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English in Ghana: Growth, Tensions, and Trends

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Gordon Senanu Kwame Adika
Gordon Senanu Kwame Adika


This paper provides snapshots of the growth of English in Ghana by reviewing the debates that have characterised its usage, recapitulating the distinctive features of Ghanaian English (GhaE), and examining current directions of its growth. From its fi rst implantation in Ghana, then the Gold Coast, in the early part of the 16 th century to date, English in Ghana, like in other West African countries has shown formidable resilience as the language of formal education, and a medium for cross-ethnic communication in a predominantly multilingual environment. The tensions attendant upon which language to use as a medium of instruction at the lower levels of education appear to be yielding to the logic of complementarities and bilingualism within the local language ecology. English in Ghana, as an outercircle phenomenon, has been travelling the delicate expansionist path of innovation, adaptation, and maintenance of standards over the years. The distinctive Ghanaian linguistic and cultural colouration continues to permeate the English language on all levels, including vocabulary, idiomatic usage, and pronunciation.

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