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Some Endangered Languages of Ghana

DOI: 10.5923/j.linguistics.20120102.01

Keywords: Endangered, Languages, Language Loss, Ghana, Ghanaian, Ga, Dangme, GaDangme

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The phenomenon of language endangerment and, ultimately, language loss is considered in regard to indigenous Ghanaian languages. It is established that two languages, namely, Ghanaian English (GhE) and Akan, especially the Twi dialect, and to a small degree, Ewe, are slowly killing off the smaller Ghanaian languages. For instance, in 1970 almost all Winneba natives spoke Efutu (Ewutu) as their first language. By 2010, 40 years later, only approximately 50% of children born to the Winneba natives speak Efutu as a first language. About 30% of these children speak no Efutu at all. Interestingly, medium-sized languages such as Ga, Dangme and Nzema are also slowly losing grounds to the three languages cited. Meanwhile there are some dozen Ghanaian languages that have less than 1000 estimated speakers each but which have held their own for a century. It is concluded that the closer a language community is to the major urban centers, the more likely it is to be endangered. It is further concluded that the language policy of the Ghana Government is contributing to the loss of Ghanaian languages.


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