The need to protect languages from extinction cannot be overemphasized. Language is an essential element of culture, and a means of communication. Through language, people build and express their emotions, intentions, values, norms, notions, practices, and this helps build understanding among them, and strengthen their relationship. Language is therefore the underlying factor for determining the identity of individuals and groups. Language is strategically important for the attainment of several development goals and for progress towards sustainable development.
African languages in particular can give us vital clues about history (Childs 2003). According to Tsunoda (2005: 162) a people‘s language contains ―knowledge of ceremonies, mythology, environment, technology, language skills, songs, and linguistic artifacts‖. Therefore, we can say that language embodies the totality of a people‘s past, present and future. Any interference with the language of a people leads to a loss of some important aspects of the knowledge base of these people. Harrison (2007:7) also believes that languages are ―repositories for cultural knowledge‖ which implies that the loss of languages means the loss of ―treasures‖ within these languages (Crystal 2000:32).
Presently the threat posed to language vitality is now recognized as a worldwide crisis. There is no precise number of languages that are threatened in the world.
It has been observed that the location of Larteh, the study area, is a potential breeding ground for language assimilation. Since Larteh is located within an area where Akuapem Twi is widely spoken, there exists a kind of competition between these two languages; the Lɛtɛ language (minority language) and Akuapem Twi (regional lingua franca). This situation is exactly what Wurm (1991) describes as stronger language communities exerting their influence over minority language communities which to him, leads to language endangerment.
Again, the relative utility of the Akuapem Twi is accelerating the process of language shift and Lɛtɛ is gradually losing its speakers. It is a fact that government, through its policies on language, is encouraging the use of selected languages as a means of communication and medium of instruction in schools. Children with limited proficiency in these languages of instruction are strongly disadvantaged. These children are ―unable to develop their cognitive, in-depth and creatively independent skills and techniques‖ (Batibo, 2005) in these educational language mediums. They are disadvantaged culturally, politically, socio-economically, educationally, and are unable to contribute to national development.
The study will investigate language use in Larteh town, the study area.
The study will also attempt to assess the vitality and the extent of endangerment in Larteh with reference to the criteria suggested by UNESCO (2003).
Digitize Africa, P (2021). ASSESSING LANGUAGE VITALITY AND LANGUAGE ENDANGERMENT OF LƐTƐ (LARTEH). Afribary.com: Retrieved May 08, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/assessing-language-vitality-and-language-endangerment-of-l-t-larteh
Project, Digitize Africa. "ASSESSING LANGUAGE VITALITY AND LANGUAGE ENDANGERMENT OF LƐTƐ (LARTEH)" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 11 Mar. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/assessing-language-vitality-and-language-endangerment-of-l-t-larteh . Accessed 08 May. 2021.
Project, Digitize Africa. "ASSESSING LANGUAGE VITALITY AND LANGUAGE ENDANGERMENT OF LƐTƐ (LARTEH)". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 11 Mar. 2021. Web. 08 May. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/assessing-language-vitality-and-language-endangerment-of-l-t-larteh >.
Project, Digitize Africa. "ASSESSING LANGUAGE VITALITY AND LANGUAGE ENDANGERMENT OF LƐTƐ (LARTEH)" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed May 08, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/assessing-language-vitality-and-language-endangerment-of-l-t-larteh