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Language Reform




The42 native ethnic groups in Kenya speaking a different language each.According to Stark (2014), language identifies the speakers. Kenyahas two official languages: Kiswahili and English. Kiswahilirepresents the norms of Kenyans as far as language and socialinteraction are concerned. Kiswahili is the outcome of theinteraction between the early visitors at the East African Coast(Arabs) and the native Bantu-speaking communities. The language hasbeen standardized, with set rules.

InKenya, most of the native languages have been relegated to theuneducated village dwellers. Kiswahili and English have become moreadored, and most of the elites do not want to communicate in theirvernacular. Babies are taught to speak in Kiswahili and English. Somemother tongues are despised in relation to others. When one speaks acertain language, the audience begins to perceive them from aprejudiced angle. This undermines the core purpose of language. Itis highly likely that native languages will soon be non-existent inKenya.

Citizenshave a duty to protect their culture and identity. Kenyans should notlet their heritage die. Psychologists postulate that peopleunderstand second languages through their mother tongue, and that wethink and reason in our vernacular. Currently, the linguisticideology in Kenya is internationalism, but there is linguisticassimilation that is quickly gaining momentum (Daoust, 1998). I dopropose that Kenyans adopt the purism ideology so as to ensure eachspeech community’s social ideas are upheld.

Itwould be prudent for the government of Kenya to reintroduce theteaching of vernacular in lower primary classes. In addition, moreradio and television stations should be set up to broadcast in therespective vernaculars, or in different native languages at varioustimes. Also, the fast growing shenglanguagein the country should be tamed by abolishing its use in publicgatherings and the media. Such measures will ensure each mothertongue is given room to flourish, and no one feels despised orashamed of their language. Cognition among small children will alsoimprove.

Thislanguage reform is most likely to face opposition from the opponentsof ‘modernization.` Getting them to buy into the idea of reading,watching and speaking in their native languages is a tall order. Theolder generation will support this reform since they continue toblame the social ills to modernization that they so much attach tolanguage. Urban residents are most likely to resist the languagereform, since they consider themselves liberal and modern. Ruraldwellers will embrace it, as they always feel victimized byinternationalization and modernization.

Themany sovereign states in the modern day Europe are a result ofpluralism, even though very few native languages have been officiallyrecognized. In Nigeria, this reform has led to the establishment ofadministrative units along the native languages (Higazi &amp Lar,2015). Nigeria`s native languages are widely recognized and used inthe country, in addition to English.

Blendingpurism and internationalism will give native languages a chance toflourish, boosting societal relations and cognitive development.


Bhatia,V. K. (2014). Analysing genre: Language use in professional settings.Routledge.

Daoust,D. (1998). Language Planning and .

Higazi,A., &amp Lar, J. (2015). Articulations of belonging: The Politics ofethnic and religious pluralism in Bauchi and Gombe states,north-east Nigeria. Africa, 85(01).

Stark,R. J. (2014). in the Late Seventeenth Century. InRhetoric and the Early Royal Society (pp. 94-127). Brill.