Establishing a national language policy in Malang Da is challenging, considering the fact that there are various ethnic groups that share this land, who have no common language, hence no possibility to exchange communication and to coexist as a national state. This aspect also impacts the national identity of Malang Da and fro establishing a national identity for this country, one significant aspect is to set a national language policy.
We suggest that establishing a national language policy is the preferred solution to setting one official language, precisely because the existence of the various ethnic groups (Akang, Dazakh, the Pulao, the Lua, the Kaw and the French), who have strong ethnic roots, including communication system specific to each group and by establishing a national language policy it would guarantee that their ethnic languages and dialects will be maintained and preserved (Kua, “Language Policy and National-Building”).
Living in a world where connectivity matters, communication is the key element for developing connectivity among the ethnic groups from Malang Da and while we do recommend that the local languages and dialects of each ethnic group to be preserved and further transmitted to new generations, we do understand the need of establishing a common language that would facilitate the communication among the various Malang Da ethnicities. In addition to fostering communication, which also facilitates the trades and the collaboration between the groups that form Malang Da country, establishing a common language would also lead to developing a national identity, a significant strategy for Malang Da in order to strengthen its position, to develop its trans-border relations with its neighboring countries (China and Vietnam), or with other countries from the region or from around the world, optimizing the fruits of the global economy.
In fact, language planning is in strong relation with national identity planning and establishing language policies implies setting national identity policies and applied to Malang da, which is an independent state, language planning as related to identity planning define “language-in-national identity policies” (Orman 47).
In-line with the modern nationalism wave that commenced in the 19th century, we suggest that for Malang Da the language planning should consider setting the monolingual national identity, in order to imprint the idea of one nation one language, but in establishing the national language there must be made a close analysis of the ethno linguistic characteristic of the country (Orman 47).
Therefore, with respect to the above mentioned six major ethno linguistic groups in Malang Da, the language planning should consider which is the most proliferating language spoken within the borders of the country and if there is one common ethno linguistic dialect spoken by two or more ethnic groups in Malang Da. Looking at the specificities of the ethno linguistic dialects of the six major ethnicities that compose Malang Da, the situation is quite complex, as no major ethnic group has a common language with the other and while some four ethnic groups have written forms, more precisely Dazakh, Lua, Kaw, French, they do not share a common vocabulary nor even a common alphabet, as the Dazakh and Lua use the Chinese alphabet, Kaw is based on Vietnamese letters and the French community employs the Latin alphabet. Based on the fact that Chinese dialects are preponderant to most ethno linguistic groups from Malang Da (Akang, Dazakh, Pulao and Lua) and additionally considering another significant aspect for modernizing the country, respectively its geopolitics (its relationship with the nearby countries), the national language of Malang Da should be based on a Chinese dialect, which should be also comprehensible and intelligible for Chinese, as this is the country that Malang Da should mainly target for developing its economic relations with.
However, considering the fact that Mandarin Chinese is the national language in China, we cannot recommend that this to be the national language in Malang Da, since no ethnic group uses this language. As a realistic proposal for establishing a national language policy, we suggest the use of Dazakh language as it is a language spoken by 12% of the country’s population, which is a rather small percentage, but in establishing this ethnic language as the national one, we are considering the fact that Dazakh is closely related to Akang, which comprises 30% of Malang Da population. Therefore, a logical reasoning induces the fact that around 42% of the population of Malang Da would comprehend the Dazakh with proper training, becoming an intelligible language for this percentage of population. Moreover, Dazakh is the selection that we recommend for the national language policy also because it is a written language, which also constitutes the Malang Da literature. Having also a written form would facilitate the literary transmission of this language in schools.
Actually, for promoting Dazakh as the national identity language, the Malang Da government should apply a strategy similar to the one that China approached, when it established the Mandarin Chinese as the national language is to gradually include the Dazakh language in the school curricula in the Malang Da regions that are literate, making it compulsory in the school curricula (Nelson 25). In the regions that are illiterate and that do not own a written language, the government should approach sustainable regional programs for learning the children and the adults alike, the new language, which they should use as their main language in the commercial and even in the work related environments.
Likewise, Malang Da’s government should additionally institute Dazakh as the national language by gradually inserting it into the entire social sphere, making it a part of the daily language use in communities. As such, local churches should hold preaches in both the ethnic languages and Dazakh, army and police forces should start using Dazakh for commands, regulations and actually these two institutions should contribute, alongside church and school, to promoting the learning of the language, arguing the benefits that Malang Da and its citizens will enjoy (increased economic prosperity, social development, modernity, improved working conditions, better education system). Likewise, mass media should be one stringent factor in promoting Dazakh as the national language in Malang Da, making available educational content for mass audiences in different regions and also airing media content, such as movies and music, translated and adapted into the ethnic language used in the various regions of the country.
This language policy (establishing Dazakh as the national language), should not imply, however, the elimination of the ethnic language, on the contrary, as stated above, they should be preserved through national policies of maintaining the ethnical identity and diversity of the country, following the example of Singapore (Kuo, “Language Policy and Nation-Building”).
The promotion of Dazakh as the national language of Malang Da through media should be proclaimed as a state policy, instituting a certain airtime for Dazakh programs (Orman 94). The education system should gradually implement mandatory Dazakh language courses and this language should be a condition for entering the military, police or governing jobs, determining the population who aspires at such roles to learn the language. Moreover, national language policy should also include state regulations for establishing the Dazakh as the everyday language use in official government functioning, which is both a strategy for promoting the learning of the language and for indicating the necessity of knowing Dazakh for the social integration and for the consolidation of the national identity.
Kuo, Eddie, C. Language Policy and Nation-Building in a Multi-Ethnic Society: The Case Singapore Model. Accessed on 13 October 2013, retrieved from http://www2.kokugakuin.ac.jp/ijcc/wp/cimac/kuo.html. N.d. Web.
Nelson, Kelly. Language Policies and Minority Resistance in China. Society for International Education Teachers College, Columbia. 2005. Print/
Oman, Jon. Language Policy and Nation-Building in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Springer. 2008. Print.