In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected various aspects of our society profoundly, the School of Languages at the University of Ghana organised a conference to examine the impact of this crisis on various aspects of human endeavours. This special issue of the Legon Journal of Humanities contains double blind reviewed selected papers that were presented at the conference. Three of these selected papers focus on the critical interrogation of human responses to crises as reflected in literature, language and cultural studies while two focus on roles that language choice plays in the domains of television and audio-visual advertisements, respectively.   The first article, entitled “Crisis communication at the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic: “A case study of the Ghanaian president’s fourth update on coronavirus”, examines the role of crisis communication in the early stages of the pandemic, analysing a crucial address to the nation by Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo. Through detailed linguistic analysis, the study demonstrates how the president’s language and communication strategies reflected the political context and potentially influenced public behaviour.  In the second article, “Fighting a global pandemic and local stigmatisation; War metaphors in presidential update speeches and their effect on attitudes to COVID -19 (Patients) in Ghana”, the authors examine the Ghanaian president’s use of war metaphors in his address to the nation during the pandemic. The study explores the potential impact of these metaphors on the attitudes and practices of the Ghanaian public and how these communication strategies may have inadvertently contributed to stigmatisation and further spread of the virus in the community.  The third article, “Les défis de l’évaluation du français langue étrangère en ligne: le cas de l’Université du Ghana”, is set against the backdrop of the pandemic-driven shift from in-person to distance learning and digital examinations and examines the factors that affect the effectiveness of the conduct of online assessments for students of French at the University of Ghana. The study also proposes solutions to overcome the challenges.  The fourth article, “Promoting Ghanaian languages: the role of telenovelas’’, examines the important role that telenovelas play in the promotion of Ghanaian languages by their broadcast through voice-overs in local languages. The study highlights the impact of this phenomenon on language use, language acquisition and glocalization of global mass media in shaping informal education and literacy development in Ghana.    The last article, “Language Blending in Tanzanian Adverts: English, Swahili, and Kiswahili cha Mtaani” analyses the use of code-switching in audio-visual advertisements in Tanzania. The study focuses on the motivations for language mixing and its impact on the target audience and shows how three languages; English, Swahili, and Kiswahili cha Mtaani” code-switching are blended strategically to attract customers from different linguistic, economic, and sociological backgrounds.   By exploring these diverse themes, the papers in this special issue contribute to interdisciplinary research through the exploration of the complex relationships between crises, human responses and cultural expressions. Through the lens of literary, linguistic and cultural studies, they help deepen our understanding of the complex dynamics that emerge in times of crisis and their lasting impact on human societies.   Guest Editors Josephine Dzahene-Quarshie Promise Dodzi Kpoglu


Published: 2023-06-29