New Dialect Formation in a Linguistically Heterogenous African City

Author: Solace Ago Yankson (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana)
Speaker: Solace Ago Yankson
Topic: Sociolinguistics
The GLOCAL AFALA 2023 General Session


New Dialect Formation or Koineisation, which results from contact between linguistic sub-systems, is a research area that has received little attention on the African continent, although widely explored in Europe and the United States of America. In this study, I discuss new dialect formation of Akan in a linguistically heterogeneous African city, Accra, the national capital of Ghana, to propose a Framework for New Dialect Formation for the linguistically heterogeneous Africa African cities. I have approached this study by collecting linguistic data from Akan second generation migrants in Accra who are ethnically Asante and Kwawu, and elderly and young female informants in the indigenous areas of these Akan varieties to serve as controls, through conversational interviews. I observed that due to the contact the second generation migrants have with the various varieties of Akan and other languages in the city, the linguistic processes they adopted in the variants they used for the variables selected for study are the linguistic processes found in new dialect formation (e.g. Trudgill 1986 & 2004, and Kerswill & Trudgill (2005). They used variants with origins from different varieties of Akan, levelled out geographically and demographically minority variants, and created inter-dialect forms. Due to the contact they have with other languages and ethnic groups in the city, they also used English borrowings, variants which may be as a result of imperfect acquisition, and inter language forms. I contend, therefore, that a model of new-dialect formation that goes beyond contact between linguistic sub-systems should be developed for the linguistically heterogeneous African cities.

Keywords: New-dialect formation, Linguistic heterogeneity, African cities