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Language Planning, Sociopolitical and Historical Developments and Nationalism

Countries, states, counties or communities’ official agencies tend to introduce or establish particular measures or efforts to influence linguistics usage for that specific region. Language planning is used as a consequential factor to determine the culture and behavior of the population in a certain region regarding the structure of the dialect acquired. Influencers have, thus, applied different forms of language policies including status and corpus planning in the attempt to transform the language usage.

Status planning’s policies anticipate creating language majority among several other minorities. Efforts are deliberately pushed in developing dominance where only a particular language is used by all or most of the people for a specific speech community. Few individuals massively advocate status planning of language in the society that feel that the community should prioritize a certain dialect over the others regardless of the implications that policy has on some parts of the population. The consequences of these policies are particularly more implicating on those that are unable to learn the formalities of the language that has been elevated to the prestige variety. The African and Asian countries colonized by Britain are some of the regions that have experienced the significant impacts of the status planning of language. After decolonization in the 20th century, most of these regions transformed English into a prestige variety making it the formal language to be used in offices and other public places. The poor individuals in the rural areas that cannot learn the language are affected leading to ethnic divisions of people within the same society including country, state or community.

Corpus planning advocates the standardization of language where some words are modified as a way of making communication and interaction among different individuals easy. The modifications are done in the attempt to cope with the transformations in the languages’ terminologies applied in various sectors of the speech community including education, social settings, and administrations among others. It plays a significant role in the unification and cohesion of linguistic usage in a speech community since there are no prestige variety languages like in status planning. The European nations are not faulted along linguistic indifferences since they only codified and standardized their initial languages. For instance, Italian is consequential of the standardization of Tuscan vernacular, France purified Académie française to get French, and Spain modified Real Academia Española to the Spanish language. The languages are used countrywide in these nations making it easier for them to integrate and interact without dividing lines among them.

Point 2

Several historic periods played significant roles in the development of status planning of languages in African and Asian nations. Some of them are colonialism, social evolution, and immigration.

Colonialism is one of the historical factors that led to the status planning of linguistic in African countries. Colonization influenced South Africa’s aspect of language planning. During the apartheid regime in the country, the colonizers had formal policies concerning the dialect to be used by the citizens where English was considered the prestige variety despite there being other languages like the Khoi and San. Also, status planning was influenced by certain factors such as identification, education, administration, and activism. The indigenous people of South Africa had to accept the dominance of the English language since they could not communicate or interact with the colonizers using any other language. Additionally, the activists fighting for the freedom of their people had to learn the national language if they needed the government to recognize their pleas and demands. Hence, these factors influenced by colonialism contributed to the development status planning that was effective in the entire country even among the rural people where most of them did not understand the English language.

South Africa and other colonized nations evolved socially during the reign of the colonizers. People in these nations socially evolved in various sectors including education, health, living aspects and cultural interrelations. Before colonization, certain elements such as schools and healthcare units were unknown to the indigenous people of Africa. However, with the intervention of the colonizers such as the British in South Africa, they introduced certain aspects that attracted the attention of the people, who initially were hunters, pastoralists, and farmers among others. To adjust to these changes the locals had to also adapt to the language of the colonizers that was usually used in places such as schools and hospitals; thus, the English became the majority language in South Africa as more people attended schools making the native linguistics dialects for the older and uneducated individuals. Hence, the social evolutions progressively influence the development of status planning especially with the admission of more people to schools.

Another historical factor that has contributed to the status planning of language is immigration. After independence in 1947, linguistic was diversely distributed across states of India due to the rampant inhibition of different communities in the country. As the British colonizers forged to industrialize the country, people from neighboring countries including Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Bhutan among others immigrated to India to be employed as workers in the industry while others were brought in as slaves from other African countries. Upon obtaining independence, there were a lot of languages, and this resulted to the formation of committees to determine the appropriate national dialect for the country. Hence, the Persian, Sanskrit and Mughal were made the prestigious languages in a country having more than 7000 mother-tongue dialects. Illustratively, the implications of migration that influenced the development of lot languages in the country forced the official agencies to introduce status planning in the country.

Point 3

African and Asian countries use diversified languages including major European nationalisms such as French, Spanish, Portuguese and English based on their former colonizers. Britain is one of the main colonizers of various nations in Africa and Asia, and the English nationalism is widely used in these former colonies. South Africa is one of the former British colonies and English is the national language used in the country in different sectors including administration, education, health, and others. They adapted to the nationalism during the colonial period when the nation was governed by the British government because the people needed to learn and use it for communication and interaction within the country. However, there are sub-nationalisms in South Africa such as Khoi, San, Zulu, Southern Sotho, and Afrikaans. The locals use these sub-nationalisms as languages among the concerned communities relating to them. By this, it makes some individuals from these communities to develop anonymity since they are not interested in the English language. The sub-nationalisms languages are mostly used in the rural areas by the old people and few that are uneducated because of the influence of their traditions. Additionally, these sub-languages are used by literate individuals when interacting with their tribesmen. Hence, both the national and sub-national languages play significant roles in communication and interaction in South Africa.

India is an Asian country that was colonized by Britain and acquired its independence in 1947. The English language in this country is used as a sub-nationalism dialect although in the earlier years it was the prestige variety. The locals do not usually use Britain’s nationalism since the country’s population has a lot of native languages that they use in their interactions. However, the language is used in as a sub-language when there is a language barrier during conversations especially when an Indian is communicating with a foreigner. Other sub-nationalisms that are used as languages in India include Persian and Mughal, and they are also used in educating students in schools. The languages are used by inter-groups where there are interactions of different tribesmen. Hence, Indian locals have to diversify their learning of languages to help them interact with others in the country.



Ngcobo, Mtholeni. (2007). Language planning, policy and implementation in South Africa. Glossa: an ambilingual interdisciplinary journal. 2. 156-169.



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