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28.04.2014 Education

EP university honours contributors to Ewe language

By Tim Dzamboe - Daily Graphic
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The Evangelical Presbyterian University College (EPUC) in Ho, in collaboration with the Volta Regional Museum, has held its first memorial lecture in honour of four distinguished personalities for their contributions to the development of the Ewe language.

The Spieth-Agama-Ablo-Amoaku memorial lecture, which was on the theme: “The Ewe Language in constant change,” was delivered by Reverend Professor Gilbert Ansre in honour of a German, Rev. Jakob Spieth, and three Ghanaians, Dr Godfried Kportufe Agamah, Dr Emmanuel Ablo, and Professor Komla Amoaku.

Prof. Ansre noted that some of the influences of change to the Ewe language bordered on settlement, colonialism, neighbouring tribes with different languages, education and  the diaspora, adding that the language had imported varieties and manufactured its own phonologies over the years.

He said the colonialists who settled in the Ewe territory insisted, as a matter of doctrine, on dealing with the people, led to the development and production of literary forms such as hymn books, manuals in arithmetic and other school textbooks.

Prof. Ansre said 25 varieties of the Ewe language had been identified and there was the need for scholars to undertake a study in specific areas to come out with a history on it, since the history of Ewe in terms of linguistics was yet to be written.

He said the development of Ewe literature experienced several ups and downs but it was now possible to teach the Ewe language in the universities, but wondered whether the language could still be taught in elementary schools and senior high schools.

The honorary Chancellor of the EPUC, Very Reverend Dr Livingstone Buamah, said the greatest challenge facing intellectuals today was how to make knowledge available and accessible to others so as to make the learning public to be adequately informed.

He, therefore, said the public lecture was expected to bring qualitative and quantitative change in the lives of the people.

The President of EPUC, Rev. Dr Cyril Fayose, said the public lecture was to immortalise some persons who had distinguished themselves in the socio-cultural transformation of the society and that it was part of creating space for intellectual discourse for reflecting on societal issues.

A guest from the University of Lome in Togo, Prof. Kokou Azamede, said the church helped in the standardisation of the Ewe language and made it an important language across Ghana, Togo and Benin.

He said the language had since united the Ewes who separated after the exodus from Notsie in Togo, and had promoted the conscience of nationalism among them. 

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