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The aim of this paper is two-fold : First it argues for a stronger consideration of the pragmatic and discourse level in research on language contact. Secondly it contributes to the pragmatics of a specific regional variety of French, namely Cameroonian French. Starting with a picture of the complex linguistic landscape of this multilingual African country, the paper stresses the importance of the pragmatic and discourse level by raising some of the crucial theoretical and methodological issues that a broader, usage-based view on language contact has to cope with. First it suggests that pragmatic and discourse conventions may be influenced by the local contact languages and secondly it emphasizes that they may not be specific to a language, but be shared by a much larger and encompassing community of discourse. A case study of Cameroonian radio phone-ins where callers seek advice on medical issues points out some of these conventions. Here the participants establish a specific participation framework that avoids direct interaction between caller and expert while the host is set in as a mediator. This global mitigation technique then allows for quite direct realisations of the advice at a local level.

In: Journal of Language Contact