Bazakhstan’s Language Policy
Bazakhstan, a newly established nation, was placed in a dilemmatic situation upon achieving its independence on August 2012. With multiple ethnic groups, deciding which language or languages to standardize is crucial to the country’s stability. Bazakhstan could accommodate each ethno groups’ preference by promoting either official monolingualism or linguistic pluralism; however, from a third party’s point of view, Bazakhstan should promote monolingualism because linguistic pluralism would require an enormous amount of resources from the government. As a newly independent nation, Bazakhstan needs to allocate their resources carefully. Therefore, between the six choices of languages, the Kumikh language should be promoted as the national language. The Kumikh language would serve its purpose, by fulfilling the four functions, as Bazakhstan’s national language. Kumikh should be selected as the national language as it fulfils the four functions of a national language better than the other five languages. The Kumikh people make up thirty percent of the entire Bazakhstan population, which makes them the second largest population in the nation. The language of a majority group should be selected as the national language because more people can identify with it. Furthermore, The Kumikh people are generally well liked by the other ethno groups. Because of the good relationship that the Kumikh has with the other groups, the selection of the Kumikh language is not likely to upset the rest of the groups. Taking an example from another country, Indonesia took similar steps in selecting Malay as their national language. The government of Indonesia chose Malay, as it was easy to learn and did not upset any particular ethnic group. Their strategy in the selection process has brought them success, and it should bring Bazakhstan success as well. The national language should be highly symbolic and representative of a nation. The use of the language will help national unity, and stimulate a feeling of belonging and loyalty; therefore, it is in Bazakhstan’s best interest to select Kumikh as their national language. In addition, to have a successful language policy, Bazakhstan needs to achieve the four functions: unification, separatist function, prestige value, and function as a standard. As mentioned above, because the Kumikhs are well liked by the other groups and they are not in competition with other ethno groups for political power, it can be inferred that other ethnic groups would have few objections to the selection of Kumikh. Therefore, by sharing a common language, the Kumikh language would be able to achieve the unifying function without much complication. Kumikh is also closely related to the Kashi language. The Kashi are famous for their epic poetry, which describe the long history of the ethnic group. Although the rest of the nation is unable to understand the Kashi language, the people of Bazakhstan have a considerable amount of respect for their literary culture. Hence, Kumikh being closely related to Kashi, the written form of Kashi could be used to help develop a written form for the Kumikh language. Once the process of documentation is completed, the rich literary history of the Kashis could be translated for the nation to study; and thus, further improving the country’s sense of solidarity. In addition, it would also help the Kumikh language achieve the separatist function. With the rich history of the Kashi group translated, it would give the national language a strong sense of ethnic identity, which would distinguish it from the language of its neighboring countries. At the same time, when the Kumikh language develops a written form, it would gain its prestigious value. The development of a written form for the Kumikh language from the government would further validate its prestigious value. Finally, the standard function is achieved because the Kumikh is the second largest group. Since...
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