LANGUAGE AS A VEHICLE OF CULTURE IN GHANA

Culture according to lan Robertson is “all the shared products of society: material and non – material’’, that is the totality of learned, and socially transmitted behavior. It includes ideas, values and customs of a society culture is related with food, language, religion, education, technology, external influence, norms and values among others. Language and culture constitute the medium by which individuals can communicate, be identified and distinguished from one another. The use of language is the most efficient way of integrating people into their culture.

Culture and language are inseparable. Effective teaching of Ghanaian language and culture motivates people to accept, love and be proud of their own culture no matter it is performed. Ian Robertson views “language as the keystone of culture for without it, we cannot pass on the collective experience of society and the lessons it teaches for survival.

If language is the keystone to culture, what then should be done to promote the Ghanaian language and culture, recent assessment of the Ghana language situation in Ghana is a reflection shame which is a burden to every Ghanaian man or woman. One may ask why some children of Ghanaian parentage only manage to utter few words or none at all in their dialects. This is because most home try to imbibe their kids with the English language rather than their own native language .Most of our school have refused to add up the Ghanaian language to their curriculum and subjects for teaching which shouldn’t be so. Our first language we should learn as Ghanaians should be our native languages before any other. 

We should be proud to speak our language because it is a reflection of our identity. But the Ghanaian man or woman is least proud of his or her language and often times feels ashamed to speak or acknowledge our heritage. We speak English to one another even though we come from the same area.

In spite of the use of English as an official language or the lingua franca, local languages must not be neglected. Language as a means of communication holds a key to our culture, we would lose one of the major things that enrich our collective experience, the wealth and survival of societal norms. The family should be the basic platform for easy appreciation and study of language but what do we see in most Ghanaian homes, English seems to have displaced the local dialects as the first language resulting in the present unacceptable state of their own societal language.

In conclusion, knowing how to speak your mother tongue helps you stay connected with your culture and origin. Every language is important. It is still very essential and useful to hold on to your first language spoken by your tribe and society.

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