Re-examining the Status of the English Language in Anglophone Western Africa: A Comparative Study of Ghana and Nigeria

Oris Tom-Lawyer, Michael Thomas


This paper re-examines the status of English as a Second Language (ESL) in Anglophone Western Africa by comparing its use in Nigeria and Ghana. The research is based on the premise that the medium of instruction impacts the quality of education (Ferguson, 2013). The significance of the research is that it is one of the first studies to compare the standard of English language usage in the two countries to establish whether there is a positive link between the quality of education and the language of instruction (Williams, 2011). Predicated on a critical literature review, some of the issues and perspectives analysed include educational language policies, the attitude of students, the quality of teachers and the prospects of the language in the two countries. Findings indicate that the implementation of educational language policies remains an important challenge in the two countries, as there has been a falling standard of English usage (though Ghana has a higher standard of English language usage) and a dearth of English specialists. In identifying the factors that impact on the quality of education in Nigeria and Ghana, the paper concludes that English has significant potential in both countries, and if relevant strategies for its improvement are adopted, both countries will benefit from the socio-economic gains inherent in its adoption and use.

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Copyright (c) 2020 Oris Tom-Lawyer, Michael Thomas

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English Linguistics Research
ISSN 1927-6028 (Print)   ISSN 1927-6036 (Online)

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