How Ghanaian Is Ghanaian English? a Preliminary Study from a Phonetician
Topics: English language / Pages: 24 (5793 words) / Published: Jun 28th, 2013

How Ghanaian is Ghanaian English? A preliminary study from the perspective of a phonetician
INTRODUCTION
Background to the study English language came to Ghana around the second half of the 15th Century through a group of English merchants who arrived in the Guinea coast to trade in gold dust and spices (Sey, 1973). According to Sey, by the 18th Century, British have attempted to establish schools in the Gold Coast. In 1788, a school for twelve children was established in Cape Coast whilst around the same period a number of Ghanaians were sent to Britain to be educated. Among the pioneers who received British education was Philip Quarcoo who returned to the Gold Coast as a missionary of the Anglican Church, a schoolmaster and a catechist. He is believed to have served from 1965 to 1816 (Sey, 1973). The rise of the English language in Ghana could also be attributed largely to the vigorous activities of missionaries and the active sponsorship of the government during the 19th Century. Many Christian missionaries came to the Gold Coast to spread and propagate the word of God using the Bible. They established churches and later schools where English was taught. Prominent among these missionary organizations were the Methodist, Anglican, Catholic and later Basel (Presbyterian) missions. Sey (1973:5) observes, “The study of the Bible was actively encouraged, and church attendance was obligatory for all schoolchildren. The Bible, even at the present, plays a major role in the pupil’s first acquaintance with the English language.” The first newspaper believed to have appeared (in English) in the Gold Coast was entitled the Royal Gold Coast Gazette and Commercial Intelligencer. It appeared in Cape Coast, dated Tuesday 2nd April 1822 whilst the first known Ghanaian novel in English is Joseph Ephraim Casley-Hayford’s political novel Ethiopia Unbound published in 1911 as well as R.E. Obeng’s Eighteen Pence in 1943. Apart from the novel, Kobina Sekyi is recognised for



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