A Dying Voice

As the world evolves, cultures merge and foreign lifestyles and tastes are adopted. My country Ghana has not been spared by this. This is very good as it broadens our way of life and makes us open to new things everyday. However, in the process of adopting other cultures, we tend to shun our own. Be it consciously or otherwise, we have taken a turn for the worse in terms of our local language.

Almost everyone one meets in Ghana speaks English. I agree this is great as it means the literacy rate of the country has rocketed. But should this be at the expense of our own local languages? Should we sacrifice our languages in the quest of learning another? Little by little we are tying our own tongues with borrowed languages and killing the original voices of  Ghana.

In a country where most people are going for Ghanaian names instead of foreign ones, it is disheartening to realize that most of our children can’t speak our language. Grandma needs a translator before she can communicate with her grandchildren. Aku the house-help insults Tricia everyday because Tricia doesn’t understand the Ga she speaks. Elinam claims he’s Ewe but he can’t say any Ewe greeting. Most of our children can’t speak any Ghanaian language and their parents look on proudly as if it is the best thing since Independence. Not quite long ago my mother was walking behind a woman and her daughter. “Don’t step in the river,” the mother cautioned as the girl nearly stepped into a puddle in the middle of the path. Even my mother with her moderate formal education knew water which had collected on the ground after rain was not a river even though she didn’t know its name. What are we teaching our children? What is Ghana without Ghanaian languages? We speak our language and it doesn’t make us uncouth or savage.


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