LINGUISTIC LANDSCAPE IN THE ASHANTI REGION, THE CASE OF KEJETIA LORRY TERMINALS.
In this study, the linguistic landscape of Kejetia, an indigenous lorry terminal and market place in Kumasi in the Ashanti region. Multifarious media of communication ongoing on the principal streets of Ghana are inscriptions on vehicles; where owners and drivers of, mostly commercial vehicles express their beliefs and experiences on their vehicles. The information is also free of charge; what is required is for one to be well-educated in the language in which the inscription is carried. The paper does not consider everything under the linguistic landscape of area. It only looks at the signage seen on vehicles in the various commercial lorry stations in lorry terminal of Kejetia. All of the text found on the vehicles were snapped and considered. The results showed that the Twi was very frequent used on the vehicles, followed by the English language, and few others appeared infrequently. It also appeared that, the use of paints for signaging has faded out as no vehicle was capture with that.
Keywords: Kejetia, Kumasi, signaging, inscriptions, Bola, PZ, Dr. Mensah, Alaba, Asanteman.
Inscriptions are a common sight in Ghana and can be found on firms either stores or bars and vehicles amongst a host of other individual possessions. The vehicle medium is perhaps the most captivating considering its higher chances at public relations. Nevertheless this media of communiqué may not be technologically innovative in the present era of globalization, its influences are awesome as it continues to increase and affect the people around. The study of the linguistic landscape is a fairly recent phenomenon that started after the independence. According Owusu (2010), , it became common and easy for Ghanaians to own their own cars, buses and lorries after independence because the days of driving for the colonial master were over and Ghanaians were full of optimism for the future. Inscriptions like, "Ehan bi apue" (A light has appeared), "Fathia fata Nkrumah" (Fathia fits Nkrumah which also was the name of a popular cloth), G.H.A.N.A (God Has Appointed Nkrumah Already) were dominant on most of the buses and Lorries. The inscriptions on the vehicle began to change after the overthrow of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Many profane words were pounded on him through the vehicle inscriptions. Such writings include; "Nkrumah kwaseampani, danduruwaka sheege." (Nkrumah, a fool and a bastard. His mum's stinking ass-hole), "Fathia, kᴐ wo kurom" (Fathia go to your country. The trend changed after the 1966 coup. The hardships, bribery, corruption and unhealthy experience the Ghanaians faced called for that. This was the PNDC era. Many Ghanaians began to turn to God to provide for their needs when the going became tough. This manifested on their vehicle inscriptions. They include, “Awurade hu yɛn mmᴐbᴐ” (Lord have mercy on us), “Aka m'ani” (I am in trouble), “God is King”, “The road to Jesus”. This continued to our era. With reference to Nana Ampadu song “driverfoᴐ”, drivers do not just write what they like. The words really mean something to them. Sometimes they emanate from some deep sub-conscious desires. Something may have happened to the driver or car owner in the past that finds expression in the slogan on the vehicle. Sometimes through the efforts, seriousness and dedication of drivers, owners have been able to increase the fleet of buses they have. So when you see inscriptions like: “Honest labour”, “Yɛ obi deɛ yie, na wo deɛ akᴐ so” (If you approach somebody's work with seriousness, you will also succeed) you must think of what lies behind. Most of the writings we see are not just there but there is always a philosophy behind. Ampadu posited that, some of these are words of wisdom, others are of hope, belief, expression of frustration, advice to others. According the song writer Ampadu, the writings on the vehicles can determine whether a vehicle is old or new.
According to Tamakloe, Riverson & Okyere (1975), Kumasi with a population of 345,000 in 1970 is the second largest city in Ghana. It is located in the center of the rich forest area of the country and thus enjoys an important position as a nodal town on which most national routes converge (Fig. 1). Consequently, Kumasi grew as an important commercial centre where large volumes of agricultural and imported goods are exchanged and much of this activity takes place in the central area especially in the vicinity of Kejetia, r which is the intersection of the primary routes of the city. The term Kejetia in the Akan language means junction or intersection of main routes.
Figure 1 was deleted for copyright issues
According to the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly "the Kejetia market is the largest single market in West Africa with over 10,000 stores and stalls", occupying an area about the size of a football stadium. (Fig. 2) The meaning of the name is explained above “in the Akan language junctionor intersectioonmf ainroutes ", but the etymology remains to be explained.
Figure 2 was deleted for copyright issues
Fig2. The pictorial view of the Kejetia market and the lorry terminals.
All the text found on the vehicles was photographed and coded based on the languages found on them. With these results, the study aims at answering the following questions:
- Which languages are present on the linguistic landscape of Kejetia?
- How was the inscriptions presented on the vehicle, either the use of paint or printed stickers?
- Do private vehicles have inscriptions on them?
- Which color dominate in the inscriptions?
2.0 Literature review
The term ‘inscription’ is from the Latin word ‘inscriptio’. It refers to text carved on a wall or plaque, such as a memorial or gravestone. It is used to refer to "any form of writing or images on the walls or surfaces of public buildings, parks, toilets, buses or trains, usually bearing some political or sexual contents, a lover’s pledge, proposition, or obscene words" (Chiluwa, 2008:274).
According to Labov (1984), for sociolinguists, one important goal is to construct a ‘record of overt attitudes towards language, linguistic features and linguistic stereotypes’. This means, studying language attitudes attract sociolinguists. In this vein, (Coulmas, 2013) posited that, language is an ‘indicator of identity group affiliation by means of stereotypes and identity manifestation is a matter of relative choice, “relative” because group membership is a social process involving the individual member and the group”.
The use of language to mark public environments has been researched into in various forms before 1990’s with which inscriptions on vehicles is an aspect of it. Variety of terms are been used to refer to this phenomenon as stated by Abdulmohsen (2017). They include the following, Bumper stickers (Bloch, 2000; Case, 1992 Salamon, 2005, House, 2007), vehicle stickers (Chiluwa, 2008), truck graffiti (Basthomi, 2009; Farnia & Tohidian, 2013) or car written manuscripts (Divsalar & Nemati, 2012). They all end up by researching into the language used on vehicles. For the purposes of this study, I opted for the term 'vehicle inscriptions. The term Linguistic landscape is usually traced back to Landry and Bourhis’ conceptualization the “visibility and salience of languages on public and commercial signs in a given territory or region”. This means that, signaging refers to language been used in the public space only leaving behind inscriptions on vehicle, graffiti, and bikes as well. (Landry & bourhis, 1997, cited in Gomaa, 2017). This indicate that Landry and Bourhis were the first people to use the term. But Scollon and Scollon (2003) in their study of Geosemiotics argued that, the linguistic landscape includes all of the following: street signs, advertising, shop names, sale signs, road signs (as long as they have text), Posted flyers, government buildings, signs describing monuments, no parking signs, and so on. Any textual item, including graffiti, is a part of the linguistic landscape
This paper seeks to answer the following questions: Which languages are present on the linguistic landscape of Kejetia? How was the inscriptions presented on the vehicle, either the use of paint or printed stickers? Do private vehicles have inscriptions on them? And what color do they prefer most and why that color?
4.1 Data Collection and Sampling
Interviews were also conducted to find out the views of drivers and vehicle owners regarding to the growing medium of communication on vehicles. The areas sampled were based on a purposeful sampling technique since most (commercial) vehicles are found in the cities and towns. The inscriptions and interviewees were however randomly selected. The data were collected from different locations inside Kejetia Lorry terminal from December, 2018 till 5th January, 2019. This set of the data was collected from highway locations; namely, Dr. Mensah, Bola, Alabaa, Adum, Komfo Anokye, PZ, Central market, Asanteman and Roman Hill. These vehicles falls under these categories; Vans, Taxis, and private cars. For each vehicle one picture or more was taken from all sides. These pictures were then examined. Messages were gathered from bumper stickers, car rears, window decals, as well as personalized license plates. Written texts were then classified into a set of categories that will be discussed in section 3.2 below.
4.2 Categories and Classification
This section discusses the classification of the inscriptions based on the vehicle type either Van, taxi or a private car.
Table 1. Summary of the vehicles based on type
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The table 1 present the distribution of the vehicles based on type. It clear that, signaging is dominant among the van drivers recording 44.6%. This was followed by the taxi drivers, then the private cars and the trucks also followed.
Table 2.0 Summary of the vehicles based on language used.
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- Quote paper
- Solomon Owusu Amoh (Author), 2018, Linguistic landscape in the Ashanti Region. The case of Kejetia lorry terminals, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/508620