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International Journal of Educational

Science and Research (IJESR)

ISSN (P): 2249–6947; ISSN (E): 2249–8052
Vol. 10, Issue 2, Apr 2020, 9–22
© TJPRC Pvt. Ltd.




School of International Education, Wuhan University, Wuhan City, Wuchang
Hubei Province, P.R. China

In the modern and contemporary history, the scope of research on language as the public wealth of mankind and a
non-renewable cultural resource, as manifested through linguistic nationalism has been remarkable. Language life is
the most important social life of mankind, and is increasingly becoming a matter of concern to politicians,
multidisciplinary participation, and influencing the construction of the new nation and international order. Linguistic
nationalism originated in Europe and spread to the world. It has shown an integrated and building function, especially
in the formation of European nation-states and also played an important role in the post-colonial era in Asia and
Africa countries. This paper argues that the language policy of the central and eastern European countries have two
main characteristics: first, linguistic nationalism prevails; second, the influence of European Union language policy is

Original Article
expounding profoundly and also emphasizes the need for critical awareness that, given the role played by language in
struggles for power and dominance between groups, language planning is not merely a technical undertaking and can
often result in creating conflicts rather than solving them.

KEYWORDS: Language Planning, Linguistic Nationalism, Lingua Franca & State Construction

Received: Jan 23, 2020; Accepted: Feb 13, 2020; Published: Mar 17, 2020; Paper Id.: IJESRAPR20202

Theoretical Perspectives and Historical Development of Language Policy and Planning (LPP)

Although Language Planning is an interdisciplinary field, it came into its own as a branch of sociolinguistics.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Western- trained linguist’s scholars were engaged by many of the new nations of
Africa, South America, and Asia to develop grammars, writing systems, and dictionaries for indigenous
languages. While Language Policy and Planning (LPP)as an activity has certainly been going on for centuries,
the concept of "language planning" was first proposed by Weinrich in 1957. In1959, Haugen, considered by many
to be the father of the field, introduced the term Language Planning (LP), which appeared in the related academic
literature of Haugen's study of language standardization in Norway, describing Norway's new standard national
language program after independence from Denmark in 1814. He once wrote: “the activity of preparing a
normative orthography, grammar, and dictionary for the guidance of writers and speakers in a non-homogeneous
speech community.” (Haugen, 1959: 8). Haugen’s language planning steps were proposed as both a theoretical
model of language planning and a practical roadmap for those interested in actually engaging in the planning of

The publications such as the Ford Foundation-funded International Research Project on language
planning processes carried out in the 1960s by Rubin, Das Gupta, Fishman, and Jernudd, each one focusing on a

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10 Stephen Ondago Oduor

national LPP case - Indonesia, India, Israel, and Sweden, respectively; and LP processes (Rubin et al., 1977), in which
Rubin (1977: 282) wrote : "Language planning is deliberate language change, that is, changes in the systems of a language
code or speaking or both that are planned by organizations established for such purposes or given a mandate to fulfill such
purposes. "These publications have become classics in the academic research field, providing accounts of early empirical
efforts and descriptive explorations of national LPP cases. Scholars trained in descriptive linguistics such as Fishman
advanced current theories of language structure and use. In the seminal figure in the sociology of language, Fishman notes
that developing nations as providing an "indispensable and truly intriguing array of field-work locations for a new breed of
genuine sociolinguists." (Fishman 1968: 11). This research was directly relevant to LP, especially for many aspects of
corpus planning. In addition, beyond linguistic theory, the activities of many sociolinguists were understood as beneficial
to nation-building and national unification; the decision of which language whether colonial or indigenous would best
serve these interests was often based on which language would provide access to advanced, that is, Western, technological
and economic assistance.

The 1990s saw the beginning of the resurgence of LPP output,ranging from books overview to articles review,
as many linguists were proposing new theoretical directions. Cooper (1989) and Tollefson (1991) were among the first and
most enduring contributions this era. For instance, is Cooper’s frequently cited definition of language planning, (Cooper
1989: 45):" deliberate efforts to influence the behavior of others with respect to the acquisition, structure, and functional
allocations of their language codes?" In addition, Cooper while accounting framework, organized around the question
Cooper (1989:98), "What actors attempt to influence what behaviors of which people for what ends under what conditions
by what means through what decision-making process with what effect?", summarized the state of LPP as a descriptive
endeavor, while he also clearly enunciated the need for a theory of social change in order to move LPP forward. Tollefson
sought to "contribute to a theory of Language Planning (LP) that locates the field within social theory" (Tollefson,
1991: 8). LP is therefore first and foremost about social change (Cooper, 1989; Rubin & Jernudd, 1971; Tollefson, 1991).
LPP activities often involve both implicit and explicit goals and objectives. Tollefson argues that: “Language policy is a
form of disciplinary power. Its success depends in part upon the ability of the state to structure into the institutions of
society the differentiation of individuals into "insiders" and "outsiders”. To a large degree, this occurs through the close
association between language and nationalism. By making language a mechanism for the expression of nationalism, the
state can manipulate feelings of security and belonging. The state uses language policy to discipline and control its workers
by establishing language-based limitations on education, employment, and political participation. This is one sense in
which language policy is inherently ideological.” Tollefson (1991:207-8). Spolsky, on the other hand, simplifies language
policy to three components, he wrote :“ a useful first step is to distinguish between the three components of the language
policy of a speech community: its language practices - the habitual pattern of selecting among the varieties that make up its
linguistic repertoire; its language beliefs or ideology - the beliefs about language and language use; and any specific efforts
to modify or influence that practice by any kind of language intervention, planning or management.” Spolsky (2004:5).

Other schools of thought believe that there was a link between the language policy and planning, for example,
Cooper argues: “That language planning should serve so many covert goals is not surprising. Language is the fundamental
institution of society, not only because it is the first institution experienced by the individual but also because all other
institutions are built upon its regulatory patterns ... To plan language is to plan society. A satisfactory theory of language
planning, therefore, awaits a satisfactory theory of social change.”(Cooper 1989: 182) Some scholars argue that language
planning subsumes language policy (Kaplan and Baldauf 1997) while others argue that language policy subsumes language

Impact Factor (JCC): 6.7094 NAAS Rating: 4.16

The Role of Linguistic Nationalism on the Integration of Nation- State Building 11

planning (Schiffman 1996). According to (Kaplan and Baldauf 1997: xi): “The exercise of language planning leads to, or is
directed by, the promulgation of a language policy by government (or other authoritative body or person)”. A language
policy is a body of ideas, laws, regulations, rules and practices intended to achieve the planned language change in the
societies, group or system.” On the contrary opinion, Schiffman’s primary argument is that language policy is grounded in
linguistic culture and examining one without the other is “probably futile, if not simply trivial” (Schiffman 1996: 5). Fettes
further envisions the link between language planning and language policy by argueing that language planning subsume
policy: “Language planning ... must be linked to the critical evaluation of language policy: the former providing standards
of rationality and effectiveness, the latter testing these ideas against actual practice in order to promote the development of
better ... language planning models.....a great deal of language policy-making goes on in a haphazard or uncoordinated
way, far removed from the language planning ideal” (Fettes, 1997:14). Ager (2001) argues that the language planning must
be closely linked to the assessment of language policy: language planning provides rational and effective standards for
language policy, and language policy validates the ideological and theoretical models of language planning. Language
planning as an applied sociolinguistic activity can function either as a tool for empowerment and liberation or as a means
of oppression and domination (Reagan, 2002).

Ricento (2000a:197-203) divides the intellectual history of development of LPP field into three phases,roughly
two decades each: (1) classic language planning theory, (2) critical language policy, and (3) an intermediary stage, lasting
from the early 1970’s to the late 1980’s. These three phases are typified by significant social and political processes and
event, epistemological paradigms and strategic goals. He characterizes the first two stages as primarily focused mainly on
the actual language problems in the emerging countries. Early studies on LPP advocated optimism and ideological
neutrality, and gradually with an evolving awareness of the potential negative effects and inherent limitations of these
modernization and development models within which early LPP efforts were situated.



In 1959, Haugen first came up with the concept of Language Planning (LP), and since then a batch of classics of LP have
sprung up. The new nation states of Africa and Asia became experimental ground for conscious LP with a mushrooming of
scholars who analyzed the experiences of the recent European nation building past and applied the knowledge suggesting
frameworks for the postcolonial nation building future. For instance "Language Problems in the Developing Countries
“(Fishman, Ferguson and Das Gupta 1968). "Other scholars believed that a decision could be taken centrally and imposed
top-down through education to those who began to wonder whether language practice could be influenced greatly at all.
This was manifested when Jernudd and Rubin (1971) posed the question ‘can language be planned?’ where he concluded
that, ‘convincingly show the absence of planning from language planning’ (Jernudd and Das Gupta 1971: 201)." The
Progress in Language Planning" Fishman 1974 and so on. These works laid the foundation of language planning.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the study of LP seemed to be at low ebb, but it gradually came to attract peoples’ great
attention after the 21st century. This is due to the new international situation and trends of thought, such as the new round of
world integration process, the worldwide migration, the revival of ethnic nationalism, the language crisis, the global spread
of English, and the emergence of a number of new countries and so on. According to the research, the current international
language planning research shows four characteristics:

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12 Stephen Ondago Oduor

• The scope of research is expanding rapidly. In addition to the traditional research content, many problems of
contemporary language life have emerged, such as language identity, language renaissance, language rights of
ethnic minorities and foreign immigrants, bilingual education, globalization and linguistic diversity, International
dissemination of languages, endangered languages and language protection, language informatization, etc.

• The research scope spans the globe. In the past, LP mainly focused on countries in Asia and Africa that were
casting off the yoke of colonial rule. However, today's research horizons span almost every corner of the world.
Language problems in The USA and other immigrant countries, the old single nation-state in the west, the new
countries that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union, various international and regional organizations,
etc., have aroused the deep interest of language planners. It goes without a doubt that all countries or regions in
the world have been brought into the research perspective of LP.

• The shift in research concept. In the 1960s and 1970s, linguistic diversity was often seen as a social problem, and
as a centrifugal force holding back nation-building. However, with the acceleration of the process of world
integration, people's attitude towards linguistic diversity has undergone a fundamental change. Languages and
their variants are seen to warrant value and non-renewable cultural resources. A series of documents from
UNESCO, the EU's long list of official languages, are a concrete manifestation of the attitude of maintaining
linguistic diversity.

Multi disciplinary participation. Language life is the most important social life of mankind, and it is also the
research object of many subjects. In fact, political science, sociology, law, economics, ethnology, communication,
information science and other disciplines in profusion have entered the domain of LP and are playing an increasingly
important role. LP is becoming a subject of concern to politicians, involving multidisciplinary participation and disciplines
that influences the construction of the new nation and International order.


The global language environment is complex and changeable. On the other hand, languages are endangered and
hegemonic. Some scholars estimate that 50 % or even as many as 90 % of the 6,000 languages in existence will no longer
be used by the end of the 21st century. Language death continues to constitute a critical problem across all five continents
of the world. The problem has caused much alarm and preoccupation among ethnographers, linguists, language planners
and even national governments, especially after the revelation of statistics predicting that by the turn of the century as
many as 90% of the world’s languages will have become extinct (Krauss,1992).

• Strong Language Awareness

Consciousness dominates and influences behavior, and the relationship between language consciousnesses, LPP is very
close. More than 400 years ago, English was only a small branch of Germanic language, but in the 20th century, especially
in the 21st century, it showed a tendency of world hegemony. The reason is that the strong language consciousness of
Germanic nation is a very important factor.

• Establishment of Specialized Agencies

The world's leading countries usually set up special agencies responsible for their own LP and foreign language promotion.
The USA Department of State is the official department in charge of teaching English to in foreign countries. France's

Impact Factor (JCC): 6.7094 NAAS Rating: 4.16

The Role of Linguistic Nationalism on the Integration of Nation- State Building 13

French academy, the professional vocabulary council and the Alliance France are the specialized institutions for the
planning and promotion of French established by successive French governments.

• Adoption of Legislation to Define Official and Lingua Franca

Status planning in the state nations usually concerns itself with the choice of the varieties that would be considered as the
official language(s) of the state or sovereign, especially as the medium of such institutions are concerned, (Sue, 2004).
Through legislation, to determine that official language and lingua franca are the commonalities of powerful countries. For
example, Japanese is the official language and national lingua franca of Japan, British English is the official language and
national lingua franca of the UK and American English is the official language and national lingua franca of the US. In
1968, the USA introduced the Bilingual Education Act, and the English only Movement passed legislation to make English
the official language of the United States, which saw cohesive linguistic group as essential for the well-being of the state.
Where the other languages or dialects present on the territory of the state nations survived the pressures of nationalism,
such languages were mostly retreated to the private domain, were prohibited from being taught in schools and were not
permitted in any contact with the state as exemplified by nationalist ideology who discouraged minority language as The
Dupont Act, enacted in August 1994, which stipulated that :Teaching in public schools; The printing of official government
publications and publications of public interest must be in French.

• Codification and Standardization of Languages

Scholars who engaged in linguistic unification became conscious very early in the process that official language and
national lingua franca of the state would be disseminated efficiently to non-speakers in any population if its written form
was stable and existed clear guidelines and rules on that particular language’s syntax, lexis, grammar and orthography, that
it could be formally taught in the education system. Imposing national standard throughout national territory is usually
achieved through codification and standardization of orthography and grammar by central bodies. Hence, codification and
standardization are thus usually state initiatives, which are undertaken by prestigious language academies at the behest of
government or sovereign, since the spread of standard national languages is widely held to be a requirement as soon as the
political legitimacy of the state derives from the people, as it provides forum and means for political participation and also
considered as a means of achieving social cohesion and social mobility (Sue, 2004). Corpus planning is the planning of
language forms such as pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary and grammar. The France's French Academy was responsible
for the codification and standardization of French spelling, vocabulary, usage and grammar. Its responsibility was to find
omissions in the French vocabulary of relevant fields, to collect, revise and advocate for professional terminology, and use
the resources international organization of francophone to disseminate the official professional vocabulary. Japanese
includes Kanji and Kana. The publication of modern Kanji Font Table in 1949 and the Kana published in 1985, contributed
greatly to the development of Japanese language disciplines in Japan.

• Attaching Importance to the External Dissemination of Language

Language dissemination means that the language of nation A is learned and used by nation B, so that the language of nation
A is spread to nation B, which can be divided into domestic and international dissemination. Powerful countries attach
great importance to the spread of their own languages. The USA is aggressively promoting foreign English teaching around
the world, and TOEFL, IELTS, GRE and other exams have become foreign language passes for foreign students to enter
American Universities. The Alliance France founded in Paris in July 1883. This institution is an official, non-profit

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14 Stephen Ondago Oduor

organization for the promotion of French and French culture, mainly through French teaching activities, targeting groups of
students learning French as a second language in France and abroad, popularizing French and promoting French culture.
The dissemination of Japanese language focuses on two major groups: foreigners, especially those who learn Japanese as a
second language; Japanese living abroad, especially Japanese immigrants from latin America, California and Canada.
Foreign Japanese teaching is the main form of foreign language promotion in Japan.


The term Nation state refers to a group that considers itself as a cultural and linguistic entity, or rather whose leaders saw it
as such, sought to acquire territory, which would be exclusively for such a group. According to Sue (2004), he argues that
the history of the politics of nation state building reveals how the conscious promotion of language convergence is part of
the development of the nation state. The linguistic Nationalism plays a number of important roles in the nation building

• National language has a utilitarian role. It becomes the medium of communication which permits the nation to
function efficiently in its political and economic life, particularly as democracy develops. For instance, the
citizens of the nation state are trained in their national education systems to be both able and willing to assent to
this, since it is the means of social promotion and necessary for employment in the mainstream.

• Promotes culture and cohesion: a unified language is held to promote cohesion, allowing the nation to develop a
shared culture. National language takes a symbolic dimension to this: to know and to use the national language is
part of the definition of belonging to the nation; while to be able to speak the language is a badge of inclusion; to
refuse to know the language is to refuse the community and is seen as schismatic and unpatriotic.

• If it can be demonstrated that the language of a particular group is both different from that of her neighbors and
with some measure of inner cohesion, this can be used as one of the arguments in any bid to be treated as a
separate nation. Thus the political leaders of the nationalist era of both actual and aspirant nation states believed
that it was essential to encourage a single community of communication.

• Sue further adds that, the need to create a feeling of solidarity within the group was equally vital. Making the case
that a language was separate and coherent was a powerful strategy in the bid for independence and sovereignty.
Fichte, the German romantic nationalist, who puts the point most radically: ‘wherever a separate language was to
be found there was also a separate nation, which had the right to manage its own affairs and rule itself
(1808/1908:25).’ Therefore, a country possessing her own language helps define her. This is a desideratum of
nation building even in the cases where the national language never actually comes to be widely spoken.
Nationalist movements understood the desideratum of nation building and the significance of organized
congresses of LP in the early era of national mobilization to planning differentiation from allied varieties and
promoting general acceptance of norm (Fishman 1993). In addition, Sue while taking the position that language is
contingent in nation building, he notes that: ‘...... nation state, national linguistic homogenization was encouraged,
because a single linguistic group could be enlisted in claims for national self determination or for continued
national sovereignty. Nation builders saw that national education and national service would create a single
community of communication in addition to their primary purposes of training the workforce and military. Actual
and imagined communication would build national identity and solidarity.’ He further adds:‘Linguistic

Impact Factor (JCC): 6.7094 NAAS Rating: 4.16

The Role of Linguistic Nationalism on the Integration of Nation- State Building 15

differentiation was welcomed because it reinforced borders. Where the Citizens on either side of a political border
spoke the same language there was always fear of irredentism at worst or a dilution of national identity at least.’
(Sue, 2004:67).

In the modern history, linguistic nationalism is conspicuous feature. It originated in Europe and spread across the
world. Linguistic nationalism, not only played an integration and construction function, but also in the formation of
European nation-states and in the post-colonial era of Asian and African countries. The two schools of thought, Dai
Manchun and Zhu Ningyan interpreted the language nationalism and its movement as far as its function is concerned, as
the integrative linguistic nationalism bound to seek national liberation or the construction of super-national community by
using unified national language as a tool.

Theory and Practice of Linguistic Nationalism on the Integration of Nation State Building in Europe

As a subject of academic enquiry LPP first appeared in the era of nationalism. Language planning was an integral part of
nation building and, in the 18th and 19th centuries, a rich literature on LPP was produced by intellectuals in the European
countries especially Germany and France. The most outstanding works of the Germans, Herder and Fitches, was
particularly influential in elaborating the role of language in ethnic nationalism. On the other hand, Renan in France
convincingly reconciled language and the theories of civic nationalism (Sue, 2004). One can argue that the ideas of
German romantic nationalism and the theories of French republicanism indeed inspired a ferment of interest among those
who aspired to the status of independent nations. Language was at the center of nationalism, since in the struggle for
independence, it could be enlisted in defining the ethnicity of the group and even after independence; language would be
fostered in providing the statewide community of communication that nationalism required.

Linguistic nationalism originated and developed in Europe, with the construction process of European nation-
states under the impetus of nationalist thoughts and movements as the historical background. The theory and practice of
linguistic nationalism first appeared in Germany and France. German thinkers and politicians were the initiators and
practitioners of linguistic nationalism. According to Chen(2008, the German-speaking world of Germany, before the end
of the 18th century, under the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation, was a loose geographical concept, and during the
period of extreme division, Germany was actually a union composed of more than 300 vassal states, free cities, and more
than 1,700 territories of the imperial knights. The dream of German thinkers and statesmen was to unite the German-
speaking regions and build a unified German nation-state that was conducive to the development of production and trade
and could compete with her strong neighbors. The famous German philosopher of the 18th century, Herder (1744-1803),
once said: “The thoughts, feelings, prejudices and so on of generations of people are manifested in the language, and the
people who speak the same language have the same historical tradition and psychological characteristics through the
inheritance of the language, and the formation of peoples based on the common language is the most natural and
systematic combination of human beings; Language is the most sacred attribute of each nation, and the most important
distinguishing feature between them.”Another philosopher, Fichte (1762-1814), further bluntly states in his speech to the
German Nation that “where there is an independent language, there is an independent nation with the power to govern its
own affairs.” He also pointed out “What separates the Germans from other European peoples is the common language and
national identity, which unite the Germans with one another.” At the same time, he argued that the German nation should
form a strong and unified German nation-state as soon as possible. German politicians adopted their views and used them
as the theoretical basis for the creation of the nation state, which played an important role in the unification of the German

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16 Stephen Ondago Oduor

nation, culminating in the establishment of a unified German Empire after the three dynastic wars in the 1860s.

At the same time, another European country that raised a banner of language and integrated the unity and identity
of nation states was France. Unlike Germany, France in the 17th century was already a centralized, unified, absolute
monarchy. The France under the Louis XIV era occupied the pinnacle of power on the European continent, and the history
and culture of France distinguished her from the other great western powers. In particular, after French replaced Latin as
the lingua franca in the 16th century, and then became the language of many European courts and international diplomacy in
the 18th century. The French revolution promoted the eventual formation of the French-speaking community. One of the
major problems faced by the politicians of the French revolution in launching and advancing the revolution was how to
ignite the enthusiasm of the people to participate and how to convey the revolutionary information accurately and clearly.
“Communication was a major problem confronting the French revolutionaries in 1789. In the first phase, the revolutionary
message was spread in the various languages and dialects of France. The need to understand the extent of the linguistic
diversity with which they were dealing led to a language census carried out by the Abbé Grégoire in 1790.”(Sue 2004:31).
This survey revealed that in the 1790, after the revolution,only 3 million people in France spoke French as their first
language. Another 3 million had some level of proficiency in French and the remaining 25 million populations spoke other
language and had minimal competence in French (Grégoire 1794).

After Jacobins acquired power, they argued that linguistic diversity was an important factor impeding equality for
all, and that the best symbol of democracy was the use of the standard French of the social elite. Since then, government
documents from central to local governments, such as bulletins, have been written in French, and citizens' learning to speak
French has been regarded as a patriotic and revolutionary mission. The Jacobins further believed that French was the
symbol of the state and centralization, and that the languages of minorities were impeding national unity and should be
banned. They even demonized other languages of France and linked them with anti-revolutionary forces and factions. As
noted by Sue (2004): “Breton is the language of federalism and superstition; German is the language of those who hate
France and have abandoned it; Italian is the language of those who oppose the revolution; Basque is the language of
fanaticism. We must destroy these harmful instruments, which lead the people into error. (Barère 1792. Author’s
translation)”. The principle of one language, one race and one nation gradually became the foundation of the establishment
of the French Republic. Since then, successive French governments for more than 150 years have basically adhered to a
single language policy on language issues, supporting the use of a monolingual public affairs, arguing that a single
language l is conducive to strengthening unity and social prosperity alongside nation building. “The argument for
monolingualism has always been that only a single language can foster the solidarity and fraternity needed for a welfare
state and that only a single language can ensure the equality of opportunity needed for a meritocracy”(Sue2004:32). And
the French people also believe that French is not only the symbol of the country, but also the symbol of the French nation.

The Greek struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire was deeply influenced by the French revolution
ideas, that they adopted and applied the theories and ideas of linguistic nationalism, mobilized and integrated the historical,
cultural and social resources of the nation to establish a unified and independent nation-state. Pre-independence Greece in
the 1830s was a divided nation for centuries, mobilizing a divided state and integrating her into a political and cultural
society as a whole, the intellectual elite of nationalism archaeologists and linguists, played a key role in evoking Greeks’
memories of the classical golden age. In particular, in awakening the community's national consciousness and community
identity, the linguists "encourage the use of modern Greek - a language that excludes loanwords from the Ottoman period

Impact Factor (JCC): 6.7094 NAAS Rating: 4.16

The Role of Linguistic Nationalism on the Integration of Nation- State Building 17

that are closer to the ancient Greek language than the usual popular language used term", which fully embodied the
intention and purpose of the nationalists to use language to serve the establishment of a nation-state. After independence,
language became an important tool to strengthen national identity. Another case is that language played an important role
in national identity during the Italian national unification movement and the subsequent nation-state building process. In
the process of the Italian national independence and unification movement and the subsequent nation state building. It is
undeniable that the political process takes precedence over cultural and linguistic identity in the process of national
unification in Italy. However, the fact that there is linguistic and cultural identity in the Italian world is indisputable.

Linguistic Nationalism on the Integration of Nation-States Building in Asia and Africa: A case study of Tanzania
and Indonesia

The dissolution of the European colonial empires in the second half of the 20th century resulted in another postwar period
where many newly states were constituted. Although the leaders of the newly liberated countries especially having gained
independence were in very different settings from their counterparts as nation state formation since they took the nation
state as the model for sovereign statehood. However, the basic problems were much the same. From the linguistic and
cultural perspective, the challenges were still those intractable issues: how to ensure independence, achieving national
unity, and educating the national population effectively. The new nation states of Africa and Asia became conscious of
language planning with a mushrooming of western scholars such as (Ferguson, Fishman, Das Gupta 1968; Jernudd &
Rubin 1971; Fishman 1974; etc.), these policy groups were committed in analyzing the experiences of the recent European
nation building past and adopted the knowledge in suggesting the frameworks for the post colonial nation building future.
They were quite optimistic that language change could be orchestrated, as pointed out by Das Gupta & Ferguson
(1977: 5): ‘Planning includes indicative, regulative, productive and promotional functions. The indicative aspect of LP
consists of assessing the language situation in terms of social developmental requirements and prescribing certain courses
of change. The regulative aspect calls for authoritative action in the form of public measures accompanied by sanctions for
encouraging specific uses of selected languages for defined domains. The productive aspect attends to the task of
developing the capacity of a language to cope with the increasing demands likely to be made on it from the domains
Planning authorities are likely to engage in active promotion of the products and standards among the potential user
publics, including the administrative, educational, news media and other modes of language use. ‘Some scholars believed
that LP could be introduced top-down through the agencies of the state and citizens persuaded of the utility of the
rationalization. However, Haugen (1966), cautiously ‘reported the incremental force of individual decisions and suggested
that top-down policy only succeeds when bottom-up patterns of behavior are (or can be brought to be) in accord with
it.’(Sue 2004:74).

Nationalism originated in Europe and spread to the world ,accompanied by colonialism, industrialization,
education and other modernization process and etc, and thus becoming the mobilization force of the national liberation
movement in Asia and Africa, and after independence, adhered to the theory as the basic principle of nation-building.
However, the form of organization of nation-state was the most important legacy of political organization left by Europe to
the world, and it is also a great political hidden danger. The territorial boundaries of many post-colonial states were drawn
by the colonial empire based on the sphere of influence, mutual checks and balances and competing economic and trade
interests. The boundaries of geometric shapes ignored the reality of ethnic groups, and as a result, ethnic groups that were
once highly homogeneous in terms of language and culture were torn apart and divided, while the language, culture and

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18 Stephen Ondago Oduor

other distinct regions were forcibly joined together. The post-colonial nation-state building era was faced with great social
differences from diversity of religions, ethnic groups, languages and cultures. The urgent task of the new nation-state was
to construct and integrate the national identity and unity. In this process, language nationalism and other factors constituted
the basic elements of integrating and constructing homogeneous and unified state.

In his research, scholar Sue explores in depth the language problems in the nation-state building of Tanzania and
Indonesia, highlighting the prominent role of language in the nation-state building in the post-colonial era. The linguistic
diversity of Africa is not usually seen as a major problem at the grass-roots level. Most Africans are multilingual and the
phenomenon is not as surprising since Africa has a tendency towards multilingual society for a long time. In Central Africa,
East Africa and Southern Africa, many languages are closely related, with a highly shared vocabulary and grammatical
structures. Indeed, many countries are likely to identify with an indigenous language that both symbolize a distinctive,
formal national identity and serves an official functions. Tanzania and Indonesia are the usually cited cases. (See Wright
2004; Foley 1997; Omar 1992). Tanganyika became independent in 1961 and Tanzania was founded when Tanganyika
united with Zanzibar in 1964. Tanzania, qualifies as a state where language policy and national identity effectively
occurred as an issue: it was a nationalist state and language was explicitly schematized in this context. In 1967,
postcolonial Tanzanian state was one of the first to designate an indigenous language, Swahili, the national language of the
Tanzania. In the same year, Swahili was designated as an official language alongside the former colonial language, English.
Hence, Swahili was immediately adopted as the medium of instruction in primary schools, alongside English as the
(inherited) medium of instruction in post-primary education in Tanzania. As a long-standing local lingua franca, Swahili
was based on Bantu grammar and had a relatively few native speakers, but it is well suited as a national official language in
highly heterogeneous Tanzania and thus was chosen as the official language.

Tanzania is a territory of more than 120 ethnic groups with diverse languages and cultures. After independence,
Swahili instantaneously became the language of political life as the nationalist leaders of the new state eventually chose
Swahili and used it when addressing their constituencies and parliamentary proceedings thus playing the role of the
unifying language of the state building. In addition, Literature in Swahili was actively encouraged, as majority of the mass
media; both radio and printed press systematically used it. Despite the absence of any formal language planning, a lot of
language-policy measures ensured, the reasons were manifold. Firstly, Swahili was a common commercial language in
East Africa, linked to the language of religious groups such as Christianity and the Islamic communities; secondly, it has
been used for a long time as the working language outside the language of the metropolitan state in government institutions
throughout the colonial era. However, Swahili was eventually chosen as the official language of the newly independent
State as the language of political mobilisation against colonialism, most importantly because Swahili was the language
used as the medium by Tanganyika African National Union, the main organization of the Tanganyikan independence
movement, since its inception, and that ‘Swahili had already acquired the status of a party or national language’(Whiteley
1971:146). Post-independence, especially during a massive campaign of nation-building in the mid1960s. Swahili was
given a crucial role in which it was defined as the language of African-socialist Ujamaaide as and values, thus it became
the language of introducing and promoting Ujamaa's socialist policy and also as a measurable index of spreading socialism
across the population of Tanzania , since the language and political ideology mutually reinforced each other.

Nyerere affirmed the key role of Swahili in promoting national cohesion and stability. He said: ‘The Arusha
Declaration and our democratic single-party system, together with our national language, Swahili and a highly politicized

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The Role of Linguistic Nationalism on the Integration of Nation- State Building 19

and disciplined national army, transformed more than 126 different tribes into a cohesive and stable nation.’ (Sue 2004:
78). In terms of national identity, Tanzania was defined not in ethnic or cultural terms but from the political-ideological
and linguistic fronts. Firstly, the ideal situation envisaged by the pioneers of the nation-state building campaign was
monoglot. In which the elite leaders believed that the nation-state building campaign would only be a success when the
population would use single national language as imbued with those of Ujamaa set of ideological loads. In addition, the
spread of Swahili and Ujamaa ideologies would have to go alongside with the disappearance of other languages for
example English and local languages; and ideologies, for instance, English was considered as the language of imperialism,
capitalism, and oppression; while local languages was viewed as vehicles for traditional, pre-colonial cultures, hand in
hand with "non-standard" varieties of Swahili which were seen as an impediment to process of hegemony. Secondly, the
conception of language as a politically defined set of ideological values was not only a typical case of an inherited ideology
from colonial language description, but the whole operational conception of language was that inherited from colonial
predecessor regimes as well just as described by ( Irvine & Gal 2000; cf. Blommaert, 1994). In short, on the construction of
Swahili as a purified artifact of normativity literacy produced through formal education systems focused on referential
functions. The fact that Tanzania was relatively stable for a long period after its founding shows that the construction
policy of Tanzania's nation-state, including language planning and its construction, was successful.

Indonesia was also a country built on the political legacy of the former colonial power when the colonial empire
collapsed and colonialism withdrew from the historical stage. It is a country with more than 13,000 islands, stretching more
than 5,000 kms, along the equator, and highly heterogeneous. In 1949, Indonesia gained independent from the Netherlands
and chose a higher status written Malay language as the official language. This choice was not surprising, nor received
much criticism, since Malay was seen as indigenous thus seemed to fit all the requirements for a national language status.
As early as 1928, the language was considered a proper national language by nationalists. During the Japanese occupation
of 1942 -1945, Malay replaced the Dutch to become the language of government and as the medium of education. Post-
independence, Japanese speakers became the largest ethnic language group, accounting for 48% of Indonesian's total
population. The heterogeneous in Indonesia with a population of 203.4 million people was more than Tanzania, thus also
faced the ethnic and linguistic diversity in an archipelago. Indonesians’ early nationalist leaders preferred to use the variant
of Bahasa Malay rather than the dominant national language, such as Japanese. Malay was predominantly linked with a
Islam group that historically was the religion of the majority of Indonesian. Malay was therefore more widely acceptable
and accessible to ethnically diverse Indonesians. The ultimate choice for the Indonesian nationalist movement and its
founders was Bahasa Indonesian. Firstly ,the choice of Bahasa Indonesia was politically astute and secondly, the Bahasa
Indonesian language was a variation of Indonesia's native language, since it was closely related to Lingua franca of the
malay which had been used by commercial community throughout the archipelgo over centuries hence had far-reaching
effects, and was thus well-received by the Indonesian people because it is associated with state institutions, while retaining
enough historical imprints that symbolized unity, especially in terms of ideology (Sue 2004:81-83). As the foundation of
the language and cultural identity of the Indonesian nation-state, the identity of the same language community and the
symbol of national identity, the Bahasa Indonesian in the early days of the founding of Indonesia, played a positive role in
rallying the hearts of the people, consolidating the building of nation-state, and integrating diversity.


LPP is a resurgent science, revived by the policy challenges of global development in the 20th and 21st centuries, including

www.tjprc.org editor@tjprc.org
20 Stephen Ondago Oduor

globalization, resurgent nationalism, the rise and fall of nations and etc. However, LLP has been a different discipline in
many aspects since the early post-colonial era in the 1960s and 1970s. First of all, it is clear from the above that there are
greater questions about the effectiveness of LLP. The second most notable difference is that people's positions on linguistic
diversity are much more positive, which is reflected in more interference with the languages by people who speak regional
national languages, immigrant languages and endangered languages of indigenous peoples. Furthermore,the linguistic
problems addressed by LP are not just linguistic and communicative issues, but often stem from the context of political,
economic, social and cultural struggles, and can only be fully understood in these contexts. It is for this reason that LP
research has no alternative but to become an interdisciplinary study. Hence, it should be affirmed that constructive
linguistic nationalism has no universal value, nor is it an essential element in the construction of all nation-states. French
linguistic nationalism had more politically integrated functions. As mentioned above, during the revolution, the French-
speaking population was not the majority, but the unity of the state required that French not only act as a tool of
communication, but also serve as a function of assimilation and unity of aliens, and achieve cultural and even political
coherence through the homogeneity of language. For the French, French language was a symbol of both the state and the
nation. French people even show a morbid preference for French in their daily lives. The integration and construction
function of French linguistic nationalism to the French nation-state is undeniable, and it played an irreplaceable role in
consolidating and developing the imaginary community—the French nation-state.

There are several reasons why the decolonizing countries of Africa and Asia are considered to be particularly
suitable areas for LPP. First of all, the distribution model of language status in these countries is more flexible and unfixed
compared with the old European countries, which can provide opportunities and development for the application of theory
to practice. Secondly, the challenges facing emerging countries are clear, and traditional nation-building refers to building a
cohesive state that fosters the loyalty of its citizens to the state, rather than a more locally-based nationalism. Finally, there
is the question of nation-state building. As emerging countries inherited the artificial legacy of the colonial era, and the
resulting multilingualism and multicultural problems, the new ruling elite scoured no pre-existing national and linguistic
cohesion from which to shape the new national identity. In the post-colonial era, language was an important resource and
means in the nation-state building. Language and other factors combined to integrate the language, culture, religion, clans
and other previously disparate communities left behind by colonialism into a unified whole. This process was often driven
by political forces with official backgrounds or intentions, such as governments, political parties, movements, groups, etc.
In their struggle for independence, these political forces adhered to the anti-imperialist and anti-colonial nationalist
ideology and selectively abandoned the cultural and linguistic symbols linked to colonialism to show their determination to
completely break away from colonialism. Some countries even irrationally excluded the patriarchal language and culture,
thus undermining their links with the outside world and depriving them of available resources. The linguistic nationalism
embodied in the construction of nation-states in Tanzania and Indonesia are correct in the sense of nation-states building.
However, while nationalism highlights the political nature, it ignores the functionality, practicality and sociality of
languages. Tanzania's case proves that simply projecting language onto national identity doesn't work. Mature
sociolinguistics sees the State and it’s functioning as part of all activities that goes on in the country's socio-political and
cultural sphere, with specific, rather than all domains, activities and relationships, except within the totalitarian Systems.
Thus, language policy should be seen as an activity in the niche, the product it craves as well as national identity. Language
policy can now be defined as an ideological activity in a niche, which, despite initially seen as having predominance, is still
contained in many other activities and is interconnected with others.

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The Role of Linguistic Nationalism on the Integration of Nation- State Building 21


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