Thursday, October 30, 2008

Speaking and writing English.

Very often we hear a lot of hue and cry about the fallen standards of the English language among the youth in today's Ghana. A lot of blame has been attributed to the fact that most young people speak Pidgin English with impunity wherever they find themselves be it in the home or in formal organizations.

Unfortunately our tertiary institutions and high schools provide an enabling environment where Pidgin English is habituated. It seems that nothing could be done to truncate this worrying trend among young people. One cannot begrudge them of the slang which they are so comfortable with, not been oblivious of the fact that Pidgin English provides a platform for the youth to fraternize quickly within the immediate society. By this time am quite sure that readers would be wondering whether I am a pro-pidgin advocate, wrong, I am not. My concern is to find out how that pidgin-speaking weakness can be turned into strength for the larger majority of Ghanaians that are illiterate. Definitely one cannot write good English if he does not make a conscious effort to speak it. Obviously the point I want to emphasize is simply this;

That, it is better to speak some substantial amount of quasi-English than not being able to write and speak good English at all. Indeed statistics show that an overwhelming majority of our country folk are illiterate and this should be of great concern to the privileged minority, most especially our national policy formulators, there should be a painstaking effort be it a national program agenda or machinery to reverse the status quo.

For those who can speak and write at least some good English, yours truly was inspired to pen this article for them. to draw our attention to a lesser known truth that, technological advancements with regards to the internet and mobile phones is gradually corrupting the English we write through the electronic mail and text messages we send .Due to the limited number of characters one can send in a text message, “texters” have resulted to writing abbreviated words leading to bad spellings, weird tenses and poor semantics.

The utmost reason being that the current generation spend more time texting short messages on their mobile phones and the internet through instant electronic mail messaging It is therefore becoming rampant to receive emails and text messages with very bad spelling which cannot make meaningful reading. Regrettably the same can be said of the text messages people send to television networks, which are screened to viewers without any editing. This habit of bad spelling comes to bare in educational institutions, workplaces and other formal organizations where people are subjected to the task of writing assignments, long essays, reports, applications and memos etc. In this regard most people find it tedious and boring organizing their thoughts on paper. Indeed it is quite easier to speak than to write because writing requires the organization of content points and expressions that are mechanically accurate.

Quickly I will mention that it is not good to write with poor spellings and irregular grammatical constructions whiles we speak fluently and eloquently. Writing and speaking good English must be encouraged among the youth. Forming of debating and creative writers clubs as well as reading/book clubs should be promoted in schools and communities, dying ones must be revived and supported with resources. They are much more profitable to an individual's self development and the entire nation than allowing ethnic groupings on our university campuses.

Analogically, good writing comes after reading and speaking good English.

1 comment:

Ezekiel Adokwei Johnson said...

Pidgin just dey be. e be da brodaz language. u kno it just make man know say he dey keep it real. Abi U aaa dey get da catch.