The Politics of Language

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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A single language can be bring about unity and message can be get through to the intended target without much hassle, thus bilingualism and multilingualism should be discouraged.

Spoken language is a major factor in personal identity. Just as people identify with their own cultures and customs, they identify with their native language dialect. Language is defined by the Collins 'Compact English Dictionary" as a system of spoken sounds or conventional symbols for communicating thought, the language for a particular nation or people, the ability to use words to communicate. It is also defined as any other means of communicating, for example, the specialized vocabulary used by a particular group like legal language. If you want to destroy a people's self -esteem, all you need to do is to destroy their language; make it impossible for them to discuss amongst themselves in a language incomprehensible to their new captors their masters.

The Japanese understood the importance of language as cultural identity when they took over parts of China and Korea. In these areas, they forbade the use of the local languages and all education took place in Japanese. Language education will always be a political issue because it is an important personal and communicative issue. Governments have difficulty ruling over people that they cannot communicate with, so they often try to select and enforce the use of one or several national languages.

Canada exercises bilingualism, where its official languages are English and French. Section 133 of the 1867 British North America Act, the founding constitutional document, permitted the use of either French or English in the national Parliament, the Quebec legislature, and their respective courts, and required laws and records to be maintained in both languages. In 1969, the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau introduced the Official Languages Act, which...