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Professor Kofi Agyekum
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Professor Kofi Agyekum, Head of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Ghana, has urged political parties to desist from hurling insults at each other.

This, he said, was because political insults did not win votes. Such insults, according to Prof. Agyekum, rather put off people.

Prof. Agyekum, popularly called Opanin Agyekum, said this in Accra when he delivered a lecture on the topic ‘Polite Language Towards Perfect Communication, National Cohesion and Peaceful Co-Existence.’

“We are establishing a system where political insults have become the order of the day,” he said, adding, “malicious talk, hatred and falsehood is what has characterized our political scene now.”

Prof. Agyekum said it was worth knowing that the kind of language that was used in political discourse reflected the level of maturity that a nation had attained.

He said even in ancient times when civilization had not advanced, some civilizations such as the ancient Greeks engaged in logical arguments to prove their points in political discourse.

He said it was quite interesting to note that amidst all the political battery that was basically perpetrated through the media, the country’s cultural heritage was rich in the use of appropriate language when addressing issues, even when they were not pleasant.

Prof. Agyekum said appreciating the nation’s cultural values, where the use of language was concerned, and inculcating it into the national psyche, would promote a well coordinated society which formed the basis of a peaceful and progressive nation.

He said in volatile situations, appropriate language could be used effectively to avoid chaos and conflict.

“Appropriate choice of words, figurative expressions, maxims and proverbs, enhance our communication and this is what Ghana needs to move ahead as a peaceful nation,” he said.

Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana and Chairman of the occasion, said he hoped Ghanaians would think about how the choice of language expression could help build a better country.

Prof. Kofi Agyekum was born on March 21, 1954 to Op. Kwasi Agyekum and Madam Afia Ataa Boakyewaa. Both were farmers who did not have any formal education. He started his formal education in 1960 at Kokofu-Edwinase Local Authority (L/A) Primary School and completed Middle School in 1969.

When he completed the MSLC exams at the age of 15 years, he got an appointment as a Pupil Teacher at the Asisiriwa L/A Primary School in the Bosumtwi District. In 1970, He saved some money to further his education at the Nkoranza Training College from 1972 – 1976. In his final year in 1976, he registered for GCE ‘O’ Level, November-December exams, in order to be upgraded to a Post-Sec (Post-Secondary school) Teacher.

He pursued a 3-year Teachers’ Diploma at the School of Ghanaian Languages, Ajumako, from 1979 to 1982, and had a first class. Due to his excellent performance, he was asked to teach there from 1982 to 1985. While teaching at Ajumako, he sat for the A-Level exams and gained admission to the University of Ghana to study Linguistics, Russian and Political Science from 1985 to 1989. He was in Moscow in the 1987 – 1988 academic year, for the Russian Language programme.

He graduated from Legon in 1989 with a first class in Linguistics and Russian, and was appointed a Teaching Assistant (TA) at the Department of Linguistics in the same year. In 1991, he gained admission to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, to pursue M. Phil in Linguistics.

He returned to Ghana in July 1996, and started his career as a lecturer at the Linguistics Department of the University of Ghana on December 1, 1996.
Source: Cephas Larbi

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