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Ga language, others face extinction

The Ghana Institute of Languages is warning that the teaching of the Ga language in schools will soon fade out due to the lack of Ga teachers.

According to the institute, the study of the Ga language is diminishing because of a lack of efforts to revitalise local dialects in basic and secondary schools.

Eric Osei Kwakye, the head of academics at the Ghana Institute of Languages, said local languages face extinction without concrete action by authorities to protect them.

He said there is a need to revitalise local dialects in basic and secondary schools to ensure they do not go extinct in the shortest time.

“It’s unfortunate because it’s like we only say it wherever we get the opportunity. But, I can say there’s no effort to improve any language. Even the dominant ones are gradually dying. Everybody is going international which is unfortunate … Excuse me to use this in Greater Accra, it’s difficult even to get Ga teachers to teach the language,” Osei Kwakye said in an exclusive interview.

“Yes, it’s difficult, you go to the basic schools and trust me, if they don’t use strategy to revive the language it will die. Now go to Accra town, apart from English what language do you hear? How many speak the Ga language?”

“It’s dying down and I don’t know how the leaders are going to take it, but painfully the language is dying down they need to revive it. This is the language that I’ve seen because I’m in Accra,” Osei Kwakye added.

He said there is serious marginalisation against the local languages as many Ghanaians now see the speaking of the English language as superior and a measure of intelligence.

“We have developed to a level that, we don’t respect our own culture … The society is doing away with our languages. We think once a child is able to speak the English language, that means you have trained the child well, that is the unfortunate aspect. Then also, once the child comes home speaking English, they claim that child has attended a better school …”

“It’s serious. We in the language institutions pity some of the languages in Ghana, in no time they will die,” he added.

The institute revealed that there are nine approved local dialects being taught in basic schools and training colleges and most have been marginalised.

Osei Kwakye proposed that a frantic approach be used to develop a long-term holistic policy to revive this disturbing trend, instead of the previous accelerated plan of education.

“We should have a holistic policy on education and it should not be government-based. We should take the interest of Ghanaians at heart and whenever they are developing education policy, they should consult the stakeholders; the teachers who are on the ground, the directors of education, head teachers, and headmasters.

“They know it so they can develop proper education policy and whenever it is implemented, at least the minimum that it can be reviewed changed, where something can be done must be maybe ten years, we should follow it and see to its implementation until we know that at least we have achieved something. Other than that, if we just leave it like that and any government comes and changes it, we will be where we are and it will not help Ghana in the long run.”

Global threat

There are 7,000 documented languages currently spoken across the world, but half of them could be endangered, according to a new study.

It is predicted that 1,500 known languages may no longer be spoken by the end of this century.

Researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) analysed thousands of languages to identify factors that put endangered ones at risk.

The findings highlight a link between higher levels of schooling and language loss, as regionally dominant languages taught in class often overshadow indigenous tongues

Source: AsaaseRadio

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