The advantages sociolinguistic theory have over the instrumental theory of language planning
The advantages sociolinguistic theory have over the instrumental theory of language
The sociolinguistics theory is more useful in language planning than the theory of
instrumentalism which I strongly support.
The sociolinguistic theory has a clear and extensive theory which views language planning from
a scientific perspective unlike the theory of instrumentalism which is primarily based on the
assumptions, speculations and unprofessional opinions of people off the linguistic field.
The theory of instrumentalism holds that language is viewed as a tool which can be evaluated,
regulated and changed and can be improved to be a prestigious one. In view of this, one
language can be said to be better than the other. It also claims that in selecting the best language
out, the languages need to be evaluated. Tauli, who is a renowned advocate of this theory
identified the following criteria in language evaluation;
Economy is the ability of one language to use less sentences in expressing an idea than the other
Elasticity is the ability of one language to be more productive and creative than the other
Clarity means expressing an idea in a language in the simplest form than the other languages.
It should be well noted that the theory of instrumentalism has attracted many criticisms
especially from experts who view linguistics as part of science.
The sociolinguistic theory on the other hand has a scientific backing and is underlined by two
Firstly, it claims that all languages have a symbolic systems of equal native-values. In other
words all languages are equal and have the same native- speaker importance to its speakers. This
claim is approved and supported by extensive research and it is a generally accepted assumption.
Secondly, in language planning, both the structural and the social aspect should be considered
but not the structural aspect alone. Languages are used in the communities between individuals
and as such, those social aspects should be taken into account during language planning.
Different people tend to have different social values, therefore the social aspect of language
should be viewed. Also, we can link the identity of people to their language.
The socilinguistic theory is more advantageous than the theory of instrumentalism because of the
Firstly, the theory of instrumentalism only takes the structural aspect of a language into
consideration but not the social nature of a language. The socilinguitic theory on the other hand
considers both the structural and social aspect of a language.
Moreover, the theoretical foundation underlying the instrumentalism theory is a flaw, this is
because it is primarily based on speculations but not scientific study as it is in the case of the
sociolinguistic theory, because modern linguistics is scientific in nature.
Futhermore, the claim that one language is better or superior to the other is totally an invalid
concept because there cannot be any optimal language in the society. The sociolinguistic theory
on the other hand view language as it is and as it is used.
In summary, the theory of instrumentalism should be overlooked not only because of its poor
theoretical foundation but also the conflicts, cold-wars and tribal discriminations that will arise
when it used in language planning. On the other hand, the sociolinguistic theory should be
uphold and taken into great account in language planning because there wasn’t, there isn’t and
there won’t be an optimal language.