Ghanaian languages to be extinct by 2073?

Ghana’s local languages could be extinct in 60 years time, language lecturers at the University of Cape Coast say.

A senior lecturer at the University’s Faculty of Education Dr. Kafui Etsey is concerned parents of this generation are passing on the English language as the foremost medium of communication at home.

This she says, is setting off a situation where children of today and in the coming generations will not be able to speak any local language.

Ghana has 49 main languages and several more dialects spoken by 22 million people. Of the number, nine languages have the status of government-sponsored languages: Akan, Ewe, Dagomba(Dagbani), Dangme, Dagaare, Ga, Nzema, Gonja, and Kasem.

The largest language family is the Kwa family, which groups several different dialects. This includes the Akan Dialect which is spoken by more than 40% of the Ghanaian population as well as in regions in the Ivory Coast. Around 60% of Ghanaians speak a form of Kwa.

Yet, Ghana’s official language is English inherited from the British colonial administration. English is used for all legal, administrative and official procedures and documents, and is also the language used in Ghanaian politics, education, radio and television.

Speaking to Samuel Kojo Brace,of ATL FM, a partner station in Cape Coast, Madam Etsey said the Faculty of Education of UCC is concerned about this reality. The Faculty predicts therefore that in three generations, English usage will drive out the use of local languages leaving traces in a few old folks.

The lecturers at the University of Cape Coast who have conducted studies into the use of the country’s local languages, say children are having difficulty in learning a second language such as English because, they do not have a solid foundation in their mother tongue.