Ghana is a coastal West African country, with a population of about 25 million (2012), speaking ca. 60 languages. Direct contact with Europeans goes back to 1471, when the Portuguese made their first landfall on the "Gold Coast". They were followed by Dutch, French, English, Swedish, Danish, and Brandenburger merchants. In 1632, the English established their first trading post on land, at Kormantin, and more posts followed in the second half of the century and a Pidgin English was used for trading purposes. Christian missionary societies became active in the 1830s, and the chiefs of the south-western Gold Coast signed an agreement with Governor George Maclean in 1844. in 1874, the British proclaimed the coastal strip a colony. As the first state in colonial Africa, Ghana achieved independence in 1957.
The rise of English in Ghana goes back to the 1880s, when the colonial administration started to set up English medium government schools and encouraged the missionary schools to teach in English as well.
Today, English is the de facto official language of Ghana. It has a prominent place in the national news media, it is used in parliament and public speeches, and it is the language of secondary and tertiary education. English is thus rooted on the formal end of the communicative continuum, in more urban and multilingual settings.
Since the vast majority of Ghanaians learns English in school, there is as yet no substantial native speaker community, though some middle-class children acquire English along with Ghanaian languages or, less frequently, as their sole L1 in the home and English-medium nursery schools and kindergartens. For the majority of "anglophone" Ghanaians, English, however, coexists with one or more indigenous L1s. The result is a lot of code-switching and borrowing, particularly in the more informal registers of GhE.
Because of Ghana's colonial past, GhE is oriented towards BrE, but the global influence of AmE in the media has also been noticeable in Ghana in recent years.
The compilation of the written texts will be finished in 2013 and planning for the collection, transcription and annotation of the spoken part is under way.
Huber, Magnus (2012) "Ghanaian English". Kortmann, Bernd & Lunkenheimer, Kerstin (eds.) /The Mouton World Atlas of Variation in English/. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 382-393.
Huber, Magnus (2011) "Ghanaian English language structure dataset". Kortmann, Bernd & Lunkenheimer, Kerstin (eds.) /The Electronic World Atlas of Variation in English/. München/Berlin: Max Planck Digital Library in cooperation with Mouton de Gruyter.
Huber, Magnus (2004)
"Ghanaian English: phonology".
Kortmann, Bernd and
Edgar W. Schneider (eds.) A handbook of varieties of English. A
Multimedia Reference Tool. Volume 1: Phonology. Berlin: Mouton de
Online newspapers (selection)
The Ghanaian Journal
All Ghana News