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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Language and employment in Ghana: capturing the multilingual reality
Author(s): Reilly, Colin
Scandurra, Rosario
ResCue, Elvis
Hermannsson, Kristinn
Gayton, Angela
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Keywords: Labour Market
language at work
Issue Date: 2023
Date Deposited: 23-Nov-2023
Citation: Reilly C, Scandurra R, ResCue E, Hermannsson K & Gayton A (2023) Language and employment in Ghana: capturing the multilingual reality. <i>Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development</i>, 44 (9), pp. 807-826.
Abstract: Research on economic activity in Africa consistently ignores the importance of individuals’ linguistic repertoires. We argue that an important contributing factor to the persistence of this lacuna is the lack of visibility of language in the social and economic data that is collected by governments through social surveys. We examine the specific case of language use at work in Ghana. Through this we aim to demonstrate the importance of improving understanding of the role of language in the economy and assess the potential for improving visibility of languages in the socioeconomic data sources used to inform public policy. This case is interesting as, prima facie, education policy in Ghana appears misaligned, prioritising the acquisition of English and skills formation for further study, with less focus on entry into informal employment. Eighty percent of the Ghanaian workforce is in informal employment; this is a much less English-intensive work context than the formal sector, which itself is not a monolingual environment. We suggest that current language policies within the country undervalue the potential which multilingual language skills have for employment; moreover, we emphasise that multiple languages are visible within the labour market, and suggest strategies for more effectively capturing this visibility.
DOI Link: 10.1080/01434632.2023.2195853
Rights: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
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