Speaker Calls For A Local Lingua Franca

Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin has called for a radical
paradigm shift in the developmental outlook of the country, starting with the adoption and
curating of an indigenous language into a lingua franca.
According to the Speaker, this line of action will be a positive imitation of a tried and tested
developmental paradigm which has led to the progress of other nations.
“As a nation we need to sit up and re-look at our educational system and develop a means of
communication; a few national languages to start with, nobody can stop it. As we move along,
there will be congruence and there will be dominance,” he said.
The Speaker made the call when he hosted a delegation from the Tijaniya Muslim Council of
Ghana led by Sheik Muhammed Mutawakil Iddris which had paid a courtesy call on him in
Parliament.
His call re-ignites controversy on the subject of lingua franca. Over the years, people in the
school of thought that the Speaker belongs to have argued that the available evidence, whether its in Europe, America, or Asia that countries tend to be able to give better education when their educational and developmental system is based on communication in their local language.
Examples are often cited of India, China, the so called Asian tigers, as well as the Americas.
However, an opposing school of thought points out that to curate a local language for
communication in African countries is in the least not prudent and in the worst, an ego trip
because it would amount to unnecessarily re-inventing the wheel.
For starters, the African languages tend to be so limited in vocabulary banks that to develop
them enough to be used as useful lingua franca would entail halting the already slow pace of
development in order to building the language first.
The likes of Kofi Wayo have even argued that African languages are next to useless in the
technology and IT driven world because they simply lack the terminology coverage. Mr. Wayo
has often argued for instance that there is no word like “atom” in any of the local languages in
Ghana.
And so, to make any of them a national language is to basically get people to limit themselves
with a language in which you cannot learn what an atom is. The atom is the basic unit of life, at least popular science.
However, while speaking to his guests, the Speaker said the bane of the development of the
African continent is one of a constant grapple with foreign languages.

“The poverty in Africa is not the poverty of wealth, of property, it’s a poverty of the mind, that
is what we have in Africa. There’s everything for us here but for lack of knowledge my people
perish, that is where we are now.
“People want to blame the youth for usually being a bit less patient, emotional and prone to
violence, but these are just the symptoms. The causes of the problem is not the youth, it’s the
kind of system that we push them into, and we all know it. There’s no country that has
developed following other people’s way of education and development. There’s no country
that has developed using somebody’s language,’ he said.
The Leader of the delegation, Sheik Muhammed Mutawakil Iddris, expressed gratitude to the
Speaker for the support he had over the years given to the Tijaniya Muslim Council.
He appealed to the Speaker to continue to support the many initiatives and programmes of the
council including thoes in the areas of agriculture, education and youth empowerment.

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