Acculturation and integration: Language dynamics in the rural north-urban south mobility situation in Ghana

  • Gladys Nyarko Ansah University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana
Keywords: language and migration, Ghana, Akan acquisition, acculturation, Kayayei


This paper examines the role acculturation plays in the acquisition of Akan as L2 among young female migrants of northern Ghana origin (Kayayei), in their host communities in the south. While the literature is replete with studies on the migration of Kayayei to urban markets in the south, many of these studies are concerned with either sociological factors or economic ones or even health. Very little research has focused on the linguistic dimension of rural-urban migration in Ghana. Under the basic assumptions of Schumann’s Acculturation Model, a socio-psychological model of L2 learning, this paper employs mixed methods (structured interviews, participant observation) to investigate Akan as L2 acquisition among Kayayei in three highly multilingual urban markets in Ghana. The analysis of the data revealed that whereas social dominance patterns do not seem to aff ect acculturation among Kayayei in Akan acquisition and use in the selected urban markets, other social and psychological factors, e.g. size of immigrant group, residence, and length of period of stay/hope of return to home origin which tend to result in limited/full integration, do. The fi ndings of this paper resonate with Hammer’s (2017) fi nding about the relationship between sociocultural integration of migrants and the extent of their use of L2, i.e., that L2 learners with higher levels of acculturation tend to have higher levels of profi ciency in the L2.

Author Biography

Gladys Nyarko Ansah, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana
Department of English Senior Lecturer

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2458-746X
print ISSN: 0855-1502