Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Mark E. Karan


This thesis explores the variety of linguistic and sociolinguistic factors that need to be considered in order to develop a good Oroko orthography. Oroko is a Bantu A language of the Southwest Province of Cameroon, Africa. The thesis starts with an overview of the Oroko's location, population, classification, and language development status. The linguistic factors discussed are based largely on analyses of two lists: a 118-word list of nine Oroko dialects and an 821-word list of four Oroko dialects (included in the appendix). Consistent phonetic and phonemic alternations are examined in detail. The next chapter discusses the sociolinguistic issues that arise from participant observation, historical context, and two sociolinguistic surveys: a rapid assessment of the sociolinguistic situation among nine of the Oroko dialects and an extendibility survey using a modified form of recorded text testing (RTT) done in six dialects. The next chapter opens with a discussion of a number of options for standardizing or not standardizing across all the Oroko dialects, concluding that the various dialects are different enough to require at least introductory material to be written in at least four dialects. Then, the various linguistic and sociolinguistic factors are drawn together to form the basis for orthographic recommendations. This chapter concludes with a discussion of the practical issues of presenting these recommendations to the Oroko.

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