Enlightenment and Attitudes of the Nigerian Elite on the Roles of Languages in Nigeria

Adegbite, Wale (2003)


This study describes the effect of enlightenment on attitudes of the Nigerian elite to the roles assigned to English and indigenous languages in Nigeria. From the results of a preliminary investigation into the attitudes of undergraduate students in a Nigerian University, it was presumed that enlightenment of citizens on the importance of indigenous languages vis-a-vis English in Nigeria might bring about a positive shift in their attitudes towards their mother tongues. The study then delves into available literature on enlightenment efforts and shifts in attitudes of Nigerians towards their indigenous languages and examines these issues in the wider context of language planning and national development. From all indications, it seems that, although a greater number of the elite class still do not have favourable dispositions towards their indigenous languages as they do towards English, the seed of the positive realisation of the complementary roles of indigenous languages and English in national development has been sown among a few Nigerians. What remains is for these few people to water this seed so that it can germinate and spread among all Nigerians in order to enhance collective participation towards national developmental efforts.