‘I dey trust you waa’: Pidgin English as a Current Spoken Communication Tool at University of Mines and Technology


  • Patricia Beatrice Mireku-Gyimah University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa


Pidgin English, Mining and Allied Engineering Fields, Professionals, UMaT Students, Ghana


Pidgin English (PE), though not that popular in Ghana in the past, seems to be gaining ground in the educational institutions today. Of particular interest is the observed increase in PE use among students of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), who are training to become professionals in the mining and allied fields. What has caused this? How do the students feel about PE use? And what are their own views about PE-speaking in Ghana? This study, the first to examine PE at UMaT, aimed at finding empirical answers to these questions. A questionnaire was administered to 457 undergraduates selected at random from First and Second Year students. Analysis of the responses shows that majority of the students consider PE use “beneficial/advantageous†and “comfortable†because “it gives them a sense of belonging to the student bodyâ€; it is “easy and fun to speakâ€; and “trendy/spoken by friendsâ€. They recognise that PE is not Standard English (SE) but “feel unashamed†speaking it. However, they think it is not good enough to speak PE all the time as it will “distort [their] SEâ€, and also “attract wrong public perception [of them] as poor scholarsâ€. Left to the students alone, “there should be restrictions on PE use in Ghana to informal occasions†and “insistence on SE useâ€. It is concluded that UMaT students feel comfortable speaking PE but admit that it can adversely affect their SE. It is recommended that more studies be conducted into PE as a topical issue in Ghana.


Keywords: Pidgin English, mining and allied engineering fields, professionals, UMaT students, Ghana


Ahulu, S. (1995), “Hybridized English in Ghanaâ€, English Today, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 31-36.

Amoako, J. K. (1992), “Ghanaian Pidgin English: In Search of a Diachronic, Synchronic, and Sociolinguistic Evidenceâ€, PhD Thesis, University of Florida, 208 pp.

Amoako, J. (2011), Ghanaian Pidgin English: In Search of a Diachronic, Synchronic, and Sociolinguistic Evidence, Nova Science Publishers, New York, 125 pp.

Amuzu, E. and Asinyor, E. (2016), “Errors in Ghanaian Students’ Written English: Is Speaking School Pidgin the Cause?â€, GDJS, Vol. 13. No. 2, pp. 49-66.

Boadi, L. A. (1971), “Education and the Role of English in Ghanaâ€, In J. Spencer (Ed), The English Language in West Africa, Longman, London, pp. 83-112.

Baitie, Z. (2010), “Ghana’s Pidginâ€, The Yale Globalist, Blogs, The Globalist Notebook. (tyglobalist.org/onlinecontent/blogs/ghanas pidgin) [Accessed: 20/09/18 8.35 pm]

Crowley, T. (1999), “Curiouser and Curiouser: Falling Standards in the Standard English Debateâ€, In T. Rex and R. Watts (Eds). Standard English: The Widening Debate, Routledge, London, pp. 271-282.

Dadzie, A. B. K. (1985), “Pidgin in Ghana: A Theoretical Consideration of Its Origin and Developmentâ€, In F. O. Ugboadah (Ed), Mass Communication, Culture and Society in West Africa, Hans Zell, Munchen, pp. 113-121.

Dako, K. (2002a), “Pidgin as a Gender Specific Language in Ghanaâ€, Ghanaian Journal of English Studies, No. 1, pp. 73-82.

Dako, K. (2002b), “Student Pidgin (SP): The Language of the Educated Male Eliteâ€, IAS Research Review, NS, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 53-62.

Dako, K. (2012), “The Sociolinguistic Situation of Non-Native Lingua Francas in Ghana: English, Hausa and Pidginâ€, In H. Lauer and K. Anyidoho (Eds), The Human Sciences and Humanities Through African Perspectives, Vol. II, Sub- Saharan Publishers, Accra, pp. 1474-1484.

Dako, K. (2013), “Student Pidgin: A Ghanaian Pidgin-Sound-Alike Youth Languageâ€, In A. N. Mensah, J. A. Anderson, and P. K. Adika (Eds.), Ghanaian Voices on Topics in English Language and Literature, Ayebia Clarke Publishing Ltd, Accra, pp. 147- 160.

Dako, K. and Yitah, H. (2012), “Pidgin, ‘Broken’ English and ‘Othering’ in Ghanaian Literatureâ€, Legon Journal of the Humanities, Special Ed, pp. 202-230.

Dako, K. and Quarcoo, M. A. (2017), “Attitudes towards English in Ghanaâ€, Legon Journal of the Humanities, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 20-30. (https://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ljh.v28i1.3 [accessed on 27th July, 2018]

Desiree, P. (2004), “Pidgin! Me hear your speak, make me know why chaw students dey luv youâ€. African Diaspora, 57 (online) Available @: (www.digitalcollections.sit.educ/african_diaspora. [Accessed on: 19th August, 2018])

Eta, E. (2006), “University of Buea’s Anti-Pidgin Campaign in Picturesâ€, Scribbles from the Den: Archives, Commentaries, What Not. Available @: www.dibussi.com/2006/09/ubs antipidgin, html. [accessed on: 27th July, 2018]

Ferdinand, E. (2018), “WASSCE 2018: WAEC Attributes Cause of Massive Failure in English to Use of ‘Short-Hand’ and ‘Pidgin’†(www.educationghana.net/wassce-2018 [accessed 20/09/18, 8 47 pm])

Forson, B. E. (1996), “An Investigation into the Argot (Pidgin) as a Means of Communication Among Students in Ghanaian Secondary Schoolsâ€, MPhil Thesis, University of Ghana, Legon, 167 pp.

Forson, B. E. (2006), “Students’ Pidgin English: A Neo-Ghanaian English in-Vitrioâ€, PhD Thesis, University of Ghana, Legon, 418 pp.

Huber, M. (1999), Ghanaian Pidgin English in its West African Context. A Sociohistorical and Structural Analysis, John Benjamins Publishing Co., Amsterdam, 321 pp.

Huber, M. (2004a), “Ghanaian Pidgin English: Phonologyâ€, In A Handbook of Varieties of English. A Multimedia Reference Tool, (vol. 1), B. Kortmann, E. W. Scheider, C. Upton, R. Mesthrie and K. Burridge (Eds), Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 866-873.

Huber, M. (2004b), “Ghanaian Pidgin English. Morphology and Syntaxâ€. In A Handbook of Varieties of English. A Multimedia Reference Tool, (vol. 2), Bernd Kortmann, Edgar W. Scheider, Clive Upton, Rajend Mesthrie and Kate Burridge (eds), Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 866-878.

Huber, (2014), “A Report on the use of English-lexified Pidgins and Creoles in Education in Four West African Countries: Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and Liberiaâ€. (http://www.hawii.edu/ satocsenter/pace. [accessed on: 27th July, 2018])

Mireku-Gyimah, P. B. (2014), “Analysis of Errors in the English of Final Year University Students: A Case Study at the University of Mines and Technologyâ€, Journal of ELT and Applied Linguistics (JELTAL), Vol 2, Issue 4, pp. 23 – 46.

Obeng, S. (1997), “An Analysis of the Linguistic Situation in Ghanaâ€, African Languages and Cultures, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 63-81.

Omari, S. B. K. (2010), “The Impact of Use of Pidgin on Students’ Use of English Language: A Case Study of Selected Secondary Schools in Three Districts in Kwahu Area of Ghanaâ€, MPhil Thesis, KNUST, College of Arts and Social Sciences. (http://ir.knust.edu.gh/handle.net/123456789/737[ accessed on: 29th July, 2018])

Osei-Tutu, K. O. A. (2016), “The Vocabulary of Ghanaian Student Pidgin: A Preliminary Surveyâ€, In N. Faraclas, R. Severing, C. Weijer, E. Echteld, W. Rutgers and R. Dupey (Eds), Celebrating Multiple Identities: Opting out of Neolcolonial Monolinguism, Monoculturalism and Mono-identification in the Greater Caribbean, University of Curaçao and Fundashon pa Planifikashon di Idioma, Willemstad, pp. 191-201.

Rupp, L. (2013), “The Function of Student Pidgin in Ghanaâ€, English Today, Vol. 29, pp. 13-22.

Wiredu, J. F. (2013), “The Nominal Group in Ghanaian Student Pidgin: Some Preliminary Observationsâ€, In A. N. Mensah, J. A. Anderson, and P. K. Adika (Eds), Ghanaian Voices on Topics in English Language and Literature, Ayebia Clarke Publishing Ltd., Accra, pp. 161-185.

Zabus, C. (1991), “Pidginization and Multilingual Strategiesâ€, In G. Collier, H. Mess-Jelinck and D. Davies (Eds), The African Palimpsest: Indigenization of Languages in West African Europhore Novel, Amsterdam: GA, pp. 47-99.






Communication and Business Mgt Articles