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Vol. 3 No. 2: December, 2015

Juggling Words, Playing Sages: Proverbs and Wise Sayings in Ghanaian Student Pidgin

  • Mawuli Adjei
  • Edzordzi G. Agbozo
  • Sela K. Adjei
February 26, 2016


Proverbs and wise sayings in most cultures, though grounded in anonymity
and communal authorship, have often been ascribed to sagacious old people from
antiquity. Most studies on Ghanaian pidgin, a fast emerging area of scholarship,
particularly Student Pidgin (SP), focus mainly on vocabulary, syntax and grammar,
among other features. However, there is a growing body of proverbs in SP discourse
which is not attracting interest among linguistic scholars and discourse analysts. This
study fills the gap by presenting a sizeable corpus of SP proverbs and wise sayings
which are analysed in the sociolinguistic domains in which they are generated, the
diverse communication contexts in which they are deployed, taking into account their
linguistic and literary qualities. The outcomes show that most of the proverbs are based
on existing ones, allude to specific persons and phenomena while maintaining their
uniqueness through the contexts of use. We then call for attention to this aspect of SP.
Key words: student pidgin, proverbs, contexts, discourse, implication.