: “mbôkou”, northern cameroon, oral poetry, fulani, transcription