The indigenization of Ghanaian Pidgin English

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In the world Englishes literature, ‘indigenization’ is shorthand for the localization of Outer Circle Englishes in former exploitation colonies like Ghana. However, the localization of Ghanaian English has been continually reversed by ‘corrective’ realignment with world standard English through institutional regimes. By contrast, the localization of Ghanaian Pidgin English has proceeded unhampered by standardization. This article provides a first analysis of the copula system of Ghanaian Pidgin English, showing that it owes much to patterns found in Akan and other languages of southern Ghana. In this domain, Ghanaian Pidgin English has indigenized and differentiated itself from its sister languages. I propose a consistent and expansive definition of indigenization as ‘the areal alignment of a latecomer with a linguistic ecology, causing its divergence from related varieties elsewhere.’ This study of indigenization shifts the focus from standardized Englishes to contact Englishes. The latter remain unfettered by institutional intervention and are therefore better suited to illustrating the natural dynamics of indigenization than standardized Englishes.




Yakpo, K. (2024). The indigenization of Ghanaian Pidgin English. World Englishes, 43(1), 182–202.

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