Philippines is apolyglot society with 181 existed distinct languages (Mandane, 2014). Accordingto McFarland (2004) the languages in Philippines can be further group into afew language families which are northern group (Ilokano, Pangasinan andKapampangan) and central group (Tagalog, Bikol, Hilligaynon and Cebuano).Mandane (2014) stated that among these 181 distinct languages, Chavacano is aSpanish-based creole, while all the other languages belong to Austronesianlanguage family.
Philippines did not have a national language until Tagalog wasdeclared as the basis for national language of Philippines on 31 December 1937.Tagalog was then renamed to Pilipino in year 1959. In the 1973 Constitution,Filipino, which is the basis for Tagolog was proclaimed as the officiallanguage, together with English Language. The status of Filipino and English asthe official languages of Philippines was once again mentioned in Article XIV,Section 6 to 7 of 1987 Constitution. 1.
The national language of the Philippines isFilipino. As it evolves, it shall befurther developed and enriched on the basis of existing Philippine and otherlanguages.2.
For purposes of communication and instruction, theofficial languages of the Philippines are Filipino and, until otherwiseprovided by law, English.1987 Constitutionof the Republic of the Philippines (Chan Robles Virtual Law Library,1998)InSection 7 of Article XIV, 1987 Constitution, it is also mentioned that SpanishLanguage and Arabic Language can be learned as a voluntary basis. Also, Section8 states that The 1987 Constitution shall be translated into Spanish Languageand Arabic Language. Section 7.
Spanish and Arabicshall be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis.Section 8. This Constitutionshall be promulgated in Filipino and English and shall be translated into majorregional languages, Arabic, and Spanish.1987 Constitutionof the Republic of the Philippines (Chan Robles Virtual Law Library,1998)In1974, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) issued DepartmentOrder No.25, entitled, “Implementing Guidelines for the Policy on BilingualEducation”. Since then, The Philippines Bilingual Education Policy wasimplemented (Espiritu, 2015).
In the Department Order No. 25, it is stated thatEnglish shall be used as the instructional language for Science, Mathematicsand Technology while the other subjects shall be taught in Pilipino (Filipino).Besides, in order to ensure the competency of citizens in both Filipino andEnglish, these two subjects are learned as language subjects in all levels(Espiritu, 2015).
On 25 August, 1988, President Corazon Aquino signed ExecutiveOrder No. 335 to enjoin all government departments to use Filipino in officialtransactions, correspondence and communications (Catacataca 2015). The purposeof Executive Order No. 335 is to promote a greater understanding andappreciation towards the countries and thus enhance the unity and peace of thecountry. Make as part of the training programs for personneldevelopment in each office the proficiency in the use of Filipino in officialcommunications and correspondence. Filipinizethe “Oath of Office” for Government Officials and Personnel. (Espiritu, 2015)Inconsonance with the Bilingual Education Policy of 1987, the new-createdCommission on Higher Education in year 1994 has listed out a few guidelinesregarding the medium language in Philippines. 1.
Language courses, whetherFilipino or English, should be taught in that language. 2. At the discretion of theHigher Education Institute, Literature subjects may be taught in Filipino,English or any other language as long as there are enough instructionalmaterials for the same and both students and instructors/professors arecompetent in the language. TheLanguage Policy of the Commission on Higher Education (Espiritu, 2015) Inyear 2010, Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) wasimplemented. Department of Education believes that children learn best in theirmother tongue and mother tongue promotes effective learning of additionallanguages (Besa, 2014). Thus, MTB-MLE was implemented and 19 languages arecurrently used in the teaching and learning (Department of Education, 2016).
MTB-MLE is implemented in all learning subjects (except for Filipino andEnglish) for all Kindergarten to Grade 3 students and the focus is placed onspeaking, reading and writing (Department of Education, 2016). 2.2 NigeriaWith a totalarea of 923,768 km2, Nigeria is located on the west coast of Africaas shown in Figure 1. It consists of 36 states altogether and the FederalCapital Territory is Abuja. Nigeria is a culturally and linguistically heterogeneousAfrican state and therefore it is one of the countries with the highestlinguistic diversity and was once a colony of British from 1901-1960 (Orekan,2010). The plurality of Africa was described by Ouadraogo (2000) when he statedthat “education and language issues are verycomplex in Africa because of the multi-ethnic and multi-lingual situations”. Figure 1 Map of Nigeria Based on the present language ethnography, there areover 521 languages and ethnic groups in the nation.
These indigenous languagesare being classified into two, namely the majority and minority languages accordingto the population of speakers (Ogunmodimu, 2015). Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba arethe three major languages in the country as each of them has over twenty millionspeakers and they often function as local lingua francas as well as regional or state languages in areaswhere they are spoken (Ndimele, 2012). On the other hand, unlike themajority languages, the minority languages have only over one million speakers.Some examples of these languages are Tiv, Urhoho, Fulfude, Istekiri, Ibibio,Gwari etc.
As for smaller minority languages such as Janji and Benue-Congo,they only have approximately 400-100 speakers (Dada, 2010) and the usage isonly limited to their respective local communities. In addition to all theseindigenous language, there is also the exoglossic languages such as English,French and Arabic. As mentioned earlier, Nigeria has a history of Britishcolonisation. However, that is not the sole reason that the English language iswidely used throughout the country. Even before colonisation, Nigeria came intocontact with the English language through British missionaries and traders inthe late sixteen century. English then became the language of administrationduring British colonisation. Now, English is the language of education, legislation, media, business andadministration. It is recognised as one of the official languages in Nigeriaas stated in the 1979 Constitution in Section 51 and 91, as well as in Sections55 and 97 of the 1999 Constitution: The business of the National Assembly shall be conducted in English andin Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba when adequate arrangements have been made therefore.
Hence, according to the constitution above, there are nowfour recognised official languages in Nigeria namely, English, Hausa, Yorubaand Igbo. At the stateGovernment level, the major languages of each state are similarly recognized.However,in reality,English is primarily used compared to the other official indigenous languages.
They only play a complementaryrole either at the federal or state level (Dada, 2010). This is due tothe fact that English is institutionally the only means open to individualsfrom different ethnic and linguistic groups for interaction (Odebunmi, 2005). In Nigeria, there is a thirdlanguage known as the English-based Nigerian Pidgin, which is made up of amixture of languages.
Although it is not a native language of any of the tribeor ethnic, it is dominantly used by the Nigerians, regardless of socioeconomicstatus, to interact and communicate with each other in an informal context(Ogunmodimu, 2015). Table 1 summarises the various language types which can befound in Nigeria. Types Languages Exogenous English, French, Arabic Indigenous Over 521 types Neutral English-based Nigerian Pidgin Table 1 Languages in Nigeria Due to the nation’s pluralistic nature,language planning is crucially important to promote national unity and cohesionas well as to preserve its unique culture. In order to do so, the NationalPolicy on Education (NPE) was disseminated in 1977, which was then beingrevised in 1981, 1998 and 2004. The NPE stated that the Nigerian languages hasa different role to play in the nation’s education which is divided intovarious levels.
It is also mentioned that every child shall learn in thelanguage of the immediate environment in the first three years while English andFrench shall be taught as subjects in school. In addition to that every childis also required to learn one of the three official indigenous languages(Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba) to promote national unity among all the differentethnic groups in Nigeria. The provision of the NPE in 2004, Section 4,Paragraph 19(e) and (f) is cited below:The medium ofinstruction in the primary school shall be the language of the environment forthe first three years. During this period, English shall be taught as asubject. from the fourth year, English shall progressively be used as a mediumof instruction and the language of immediate environment and French shall betaught as subjects. Currently, the main issue faced bythe Nigerians still exists. The issue is once again raised by Ndimele (2012)stating that Nigeria has never had a “robustand well-articulated language planning framework” as there is “no explicit and comprehensive nationallanguage policy.” The only thing that is present in the nation is its languageprovision of the National Policy on Education (NPE).
It is undeniable that NPE reinforces the operation oflanguage in education planning process. However, it does not guarantee or strengthen literacyin the indigenous languages especially the so-called minority languages ofNigeria. 3.0 SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THELANGUAGE PLANNING IN THE PHILIPPINES AND NIGERIA3.1 Dominance of the English languageAmongall similarities, the most prominent will be the dominance of the Englishlanguage in the Philippines and Nigeria since colonisation until present days.As introduced earlier in this paper, the English language is being recognisedas one of the official languages in both countries and plays a significant rolein both formal and informal context.
The dominance of English has reached theextent that the use of English is now more preferable by the people whencompared to their own indigenous languages due to its status as well as itsfunction as an international language. For instance, in the Philippines, the nationallanguage is Filipino, which is a Tagalog-based Pilipino enriched with vocabulary from all the Philippinelanguages and other non-Philippine languages such as Spanish, Englishand Arabic. Both Filipino and English are the official languages. However, exceptfor local communication and entertainment-based media on radio and television, thelanguage most widely used in schools and in the print media is still English.
In fact, English continues todominate government and business transactions at the highest levels as well asinternational communications and education, especially science and mathematicsclasses, at all levels and all subjects at university level (Gonzalez,2003). This happens because Filipino is a language yet to be fully developedand is insufficient to fulfil intellectual and business purposes. Besides that, the Philippines current social problemsalso contributed to the dominance of English. Due to its rapid populationgrowth rate and slow rate of economic growth, unemployment and underemploymentof university graduates is a common scene in the Philippines. Hence, when thesegraduates are unable to find a proper job in their own country, they tend torely on Overseas Employment to be employed in various fields.
Therefore, Englishcompetence is emphasised more than Filipino competence at the tertiary level. Throughout the rest of Asia,where many of these workers are employed, Filipino workers can be found inEnglish-speaking domains, thus giving the impression that all Filipinos must begood English speakers. (Jones, 2000). Similarly, the English language in today’s Nigeriacontinues to playimportant roles in the nation as the language of education, media, religion andthe language of politics, governance and law. It is the language of the elitesand also the first language for some Nigerians (Ogunmodimu, 2015). Nigeria’s multiplicity of languages is so obvious thatlanguages of people living within a 20 kilometres radius are particularlydifferent and not understandable to one another (Danladi, 2013).
Theimplication of this linguistic situation has been the lack of a common effectivemeans of communication among the groups and this became the basis for resortingto use the English language as a medium of instruction in educational settings,since the choice of any of the three main native languages as a nationallanguage may deteriorate to disintegration. English is usedin all and at all levels of official business: in education, in commerce andindustry, in the dispensation of justice, in all government departments andparastatals at the state or federal level. Official records are kept in Englishand official information is given principally in English Government activitiesare published in the gassette and transmitted in the mass media, the press,radio and television in English. (Dada, 2010).
For instance, many scholars havewritten on the dominance of English as the official language in Nigeria. Accordingto Oyetade (1992:34), …consequent upon our colonial experience under the British, English has becomeNigeria’s official and dominant educational language. It is used in its writtenform as the language of administration from the federal to the local governmentlevel. It is the language of commerce and industry, its knowledge therefore isan essential prerequisite for effective participation in the day-to-day runningof Nigerian government. This is furthersupported by lgboanusi and Peter (2005) stating that in Nigeria, the dominanceof English is overwhelming in practically all domains. It is also a language ofinter-ethnic communication. Accordingto Odebunmi (2005), English is institutionally the only means open toindividuals from different ethnic and linguistic groups for interaction.
Thisshows the dominance of English in the Nigerian setting (Ibrahim et. al., 2016). 3.2 Policy is Not the RealityBoth thePhilippines and Nigeria faced a common problem in upholding their indigenous ornational language because the language themselves are not developed.
In thePhilippines, due to the lackof financial resources, the national language has not been sufficientlydeveloped as a language of intellectual discourse. Jaine Z. Tarun (2016) alsopointed out this issue as his research on Language Planning and the Programs inFilipino of Higher Education Institutions proved that there are very few scholarly materialswritten in Filipino. Results indicated that English is the language used inpublished books, scholarly articles, theses and journals in other disciplines.The findings imply that the problem in the use of Filipino language is not onlyon the technical discipline but in all subjects in the universities exceptFilipino courses, where there is abundance of written and published materialsin English but not in Filipino. In order to develop the language, corpus planning hasto be carried out. However, corpus planning is expensive in terms of human andfinancial resources, the society might not be willing to make it a priority inthe face of competing needs and economic imperatives (Gonzalez, 2003). After the Philippinespromulgated Filipino as the national language in the Constitution, some effortshad been done to promote the use of the language.
The Vernacular EducationPolicy from 1957 to 1974 and the Bilingual Education Policy were among them. However,both policy did not end up well. The Vernacular Education Policy was notimplemented due to the lack of resources for teacher training as well as theproduction of teaching materials. Likewise, the Bilingual Education Policy in1974 was aborted due to the resignation of the Undersecretary.Onthe other hand, in Nigeria, the implementation of National Policy on Education wasno plain sailing as well. Despite the fact that through the National Policy onEducation, it can be said to favour the use of two or more languages in theeducational system, implementation of the multilingual provisions has been aserious issue. In an attempt to find out the different factors responsible forthe poor implementation of these provisions, scholars have a list of somechallenges (Olagbaju, 2014) which include:· Multilingual challenge· Negative attitudes of students· Lack of curriculum materials· Ambiguities in the policy· Parental factors· Teacher qualityThefailure in implementation is further proven by Ibrahim, et.
al (2016) in his researchLanguage Policy on Education in Nigeria: Challenges of Multilingual Educationand Future of English Language. When the Nigerian teachers were asked whetherthey implement the multilingual provisions of NPE, 77% of the teachersresponded that they have not been implementing these provisions at all while91% said that it is not necessary to implement the multilingual provisions of NPE.93% of the teachers stated that they are experiencing a lack of relevant teachingmaterials, which is a situation similar to what the Philippines areexperiencing. Another issue that arose while implementing thelanguage policy in both countries is the objection received from the people. ThePhilippines decision-makers and parents have never given the officialrecognition to their national language. They continue to insist on English onthe children at a very young age, even though that hinders the children’sability to think critically in the mother tongue or at least in the nationallanguage which is structurally similar to the mother tongue. This partiallyexplains the problems of language and quality in Philippine education today(Gonzalez, 2003).
Inaddition to that Maximo V. Soliven, a respected columnists in the Philippinesof the Daily Star was among those who voiced out his objection publicly. Thiscaused an uproar among the people and the Secretary of Education, Culture andSports had to go on national television and face a barrage of questions on thelanguage policy and program of the schools and to allay the fear of peopleabout the ‘internal colonization’ of non-Tagalogs by Tagalogs (Gonzalez, 2003).
A similar case happened in Nigeria. Forinstance, when a member in the National Assembly urged the House to adoptHausa, Igbo and Yoruba, the three major languages as the country’s languages ofeducation and of government business, preparatory to the emergence of one ofthem as the national language, the suggestion was greeted with a storm ofprotests. (Oyetade, 2003). Another incident happened some time ago when it wascustomary for newscasters on National Television to symbolically greet theirviewers “goodnight” in the three major languages at the conclusion ofthe 9 o’clock news.
This was fiercely opposed by speakers of minority languagesand the practice was consequently abandoned (Oyetade, 2003).This ethnic attachment to language is a major reasonwhy the choice of one indigenous language as the official language will foreverbe a mirage. There is the salient fear of domination of the minority languagesby the majority ones. To empower an indigenous language, as the nationallanguage is to by extension, empower the ethnicity of that chosen languageabove others. This will definitely do more harm than good in a system whereethnic tension is visible as manifested in the creation of ethnic militiagroups and the politics of federal character.
Thus, for practical reasons,English remains the preferred choice given its tribal neutrality; it is capableof unifying the nation’s linguistic diversities. (Ogunmodimu, 2015) 3.4 Existence of a NeutrallanguageEventhough it is evident that in both countries use the English language as theirdominant language, a neutral language exists in the nation. This neutrallanguage has no native speakers at first. It consists of a mixture of variouslanguages. In the Philippines, this neutral language refers to Tagalog-based Pilipinowhile in Nigeria, it is the English-based Nigerian Pidgin. In both countries,this neutral language is the most dominantly used throughout the nationregardless of ethnicity (Ogunmodimu, 2015).
In Nigeria, pidgin is not onlyused in public spaces like the stores, parks, and marketplaces, it has becomethe means of interethnic communication in informal discourse in offices inlinguistically heterogeneous cities like Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. Inrecent years, Pidgin has become the language of advertising. It is freely usedas the language of media (both print and audio media). A lot of Pentecostalsongs are done in Pidgin. Presently, Pidgin is the language of the pervasivehip-hop culture in Nigeria.
Notwithstanding, Pidgin remains stigmatized andunacceptable in official domains. The attitude of the elites to it is quitenegative. It is viewed as a corrupt form of language that is associated withthe illiterates. Some puritanical linguists concern is that it poses a greatthreat to the teaching of Standard English in schools. This pejorative attitudeto Pidgin has consistently made it to be out of place in the nation’s languagepolicy despite its functionality (Ogunmodimu, 2015)