Hammond, C. (2020). My Language, My Identity: Exploring Identity Construction Processes of Users of Ghanaian Languages in a Multi-Cultural Higher Educational Institution in Ghana
This study examines how speakers of Ghanaian languages construct their identities in a multi-cultural Higher Educational Institution (HEI) in Ghana. Situated in the Communication Theory of Identity (CTI), the data were elicited through interviews, observations and focus group discussions from 12 purposively selected participants from a public university in Ghana. The data were thematically analysed and the findings revealed that speakers of Ghanaian languages construct two kinds of identities: public and private. Both strands are constructed through identification processes that include proximity to culture, massive local presence and corresponding hegemonic outlook, de-ethnicisation and identity negotiation, and self-branding in virtual spaces. The study concludes on the existence of a homologous relationship between language users and identity construction from both stands of the essentialist and non-essentialist perspectives. It recommends efforts at minimizing stereotypical behaviours of ‘othering’ and ‘categorization’ in HEIs on the bases of a person’s ethnicity, cultural diversity, or languages spoken in an era of internationalisation and cross-cultural teaching and learning.