Professor Kofi Agyekum, the Head of the Department of Linguistics of the University of Ghana, has urged traditional authorities to take a keen interest in indigenous languages in all forms of communication.
“It would be lovely to listen to speeches delivered by our kings, chiefs and queen mothers in our indigenous languages. This will implant the love of our mother tongue into the current and future generations,” he noted.
Professor Agyekum, stated this during the launch of the 1992 Constitution into Akwapim Twi translated by Lawyer Kwasi Opare Esq on Wednesday in Accra.
He said Ghana gained independence in 1957 but the country is still under linguistic bondage because of linguistic imperialism.
“Linguistic imperialism is the phenomena in which the minds and lives of the speakers of a language are dominated by another language to the point where they believe that they can, and should use only that foreign language”
He said recent developments in international law call for the protection of minority languages towards national cohesion, development and nation-building.
“The recognition of multilingualism and its implementation is thus becoming an obligation on all states. International law shows that persons belonging to linguistic minorities are entitled to protection against discrimination based on the language they speak,” he added.
According to him, linguistic imperialism has compelled us as a nation to have all our official documents in the colonial master’s language. “Sadly, our constitution, the pillar of all our undertakings as a state, is also in English.”
Professor Agyekum congratulated Lawyer Kwasi Opare for translating the 1992 Constitution into Akuapem Twi.
He said Akan is the single largest Ghanaian language in terms of the number of first language speakers and also the most widely spoken in the country that serves as a Lingua franca for Ghanaians who otherwise could not communicate among themselves if they cannot use English language, which is the official language.
He said looking at the spread and functions of the Akan language, it is envisaged that many homes in Ghana would find the Akuapim Twi constitution very useful in their homes.
He recommended the Akuapim Twi Constitution to chiefs and traditional authorities to cherish the outcome of Lawyer Kwasi Opare’s work.
“Elsewhere, this huge translation project should have been a national project sponsored by the state,” he said.
Grace Acheampong, ISD