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Opinions of Thursday, 23 March 2017

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Ghanaians, please cease your overly crazy infatuation with spoken English

Mercy Adu Gyamfi was mocked because of her inability to discourse in standard English Mercy Adu Gyamfi was mocked because of her inability to discourse in standard English

By: Adofo, Rockson

Did I not promise you that I shall be back to continue with my discussions of Ghanaians absurd infatuation with spoken English in my previous publication? Yes, I did, hence this follow-up publication.

I have never at all been enthused over the Ghanaians silly fondness for spoken English where they have that shameless attitude of laughing at others who lack the vocabularies, fluency and accent to discourse in English.

Like the proverbial last straw that broke the camel's back, the recent unnecessary subjection of the Member of Parliament for Akwatia Constituency in the Eastern region, Ms Mercy Adu Gyamfi, alias Amma Sey, to demeaning mockery because of her inability to discourse in standard English on the floor of parliament, has so much disgusted me that I have not only decided to reprimand all those into the habit of making fun of those unable to speak good English but also, to educate them.

Most of the highly advanced countries that we see today of whose enviable prosperity, technological knowhow, social lifestyles and whatnot that we (comparatively less developed Ghanaians and Africans) are aspiring to emulate, once had many different dialects/languages in their various individual countries and were made up of different tribes same as we currently do have in Ghana. However, the farsightedness of their forefathers, who could see the benefits of having one language, well ahead of time, came together to select or impose one of their variously many dialects/languages on the nation(s).

In the United Kingdom, the Scottish, the Welsh and the English as well as the Irish had, and probably still do have, their own languages. However, after coming together to form the union called the United Kingdom, they all agreed to use English, one of their many, but dominating language, as their national language.

When you go to France, those in the Southern part of the country, from Toulouse to Marseilles etc. and those in the North-west e.g. Normandy had their own dialects/languages. In the same way as in the United Kingdom, they chose French out of their many dialects as their national language. This established fact is explained away by the heavy accents with which some of the people in other parts or regions within the same country speak the chosen national language.

The Scottish, Irish and Welsh speak English with heavy accent emanating from their previous dialects; a vivid indication that English language was not their original mother tongue. Until today, the Welsh speak their language but not as a national language but restricted to Wales. In France, the other dialects are dying out as all the new generations after choosing French as a national language refuse to speak the other dialects which are dying away with the old people of the various regions that used to speak them.

With one national language selected from their variously spoken dialects, there has been unity among them with all seeing themselves as say, English or French, without any open prevalence of that sort of tribal animosity culminating in seeing some people as inferior as otherwise pertains in Ghana.

Some people may be tempted to tell me that in the global world commerce is dealt in English so it is imperative that Ghanaians speak the adopted English language than to choose one of our many local dialects as our official/national language. It will sound an understatement for me to say that is complete bollocks!

The Chinese currently do more global business than any other country in the world in spite of the inferior quality of their goods; however, they speak their Mandarin, Cantonese, Southern Min, Hunanese, and GÃ n etc. with Mandarin being the dominant language spoken by about 1.3 billion of the Chinese population. From my research to justify why Ghanaians at the age of sixty, need a national language chosen from one of our own many dialects to be spoken in both parliament and at official functions within the country, I came across this. Mandarin is spoken by possibly more people than any other language: over 1.3 billion. It is the main language of government, the media and education in China and Taiwan, and one of the four official languages in Singapore.

Why can't Ghana copy any of these great nations but continues to stagnate in ignorance same believing that one's knowledge of English is an indication of their great learning and command of respect? I find this philosophy of the Ghanaian the mother of all stupidity and inferiority complex.

I quite remember once rebutting a publication on Ghanaweb by a Ghanaian of Ewe origin residing in London. This is a few years back. He said, he went to a certain workplace and a Ghanaian lady she met asked if he was a Ghanaian and as soon as he answered yes, the woman started speaking Twi to him. He wrote that article saying the fact that he is a Ghanaian does not mean he understands Twi since there are many dialects in Ghana. From his write-up, he was trying to insult Ghanaians and especially the Ashantis for always speaking Twi wherever they go. He was slandering the Ashantis notion of superiority and questioning why they should think every Ghanaian must speak their Twi language.

Whether people like it or not, it is a fact if not an open secret that Twi, is the dominant dialect in Ghana that stands a 100% chance of ever becoming the national language if and only if, our parliamentarians, will have the balls to put forward a bill for one of our many dialects to be used as a national language, or if we should decide by referendum which local language is to become our national language.

I remember some parliamentarians teasing Hon. Kennedy Agyapong, the Member of Parliament for Assin Central in the Central region for not being conversant with spoken English. However, what Kennedy has done for Ghana surpasses what 100 MPs put together have done for the country with all their perfect knowledge of both spoken and written English.

Kennedy has exposed the gargantuan corruption that former President Mahama, his family, cronies and government were perpetrating to the detriment of the nation. When these acts of nation-ruining corruption were going on, all the fluently English-speaking MPs were sitting on their bloody arse doing nothing but concurring.

Leave Hon. Mercy Adu Gyamfi alone. The people of Akwatia knew the good in her that was why they voted to elect her to represent them, although a hairdresser as some people claim she is. Is she not better than Baba Jamal, a lawyer, who requested NDC people to lie about saying, If President Mills gives you a hen, tell the public he has given you a goat. If he gives you an old banger, tell them you have been given a brand new 4x4 car and if he gives you a sheep, tell the public you have been given a cow, etc.?

I stand solidly by Hon. Ms Mercy Adu Gyamfi. I shall assist her to ensure Twi is spoken in Ghana parliament whether the Speaker, the Majority Leader or the Minority Leader likes it or not. We must grow up as a nation and be proud of our own identity.

Yes, accuse of being controversial, for that I care! The son of Kumawu/Asiampa has spoken his mind. The best anyone can do is to agree to disagree with me but I shall prevail by the grace of God.

Anyway, let me go. I shall be back!