"Siliminga, hello!" – Negotiating Race, Place, and Language Ideologies in Post-Colonial Dalun, Ghana
This project guided me toward an understanding of what it means to be not only a responsible linguist but an accountable researcher. I treat my interlocutors as collaborators and authorities in knowledge production in a way that often gets lost in linguistic and anthropological theoretical scaffoldings. I was constantly reassessing my own positionally and learning as I grew to value deep listening and accessibility over the drive to 'translate' experiences in and out of academic contexts in a way that erased or buried their true nuances.
This paper is an ethnographic account of the motivating factors of language choice in Ghana through the lens of a community of Dagomba people in the Northern Region of Ghana. English-only education policies force many to choose English or a local language- in this case, Dagbani- and designate each to disparate spaces. The focuses of this paper are (a) to investigate how local people of Dalun narrativize their own language learning, choices, and ideologies, (b) to examine how agency in language learning, choice, and ideology in the context of rationale is impacted by discourse on development, education, and mobility reveal language ideology, and (c) to emphasize the indispensable nature of the power of voice of the ethnographee in answering theses questions of language, power and agency.