Pidgin English in Ghanaian high schools: Exploring the problematization and disavowal of school acquired language


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Educational Foundations


Pidgin English (PE), an intermediate variety of English, remains an unofficial language in Ghana, yet, a popular means of communication within the informal context of high schools. Scholarship has noticed this phenomenon; however, the focus has been a linguistic analysis of the language in relation to standard English. Little to no studies emphasize PE as a phenomenon in schools requiring interrogation from humanistic perspectives. Drawing on (de)coloniality as lens, and utilizing qualitative tools, I seek to explore histories, students’ experiences, power undercurrents and the problematization of PE in Ghanaian high schools. I propose to undertake this research in four high schools where the phenomenon of speaking PE is prevalent. I will engage students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders through focus groups, interviews and observations. The outcome of this research will corroborate existing knowledge on decoloniality, question assumptions, and challenge norms as it offers a nuanced understanding of PE school contexts.