Essay Example on Standardizing Language: Achieving Uniformity in Communication

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1716 Words
Date:  2023-01-04


Language standardization is a process which involves the development standard was written and oral language to be practised by everyone in society (Milroy, 2001, p. 530). It ensures there are a few variations of form and maximum variation of a function. Language standardization is brought about by society's desire for uniformity so as to rule out the irregularities and establish a uniform and consistent form of communication among its members and their neighbour nations (Milroy, 2001, p. 537). English is made the major standard language depending on one country colonizers, it has impacted how members of a country view their language and growth to most nations. This paper will assess the consequences of language standardization to the community in different conversational contexts.

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Process of Language Standardization

The process of language standardization involves; first selecting one of the many forms of languages that exist in a society. The preferred language is then accepted by the social standing class in the society, they control how the language is diffused and standardized. They then codify the language this ensures the language is standardized in the society by media publication, compulsory education, authorized documents, and discrimination against other forms of language (Milroy, 2001, p. 530). Once the language has gained public approval, the standardized language is then often maintained. This is through the higher social standing group and the elite in society perceiving the standard language as more important than other variations. The language then gains prestige by being associated with those of higher social standing and a writing system is established to prescribe this language (guidelines and dictionaries).

Causes of Language Standardization

The origin of the need for language standardization can be traced back to the period of the industrial revolution in Great Britain. The growth in industrial technologies required cooperation among individuals of different skills, and this collaboration would only be effective if only both parties spoke and wrote the same standard language. Due to the increasing literacy rates so as to match the language demand, a citizen would advance their education from primary to secondary level and to manufacturing-related careers Stroud, C., 2009, p. 191). An individual acquiring and learning the standard language allowed him to efficient communication among the larger social group. Such as one would move from his/her peer groups to public spaces where he would effectively communicate with investors, policymakers, and migrants. Such interaction proved to promote innovation. Thus, literacy standardization is regarded as one of the leading institutional makers for a nation's development.


Language standardization leads to uniformity. Language is part of a society's culture thus one of the factors of distinguish people's neighbour or outsider in a society is based on the language they use (Williams and Stroud, 2015, p. 406). Language standardization helps to avoid ethical differentiation hence individuals work and cooperate as one unit. The process used in the selection of standardized language involves choosing the dominant class language while discriminating minority groups language (Stroud, 2009, p. 212). For instance, in Turkey, the Kurdish speakers have fought for decades for their rights to speak their language. The Human rights linguistics comes into play in this juncture, where the minority feel they are losing the language that they identify themselves with. The human rights protect the individuals of the minority group to speak their own language in legal, administrative, and judicial work and to receive education in their own language. Additionally, sociolinguist Milroy (2001) observes that speakers of a standard language can be said to live in "standard language cultures" in where certain languages, including widely used ones such as English, French and Spanish, are believed by their speakers to existing in standardized forms.

This kind of belief affects the way in which speakers think about their own language and about 'language' in general (Lane, De Korne, and Costa, 2017, p. 12). This is considering countries that opt for standardized language are ethnic, most of their members feel they have lost their language-borne cultural heritage. They feel a general loss of humanity due to the loss of insights they would have expressed in their language that they cannot do it in the standardized language. Linguistic citizenship is the idea that language falls firmly within citizenship written and spoken communications, (Stoud 2009 p. 217). According to Wee, we think about the language the way we do so as to fit into politics of liberalism. This is where voice and agency are thought to reside in the articulation of individuals and groups of interest public areas of deliberation in (official) languages and varieties deemed as legitimate for the purpose. Linguistic citizenship is a replacement to linguistic human rights which accommodates both the ethical concerns of linguistic human rights and the prospects of language as a resource. Furthermore, linguistic citizenship emphasizes on the articulation between the diversity in linguistic practices and resources which civil society rely upon (Stoud, 2001 p. 341). It focuses on the political and social participation of linguistic communities rather than a reliance on governmental provisions and corrupt institutions.

One clear circumstance where people practice linguistic acts of citizenship is through performance. For a citizen to have political involvement in their countries they give opinions on issues arising, through conversations and demonstrations. Also, performances such as stand-up comedy enable the narrator to use their own language and style where people in their ethnic group can identify with and bring a sense of social reality. Linguistic citizenship allows members of a multilingual nation to express their experiences, interest, and concerns. An example of a country that promotes linguistic citizenship in South Africa. An example that discriminates against linguistic citizenship in Estonia. Russians in Estonia cannot gain citizenship until they learn Estonian.

Multilingualism can be defined based on individual and societal. Individual multilingualism involves an individual degree of multilingualism and the organisation of the multilingual brain (Williams and Stroud, 2015, p. 436). Societal multilingualism concentrates on language on one hand and economic, social, educative, cultural, political, and other determining forces in society on the other hand. Multilingualism plays a hindrance to ensuring a nation having one standardized language. In multilingual national, there is more than the standard nation which hinder unity, since one has to learn the different language for easier cooperation (Lane et al., 2017, p. 12). Though multilingualism ensures there is no one standard language, the minority languages are considered official language. Also, multilingualism allows the member to cooperate with other nations, for instance, if a France multinational cooperation is situated in Angola, those who are multilingual get higher chances of being employed.

Language Standardization as a Human Right

Language standardization is an important sociolinguistic development in society. This is because it promotes a nation's cohesion and cooperation in an ethical nation. Language standardization may be viewed as a discriminatory factor on the minority groups and causing segregation (Lane et al., 2017, p. 22). Thus, countries should allow their members to be multilingual but there be one standard language. Language standardization should be dependent on how a society or social group chooses to regulate their language. High language nationalism has resulted to the use of language within the nation boundaries as a human right. The article 19 of the Human Rights declaration by states holds that individuals have the right to freedom of expression and opinion (De Luca, 2018, p. 161). The United Nations as a safeguard of human rights has advocated its members to promote the preservation of languages and this particular resolution is of great importance to the minorities where their native language is important to their expression. In most minorities language standardization has led to the erosion of their own languages as they adopt languages of the majority (De Luca, 2018, p. 164). Most minority languages have not been invested upon by the governments which has led to the erosion of cultural heritage. However, when translation is promoted for the local dialects the minority languages can be saved and preserved. Mother tongue elicit pride and promote the respect of minority languages which lead to language diversity and multilingual education (De Luca, 2018, p. 161). Respecting other people languages helps to improve understanding, solidarity and tolerance within the society which is one of the approaches to promote dialogue. Therefore, standardization of languages should not be aimed at destroying minority languages but instead should promote their protection through translations which retain their authenticity and a right for linguistic heritage for the future generations. Efforts should be made to ensure that minority languages have a future and they are not intimidated and destroyed by majority languages. Translations should be made not only for standardization but also as a mean of ensuring minority languages are protected and preserved as a future linguistic heritage (De Luca, 2018, p. 168). However, language standardization despite being depicted as a means of cultural integrity it contributes to linguistic discrimination of the minorities which has been a significant impact caused by the urbanization and resettlement, and economic development with the increase of the need for minorities to switch to dominant languages

Functional Multilingualism and Citizenship

Functional multilingual refers to the language diversity and language standardization leads to the decline of functional multilingualism which is a source of inequality and unequal society outcomes especially in education where individuals are forced to acquire a second language that is standardized within the national boundaries. Language standardizations leads to the notion that the dominant group is better than the minorities and has been a significant hindrance to proper child development. Promoting language standardization can lead to loss of self-confidence, esteem, and the ability of the minorities to express their opinions, ideas and feelings like it is in the case in functional multilingualism (Williams and Stroud, 2015, p. 406). Linguistic citizenship argue on the importance of diversity in linguistic practices through political and social participation of all the linguistic communities instead of institutionalization of language. In this case, language standardization is a negative score towards linguistic citizenship. People who grow up in a nation where one language is given a better representation considered to other languages develop negative perception towards local dialects which can lead to the replacement of the local dialects (Lane et al., 2017, p. 18). Therefore, language standardization hinders functional multilingualism and linguistic citizenship.


Linguistic standardization has both negative and positive impacts on the society. In societies with multiple languages linguistic standardization can be a means of promoting nationalistic cohesion by promoting easy official and social engagement between people from different backgrounds. However, linguistic standardization hinders the ability of minorities to express them...

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