Language Use in the Multilingual Classroom Settings of West Africa: A Review of Selected Literature

Edward Owusu, Asuamah Adade-Yeboah, Kweku Rockson, Solomon Ali Dansieh, Samuel Kyei Adoma


Linguistically, most Africans are multilingual entities. Extremely, the seventeen (17) West African states display this feature. Thus, in a typical L2 classroom in Africa, the learner is likely to come into contact with several languages. These languages are mostly the official languages(s), the second or third language(s), the international language, and the indigenous languages spoken by both the learners and the teachers. Sometimes, the official language(s) is/are selected indigenous languages (for example, Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa, in the case of Nigeria). In some cases, the second language is the international language used for official engagements and international discourse. In Western Africa, Ghana is one such country that uses English as both the official and international language. When learners from diverse sociocultural backgrounds are exposed to several languages in a particular classroom setting, a lot of processes emerge. One of such processes is nativisation or indigenisation or localisation of the formal classroom language. This is the process where language learners use the formal classroom language in a manner that suits their communicative needs. This paper is a review of selected empirical studies on the use of language in the multilingual classrooms of selected African countries. The cases and papers were purposively sampled from five West African states of Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, and Nigeria. This paper argues that language contact processes such as localisation, pidginization, and creolization are not aberrant forms per se; and since they serve the informal linguistic needs of multilingual second language learners, they should be given a place in language use.

Full Text:



World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

Copyright © Sciedu Press

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders. If you have any questions, please contact: