National language

A national language is a language (or language variant, e.g. dialect) that has some connection—de facto or de jure—with a nation. There is little consistency in the use of this term. One or more languages spoken as first languages in the territory of a country may be referred to informally or designated in legislation as national languages of the country. National languages are mentioned in over 150 world constitutions.[1]

C.M.B. Brann, with particular reference to India, suggests that there are "four quite distinctive meanings" for national language in a polity:[2]

  • "Territorial language" (chthonolect, sometimes known as chtonolect[3]) of a particular people
  • "Regional language" (choralect)
  • "Language-in-common or community language" (demolect) used throughout a country
  • "Central language" (politolect) used by government and perhaps having a symbolic value.

The last is usually given the title of official language. In some cases (e.g., the Philippines), several languages are designated as official and a national language is separately designated.

  1. ^ "Jacques Leclerc". Archived from the original on 28 May 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  2. ^ Brann, C.M.B. 1994. "The National Language Question: Concepts and Terminology." Logos [University of Namibia, Windhoek] Vol 14: 125–134
  3. ^ Wolff, H. Ekkehard "African Languages: An Introduction Ch./Art: Language and Society p. 321 pub. Cambridge University Press 2000

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