The Dependent Clause in Ghanaian English Pidgin

John Franklin WIREDU


Increasing use of Pidgin in Ghana has inevitably drawn attention to this variety of language – especially, since its use is believed to have a direct negative effect on people’s competent use of the English Language in school. As a result, people believe that its pervasive use by the youth in Ghana has implications for education in the country.

This negative perception stems from the conviction that pidgin is linguistically deficient because

a)       it is a reduced language, when compared to its superstrate language(s)

b)       it is spoken by people in the lower class of society

Not surprisingly, therefore, there are those voices in the educational sector who often suggest that pidgin use in school campuses should be stamped out.

This strong condemnation of pidgin use has aroused our interest in this study of pidgins. We consider a pidgin as a contact language, closely related to whatever language(s) serve(s) as its superstrate(s). As a contact language, then, it deserves research interest.

The overall aim in this study, accordingly, is to examine the grammar of Ghanaian English Pidgin. Specifically, we are interested in the grammar of the dependent clause in a variety of pidgin. And the data we are using is derived from recorded conversations that Osei-Tutu (2009) used in his work on Ghanaian Student Pidgin.

Our assumption throughout this work is that the fact that pidgin is viewed as ‘a reduced language’ does not mean that it is linguistically deficient and unstructured. We believe that it has structure and, accordingly, can be studied, like any other contact language.

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