Aspects of Dagombas' English


Sheini Memunatu

Research Area:


The world is marked with many varieties of English. These varieties are marked with the geographical locations of where those varieties are spoken. Thus, we have; European English, Asian English West African English, East African English etc. Also, within these continents one can tell who is from; Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe when they begin to speak English. These varieties are further identified by the countries in which they are spoken. Therefore, it is common to hear; American, British, Chinese, Nigerian, Ghanaian, Kenyan Englishes. Besides, within these countries are numerous varieties of English spoken by the uncountable ethnic groups in these countries. The varieties in these countries are undoubtedly marked by the various indigenous languages of speakers of those varieties. It is not uncommon therefore to have Igbo English, Yoriba English, Bantu English, Ashanti English, Dagbani English Ewe English, Lamso English and more, even if they are not officially documented or given the recognition as varieties of English. Varieties of English as they stand go beyond just dialects or languages. They are inevitably, signs of identification to its speakers.


Taking Ghanaian English into consideration, this research project therefore seeks to identify, describe and provide explanation to the syntactic areas and phonological areas of Dagbani grammar that serve as a sign of identifying this ethnic group as they speak and use English in Ghana. In the quest of this project to investigate and provide explanation to the above-mentioned areas, it digs to uncover the aspects of Dagbani tense, and aspect (progressive and perfective) as well as phonological (vowel sounds) aspects that that serve as a sign on speakers’ English. Main data source is primary with interview as main data collection tool, underpinned by Labov’s (1966) variation approach. It takes the form of translation, picture description and text reading.