The Bakossi people speak a dialect called Akose. It is one of the Bantu dialects with slight similarities in pronunciation and meaning to other tribes in Cameroon. How this dialect came to being is what has not been researched. However, there is no doubt that it has evolved with time as the tribe grew and the numbers of those who were very knowledgeable kept declining.
With western education, some found it more prestigious to express themselves in English rather than Akose, even with fellow tribesmen. Recently, there has been renewed interest in Akose dialect, as small learning centers have sprung up to teach the young. Books and other literatures in Akose have been written. This interest, surprisingly, has reached even the United States where the elites of this tribe are embarking on teaching their children the dialect and culture of the Bakossi people.
For those who know the dialect and understand it, they will appreciate the wisdom of our forefathers. They will appreciate its poetry, especially in formal settings. Their proverbs usually depict great meanings and a sense of purpose and unity within the tribe. The grammar of the dialect, like English or any other language is very clear, except when it comes to writing its words, depending on the way it’s pronounced and even which village or region one is from.
Although the dialect has evolved, its core remains the same. Perhaps, we’ve come to accept that we will never hear a conversation in Akose without English, French, Douala etc, words interjected into it. As you travel from one village to another, you may notice a slight or great difference either in the pronunciation of words or the names of certain objects. With it comes a slight modification in tradition as well.
The best legacy we will leave our children is to teach them our culture, of which language is a part. We should write about it in addition to what has already been written, and be willing to answer questions from these inquisitive minds.