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LANGUAGE AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: THE CHALLENGES AND ISSUES IN THE SOCIETY.

 Format: MS WORD   Chapters: 1-5

 Pages: 68   Attributes: COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH

 Amount: 3,000

 Mar 03, 2020 |  08:34 pm |  1092

ABSTRACT

This research work focuses on the issues, challenges of Language Diversity on National Development. It adopts descriptive and comparative approaches in analyzing the nature of Language and the policy situation in Nigeria, considering in clear terms the complex ethno linguistics setting. Sequel to the look warm attitudes of both governments over the years, the research therefore evaluates the value of an effective language policy and implementation to the development of nations across the globe. On the foregoing, the research identifies the low level of technology and science development in Nigeria as a product of purposelessness approaches in language policy making and implementation. The study observes that, little or no functional language policy exists in Nigeria even at the age of 50 years of independence. Recourse to this, Nigerian languages ought to be central to national development and should occupy an important place in the development discourse. In line with these and many more, the study recommends that urgent attention and responsibilities ought to be given to language experts (linguists) in making language policies and possible implementation strategies for the country. This research further advocates for a national language system, however, calls for the adoption of respective indigenous languages for vocational training at their given speech communities. The Nigerian Pidgin English has the likely majority of speakers and need to be developed to the status of a national language alongside English. These positions can only be achieved if our central policy maker (government) is sincere with the reality on ground and avoid mere political interest and propaganda

 CHAPTER ONE.

INTRODUCTION.

1.1.     Background of the study.

Language has played a significant role in the rise and fall of civilizations.  Language presents humankind with a variety of possibilities. Since language is the portrait of human thoughts, it reflects the quality of thought generated in a society. Training in language therefore, enables an individual to express his thoughts in the most eloquent way. But a person has to learn to think before learning to express. The skill of driving has to accompany the ability to know or remember directions. Without the ability to navigate, even a good driver will be lost.

The selection of language tools used to express thought reflects the priorities of a person or for that matter a nation. The way language is acquired and then used can make a tremendous difference in the success (or failure) of a person or nation. The quality and quantity of language is a barometer of the intellectual health of the people.

Nigeria as a multilingual and multicultural society hath; between three to four hundred and fifty indigenous languages with no one of these languages culturally dominant. Although, three of the languages- Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba have been ranked as National Languages because they are being spoken by not, less than fifteen million Nigerians and because they belong to the three major ethnic groups around whom political power revolved (Ajeigbe, 1987). A second group of languages described as Regional Languages include Kanuri, Ijaw, Edo, Nupe, Idoma, Igala simply because their educational usage are rank next to the National Languages. There are other languages regarded as minority languages because of their restricted local usage.

The role of language in the development of a country such as Nigeria has been emphasised at a conference on language, literature and national consciousness. The three-day conference was organised by the Department of English, Faculty of Arts, Anambra State University, Igbariam Campus. Dr. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, expressed the need to address issues as armed robbery, kidnapping, climate change, gross unemployment, the bottomless gulf between the government and the governed, mass deaths, jungle justices, terrorism and other forms of organised crimes with reading of literature. Dr Chuma-Udeh said through the manipulations of language and the apt use of words, positive change can be brought about in any society.

The chairman of the occasion, Prof. Sam Ukala, pointed out that any nation that dreams of development, even in science and technology, must pay attention to the study of the disciplines that can positively cultivate the mind, such as language and literature.

Thus, language, in the hand of man preserves, conserves, transmits and appropriate functions and does so across space and time, thereby enabling him to overcome those physical limitations to human endeavors and achievements.

Therefore, language is the vehicle through which people’s culture is transmitted. It is an index of identity which serves as a repository of people’s culture, industry and exploits. It is language that differentiates the homo-sapiens from other animals. The most effective engine of a people’s culture is their mother tongue (MT). Indigenous languages are treasures of culture and self-identity. In other words, language is the indicator of history and self- identification (Solanke, 2006). It is an indispensable cultural legacy with which all forms of human interactions are carried out. According to Nwadike (2004) it is the key to the heart of the people. If we lose the key, we lose the people. If we treasure the key and keep it safe, it will unlock the door to wealth or affluence, thus bringing about national development. This development ranges from growth in education (i.e. intellectual growth), politics, economy, science and technology. In educational process, language is the main pillar through which man has to plan, instruct and evaluate programmes. The development of individuals in respect of their aspiration in the society means development of a nation. Individuals develop educationally, socially, economically, politically and culturally through their interaction with government agencies that disseminate ideas and policies through various media in the languages that the individual best understand. According to Aziza (1998) national development is a gradual and advanced improvement through progressive changes in the sociopolitical life of the nation. National development refers to the growth of the nation in terms of internal cohesion, integration, unity, economic well-being, mass participation in government, and educational growth, all of which are pathfinders to vision 2020. Language is a catalyst in educational development which is an important index of national development. Qualitative education in any nation is not a luxury, but an imperative to national development. In order to achieve national cohesion and unity, Nigeria recognizes the importance of mother tongue education hence she states in her National Policy on Education (NPE) that the language of instruction in the primary schools should be initially in the child’s mother tongue or the language of the immediate community. Indigenous language is the most important tool with which society is organized, and it is hardly possible to talk of national development without including the language with which the people formulate their thoughts and ideas.

Therefore, the problems of man's development and growth become increasingly complex and intricate when the individual is not monolingual and mono-cultural. The failure of any development programme becomes greater and more dismal when the individual has got to operate within a multilingual and multi-cultural community. It is these problems which Nigeria encounters as a result of her multilingual and multi-cultural composition that this research intends to highlight. This study will focus on how language can be integrated towards national development.

1.2.   Statement of problem.

Inspite of all efforts to unite and develop society such as Nigeria politically, economically and socially, the state remains an under developed state. This is due to he multilingual and multicultural nature. Language pluralism has generated a lot of problems in the state. Prominent among them include the communication gap between the various people, each sees his own language as important, thus creating an impediment to commerce and industry. A warped sense of nationhood whereby genuine unity becomes difficult due to suspicion as various ethnic groups pursue selfish and sectional interests.  Purposely, indigenous languages are discussed upon by some experts to foster national development. An indigenous language is a language that is native to a particular region and spoken by the people of the region. Concerned linguists, however, observe that many indigenous languages in Nigeria are gradually fading away, as the languages are no longer spoken by the youth. The language experts stress that the phenomenon is somewhat affecting the socio-cultural development of the country. They insist that pragmatic efforts should be made to encourage the use of indigenous languages like Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Urhobo and Itsekiri, among others, at homes and in schools. Unfortunately, indigenous languages have been labelled as “vernacular’’ or “garbage’’ and as such, most African children and youths in primary and secondary schools are even punished for speaking their mother tongues. “Students who speak foreign languages in schools are respected, while students who speak their indigenous languages are looked down upon or called ‘local’. The trading of Africa’s indigenous languages has led to today’s children feeling ashamed of speaking their mother tongue.

In addition, There is even the problem of the grave decline in the standard of the spoken and written English at every level of our educational system. This is rather tragic, coming at a time when many of our middle class homes, where the parents still speak their own mother tongues, the children have become mono-lingual; they speak only English, and the English they speak is semi-literate, hardly intelligible and with questionable competence. Indeed, this amounts to a gradual encroachment of a zero language situation among the up-coming generation—where they have no mother tongue at all and they are hardly intelligible or competent in the English, which is the first language situation in which they find themselves

Also, few decades ago, pondering on the language question in national development, the frontline Nigerian linguist, Professor Ayo Bamgbose, made certain significant recommendations, which today remain largely ignored or at best partly noticed. Many of those suggestions for centralizing language in the national development project remain valid today as when they were first made in the early eighties. They includes;

·         Setting up a Presidential Commission to examine the role of language in the  nation’s life;

·         Need for the Federal Ministry of Education to undertake a language survey exercise to be conducted by linguists drawn from the universities;

·         Ensuring that undergraduate students , especially students of Education, spend time on adult literacy and learn also, while in the school, the dominant language of their university community among other invaluable proposals.

Therefore, the researcher aims at finding the important roles of language in national and the society basically in Ondo West Local Government Area. The extent to which indigenous language and official language can impart development as well as how people embrace other languages to meet national development and the challenges of national development through language.

1.3.  Purpose of the study.

The purpose of this work is to examine the important roles of language in national and societal development and it's challenges in Ondo West Local Government Area of Ondo State. The aim of the research is to discover the effect of linguistic plurality in a given multi-ethnic society like Nigeria, particularly in Ondo State. And if language diversity has helped in national growth and development, such as  KOeconomic, social, political, religious growth, and educational advancement of mankind. The study also hopes to attempt in resolving the issue of “lingua Franca”.

1.4.  Research questions.

In order to assess the roles of language in national development and its challenges, the following research questions are raised:

1.   To what extent can language promote development in the society?

2.   What is the extent to which language can hinder development?

3.   Does language has significant influence on policy formulation for meeting development?

4.   What extent can indigenous language promote educational attainment?

5.   Does language has considerable influence on economic development?

6.   To what extent does language diversity affect the society?

 

 

1.5.   Research hypothesis.

The aim of this study is to find out the important roles of language in national development and its challenges basically in Ondo West Local Government Area of Ondo State. To carry out the research, six research questions were raised, out of which six hypotheses we're formulated; they are:

    i.     a. There is significant influence of language on development.

             b. There is no significant influence of language on development.

    ii.     a. Language has significant influence on policy formulation for development.

             b. Language has no significant influence on policy formation for development.

    iii.     a. Indigenous language has significant influence on education.

  b. Indigenous language has no significant influence on education.

    iv.      a. Language has significant influence on economic development.

  b. Language has no significant influence on economic development.    

    v.       a. Language diversity has significant effect on societal development.

              b. Language diversity has no significant effect on societal development.

1.6.  Significance of the study.

The importance of this study is that it will showcase how to promote ethnic harmony among all linguistically and ethnically diverse communities in Nigeria. The study is also significant because it will contribute to many of the existing works in this regard especially for both academic and social utilization respectively.

This study will help analyse the pivotal roles that language can play in ensuring national development. It will help people in understanding the diversity of indigenous languages of the society and how cooperation can be enhanced among these languages to meet national development. It will guide the government in addressing issues related to languages to promote societal development.

 

 

 

1.7.  Scope of the study.

The scope of the research is on the use of language to achieve national development especially in a multilingual environment, using Ondo West Local Government Area of Ondo State as a case study.

1.8.  Limitations of the study.

The population of this study will be limited to teachers in five secondary schools in Ondo West Local Government Area.The possibility of the respondents being hesitant to give the timely response, even after being assured of confidentiality. This may result in some inaccurate results; some biased responses from some respondents may also affect the accuracy of the findings.

1.9. Definition of terms.

In order to avoid misinterpretation of items, the following terms are used in the study and their definition are given as follows:

·               Language: language is the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way.Language is a system that consists of the development, acquisition, maintenance and use of complex systems of communication, particularly the human ability to do so; and a language is any specific example of such a system.

·               National development:  It is a process of reconstruction and development in various dimensions of a nation and development of individuals.The term national development is very comprehensive. It includes all aspects of the life of an individual and the nation. National development is the total effect of all citizen forces and addition to the stock of physical, human resources, knowledge and skill.

·               Multilingual:  Multilingualism is the use of more than one language, either by an individual speaker or by a community of speakers.

·               Multiculturalism is the co-existence of diverse cultures, where culture includes racial, religious, or cultural groups and is manifested in customary behaviours, cultural assumptions and values, patterns of thinking, and communicative styles.

·               Sociopolitical is concerned with the sociological analysis of political phenomena ranging from the State, to civil society, to the family, investigating topics such as citizenship, social movements, and the sources of social power. It also means the quality of society that combines governmental dimensions with inter-personal or inter-group dynamics.

·                language:  An indigenous language is a language that is native to a particular region and spoken by the people of the region.

·                Franca: This is also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language, auxiliary language, vehicular language, or link language or dialect systematically used to make communication possible between people who do not share a native language or dialect, particularly when it is a third language that is distinct from both of the speakers' native languages.

·               Monolingual: The use of one language to communicate.

REFERENCES

Adegbola, T. (2009) “ Indigenizing Human Language Technology for National Development".1st Arcis Distinguished Guest Lecture. March 18,2009. University of Ibadan, Ibadan,Nigeria.

Adegoju, A. (2008) “Empowering African Languages:, Rethinking the strategies".The journal  of Pan African Studies, Vol. 2 no. 3: 14-32.

Ajayi J.F (1988). “Resilience of African Traditional Institutions and Cultures in Ali S (eds), African Unity”. The Cultural Foundations. CBAAC

Ajulo E.B. (1990). “Nigerias Linguistics requirements in the 21st Century” Reflections on Lingua franca, national/official languages in Nigeria. In Nigeria Forum

Akinasso (1989) One nation, four hundred languages. Unity and diversity in Nigeria’s Language policy, “Language problems and Language Planning”13 pp.133-146.

Anthony A. Olaoye  “Department of Linguistics and African Languages,” University of Abuja: Nigeria.

Bamgbade O. E. (2012). “Some Issues of English Language in Nigeria”. University of Ibadan: Linguistics Departmental Seminar.

Bamgbose A. (1983) Language And Nation-Building. A public Enlightenment lecture delivered at the Bendel University: Ekpoma, June 15. 1983.

Bamgbose, Ayo (1971) “The English Language in Nigeria: In Spencer, J. (ed.) The English Language in West Africa: London: Longman.

Bamgbose, Ayo (1985) “Language and Nation Building Review of English and Literary Studies” Vol. 2, No. 2 pp. 95-108. Concept of language by Wittgenstein in Sobur, ( 2006;23) and Kempson in Pateda, 2001:79)

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