Re-evaluating the Hegemony of the English Language in Western Africa: A Critical Review of the Research (2003 to 2018)

Oris Tom-Lawyer, Michael Thomas


This paper seeks to analyse the hegemony of the English language in Western Africa. The originality of the approach stems from its reading of hegemony through the lens of educational policies and the socio-economic functions of the language and its examination of the premise that there is a positive link between English and development contexts (Coleman, 2010). The study aims to fill a gap in existing research on the role of English in the development of Western Africa by exploring the usefulness of English’s linguistic hegemony in the region, and to counter the negative connotations that it has always attracted. Based on a critical review of the research literature between 2003 and 2018, the paper concludes that the hegemony of English has resulted in the development of anglophone countries in Western Africa, while in the francophone/lusophone regions, industrial backwardness and low literacy rates have been consequences of English language marginalisation. In conclusion, it recommends, amongst other implications, the need for the early introduction of English into French curricula.


Linguistic Hegemony, English Language, West Africa, Developmental Tool, Educational Policies

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