A Linguistic Description of the Language of Ghanaian Newspapers: Implications for the Readability, Comprehensibility and Information Function of the Ghanaian Press

  • Modestus Fosu Ghana Institute of Journalism, Accra


This paper investigates the readability and comprehensibility of English language newspapers in Ghana. It attempts a structural description of the language of the newspapers to explore implications thereof regarding the information function of the Ghanaian press. The study employed a research design that triangulated methods and findings from corpus linguistics and readability studies using front-page stories of four influential national newspapers of the country. The research established that the language used to communicate socio-political news to readers is complex and could be potentially difficult for many readers. The significant implication is that the newspapers may be largely ineffective in transmitting information directly to a wide spectrum of readers for socio-political benefits. This could mean, importantly, that the press may not be performing its information function well. Consequently, the paper makes a case for the press to use relatively readable and comprehensible language to broaden direct access to newspaper messages in the country.

Author Biography

Modestus Fosu, Ghana Institute of Journalism, Accra
Modestus is a Senior Lecturer in Language and communication studies at the Faculty of communication and Social Studies, Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), Accra, where he teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  Modestus holds a PhD in Communication Studies at the University of Leeds, UK. His teaching and research interests include language of the news; media and participation; journalism and news writing; media and journalism education; English language structure and usage, etc. Modestus is a researcher in the above areas and has a number of academic publications in reputable outlets in Ghana and abroad. He has also attended and presented academic papers at various local and international conferences.


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How to Cite
FOSU, Modestus. A Linguistic Description of the Language of Ghanaian Newspapers: Implications for the Readability, Comprehensibility and Information Function of the Ghanaian Press. Ghana Journal of Linguistics, [S.l.], v. 5, n. 1, p. 1-36, dec. 2016. ISSN 2026-6596. Available at: <http://www.laghana.org/gjl/index.php/gjl/article/view/62>. Date accessed: 22 aug. 2017. doi: https://doi.org/10.4314/gjl.v5i1.62.


Ghanaian newspapers, language style, complexity, readability, information flow