Ethnobotany and Language Revitalisation: The Case of Plants in Isubu of Cameroon

Sirih-Nagang Nancy Nyindem


This paper presents the outcome of ethnobotanical documentary research conducted among the Isubu community of the South West Region of Cameroon. Due to destruction of the ecosystem and biodiversity and the fact that the language has been identified as endangered (Atindogbé 2010, Akum 2013), there is a need to conserve indigenous knowledge on plants in this language. The study adopted an ethnographic interview survey. Fifteen language consultants were interviewed residing in from the speech community using Cameroon Pidgin English and the data were transcribed and annotated in ELAN. The article comprises four sections. In section one background information on the Bimbia people and language, the ecology of the region, and the research methodology employed in this research will be presented. Section two discusses the Isubu botanical folk taxonomy that is the way the people classify plants. In section three l will provide details of medicinal and other uses of a sample of 27 plants but the quantitative analysis will be drawn from a wider corpus of 92 plants. The focus in section four is on the role of such a study to the pressing need to safeguard, and maintain endangered languages and enhance the interrelatedness of language, culture, and biodiversity. We expect that the outcome of this research will benefit the local community and contribution to the preservation and possible revitalisation of the language.

Keywords: Ethnobotany, Revitalisation, Endangered language, Preservation

DOI: 10.7176/JLLL/62-05

Publication date: November 30th 2019

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