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Opinions of Thursday, 14 August 2014

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Any Doubts About The Ghanaian Communication Skills?

Communication can be effected in various ways, principally, by writing and speaking. Communication is an act of imparting knowledge of, or information about, something, to another person(s). “It is all about giving, or interchanging thoughts, feelings, information etc., by writing, speaking, signs, etc.”

The methods of dispatching information between people and places, (phones, computer, radios etc.) are not going to form part of this subject matter.

Interestingly, I am going to limit myself to the writing part of it. When one is passing on information to others, the person has an objective, or an ulterior motive behind engaging in that act in the first place. It may be to educate the recipients, share ideas with them, alert them to information of which you are probably, the only one privy to, or, is the first person to have foreknowledge of it. In so doing, you have to make yourself well understood beyond doubt.

Failing to communicate whatever you intend, comprehensibly, renders your efforts expended, in vain. Therefore, the onus is always on the writer to ensure they choose the vocabularies, phrasal verbs/words etc. that many people will easily understand. However, in Ghana, and to the Ghanaian, one’s use of “big words” in expressing their views, in passing on information, makes them darling of not only the learned, but also, the entire, Ghanaian society.

In many instances, what one has put out, especially, on the internet, in their creative writing style, employing a chain of difficulty vocabularies, or knitting together “big words” throughout their writing, defeats their entire objective. For few people may understand their publication, with many readers unable to make heads or tails of what is being shared, imparted or informed of.

Unless one is satirically writing for the consumption of a selected few, any write-up or publication on our Ghanaian news websites must be understandable and easily absorbed. Without making yourself easily understood, your entire publication becomes purposeless. Your very objective of putting across such information is defeated well in advance of its revelation on the internet or in the media.

I know for a fact that in Ghana and to many a Ghanaian, “the knowledge of English is a criterion of a man’s great learning”. Subsequently, most learned Ghanaians prefer to show off their English prowess by employing “big words” in their writings.

When people are unable to read and understand what you have put out on the internet, in the newspapers, etc., I am afraid; all your efforts will have been rendered useless, befitting the saying, “much ado, about nothing”

Finally, if our writings are not directed at achieving specific objectives, then we had better re-examine our intentions. On the other hand, if we intend to achieve certain objectives, but our style of “big words” employed, become a hindrance, then we had better be mindful of our choice of words.

I know most of our people have become “human dictionaries”, but he who is better understood when he speaks or writes, is the genius, but not the one resorting unnecessarily to “big words” without making himself and intentions well and easily understood.

Being tired, and almost half-asleep as at writing, I had better call it a day to come back to continue with this interesting topic in the near future.

Rockson Adofo

12th August 2014