«English koraa yεde Twi mixe!» Is the Variety of Akan Spoken by Ghanaian Immigrants in Italy Developing into a Mixed-Code?

Federica Guerini

Abstract


This paper illustrates the results of qualitative analysis of a sample of face-to-face interactions and of formal interviews (a total of 27 hours of recordings) involving a selected group of Ghanaian immigrants in Northern Italy. A distinguishing feature of the variety of Akan spoken by the above-mentioned immigrants is the systematic insertion of English ‘chunks’ (e.g. single words or phrases), which do not appear to fulfill any pragmatic or discursive function. Community members show a considerable degree of awareness in this respect and display ambivalent attitudes towards this ‘mixed’ variety of Akan, which appears to be spoken not only by those immigrants who speak it as a lingua franca (and who may not have completed the corresponding language acquisition process), but by Akan native speakers as well. It is argued that the variety of Akan spoken within the Ghanaian community in Bergamo is currently going through a transitional process that leads from code-switching to the development of a mixed code, as illustrated in Auer (1999).

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v4i1.1417

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