The idea that sounding “British” carries prestige has a long history in Ghanaian society but all that may soon change following a new school of thought against the old mentality of equating a British accent with prestige.
The Guardian reports that the practice has a new acronym, LAFA, or “locally acquired foreign accent”, which attracts mockery (as heard in the song ‘Fake London Boy’ by Ghanaian rapper, Tiffany) rather than praise. Professor Kofi Agyekum, head of linguistics at the University of Ghana told The Guardian that there has been a significant change away from those who think sounding English is prestigious, towards those who value being multilingual.
For new generation Ghanaians the move towards Ghanaian English is more about music and technology. Delalorm Semabia, 25, a Ghanaian blogger told Guardian that: “In the 90s many local artists wanted to sound like Usher or Jay-Z, but now they are taking local names and branding themselves locally. Little by little, people are embracing the use of our own languages – for example, now we can Google in Akan.”
“For us, English is our language – we want to break away from the old strictures, to personalise it, mix it with our local languages, and have fun with it. The whole point of language is that it’s supposed to be flexible and it’s meant to be fun.”