Sociolinguistic aspects of the spoken version of Hausa in Ghana
Keywords:Ghanaian Hausa, zongo, sociolinguistic, language, Ghana
Even though Hausa is not an indigenous Ghanaian language but it plays a very important role in Ghana’s sociolinguistics. It is the lingual franca for many people living in the zongos. Zongos are located in every major city in Ghana and they are occupied by different ethnic groups who use Ghanaian Hausa for their daily communications. Some popular and vibrant market centers in Ghana also use Ghanaian Hausa for their trading activities. However, there is no study that discusses both the features of Ghanaian Hausa and its social context. This explorative paper examines the current state of Hausa spoken in Ghana. It first discusses its historical and social contexts of use. Then, the paper examines its linguistic features in comparison with varieties of Hausa spoken outside Ghana (Nigeria) by drawing on data gathered from Ghanaian Hausa speakers and native speakers of Hausa who hail from Nigeria. The paper argues that Ghanaian Hausa is unique from the target Hausa from Nigeria, it is the first language for some residents in the zongos, it is widely used on some of the national televisions, radio stations and market centers, and it is the medium of instruction in the Islamic schools (makaranta). The paper proposes that the Hausa learnt and spoken in Ghana is best described as a Ghanaian Hausa because its peculiar features.
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