Why Bother with the Local Languages?

  • In the past weeks I have had a lot of discussions on local languages in Ghana. Many times in my youth, I have felt non Ghanaian due to my inability to speak a local dialect fluently.
  • I am not proud of my inability to speak a local language fluently. It however doesn’t justify making others like me feel bad.

    I love the Ghanaian languages. I am however unimpressed by its relevance in the modern world. I see very little advancements in the languages regarding literature or accessibility to help on the internet.

    There is a move to get Ghanaians to speak local languages. I however do not see how being the best Twi or Ga student ranks up with other subjects. What are the career possibilities? Is it something that is desirable?

    Forgive me if my questions or stance offends you. I am just trying to get better answers than “learn it because it’s good for you”.

    The only reason why I wanted to learn both Twi and Ga was to communicate with friends and share in the humor. I was not particularly interested in reading or writing the language and I have never had a reason since leaving Primary School to do so.

    There is a reason why English, French and even Spanish are desirable. I believe our languages are equivalent yet are behind in terms of importance.

    Maybe our population is small. It still doesn’t justify why we are not making room for the language to be useful beyond the marketplace or local scene.

    In the discussions I have been having it dawned on me that there are not even word games for the local languages. Crossword puzzles and scrabble for instance made me want to brush up on vocabulary. Are there crosswords in our local languages? Is there a local languages version of scrabble? If there is, would it help in teaching the language?

    I believe it will. Something has to be done.

    It’s sad that I am making this argument in English and not in a local language but that’s what we are familiar with. If even there was an autocorrect in our local languages to aid us in writing on our phones on applications like WhatsApp it would help.

    I can’t do much but write a poem on the matter. Hopefully this conversation and others will spark a movement that will see the future being better for Ghanaian local languages.

    I’m A Great Scrabble Player

    I am a great scrabble player

    My two word and three word vocabulary is off the charts

    I am a force to be reckoned with and busy myself with keeping abreast with language so as to see hidden words within my tiles

    I am proud of my skill and talent; and like the scrabble board, I look for double and triple letter word opportunities to showcase my abilities

    I am a great scrabble player

    But no one will play with me

    They laugh at my skill and talent

    I play words they don’t understand

    They say I am too local for the game

    A game of words wit and strategy

    Their tiles don’t have some of my letters

    I can’t form some words

    I am handicapped and frustrated

    How am I a great scrabble player if I can’t play in my own language?

    Keep it One Hondred!

    Kenyan Tea

    Kenya has brought the English out of me and turned me into a tea loving African, drinking tea as if it is an elixir of youth.
    Kenya is one of the world’s largest black CTC tea producers. Tea is actually a major cash crop for Kenya. Its a major export bringing the country majority of its foreign revenue.
    Since my arrival here I have been drawn to two brands of Kenyan tea. (Lipton is no where to be found here yall)

    Ketepa Pride Tea
    Ketepa Pride Tea

    Ketepa Pride and Melvins. Ketepa Pride has a number of flavors which I am yet to savor. Forest Fruit flavored black tea is what I was introduced to as Kenyan tea and I have been a lover ever since. 
    I drink tea at least twice a day since I got here. What freaked me was the variety of flavors available here. Which brings me to the next brand, Melvins. Now Melvins has a hibiscus black tea flavor. Let me let that settle for a moment……..
    Melvins Sobolo Tea
    Melvins Sobolo Tea

    My eyes lit up when I saw that flavor. All I kept thinking about was “OMG they have sobolo or bissap tea!”. The taste is heavenly. This is what I have been sipping in Kenya people.
    Well its time for tea rafikis but here lies my dilemma will I drink forest fruit or hibiscus?
    Keep it One HONDRED!