Language Contact Phenomena in a Multilingual Community: The Case Of Larteh


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




The project investigates the patterns in triglossia and codeswitching in the Leteh language community. Leteh is a Guan language of the Kwa family of languages spoken in Larteh, in southeast Ghana. Three languages are in use in Larteh: Leteh, Akan, and English. Leteh is the first language learned by the people, and by virtue of geographical location and educational language policy, Akan is the second language. English is the third language spoken by the educated speakers of Leteh. Johnson (1975) describes the triglossic situation in Larteh as relatively stable. However, increased incidence of education, among other factors, changes the division of communicative functions of the three languages. In the Basic School and churches, switching between the three languages serves important functions in teaching, learning, and effective communication. Data collection tools for the project are sociolinguistic questionnaires and participant observation.