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3 LANGUAGE PLANNING 8 3.0 ACTORS OR AGENCIES INVOLVED IN LANGUAGE PLANNING 4.0 CONCLUSION 17-19 REFERENCES 20
1.0 INTRODUCTION The purpose of this paper is to explicate the actors involved in language planni ng and its implementation, in terms of large-scale. Usually, national planning i s often undertaken by governments and meant to influence, if not change the ways of speaking or literacy practices within a society. It normally encompasses fou r aspects: status planning (about society), corpus planning (about language), la nguage-in-education planning (about learning), and prestige planning (about imag e). When thinking about these aspects, both policy (i.e. form) and planning (i.e . function) components need to be considered as well as whether such polic y and planning will be overt or covert in terms of the way it is put into action. Language policy and planning on this scale has dominated current work in the field. However, over the past decade, language planning has taken on a more critical ed ge and its ecological context has been given greater emphasis, leading to an inc reasing acceptance that language planning can (and does) occur at different leve ls, i.e. the macro and micro. This shift in focus has also led to a rethink of a ctors or agencies – who have the power to influence change in both micro and macro language policy and planning situations. From the above analysis, it is helpful to examine briefly what is meant by langu age itself and how it can be planned– and how various actors (governmental, Non-go vernmental and individuals) in one way or the other carry out the implementation processes. 2.0 SOME BRIEF DEFINITIONS 2.1 LANGUAGE Language refers to a system of arbitrary signals, such as speech sounds, gesture s, or written symbols that aid communication. It is the body of words peculiar t o a group of people who belong to the same community or nation, the same geograp hical area, or the same culture. However, language in this context is not restri cted to a means of communication by voice but includes verbal signs. Language is the chief means of communication among humans. It is the principal factor that enables individuals to become functional members of the group into w hich they are born (Mutasa 2005: 6). As a matter of fact, language provides an i mportant link between the individual and his/her social environment. Language is central to our lives. We communicate and understand our world through language. Furthermore, language serves a variety of purposes in our lives. These are: p ersonal, communicative, educational, aesthetic, cultural and political purposes. In the Marxist view, it is not only a means of organizing and conceptualizing re ality but also a bank for the memory by human generated through interaction w
ith natural and social environment (Wa Thiong’o 2005 in Mkandawire 2005: 163). T herefore, language is everywhere, a major source of individual and ethnic commun ity pride and identification. 2.2 PLANNING Languages are types of species. There is a correlation between the density of s pecies and languages. Languages are depositories of knowledge and must be preser ved. For languages to survive, planning must take place. Languages can be planne d. To plan for languages, means something must be done or some arrangement be ef fected, to put parts of the language together, or bring order to the use of lang uage(s) in the society (Alexander 2000: 89). The process of planning must bring solutions to identified language problems. 2.3 LANGUAGE PLANNING Traditionally, language planning has been seen as the deliberate, futur e-oriented, systematic change of language structure, used or spoken, which is mostly undertaken by government in some community of speakers. It is often a ssociated with government planning, but is also used by a variety of non-governm ental organizations, such as grass-roots organizations and even individuals. Lan guage planning leads to promulgation of language policies– by government or some o ther authoritative bodies or persons. Language policies are bodies of ideas, law s, regulations, rules and practices intended to achieve some planned language ch ange or a social construct that may involve the discursive production of a langu age policy (Kaplan & Baldauf, 1997: 3). (Rubin and Jernudd (1971b) put it differently by asserting that language plannin g involves deliberate, although not always overt, future-oriented change in syst em of language code and /or speaking in a societal context. Language policy may be realised in a very formal (overt) language-planning documents and pronounceme nts (e.g. constitutions, legislation, policy statements, educational direct ives) which can be either symbolic or substantive in form. It may also be left unstated (covert). While the distinction between language policy and language p lanning is an important one for users, the two terms have frequently been used interchangeably in the literature. 3.0 ACTORS OR AGENCIES INVOLVED IN LANGUAGE PLANNING We assert that “actors” of language planning are those who actively participate in t he language planning process, the form and function of selecting such language a nd of the benefit it will bring. Also, we can say some political participants, t he masses, governmental and non-governmental organisations, formal elites, influ ential and policy implementers are involved in the process. These categories of people are involved at the level of language planning either at the macro or mic ro level. The actors or participants in language planning or policy according to Kaplan (1 989) refer to as “top down” language planning situations. These are people with powe r and authority who make language related decisions for groups, often little or no consultation with the ultimate language learners and users. In general, langu age planning has been portrayed as being done from within objective, ideological ly neutral and technological perspective in which planners do not often matter, as language requires technical expertise. The actors are involved on a broader participation based on those people for who m language is planned for. They should have a say in its actual planning and imp lementation. These actors have the means to collect information about the impact of potential planned language changes. It is pertinent to note that language planning is often associated with governme nt planning, but it is also used by a variety of non-governmental organisations, such as grassroots organisation and even individuals. Those involved in the lan guage planning of a nation, community either rural or urban settlement include; formal or informal agencies, committees, societies or academies and language pl anning bodies that design or develop new structures to meet contemporary needs. Basically, we identify major actors of language planning to include: The governm
ent and education agencies, language boards and committees, media houses , auth ors/publishers or linguists, religious bodies, councils for arts and culture/cu ltural groups, families and others which include individuals, pressure groups, s ocieties ,etc. Each of these actors is examined below. 1. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES Often at macro level, government is involved in language planning and prescribes which language is to be used by the Communication Ministry, Ministry of Industr y, and Defence Ministry. In most cases the colonial languages or foreign languag es gain dominance over the indigenous languages. Also, government generally has the power to legislate and the ability to foster incentive structures (and disin centive structures) to explore language planning decisions and for this to be ac hieved, most agents of government support this decision. This could be spurred b y the need to have a standard language that would unify the country or to codify the use of some indigenous languages. Besides, the government may institute mai ntenance of some indigenous (local) languages alongside the national language of such a country. According to Section 51 of the Nigerian Constitution of 1979, 1 989 states for instance: “The business of the National Assembly shall be conducted in English, and Hausa, I bo and Yoruba when adequate arrangements have been made thereof” Also section of the same constitution reads: “The business of the House of Assembly shall be conducted in English but the House may in addition to English conduct the business of the House in one or more lan guages in the states as the House by resolution approved.” The statements above show the course of the Nigerian government towards achievin g “nationism” by suggesting three indigenous languages and English as languages of t he nation. Similarly, a state or local government as an arm of the federal government could make use of indigenous language in the course of implementing rural development programmes which focus on the local populace as the beneficiaries. For instance agriculturally- oriented programmes for peasant farmers at the rural areas are implemented via local languages. Besides, a law court (customary for instance) c ould entertain complaints via the use of native languages. Another instance of this is exemplified in Nigeria during Gen. Sanni Abacha’s Regi me when his administration in a bid to foster commerce and economic activities w ith France and other francophone countries stipulated that the use of French sho uld be encouraged as one of the languages of commerce. 2. EDUCATION SECTOR The largest section of the population that is influenced by education agencies i s made up of children. The education sector has to identify the languages to be used jointly with the curriculum section. Secondly, this agency has to define t he teacher supply and the population pool from which to find suitable individual s to teach languages. Thirdly, the student population is to be exposed to the la nguage that is prescribed. Next, the methodology employed in the education syste m must be explained clearly. Additionally, assessment processes to be used must be defined, and lastly, support systems to sustain the activities in the educati on system are to be in place. The education ministry or education sector of government is typically in charge of making national language acquisition decisions based on state and local evalu ation reports. The responsibilities of education sectors vary by country. Robert B. Kaplan and Richard B. Baldauf describe the sectors’ six principal goals: to de cide what languages should be taught within the curriculum, to determine the amo unt and quality of teacher training; to involve local communities, to determine what materials will be used and how they will be incorporated into the syllabi, to establish a local and state assessment system to monitor progress and to dete rmine financial costs. Serious development in the promotion of English and French languages for instanc e was a product of the post-independence period. Anglophones and Francophones fe lt the need to communicate and each promoted the other’s official language especia lly at the secondary level. The francophone countries, especially in West Africa
, considering their proximity to English-speaking countries and the stronger pul l of English at the international level, made it a compulsory language at the se condary level. The policy has succeeded in producing a relatively large number o f persons who are able to use English or to learn it relatively fast and easily whenever the need arises. Besides, ministries of education are typically in charge of making national lang uage acquisition decisions beside on the state and local evaluation reports. The y decide what language(s) should be taught or should be the language of instruct ions. A very important achievement of Nigeria for instance, is the inclusion in the National Policy on Education of a section on language. The most important pr ovisions here are: the description of Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba as the major langu ages of the nation, the stress on initial formal education in the mother tongue and the teaching of a second Nigerian language (other than the mother tongue) at the secondary level. The provisions related to indigenous languages have been r eiterated in various forms in Nigeria’s cultural policy document, which stresses t he following: “The State shall promote the mother tongue on the basis of cultural education, and shall ensure the development of Nigerian languages as vehicles fo r expressing modern ideas and thought processes” (Section 5.1.5). Teachers in this sense perform a crucial role by helping the learners in acquiring and using the chosen languages. Another example is that of Academia Francoise of France or the Real Academia Esp anola of Spain. These organizations often create their own dictionaries and gram mar books which students are exposed to in schools. Although they do not hold of ficial power, they influence government planning decision. When we consider Engl ish speaking union; Japan Foundation and Korea Foundation are each respectively engaged in the dissemination of English, French, German, Japanese and Korea. 3. LANGUAGE BOARDS AND COMMITTEES At macro level, committees are established by government to see to the actual im plementation and evaluation or assessment of a language policy. They are a team of planners who carry out investigation on the linguistic, social, political a nd educational requirements and assessment to ensure that the goals of language planning are achieved. 4. LOCAL PRESS AND TELEVISION OR RADIO BROADCAST Ministry of Communication and Technology of a country is often involved in encou raging the use of one language or the other. Technical innovations are designed and manuals for these products are produced in the language of the Chinese for i nstance, so as to spread the influence of such a language. Some local press in N igeria for instance produce their dailies in indigenous languages and example is a daily called ALAROYE, which publishes in standard Yoruba dialect. Equally som e TV and radio programmes and jingles are done via indigenous language. WAZOBIA FM in Lagos and ORISUN FM in Osun State are apparent examples. One could also consider the case where the international postal services and the U.S. postal services have agreed that envelops must be addressed in Roman scrip t. 5. AUTHORS, PUBLISHERS AND LINGUISTS The preference of authors to write in a particular language rather than another is a deliberate effort to promote the status of that language and to reach wider readers of such work. An example is seen in the use of mother tongue to write a literary work by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o of Kenya. Linguists equally bring some languag es to the fore by carrying out scientific study of peculiar attributes of such l anguages. 6. RELIGIOUS BODIES Religious bodies through their activities often prefer the use of particular lan guages. For instance, the protestant churches take as a matter of faith, the bel ief that personal access to gospels is an important element in the achievement o f personal salvation. They have better facilitated the spread of languages like English through the dissemination of the gospels, and accelerated the orthograph ic development of indigenous languages through the translation of the gospels in to a wide variety of languages. The Catholic and Orthodox churches have played a somewhat different role because
they did not require literate participation in clergy managed rituals, they hav e however played a key role in the preservation of various languages e.g. church Latin, church Greek etc. Also, Islamic bodies have played a central role in the spread of Arabic and in t he preservation of classical Arabic, as they believe the word of GOD should be r ead and spoken in the language in which it was given to the Prophet. Other examp les could be cited. In addition to this important language policy sector, religi ous bodies particularly in the colonial times were virtually the sole dispensers of education. Schools were often the exclusive domain of religious groups, and church domination of education has continued well into the 20th Century in Sub-S aharan Africa, Latin America and Asia. Similarly, African traditional cultures and deities are worshiped via the use of indigenous languages. In the western Nigeria for instance, incantations to OGUN , IFA, etc are better proclaimed in Yoruba. Also in Israel, Christianity favours the use of Hebrew language. In Saudi Arabia, classical Arabic which is believed to be a prophetic or God-spoken language is used for religious activities. 7. COUNCILS FOR ARTS AND CULTURES/ CULTURAL GROUPS Cultural works and designs, African traditional music sung in native languages a ttract more audience and increases the influence of such languages across the co ntinent. 8. FAMILIES Families at status level, promote language planning when the parents encourage t he use of a particular language so as to prevent it from going into extinction. This language is transferred orally from one generation to another. 9. OTHERS: INDIVIDUALS, COMMUNITIES, PRESSURE GROUPS, ETC. The influence on language planning is purely by chance. The influence and status these individuals have in society automatically influence language change in on e way or another. The actors above play an important role in making language pla nning effective and meaningful. According to Kaplan (1989) the actors perform fr om a top-down language planning situation. The basis for this statement is that these people have power and authority to make language-related decisions. Language choice of individual or his/her positive attitude to the use of a parti cular language for interaction, or the use of a native language to carry out mee tings and decisions by different local associations promote the status of such l anguage. Also, communities of Quechua speakers outside Peru which enable communi cation in Quechua across the borders predicate the fact that communities are con sidered important actors involved in language planning. 4.0 CONCLUSION In conclusion, we have examined how various organizations and individuals instit ute language change. These are the actors or agencies of language planning. Alth ough, in macro language planning, it is often assumed that planning is done by a team of disinterested planners who investigate the linguistic, social, political and educational requirements and make decisions that are in the best interests of the state. Who they are makes little difference as long as they had the required expertise. In the light of this argument, Baldauf (1982) points out that actors (or agents)– who are language planners, are potentially important variables in a given langua ge planning situation. However, the frameworks for language planning, such as th e one provided in this paper have largely left the issue of actors as something understood. These agencies have not gone entirely unnoticed, even if it doesn’t fi gure explicitly in most macro language planning studies. Cooper (1989: 98) in hi s accounting scheme for the study of language planning i.e what actors attempt to influence , what behaviours of which people, for what ends, under what c onditions, by what means , through which decision making processes and with what effect, relates agency to actors while Haarmann (1990: 120–1) looks at “who is involved in levels of prestige planning promotion (i.e. from macro to micro – official, institutional, pressure group and individual)”.
Thus, the idea of “actors” encompasses both the central agents in language planning and policy implementation like the one initiated by the government, which is par t of the arms or ministries of government and the non-governmental (which is the case where business, institutions, groups or individuals hold agency and create what can be recognised as a language policy). The plan to consciously u tilise and develop their language resources which is a response to their own nee ds. We therefore assert that these actors examined above could be categorized into g overnment agencies, quasi-government or Non- Governmental Organisation/individua l, that promote or institute directly or indirectly through (their activities) l anguage change either at status or corpus level. A quasi-government organization is defined as an organization or agency that is financed by government but acts independently. This body has a role in the processes of national government, b ut is not a government department, and accordingly operates to a greater or less er extent at arm s length. There are cases whereby NGOs are funded totally or partially by governments, in such situations, NGOs are allowed to maintain their non-governmental status. Suc h NGOs exclude government representatives from membership in the organization. L anguage boards such as the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) and langua ge academies represent these types of organization. The main objective of such o rganizations is to promote and protect all languages. These organizations are re sponsible for the development of the lexicon, for new technological concepts.
REFERENCES Alexander, N. (1989): Language policy and National Unity in S Africa / Azania. C ape Town: Buchu Book. Cooper, R.L. (1989): Language Planning and Social Change. Cambridge: Cambridge U niversity Press. Haarmann (1990): Language planning in the light of a general theory of language: A methodological framework. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 95, 109–29. Kaplan B., Robert, and Richard B. Baldauf Jr.( 1997): Language Planning from Pr actice to Theory. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters ltd., Kaplan, R.B. and Baldauf, Jr, R.B. (1997): Language Planning from Prac tice to Theory. Mkandawire, T. (2005): African Intellectuals and Nationalism. London: Zeal Book s. Mutasa,D.E.(2000): Language policy and language use in South Africa: An uneasy m arriage. South African Journal of African Languages 20(3): 217-224. Rubin, J. and Jernudd, B.H. (eds) (1971): Can Language Be Planned? Honolulu: Eas t West. The 1979 and 1989 Constitution of Federal Government of Nigeria.
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