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Keywords: MULTILINGUALISM AND THE QUESTION OF NATIONAL LANGUAGE IN NIGERIA
Diverse Languages that exist in Nigeria, gave rise to the need to choose among these languages, which one or ones to be used as the National Language(s) in Nigeria. The Multilingual Nature of Nigeria has been examined, in relation to the provisional result of 1991 census conducted in Nigeria and the status of language policy in the country, which eventually led to the discovery of the fact that Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba languages have the highest speaker in terms of population, and are already made co-official languages in Nigeria, alongside with English language. Then these languages should be considered as the National Languages, if eventually a language policy emerges in Nigeria.
TABLE OF CONTENT
1.0 General Introduction
1.1 Background to the Study
1.2 Purpose of the Study
1.3 Scope and Delimination of the Study
1.4 Justification for the Study
2.1 Language Concept
2.2 Multilingualism and Language Contact
2.3 Language Contact in Nigeria
2.4 Effects of Language Contact Situation
2.5 Language Planning
2.6 National Language Phenomenon
3.1 The Multilingual Nature of Nigeria
3.2 Effects of the Multilingual Nature in Nigeria
3.3 Question of National Language in Nigeria
3.4 Language Policy in Nigeria
SUMMARY FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION
1.0 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
This chapter of this Project work begins, by giving the general background to the study Multilingualism, and the National Language question in Nigeria. It then gives it purpose, Scope and Delimitation, then its justification is discussed.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
A speech community is not always made up of speakers of just a single language. It is constituted of individuals who speak more than two languages. A society where two or more languages exist side by side, is refer to as a multilingual society, while a person that speaks more than two languages, is refer to as a multilingual person. Example of countries where more than two languages are spoken includes, Cameroon, Congo, Nigeria, Paraguay, California etc to mention but a few.
This project work will examine the multilingual Nature of the country Nigeria, and the National Language Question in Nigeria, which arises as a result of its Multilingual Nature.
The importance of a language in a society can not be underestimated. Apart from being an instrument of communication, it is also an identity of such society. One obvious factor that distinguishes human beings, from animal is language. Language and society exist side by side, without language there will be no society as language serves as a binding force, binding the people together as one. It also serves as the mutual identity, of the people inhabiting such society.
A language just don’t exist in a society, without factors responsible for its existence, the major factor responsible for the existence of many languages, in a society, which will eventually turn such society into a multilingual one, will also be examined. This factor is refer to as LANGUAGE CONTACT, i.e. how languages come in contact and this will be discussed in relation to Nigeria. Factors responsible for language contact, as well as its effects will be discussed.
According to Gordon, Raymond G. Jr. (ed), 2005. Ethnologies (languages of the world), fifteenth edition. Dallas, The Sum of Nigerian local languages listed for Nigeria is 521, out of those 510 are living languages, 2 are second language without mother tongue speakers, and 9 are extinct. Nigeria being a country with over 250 ethnic groups in it, has different languages co-existing in it. In some areas, some ethnic group speaks more than one language, such areas will be refer to as a multilingual society, which then makes Nigeria a multilingual country. The major languages spoken in Nigeria include Hausa, Yoruba, Fulfulde, Karnuri, Ibibio.
The pursuit of a language choice, in a Multilingual Society like Nigeria, where there exist different ethnic groups with different languages, is a very difficult decision to make. The National Language Question, always arises in a multilingual country. Nigeria being a multilingual country, tends to face the Question the National language is posing. The National language is a symbol of identity of a nation or country. A country that has one language as its National Language, such language will be known as the Country’s National Language.
The need to develop and exalt Nigeria indigenous languages, is the basic point of the National Language Question in Nigeria. Being a Multilingual Society, the need for a national language, is on the rise, a language that will therefore be the national language must be generally accepted by the people of the country. Such Language must have native speakers and must be well developed.
This work will further examine the concept and factors, also the characteristics of National Language. Language planning will also be examined, its types, features procedures, and how it can be use, to manage the languages in a multilingual society, without one language being inferior to the other.
1.2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this work is to examine the multilingual nature, of the country Nigeria. It will further discuss its causes, by examining what is meant by language contact, the reasons, factors and effects of this language contact will also be examined. Language planning will be examined, it types, features procedures, also how it can be used to foster unity among the languages existing in a multilingual society. The concept of multilingualism and National Language will also be examine, while the National Language Question will be looked into.
1.3 SCOPE AND DELIMINATION OF THE STUDY
This work will only base its findings on Multilingualism and National Language respectively. It will further relate these two terms i.e. multilingualism and National Language to the country Nigeria. It will also examine how the multilingual nature of Nigeria, is affecting the choice of a National Language. The National Language Question will also be examined, and ways to give answers to this Question through the provision of a language planning policy.
The concept of multilingualism will be discussed, also that of National Language. Factors, Reasons, effects of multilingualism shall also be considered, while the features, importance of the National Language will also be considered. Language planning, a tool in the making of a National Language shall also be considered, its types, features, procedures will be look into.
1.4 JUSTIFICATION FOR THE STUDY
This work is aimed at filling up the vacuum, others researchers has failed to fill concerning multilingualism and the concept of National Language. Due to its findings, relevant and important facts will be provided.
The multilingualism and National Language will be vividly examined. Language planning will be examined, and how it can be of use for the implementation of a National Language in a multilingual society, and how it can give answer to the National Language Question.
At the end, submission and recommendations will be made on which language, or languages out of numerous languages in Nigeria should be made the National Language or Languages if eventually the National language policy emerges in Nigeria.
Keywords: MULTILINGUALISM AND THE QUESTION OF NATIONAL LANGUAGE IN NIGERIA