I wanna speak many languages too!

May 21, 2011

Recently we (Kak Ida, Aini, Izaty, and me) did a paperwork on Multilingualism: A Case Study on a Ghanaian Student, as a prerequisite for Dr. Nazri's subject BLS3063 Intro. to Psycholinguistics. So, Mr. Sherif Nurudeen, a student of Bachelor of Computer Science from the Faculty of Informatics, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) has been interviewed to help us to complete our research.

Mr. Sherif Nurudeen
Name: Sherif Nurudeen
Age: 21-years-old
Hometown: Wa, Upper West region of Ghana
Course: Bachelor of Computer Science
University: Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), Terengganu, Malaysia
Languages spoken: English, French, Hausa, Waala (dialect), Malay 

As for his linguistic background, Mr. Sherif Nurudeen was able to speak four languages, mainly English, French, Hausa, and Malay, as well as his ethnic’s dialect, Waala, by which he recognised this dialect as his mother tongue. He learned English from his early childhood life, as he was being taught by his father, and also being taught by his teachers in school. In fact, English was the lingua franca and the formal language of Ghana.   

He learned French from French immigrants who were living in his region. Besides, he also studied French in school and learned French for a year at University for Development Studies (UDS), Ghana. In addition to this, the Upper West region of Ghana was surrounded by French-speaking countries. 

He learned and spoke Waala with his family members, as well as Hausa and English with his friends. He spoke Hausa and English when communicating with Ghanaians of different regions, since Hausa was the language spoken by the majority of ethnic groups in Ghana. If he was to speak Waala with them, the dialect was unintelligible to them, because different ethnic groups had different dialects, by which those dialects differed in intonations. 

In UniSZA, he spoke English with his friends and lecturers. He was also able to speak basic Malay words, as he learned this language from his friends and also by doing self-learning processes through his readings on Malay phrase books. From here, he was able to learn new words, and to form new sentences. 

Surprisingly, he was able to count numbers in Malay, and pronounced certain Malay dishes, even though he was just living in Malaysia for three months now, since he arrived at this country on 29th December 2010. He was able to read Malay newspaper very slowly, but he was unable to understand the gist of it. He said that his Malay was improving day by day. He believed that he would not be able to learn Malay language as fast as he could as he was right now, if he was to learn Malay at his own country.
  1. Give status to ethnic and local community languages
  2. Enable [people] to maintain links with their cultural backgrounds and to develop a close relationship with their families and their communities
  3. Increases people's employment opportunities in the modern world
  4. Facilitates access to the curriculum and to learning in school
  5. Improves communication between different linguistic and cultural groups
  6. Provides [people] with the ability to share in a wide range of intercultural experiences such as literature, entertainment, religion and interests.

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