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English as a unifying language discuss
Multilingualism is a sociolinguistic phenomenon that arises as a result of language contact. It is a situation in which two (i.e. bilingualism, specifically) or more languages operate within the same context. [ Factors such as political annexation, marital relation, economic transaction, cultural association, educational acquisition and religious affiliation bring about multilingulalism. All these factors underpin the socio-political landscape of Nigeria today even though the combination of political annexation and economic transaction or exploitation originally brought the people referred
to as Nigerians today in contact with the English people. The advent of the English colonialists in the 18th century brought about ‘linguistic imperialism’ a situation by which, according to Asne (1979) as cited in Fanilola (1988:89): The minds and lives of the speakers of a language are dominated by another language to the point where they believe that they can and should use only the foreign language when it comes to transactions dealing with the advanced aspects of life such as education, philosophy, literature, government, the administration of justice. Through overt and covert means such as trade and commerce, educational policies and ordinances, missionary activities, schools, literature, constitutions, job opportunities and political might, English was successfully entrenched in Nigeria. With the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates in 1914 came the need, in a more crucial dimension, to have a common tongue for the country. With the promotion of English in every stratum of national life, including nationalist activities, arose the subjugation of about 450 Nigerian languages, the major ones of which include Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, Kanuri, Ibiobio, Tiv, Ijo, Edo, Urhobo, Nupe, Idoma, just to mention a few. When Nigeria attained her political independence, ‘linguistic imperialism’ had to be sustained in the interest of the nation. This is because there was no indigenous language that could perform the function of English because of the mutual suspicion of, and ethnic consciousness among, virtually all Nigerians. ]
Expert answered|mythmoh|Points 5349|
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Asked 1/24/2013 1:16:08 PM
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