MULTILINGUALISM IN NIGERIA: A BLESSING OR A CURSE?
Multilingualism is an issue that has become a subject of discussion in a variety of language related disciplines. Some researchers discuss multilingualism as a sociolinguistic concept through which issues of language contact and the status of the mother tongue can be interrogated. Others see multilingualism as a political matter, that is, an issue which requires solutions to language problems from the policy makers who are political authorities in a multilingual nation, and as an economic problem, because, as Jahr (1998) states, chaotic language differences are determinants of economic disadvantage whereas well planned language differences are considered to be resources. Many studies on various multilingual societies have been conducted by among others Cuvelier, Du Plessis, & Teck (2003) on multilingualism, education and social integration in Belgium, Europe, South Africa and Southern Africa; Deprez & Du Plessis (2000) on multilingualism and government in Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, former Yugoslavia and South Africa; Emenanjo (1990) on multilingualism and language policy in Nigeria. This work shows that as much as multilingualism in Nigeria is a blessing, it is also a curse.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of contents
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Definition of the key word “Multilingualism”
1.2 Patterns of Historical development of Multilingualism CHAPTER TWO: MULTILINGUALISM IN NIGERIA
Merits of Multilingualism
Demerits of Multilingualism
CHAPTER THREE: MULTILINGUALISM IN NIGERIA: A BLESSING OR A CURSE?
CHAPTER FOUR: CONCLUSIONS
Multilingualism refers to the existence of many languages in a society, that is, language pluralism. This phenomenon is more prevalent in Asian and African countries because of the merging of many ethnic groups (with different languages) to form individual countries. This was done by the excolonialists. However, language pluralism also exists in Europe and other continents of the world. Multilingualism, therefore, is universal and findings have shown that there is no monolingual nation. According to Hudson (1980) there are about four or five thousand languages in the world but only one hundred and forty nations. Obviously then, most countries have a large number of languages. The fact however, is that the degree of multilingualism in Asian and African countries is higher than that of the developed world. The Guinness Book of knowledge (1997) shows that Africa has about 1,300 languages, the highest number among all the continents of the world. Khubchandani (1983) shows that India has about two hundred 'classified' languages. Similarly, the Encyclopaedia Americana reveals that the linguistic diversity of New Guinea is probably greater than that of any area of comparable size in the world. It has seven hundred languages. Therefore, examples of nations that are highly multilingual abound. The so-called monolingual countries also have the problem of diverse language varieties, which most of the time, may not be mutually intelligible. Although it is obvious that the language problems of multilingual nations are more complex than those of monolingual ones, it will suffice to say that neither of the two categories of nations) is devoid of one language problem or the other. While in multilingual nations, there may be the problem of choosing an official language, monolingual societies have to grapple with selecting and standardizing one of the varieties of a language. Crystal (1987) shows that Somalia, a monolingual country, has had a lot of language conflict over selection and standardization. Since there are bound to be diversified languages and language varieties, language groups ought to make way for others' languages. Language is the property of both the individual and the society because the individual lives in and...
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