LANGUAGE AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: CHALLENGES AND IMPEDIMENTS IN A MULTILINGUAL SOCIETY
1.0 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Human Beings are social animals and language is an instrument of the society which is acculturated into a given society. Through the instrumentality of language, man identifies and make finding about his environment.
Thus, language, in the hand of man preserves, conserves, transmits and appropriates functions and does so across space and time, thereby enabling him to overcome those physical limitations to human endeavours and achievements.
Armed with his linguistic tool, man appropriates all that others before him have acquired, persuades and convince others to his line of reasoning and action, deceives and dominates others, controls his entire environment and exploits whatever is found therein, and also achieves as much as it is within his capacity.
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. At the end of the exercise solutions will be proffered in order to help solve the challenges we have as country.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE 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 her 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. Picking a national language that is acceptable to the people therefore, becomes difficult.
The hypotheses of study are:
- Language is a hindrance to national unity
- Language is an instrument for National development
- How is language diversity a deciding factor toward national development?
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The aim of the research is to discover the effect of linguistic plurality in a given multi-ethnic society like Nigeria, particularly in Nasarawa State where I live and the University of Abuja where I school. It also intends to prove the success or failure of any society. And if language diversity has helped in national growth and development, such as economic, social, political, religious growth, and educational advancement of mankind. The study also hopes to attempt in resolving the issue of “lingua Franca”
1.4 SCOPE AND DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the research is on the use of language to achieve national development especially in a multilingual environment which is delimited to the sociolinguistics of language and society.
1.5 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. It is also significant because it will provide the picture of the issue in question from the perspective of a university community.
1.6 METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY
The methodology of the research is empirical in nature, in which the researcher intends to administer questionnaire as well as an observation within the chosen area of the study being University of Abuja, FCT.
The respondents to be administered with the questionnaire are selected through single random selection method of one out of every ten respondents in the delimited areas of the research.