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The lingering effects of linguistic imperialism: The struggle for recognition of African English

Governments in Africa have failed the youth by perpetuating a system that favors the privileged few and discriminates against the majority. The legacy of colonialism continues to haunt Africa, as many former colonizers still wield significant economic ...

Governments in Africa have failed the youth by perpetuating a system that favors the privileged few and discriminates against the majority. The legacy of colonialism continues to haunt Africa, as many former colonizers still wield significant economic and political influence over the continent.

One of the ways in which this influence manifests is through the imposition of language requirements for admission into universities in Europe, America, Canada, and Australia. The fact that anglophone African students are expected to prove their proficiency in English through standardized tests like the IELTS or TOEFL is just another form of colonialism.

Despite the fact that African students are taught in English from primary school to university, they still need to pass another English test to prove their proficiency. This perpetuates the idea that the English language in the West is superior to English spoken in Africa which was forced upon us by the colonizers unfortunately.

The use of standardized English tests like the IELTS or TOEFL as a measure of English proficiency can also be seen as a form of linguistic imperialism. These tests are often developed and administered by Western countries and institutions, which reinforces the notion that the only valid form of English is that spoken by native English speakers.

It is important to recognize that there are many valid forms of English spoken around the world and that African English is just as valid and important as any other form. African English has its own unique characteristics and reflects the rich cultural and linguistic diversity of the continent.

By dismissing African English as inferior, the colonialists are perpetuating a system that favors their own culture and language over those of the colonized people. This reinforces existing power imbalances and perpetuates systems of oppression and inequality.

In addition, the dismissive attitude towards African English has real-world consequences for African students and graduates. Despite having been taught in English from a young age, they are often required to prove their proficiency in English through standardized tests like the IELTS or TOEFL, as mentioned earlier.

This puts African students at a disadvantage, as they are required to conform to a standardized version of English that may not reflect their own unique dialects and nuances of the language. As a result, many African students may struggle to meet the high standards of these tests, which can limit their opportunities for higher education and career advancement.

Moreover, the insistence on standardized English proficiency perpetuates the idea that African students and graduates are not as competent or skilled as their Western counterparts. This, in turn, reinforces stereotypes of African inferiority and undermines the potential of African youth to achieve their full potential.

In order for Africa to truly thrive and succeed, it is necessary to challenge these entrenched power imbalances and recognize the value and validity of African languages and cultures. By doing so, African youth can be empowered to achieve their full potential and contribute to a more equitable and just world.

Furthermore, many politicians in Africa are more concerned with their own interests than with the welfare of their citizens, especially the youth. Instead of investing in education and creating opportunities for young people to thrive, they are content to sit in parliament and accumulate wealth and power. My take.

It is important to remember that Africa has produced many great leaders and thinkers who have achieved success without having to conform to Western standards. People like Kofi Annan, who studied up to degree level in Ghana, are a testament to the fact that African English language and cultures are just as valid as any other.

It is time for Africa to wake up from the legacy of colonialism and demand reparation for the injustices that have been inflicted upon it. This includes challenging the notion that proving English proficiency, especially from a graduate from anglophone Africa is just another disguised form of racism.

Source: Ghana Web

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