This chapter of this Project work begins, by giving the general background to the
study Multilingualism, and the National Language question in Nigeria. It then gives it
purpose, Scope and Delimitation, then its justification is discussed.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
A speech community is not always made up of speakers of just a single language.
It is constituted of individuals who speak more than two languages. A society where two
or more languages exist side by side, is refer to as a multilingual society, while a person
that speaks more than two languages, is refer to as a multilingual person. Example of
countries where more than two languages are spoken includes, Cameroon, Congo,
Nigeria, Paraguay, California etc to mention but a few.
This project work will examine the multilingual Nature of the country Nigeria,
and the National Language Question in Nigeria, which arises as a result of its
The importance of a language in a society can not be underestimated. Apart from
being an instrument of communication, it is also an identity of such society. One obvious
factor that distinguishes human beings, from animal is language. Language and society
exist side by side, without language there will be no society as language serves as a
binding force, binding the people together as one. It also serves as the mutual identity, of
the people inhabiting such society. 9
A language just don’t exist in a society, without factors responsible for its
existence, the major factor responsible for the existence of many languages, in a society,
which will eventually turn such society into a multilingual one, will also be examined.
This factor is refer to as LANGUAGE CONTACT, i.e. how languages come in contact
and this will be discussed in relation to Nigeria. Factors responsible for language contact,
as well as its effects will be discussed.
According to Gordon, Raymond G. Jr. (ed),...