Akan-English Codeswitching on Ghanaian TV Talk Shows: The Case of ‘THE DELAY SHOW’
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Contact between English and Ghanaian languages due to Ghana’s anglophone colonial heritage has resulted in the manifestation of several language contact phenomena. The contact phenomenon of codeswitching (CS) is addressed in this study. Akan bilinguals engage in Akan-English CS in their day-to-day activities. The study investigates and provides insights into the purposes Akan-English CS serves, using data from a popular Ghanaian TV talk show called THE DELAY SHOW. A combination of theories and approaches to the study of CS are employed in this study. The main theoretical bases for data analysis are John Gumperz (1982), Conversational Analysis by Peter Auer (1984) and The Markedness Model by Carol Myers-Scotton (1993). These theories were used to investigate the conversational uses of Akan-English CS among Akan bilinguals; how the sequential order of their conversations influences their CS; and the social motivations for Akan-English codeswitching. The outcomes of the study show that Akan bilinguals use CS for quotations, interjections, reiteration, addressee specification, message qualification, personalisation verses objectivization, numbers, proper nouns, contrast, and to fill lexical gaps. The findings also show that the sequential order of a conversation has an influence on the meaning of a switch. Thus, sequential analysis led to the interpretation of certain instances of CS among Akan bilinguals as signalling changes in topic and signalling the main issue under discussion. Furthermore, the study shows some social motivations for Akan-English CS. Akan bilinguals were found to employ CS to index certain social identities and as a deferential strategy. The study recommends that more research should be undertaken on codeswitching between Ghanaian languages and English, as well as codeswitching between different Ghanaian languages to provide more insights into the topic. This is because the functions and motivations for codeswitching indicate that CS is an effective tool that the Ghanaian bilingual can use to express him/herself fully. However, future researchers should include a larger number of participants and apply attitudinal studies in their methodology to investigate what the code-switchers themselves feel about CS.