There is a new of speaking that is gradually creeping into our way of speaking which gradually affecting our language culture particularly in the city of Accra and other capital towns in Ghana. Very often you will hear families and friends in a conversation speaking Ghanaian language and mixing it up with English phrases and even on our radios especially the radio stations that use Ghanaian languages as a medium of transmission. At other times, you will realize that some school children whose parent are Ghanaian are unable to speak their own dialect hence we have become lost in our own land. One thing we should know as Ghanaians is that language is a special element in our which reveals who we are as people. It serves as an identification of our heritage and lineage thus through language people are able to link up with their root and take pride in it and build upon it. The study of language is language is beneficial to every society because it also promotes national unity and harmony within a state and ensure continuity of culture. However some aspiring parents and parents prefer their wards to have a medium of communication at home and even school. They say they prefer an English medium of instruction at home and school because they know for the fact that all the people within the best jobs in government and large corporation are expected to operate in English. How can we then promote our mother tongue when its contact has been diluted with English phrases?
To begin with, on our educational grounds that the use of the mother tongue be extended to as late stage in education as possible. In particular, school pupils should begin schooling through the medium of the mother tongue because they understand it best and also beginning their school in the mother tongue will make the break between home and school life as minimal as possible. The mother tongue is a dialect of an individual. This dialect is the language spoken by ones forefathers and has been passed on from generation to generation. In Ghana, there are about seventy dialects that the indigenous Ghanaians speaks. However, currently we have forty – four of them that are currently spoken in our schools and communities. In addition, students at the basic level are supposed to learn how to read and write these languages in various schools while those at the secondary level study it as elective subject if they happen to read general arts. However a school of thought have the notion that children can always learn to speak their native languages easily at home since socialization starts from the family.
Research has found out that students struggle with scientific concept regardless of their being taught in English. A study conducted in japan and china proved that students who are taught in their mother tongue understands scientific and other complex concepts better. This goes a long way to prove that children learn better from the known to the unknown. Therefore, there is a need to use the Ghanaian language as a medium of instruction. In order for primary school teachers to provide a successful learning experience to the child, they have to build the known foundation of the language to experience of the child, once a solid educational foundation is laid in the child’s first language, the child can expand his or her wider environment. It will enable us to preserve our linguistic diversity. This is because every language in its own way expresses a unique way of communication between people and helps to preserve the history of a group of people more especially minority language in a society.
Another point worth mentioning is that African countries should begin to use their indigenous language for the express effort of promoting and sustaining socio economic development in their countries. Language is a vital development domain through the years of schooling irrespective of the child’s linguistic culture or social background. It is through the mother tongue that every child learns to formulate and express his or her ideas about himself and about the world in which he lives. Every child is born in a cultural environment. The language is both a part an expression of that environment thus acquiring of the mother tongue is a part of a process by which a child absorbs a cultural environment. It can then be said that language plays a very important role in molding the child’s early concept. He will therefore find it difficult to grasp any new concept which is alien to his culture and social environment if he or she can easily express him or herself properly in the mother tongue
In a nutshell, I will urge African governments, families and the society at large to ensure that there is continuity in our language culture because man himself is the cause, transmitter and recipient of culture; his language reflects the reflects the culture and personality of the individual as well as groups. Vernacular paus either as a subject taught or particularly as a vehicle for transmission of knowledge so let us cherish it.