By Richard Fardon
This exhibits that multilingusim doesn't pose for Africans the issues of communique that Europeans think and that the mismatch among coverage statements and their pragmatic results is a much more significant issue for destiny improvement
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Additional resources for African Languages, Development and the State
In literacy education, the pride of place has usually belonged to indigenous languages. Earlier attempts to use foreign official languages, such as French in Mali (Dumont 1973) or English for tobacco growers in Western Nigeria, ended in dismal failure. Among the African countries that have a vigorous programme of literacy in African languages are Mali, Togo, Somalia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Guinea, Niger, Burundi and Zambia. The advantages of such media are that cultural forms and knowledge of cultural values are better learnt and transmitted, the positive attitude to language encourages greater motivation to learn, the course of instruction is psychologically more adequate as the concepts are already familiar, and the choice of language is in consonance with cultural and political attitudes (UNESCO 1976:23–4).
Lingua francas and local languages are essential components of any sustainable development effort. Bamgbose goes further to criticize the prevailing narrow definition of ‘development’. In his view, material and technical development must be linked to social and cultural development, and in that context he places particular emphasis on self-reliance, ‘intellectual aid as a surer basis of development in preference to material aid’, the domestication of technology, and popular participation. The paper by Fyle on Sierra Leone discusses the way in which Krio, a widely used lingua franca, impinges minimally on the formulation of state language policy which is predicated on national representation for the 31 32 West Africa major population groups—Mende and Temne.
Le Page 1964:15) In Africa, it seems that we are obsessed with the number ‘one’. Not only must we have one national language, we must also have a oneparty system. The mistaken belief is that in such oneness of language or party we would achieve socio-cultural cohesion and political unity in our multi-ethnic, multilingual, and multicultural societies (Kashoki 1982:21). Some will even go further to advocate a supra-national language instead of the assumed explosive alternative of evolving a national language; and the favourite candidate for this role, it has been suggested, should be Swahili (Soyinka 1977).
African Languages, Development and the State by Richard Fardon