Date of Award

Spring 1995

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Political Science


College of Humanities and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Sara L. Sanders


The formulation of a language policy is critical to the development of every state. Choosing what language or languages will be used in government and education effects every part of society. Francophone West Africa is one of the most linguistically diverse regions of the world; it is also faced with some of the most difficult language policy and planning questions. Thus far, the countries that were formerly part of French West Africa have chosen to maintain the language of their former colonizer - France - as the official language. However, the problem with French is that it is spoken by only about 10 percent of the population. Most of the countries of West Africa have African languages which are spoken by the majority of the population as mother tongues or as second or third languages. These African languages are, for the most part, excluded from language policies. French continues to dominate the language policies of these countries due to the legacies of colonial linguistic policies, political upheaval, fear of ethnic conflict, and pressures from abroad. The answer to the region's communication problems lies in the squaring of language policies with linguistic realities. This includes the elevation of those African languages that are widely spoken to official status.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.