Tag Archives | language

Ghana’s president wants to make French a formal language, but it’s not a popular plan

Ghana was one of the first British colonies in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence in 1957 and as such has had strong ties to the English language as a modern country for over a hundred years. Most Ghanaians who’ve been through some level of formal education learn to speak English alongside their regional language. But since coming to office in 2017, Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo has been pushing for Ghanaians to also learn French and one day make it the country’s official second language. To outsiders, the president might seem like an unlikely champion for Gallic influences; after all he is known for his unplaceable English accent; he descends from a Ghanaian political aristocracy with long ties to Britain and was partly educated in England from a young age.   But Akufo-Addo also speaks French fluently, learned when he lived in Paris in the 1970s, and is always happy to flaunt his language skills given the chance.  The president has announced plans to make French a compulsory subject for high school students and in a 2018 speech (given entirely in French), he told colleagues at La Francophonie Summit, “our goal is to live, one day, in a bilingual Ghana, that is English and French, together with our […]

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CFP: Language, Culture and Colonization: the third JIAS conference on the legacies of colonialism and imperialism

  Language, Culture and Colonization: the third JIAS conference on the legacies of colonialism and imperialism. 2-4 September, 2019, Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study 1 Tolip Street, Westdene 2092, P O Box 524, Auckland Park 2006, Johannesburg, South Africa Convenors David Boucher, Cardiff University and  University of Johannesburg and Ayesha Omar, Witwatersrand UniversityColonialism and Imperialism imposed alien cultures and languages on their subject peoples with the consequence that the legacy in each society, or nation, to varying degrees, was a process of ‘Creolization’ giving rise to cultures and languages with mixed origins. Contemporary decolonisation movements confront this tendency by calling for the reassertion of indigenous practices and languages. The aim of this third JIAS conference on colonialism and imperialism is to explore the effects of ‘creolization’ and to investigate the respects in which they have been both negative and positive, particularly in the areas of language and culture.  Two of the most influential theorists and activists in the national liberation movements of the 1960s and ’70s, for example, took opposing view on the use of the colonizer’s language. For Frantz Fanon, an endemic aspect of the destructive process of colonisation was the acquisition of the coloniser’s language. He contends: ‘A […]

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