Language socialisation practices of children in multilingual Accra, Ghana

  • Yvonne Eyram Nutakor Ho Technical University, Ghana
  • Nana Aba Appiah Amfo University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana
Keywords: bi/multilingualism, language maintenance/shift, language socialisation, socialising agents


This paper examines the language socialisation experiences of children in the extensive multilingual and culturally hybrid ‘compound houses’ located in three suburbs of Accra. It seeks to unravel the infl uence socialising agents’ practices and attitudes have on children’s language choices and usage patterns. Blending the practice view of Community of Practice with the Ethnography of Communication model, it analyses the children’s language socialisation practices within the various communities, focusing on how the socialising agents’ practices shape children’s language choice, use and practices. Using semi-structured interviews and participant observation, data were gathered on language choice, use and attitudes from fi fty purposively selected participants who reside in six compound houses. The data reveal that the children’s experiences at home are overshadowed by the language(s) used in the macro- environment. As a result, individual bilingualism does not necessarily show the presence of the parents’ ethnic language. The findings further show that socialising agents’ perceptions and attitudes motivate language shift and reinforcement among children.

Author Biographies

Yvonne Eyram Nutakor, Ho Technical University, Ghana

Assistant Lecturer
Department of Applied Modern Languages and Communication

Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana

Associate Professor
Department of Linguistics


Journal Identifiers

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