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Language choice in communication in a multilingual setting: a case study of students of the university of cape coast, Ghana

Author: 
Dr. Richard T. Torto
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

Contrary to what is often believed, most of the world’s population is bilingual or multilingual. Monolingualism is characteristic only of a minority of the world’s populace. Multilingualism is becoming a social phenomenon governed by the needs of globalization and cultural openness. Owing to easy access to information via the Internet, exposure to multiple languages is assuming rapid frequency, and giving rise to the need for people to acquire more and more languages. Each of the world’s nations has groups of individuals living within its borders who use other languages in addition to the national language to function in their everyday lives. A group of people living and working together in close proximity enforced by an institution like the university communicate with one another both formally and informally by linguistic means. Language is therefore the vehicle of communication of information and it is also the channel of establishing and maintaining relationship with other people. Language is also a medium of meaningful interaction among individuals in a social context. The University of Cape Coast community is multilingual. The population is made up of students and workers drawn from the heterogeneous ethnic regions of Ghana. The linguistic situation is such that many different languages co-exist and individuals speak more than one language. Due to the multilingual nature of the University of Cape Coast, various language choices are made in communication. The current study shown the pattern of language choice that exist in the University of Cape Coast community and this is manifested in the use of unmixed codes, a switch from one language to another or the mixing of languages.

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