Treasurer of the University of Ghana Linguistics Students Association (LINGSA), Gabriel Asiedu has blamed the media for the disregard for local languages in Ghana.
Gabriel Asiedu made this statement at the back of International Mother Language Day, celebrated on the 21st of February every year, to promote linguistic and cultural diversity.
Speaking on Campus Exclusive on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, Mr. Asiedu said the media has projected a lot of western cultures which has attracted parents and has compelled them to make their children copy the western lifestyle.
“I’ll blame the media more because before we can get access to any foreign indoctrination, it is through the [local] media we listen to so today. Talking about multilingualism, we are supposed to be speaking in a Ghanaian language. Even if kids are at home and are listening to the show, and they hear us speaking in a local language, it can help them understand since the only way to learn a language is when you are exposed to it so the media is at fault.”
Mr. Asiedu advised that, in order to change the narrative, Ghanaians should make a conscious effort to communicate in their native languages. He called on basic school teachers to actively promote Ghanaian languages by encouraging students to express themselves in the language and not punish them.
“We have to make a conscious effort to patronize made-in-Ghana goods which do not only comprise consumer goods but our languages and culture as well because if we don’t, I don’t think this issue will be solved. I’ll call upon the schools to also push the study of Ghanaian languages. At least a local language should be learned so that the children will be acquainted with it and have our culture imbibed in them. We are Africans, and it can’t be taken from us. So if we don’t take care, there will be a time when our culture will fade away.”
The President of the University of Ghana Linguistics Students Association, Tracy Ama Ansah, proposed that Ghana should adopt triglossia to promote the use of Ghanaian languages.
Triglossia is a situation in which three dialects or languages are used by a single language community. According to her, this strategy will make Ghanaian languages recognized as formal languages, just like English.
” As Ghanaians, we have English being the dominant language and we also have our Ghanaian languages. The problem is that we only tend to focus on only one Ghanaian language. For us to change the narrative, there is something we call the triglossia where we give reference to all the languages spoken so as Ghanaians, if we want to bring multilingualism in our education system, I think we have to adapt the triglossia.”
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated 2023’s International Mother Language Day to focus on the theme “Multilingual education – a necessity to transform education” to encourage linguistic and cultural richness as well as multilingualism, February 21 is observed as International Mother Language Day. With an emphasis on leaving no individual behind, this day acknowledges how language and multilingualism can achieve inclusiveness and goals for long-term sustainability.
The establishment of International Mother Tongue Day is a step towards demonstrating dedication to the growth of the mother tongue in everyday discourse.
Story by Esther Esenam Ofori| univers.ug.edu.gh