MULTILINGUAL/MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION AS AN INSTRUMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY
OGUNYEMI KEHINDE OLUFEMI
MULTILINGUALISM AND MULTICULTURALISM
Multilingualism and multiculturalism are two similar concepts with only a thin line separating them. According to Ajulo (2008) multilingualism occurs when a society or individuals have three or more languages. Wikipedia gives a broader definition of multilingualism when a multilingual person is described as one who can communicate in more than one language, be it actively (through speaking, writing, or singing) or passively (through listening, reading, or perceiving). In the same vein, Lyons (1968) opines that multiculturalism implies the assimilation of two or more cultures. According to him, learning the language of a people also involves learning their culture.
Adeniran cited by Ajulo (2008) observed that learning as a vehicle for acculturation involves some form of education through which, formally or informally, one acquires a culture, or two contained in the label ‘biculturalism’. He noted further that the bicultural person acquires his second culture (c2) mostly formally in the course of formal school education, or informally through visits to the homeland of his culture or through participation in its activities, or indirectly by reading about issues which influence and touch on the life of the owners of the culture. The same holds true for multiculturalism.
According to Wikipedia, multilingual speakers have acquired and maintained at least one language during childhood, the so-called first language (L1). The first language (sometimes also referred to as the mother tongue) is acquired without formal education. This is followed by the acquisition of additional languages. Some Nigerians are multilingual in the sense that they can speak more than two or three languages. Multilingualism could be formed by an integration of L1 plus English and one or more foreign languages; L1 plus English...