A Kente of Many Colours: Multilingualism and the Complex Ecology of Language Shift in Ghana

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dc.contributor.author Bodomo, A.
dc.contributor.author Anderson, J.A.
dc.contributor.author Dzahene-Quarshie, J.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-05-04T14:53:48Z
dc.date.accessioned 2017-10-14T12:46:01Z
dc.date.available 2012-05-04T14:53:48Z
dc.date.available 2017-10-14T12:46:01Z
dc.date.issued 2009
dc.description.abstract Language shift, a process which may lead speakers to use their language in fewer domains with respect to other languages or even lose proficiency in their language altogether in favour of other languages, is a prominent concept in linguistics. But the concept has been mainly studied from Western perspectives (e.g. Fishman 1964, 1991, Veltman 1983 and Bastardas-Boada 2007). This paper discusses language shift from the perspectives of Ghana, a highly multilingual developing nation in West Africa. We introduce the concept of ecology of language shift, and argue that any theory of language shift must rigorously take into consideration the complexity of the ecology in which language shift occurs. Multilingual language shift processes, which involve situations in which different types of language shift take place concurrently or sequentially in a country, are thus very different from simple language shift situations in less multilingual set-ups. The paper provides a relatively detailed empirical study of language shift based on a questionnaire survey before outlining some language maintenance activities, such as the pervasive use of indigenous Ghanaian languages in FM radio broadcast, that are being pursued to contain language shift in Ghana. Some of these language maintenance activities may also be useful for containing language shift in other African countries. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Sociolinguistic Studies (33): 357-379 en_US
dc.subject Multilingualism en_US
dc.subject language shift en_US
dc.subject language maintenance en_US
dc.subject mass media en_US
dc.subject education system en_US
dc.subject Ghana en_US
dc.title A Kente of Many Colours: Multilingualism and the Complex Ecology of Language Shift in Ghana en_US
dc.type Article en_US

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