Sociolinguistic: National Languages, Official Languages, and Language Planning

Name: Indra Wakhidatul Audriyanti




Every country in the world has their own languages that state as the symbolize of its country or also used as the lingua franca. Languages could represent someone’s country and identify the nation of him or her. A country could have more than one languages that used as the national language and official language.

The development of a language also an important thing that occur while we talk about languages. Languages planning are used to know the process of how establish a language then it could be suitable with the standar. What is the language policy then it could be used as the official language or national language.

What is national language and official language

National language is a language of a political, cultural, and social unit. It is generally developed and used as a symbol of national unity. Its functions are to identify the nation and unite its people.

Official language is simply a language whicy may be used for government business. It is function is primarly utilization rather then symbolic.

In multilingual country, the government often declares a particular language to be the national language for political reasons. For example as in the case of Swahili in Tanzania, Malay in Malayzia, Bahasa Indonesia in Indonesia.

In countries which regard themselves as monolingual nations, the same language serves both functions as national language and official language.

The identification of official languages may also be necessary when the choice of national language is problematic. For example, attempts to five Hindi Sole as the national language have not succeeded.

What price a national language?

National language is not only a useful lingua franca and official language, it also serves a symbolic unifying function for these nations.

In multilingual countries, the significance of political power in then choice of national language is particulary clear. Several countries such as Filipino could use their national language -tagalog- as their national language. In Indonesia, by contrast, the government choose to standardised and develop the Malay language that was widely used by Indonesia’s people. In India and Africa have avoided selecting just one languages as the natinal language, cause it would cause to riots and even war.

What is Language Planning?

Language planning is defined as organized, future oriented change in language code, use, learning and speaking in other words corpus planning, status planning, language in education and prestige planning should be undertaken by some solid organization such as governments and other organizations (Rubin; Jernudd, 1971; Kaplan; Baldauf, 2003; Baldauf, 2005). The rules, regulations, laws, implementation, interest and preferences are included in language planning.

It is simply defined as delierate language change. It is include the process from introduction of new labels for language, the reform of spelling system and the provision of advice on non-sexist terminology such as Ms and chairperson. It is also about the development of national languages and standardised the dialects or particular variety.

Three main stages of this planning as presented by McCarty, are macro level: deals with nation states and forces of global, the meso level of the communication in practice, and the micro level: individual`s face to face interaction (2011).

Who is Language Planner?

They are people who is focussing on spesific language problems. They are developing to policy of language which will solve the problems appropriately in particular speech communication.

Language Planning Process

Language Planning is a government-authorised, long-term, sustained and conscious effort to alter a language’s function in a society for the purpose of solving communication problems (Weinstein, 1980: 56) has for kinds step and every step has different requirements and different merits and demerits:

  1. Selection : choosing the variety or code to be developed.
  2. Codification (corpus planning) : standardising its structural or linguistic features.
  3. Elaboration : extending its functions for use in new domains. This involved developing the necessary linguistic resources for handling new concepts and contexts.
  4. Status planning/prestige planning : the status of the new variety is very important, and so people’s attitudes to the variety being developed must be considered, Steps may be needed to enhance its prestige for instance, and to encourage people to develop pride in the language, or loyalty towarts it.


Language planning has been concerned mainly with the language policies of countries and states rather than the language behaviour of individuals. Language planning tell us about why people adopt one form and not another that seems complicated because language constructs aspects of identity and membership of particular groups as well as nationhood.


Ahmed Rama Iqtadar., Jabeen, Rabia,. Shahzad, Syed Khuram,. Shahzad, Waheed. (2018). The Study of Language Planning in National Educational Policy (NEP) 2017 in Pakistan. Pakistan. European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies

Holmes, J. (1992). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. London: Longman Group Ltd.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s