General News Thu, 9 Sep 2021

Politicians use local languages to win campaigns but don’t push for its learning - Opanin Agyekum

Professor at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Ghana, Professor Kofi Agyekum is concerned about how rather disinterested politicians and leaders appear to be about the promotion of local languages in Ghana.

Prof. Agyekum who has been an ardent campaigner for the development of local languages in schools and beyond in Ghana was speaking to Wonder Ami Hagan in this edition of The Lowdown on GhanaWeb TV.

According to him, these political figures, though mostly turn to local languages to promote their political messages to the masses, have failed over time to push for the study of these languages even to the highest educational levels in Ghana.

“These politicians, most of the elections that they win is because of the use of the local languages, have you thought about that? They do all their campaigns in the local languages. They travel to the people; they want to speak the languages that the people can understand,” he said.

He cited Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as an example of a political figure who learnt the Akan language in order to effectively communicate with sections of the public when he visits.

The Akan scholar also cited similar situations where business persons have resorted to promoting their products in the local language in order to reach a broader audience.

“Our current vice president, when he started, he couldn’t speak Twi. Now, he speaks impeccable Twi. Most of the songs that are composed for them during elections, they are usually in the local languages. So why can’t they help us to develop them.

"Look at most of the adverts for businessmen and women, most of them are in the Ghanaian languages because those are the languages most people in the country understand.

"If you want to sell and sell well, do it in the language the people can understand. When new stations came and saw the need to broadcast in the local languages, see the way they are moving up,” he added.

Opanin Agyekum believes governments and influential persons in society ought to do much more to promote the study and documentation of local languages in the country.

“That’s how we have to look at it and know that the Ghanaian languages have a lot more to offer if we want to document and improve on its studies and teaching,” he further added.

Watch the full interview below:

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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