|dc.description.abstract||This thesis describes language policy practices in Senegal, identifies the languages used by Senegalese people in various social, public, and institutional settings, and details the attitudes of Senegalese people towards their own mother tongues, Wolof, French, and English and these speech communities. It examines also the importance, place, and future of local languages and European languages in Senegal and analyses the issue of language(s) of education in Senegal. To conduct this research, a variety of sampling techniques were used to collect data from a wide range of population-categories including respondents from the general population, public administration, students, and the business sector.
Throughout the period of this study, Senegal was undergoing a phenomenal linguistic experience characterised by the sudden arrival and strengthening of English in the country, increasing interest by Senegalese people in local languages, and a gradual decline of the domains of French language use in the country. Against this linguistic backdrop, a number of major findings have resulted from the research including the finding that home languages (in particular, the mother tongues) are dominant in most family and social settings while French is dominant only in public settings. However, the data show that both mother tongues and Wolof are being used increasingly in public institutions; domains that hitherto belonged to French. The language use with people indicates a similar pattern, i.e. local languages are mostly used with close family members and with people in the extended family circle while French is dominant only with people in public institutions. The home languages (mother tongues and Wolof) and, to a lesser extent English, are more popular in public settings, thus reducing the hegemony of the use of French with people in public institutions. The study based on the data collected from the overall sample found also that the attitudes of the Senegalese people towards French, English, and their mother tongues are high and positive but the attitudes towards Wolof show both positive and negative ratings. The results show that, according to Senegalese people, the local languages are not given due importance in the education system. Similarly, they believe that English is not regarded as important in the education system either. Therefore, they request more importance to be given to both languages in the education system. As for French, it is considered very important in the education system and therefore, there were no particular requests to increase its relative importance in education. Further, French is believed to have negative influences in Senegal while this is not the case for English. Regarding the language(s) of instruction, local languages are described as the most appropriate languages for education. However, when languages are analysed in parallel, French maintains its leadership. In general, the Senegalese people have positive attitudes towards the speech communities. However, the attitudes towards the Wolof and French speech communities are both positive and negative. Similarly, the intensity of the desire to learn languages is generally positive but is characterised by the presence of a mix of positive and negative ratings for French and Wolof. However, a cross-sectional analysis shows quite interesting variations across the four population-categories mentioned earlier, mainly regarding language use, the issue of the language(s) of instruction in Senegal, the attitudes of Senegalese people towards languages and towards speech communities, and the intensity of their desire to learn languages - to name but a few areas of variation. The study has resulted in major findings regarding language use in Senegal. One of these is the loyalty of Senegal people towards their languages, that is, first, to their own mother tongue and then to Wolof - as a second language; second the Senegalese people remain attached to the French language, and finally they have a great admiration for English. According to the study, Senegalese people are attached to their language because of the more effective communication opportunities the local languages offer and also because of the positive benefits associated with (early) education in one's own mother tongue. In addition, the respondents believe that local languages help them assert their identity and maintain their cultures. The study found that Senegalese people are attached to the French language because it is an important national language (the official language of the country) and international language (for communication in the Francophone world). As for English, they admire the language because of its prestige and its status as a 'universal' language for communication and its dominance in science, technology, education, and business. The study concludes with a number of recommendations for the improvement of language planning and language-in-education policy in Senegal. The recommendations focus mainly on enhancing considerably the place and role of local languages in the education system, initiating systematic language policy prestige activities, and developing a rigorous policy that fosters positive attitudes towards local languages in general and the Wolof language and the Wolof speech community in particular. As regards the English language, the study recommends offering greater opportunities to learn the language by widespread reinforcement of its teaching in the education system.||en_US