The book proposes a paradigm shift in language planning and language policy
in Africa. For the past fifty years, the dominant model has been the
hegemonic model whereby a language of wider communication (LWC) is
imposed on minority languages. It is now time for a paradigm shift in favor of
a more egalitarian model in which all the languages spoken in the same
country, irrespective of their size, are planned. The paradigm shift concerns
four critical areas: status planning, cost-benefit planning, acquisition planning,
and corpus planning.
Such a shift is justified for the following reasons: First, the hegemonic model
has a dismal track record of success in Africa and elsewhere. Second, the
hegemonic model exacerbates linguistic conflicts in many countries.
Consequently, policy makers shun it for fear of jeopardizing the fragile social
fabric in their respective countries. Last, a shift away from the hegemonic
model is recommended because it is too costly to implement. The
"democratic model" is undergirded by the Strategic Game Theory proposed
by David Laitin. It forecasts a 3±1 language outcome for most African
countries. This outcome supports the "three language formula" now called for
by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).