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Title:Codeswitching as a means and a message in hiplife music in Ghana
Authors:Quarcoo, MillicentISNI
Amuzu, Evershed Kwasi
Owusu, Augustina Pokua
Periodical:Contemporary Journal of African Studies (ISSN 0855-4412)
Geographic term:Ghana
Subjects:hip hop
Abstract:Ghana is a linguistically diverse country where the alternate use of multiple languages in conversations (i.e. codeswitching / CS) is an everyday phenomenon. However, CS in the popular music industry has been rare, a situation that is changing, with the emergence of bilingual hiplife songs. Unlike CS in spontaneous speech which is largely unconscious, the CS in Ghanaian hiplife music is usually premeditated, designed to elicit certain audience reactions. This paper explores the motivations for the use of CS in three hiplife songs: Praye's 'Angelina', Okyeame Kwame's 'Medo Mmaa' and Eduwoji's 'Ynko Nkoaa'. The authors show that these artists do more with CS in their songs than to merely use it to reach out to clients in their multilingual country and beyond. They use it (i) as a means to achieve aesthetic effects, which make their songs memorable and danceable, and (ii) as a message on various social issues, including love and social harmony. It is argued that in using CS for these purposes the artistes are simply reflecting what has long been a widespread communicative praxis, especially among fellow (urban) youths. App., bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]