Ghana

You’re lost if you’re a CEO and can’t speak your local language – Opanyin Agyekum

Renowned professor of linguistics at the University of Ghana, Opanyin Agyekum, has described high ranking officials or successful individuals at the top of the food chain who pride themselves in speaking only the English language as lost.

He maintains that the pinnacle of every developed society is fixed on the ability of its members to be rich in culture, which he adds is ‘extremely interwoven with language.’

Speaking on GhanaWeb’s current affairs programme, The Lowdown, the active campaigner of literacy and Ghanaian languages lamented on the seeming relegation of local languages in the country.

Prof Kofi Agyekum noted that it is shameful how over time, literacy has been associated with only the English language.

He further asserted that it was important for leaders to be abreast with primarily, their own language and if possible, other Ghanaian languages. He intimated that, persons who are able to do this get in tune with the culture of birthplace and society.

“If somebody calls himself a scholar and you know all the theories and everything and you don’t know your own language…. People should remember that language and culture are extremely interwoven. So, learning the language you also learn the culture. And culture comes with identity.

“So, if you’re a CEO, you know only English, you don’t know your language which is Nzema; neither do you know the Nzema culture. Then you visit Nzema land, you’ll be like an alien. You’ve lost your identity totally,” he detailed on the programme.

“That’s why it is ideal for everybody to know his or her own language or some of the Ghanaian languages. As for the English, if you go to school you’ll learn,” Opanyin Agyekum added.

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