Exploring the Linguistic Landscape of Cape Coast: Are Our Indigenous Languages Safe in the Public Space?

The use of the English language as the official language in Ghana has had a toll on the representation of Ghanaian languages in the public space. Even though few studies in Ghana have investigated the linguistic landscape of towns such as Ajumako, Kejetia, and some others, there is no known study on the linguistic landscape of Cape Coast metropolis, the hub of education in Ghana. This study explored the linguistic landscape of Cape Coast Metropolis. The researchers selected forty (40) billboards from four strategic locations in the Cape Coast metropolis. Using Landry and Bourhis’ (1997) theory of linguistic landscape, and Kress and van Leeuwen’s (2006) theory of Reading Images, the researchers analyzed the data gathered. The analysis revealed that Cape Coast is a multilingual town and the three languages used in the public space are English Language, Twi, and Fante. Further analysis revealed that the English language dominated the public space, followed by Twi, and lastly, Fante. Moreover, it was discovered that visuals in the billboards play a complementary role in communicating meaning to the audience. This study calls the attention of policymakers to consider revising the language policy towards promoting the use of Ghanaian languages in the public space as a strategy to sustain the culture of using our languages in the public space.
Research Article