Language plays a very vital role in any human community-school, company, organization, group, home etc. the language of any human society tells a lot about that society therefore, it can be further emphasized that language and any human society are inseparable. In any human society, language occupies a very important seat, more than it appears to all. The functions of language in any human community include the following; expression of thoughts, political, administration, education, social, religious, legislation and so on.
We shall however be using Nigeria as case study. The aim of any human community is to have peace and unity, many nations of the world today are facing different degrees of conflicts, and Nigeria unfortunately is one of such countries. This paper is set to examine the role language has to play in attaining national unity in Nigeria. People have in the past expressed their various views about the meaning of language.
A lecturer of mine, Professor Fakuade.G. said and I quote,” language is the faithful mirror of the society” in other words a language is what shows the true nature of any society. This implies that what a language is meant to do in any society is to reflect to the world what that society is all about. The language of any society therefore should give us a perfect knowledge of what that society is all about this includes; the culture, beliefs, mode of dressing, marriage and every other sociolinguistic information about the society. Language is also supposed to be seen as the symbol of a nation just as the flag, Anthem, Currency etc. in other words, language is to be the window through which people can see into the society.
As viewed by Bamgbose, English is the language of integration in Nigeria, amidst the compounding complexities of Nigeria especially in relation to the language question, the only language that indexes the spirit of togetherness is English. This shows clearly that so far in Nigeria, English Language has played a very important part in keeping Nigeria together as a unified nation. Amidst our cultural diversities and differences in beliefs, English language has still played a great role in keeping Nigeria together and since it is the connection between the various ethnic groups that exist in Nigeria, one cannot but give that plus to English in keeping us together so far. Out of the over 500 languages that we have in Nigeria we still have a link and that link is nothing but English, this has served as the means of communication between the different tribes that are in Nigeria.
Of all the heritage left behind in Nigeria by the British at the end of colonial administration, probably, none is more important than the English language. It is now the language of government, business and commerce, education, the mass media, literature, and much internal as well as external communications. Bamgbose (1971)
As a Language of Wider Communication (LWC), English is used for phatic communion, ceremonial purpose, and instrument of …