by E Henry, Asemota

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We do have nations being described as multilingual, if more than two languages are the official languages, as in Switzerland. In the Ex-colonies, the problem of multilingualism is a little different because of the diverse ethnolinguistic backgrounds of the people. The imposed languages serving as unifying forces are not the languages of any one group in the nation. Sequentially, two problems are created in the National Language question. The first is the importation of English into the country, as in Nigeria, as far back as the 15 th century; and Lord Lugard's amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates in 1914. Along with this foreign language came its foreign culture. The English Language does not at all qualify as the Nigerian National Language. Secondly, the government incapacitated itself by giving official recognition to only three out of 521 languages (Oyetayo, 2006) and using the derogatory term "MAJOR", meaning that all the other, over 518 languages are "MINOR" languages. A titanic criticism on the government is that totalitarian posture, posing instability to the corporate unity of the nation. There is no categorical statement for an indigenous language, taking over from English. Any proposal that does not take into cognizance the multilingual nature of the country is not likely to succeed. To solve this, we propose that the language spoken by the smallest (micro) population in the country be selected. This should be allowed to develop from within, then expand to some other languages in the form of borrowing, as borrowing is a normal consequence of the natural contact of language in multilingual societies.
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