Nigeria Introduces New Language Policy to Use Mother Tongue in Primary Schools

  The English Plan advocates making English the national language of Nigeria, but disagreements and debates about this have never stopped. Supporters say that English plays an important role in the country’s administrative and social life and is the greatest legacy left by colonialists to the country. As a universal language, English can not only meet the needs of science and technology, And it is smooth in international exchanges. There is no indigenous language that can replace English in Nigeria. Opponents believe that English is a foreign language brought to Nigeria by colonialists and is only a language mastered by the domestic elite.
  The Pidgin Language Program advocates the promotion of Pidgin English as the national language of Nigeria. The reason is that the country’s education level is backward and there are a large number of illiterates. Not many people can truly express themselves fluently in standard English. The English spoken by most people is actually “Nepalese Pidgin English”. Although this simple, neutral, and people-friendly language is widely used in Nigerian society and does not represent the interests of any ethnic group, its degree of standardization is lacking and it is difficult to serve as a formal language.
  In fact, the language situation in Nigeria is also a microcosm of many African countries. Due to historical and ethnic reasons, the language status of African countries is generally bilingual or multilingual, and their language policies can generally be classified into four categories: 1. The local national language is the only official language, such as Arabic in Algeria and Egypt, and Swahili in Tanzania. Li language; 2. Local ethnic languages ​​and foreign languages ​​(referring to the language of the original host country, the same below) are jointly used as official languages, such as English and Swahili in Kenya, French and Kirundi in Burundi; 3. Foreign languages ​​are used as the only official languages , such as French in Congo and Senegal; 4. Multiple foreign languages ​​as official languages, such as French and English in Cameroon. These four types of language policies actually involve four concepts of language planning: 1. Language assimilation: This is the most common model in language planning, which means that everyone can speak and use the dominant language of the country, so that the dominant language can be The status is more prominent; 2. Language diversification: advocating the coexistence of multiple languages ​​in society; 3. Language internationalization: This is the language planning idea of ​​some former colonial countries, which refers to choosing a foreign common language as the official language or teaching language 4. Language localization: refers to choosing one or more local languages ​​as a communication tool and official language.

  Faced with the domestic language dilemma, Nigeria adopted a compromise approach for the sake of unifying the national culture: making English the official language of the country, and at the same time declaring several major domestic tribal languages ​​as official languages ​​and implementing multilingualism. Although this will help improve the status of local languages, protect national culture, and enhance national identity, it will inevitably bring about cumbersome and inconvenient problems.
  Both history and reality have proven that language is not just a communication tool, it is crucial to national culture, national unity, national and national identity. Properly handling language issues can promote economic development and social stability; otherwise, it may cause ethnic issues or social unrest. The purpose of language planning is to serve society and politics. When formulating language policies, political, economic, social, ethnic, cultural, religious, technological and other factors are often more important than language itself. Therefore, in a country with complex ethnic composition like Nigeria, it is not an easy task to completely replace the language of the original mother country with a local ethnic language or to determine a certain ethnic language as the national language.

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