Lasting Academic Links: Professor Augustin Simo Bobda meets Professor Josef Schimed at a Yaoundé International Symposium

Professor Augustin Simo Bobda is one of the most authoritative voices in research on Cameroon English, having published extensively in this area and beyond. But he is also one of the architects of the Corpus of Cameroon English Project (CCE-P), because he established the first international link with Chemnitz University of Technology with his first visit in October 1995, accompanied by David Tiomajou, who at the time was working with me to build the database.

The Chemnitz visit, funded by the DAAD, was indeed the initiative of Professor Josef Schmied, who had just established a new Department of English at the Chemnitz University of Technology. Professor Simo and David Tiomajou took along with them some text of the new CCE-P, which we had started earlier on under the academic supervision of Antoinette Renouf then in John Sinclair’s COBUILD Research Group at Birmingham University.

Multiplier effect

The visit of Professor Simo Bobda to Chemnitz set the stage for my own relationship with Professor Schmied, because 12 years after I got a Humboldt grant to refine the Cameroonian corpus. From then I had the opportunity of another grant (Fulbright in the US) to lay a blue print for a spoken component, which Professor Samuel Atechi took over and worked extensively on during his own Humboldt grant in Chemitz.

In July 2015 we were able to organise an International Symposium, this time on an applied aspect of corpus building, namely academic writing. This event brought Professor Schmied and many others from Nigeria, Ghana, and Tanzania to Cameroon.

I am proud to share with you some of the images of this symposium, and of course some old photos we have had with Professor Simo Bobda over the years (e.g. my own PhD defence in 2003 where he was an examiner, his participation at the symposium event, reception of international guests at his home—one of the series of post-symposium events, and an academic event in the University of Yaoundé 1 many years back.

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