Documenting the Bafut (Grassfields Bantu, Cameroon) Royal Honorific System


Documenting the Bafut (Grassfields Bantu, Cameroon) Royal Honorific System

Language: Bafut (ISO639-3:bfd), Grassfields Bantu, Mbam-Nkam, Ngemba (ISO639-3:nge)
Depositor: Ayu'nwi Ngwabe Neba
Location: Cameroon
Deposit Id: 0271
ELDP Id: SG0159
Level: Deposit

Summary of deposit
The collection includes recordings of songs, their performance and other activities in which royal honorifics are used in both speech and gesture. Recordings include different versions of the Bafut National Anthem (Mban), now sung and performed by a very limited few.

Group represented
Bafut speakers, members of the various traditional administrative structures.

Language information
The Bafut Royal Honorific System is one of several registers used by Bafut speakers when addressing members of the various traditional administrative structures. The various honorific systems differ depending on who is the speaker, whom the speakers talk about and the purpose of speech. The Royal honorific language is used on the Fon, among the princes or princesses in traditional rites and sacrifices and relic songs. The Bafut Royal honorific system has the same grammar as the system, but different vocabulary. The vocabulary for Fon is often metaphorical and provides an insight into what is culturally taboo (e.g. the Fon dying, eating, being ill) and how this is expressed. For example, a Fon is 'missing' (dead), has 'fireflies' (eyes) and 'rattles' (feet) and can 'swim' (walk).

The honorific system is a package of verbal language and gestures (soft and low pitch, stooping and hand clapping, etc) an embodiment of social values and a form of social deixis that enriches linguistic structure with social function, thus providing us with an insight into the worldview of the Bafut community.

Deposit contents
Recordings include different versions of the Bafut National Anthem (Mban), a praise song for the Fon, the elderly Queen, which is rich in honorifics and contains only a few words of Modern Bafut. It is now sung and performed by a very limited few.

Status

Curated
Resources online and curated

Depositor

Ayu'nwi Ngwabe Neba
Affiliation: University of Buea

Deposit Statistics

Data from 2018 August 22 to 2018 August 22
Deposit hits:1
Downloaded files
Without statistics


Showing 1 - 10 of 10 Items


Recorded on: Unknown



Ladies of all ages greet Fon, address him and make speeches on different aspects of Bafut culture and the Fon. They demonstrate how women honour the Fon.

Recorded on: 2011-12-22




Fon learns about the project, gives permission and comments about honorifics and administrative structure of Bafut-Mban. At the beginning of the clip, Fon is sitting up in front of the secret house “atʃum”, fobidden to non royalty. He only comes down from there after permission is obtained.

Recorded on: 2011-11-14




bɯ̀kùm bɯ́kwɪ́?fɔ̀ talk on topics about the Fon palace and History of Bafut.

Recorded on: 2012-06-21




Members of the highest secret society, the “bɯ̀kùm bɯkwɪ́?fɔ̀”, make announcements on ɪdʒoŋ, the Bafut Market Day.

Recorded on: 2012-06-21




Princesses and princes sing the Bafut Anthem, which is believed to be 600 years old, using an honorific code.

Recorded on: 2012-06-21




Fon Abumbi II authorises commoners (àdʒwáŋə́ lá?à) to speak to him directly.

Recorded on: 2011-12-23




Queen Maà Miriam Ngum, 80+ years, recounts the story of Ndɨ̀lá? Mbwe, the founder of the seat of Bafut Fon's palace.

Recorded on: 2012-06-21




Contestants compete in a quiz on the royal honorifics

Recorded on: 2012-10-07




Jury prepare quizzes on honorific expressions.

Recorded on: 2012-09-23