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Research studies

LANGUAGE POLICIES, LINGUISTIC RIGHTS AND NATIONAL SECURITY IN THE SUDAN

 

Prepared by the researcher – Sawsan Abdel Aziz Mohammed Nashid[1], The Union Of Arab Academics

Democratic Arab Center

Journal of Afro-Asian Studies : Seventh Issue – November 2020

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin. The journal deals with the field of Afro-Asian strategic, political and economic studies

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
ISSN 2628-6475
Journal of Afro-Asian Studies
 :To download the pdf version of the research papers, please visit the following link

Abstract

The present paper investigates the position of language policies, the dominance of a mono-language system; Arabicization policies and the position of the elites[1], linguistic groups and linguistic rights in Sudan. It reviews the perception and the notion of ‘linguistic rights’ from the perspective of the international norms, in particular from the perspective of the UN conventions and what they mean in regard to linguistic rights (or language rights or linguistic human Rights, LHRs), as well as to various linguistic issues. In addition, the adverse viewpoints of the elites concerning language policies and national security in Sudan are among the issues discussed. The paper also aims at providing insights into how linguistic groups in Sudan (in the four areas of conflicts) perceive the notion of ‘linguistic rights’ and what do they mean by linguistic rights violations and does it seen by them as one of the reasons of conflicts: the civil war in southern Sudan (1983-2005), the Darfur crisis (2007), the conflict in the Nuba Mountains and in the Blue Nile area.

  1. Introduction

            Linguistic right draw the attention of researchers due to its relation with many sensitive issues. Language groups[2] are currently under pressure from dangers arising from the concern to language rights and cultural rights, and the issues of un-codified languages, or a cultural model opposed to the dominant one, which makes it impossible for many languages to survive and develop, unless the following basic rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights are taken into account. When one speaks about preserving linguistic diversity and the right of all communities to communicate in their own language, one frequently appeals to the implications of this issue.

The benefits of acknowledging linguistic diversity rests on gaining better life for all. One nation-one language policy is no longer feasable, since people are aware of the role played by their mother tongues[3] in the formulation of their identity, and the preservation of their heritage, culture, history, tradition, and knowledge.

  1. Language, Culture and International Standards

          Many declarations were pronounced to achieve basic human rights and in particular language rights. Among the most important ones are those which focus on the basic cultural and linguistic rights. The principal UN document is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (16 Dec.1966, article 27) as it is considered the first and embracing and legally binding international treaties in the field of human rights together with the universal declarations, the European Charter on Minority Languages (Strasbourg,1992), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), and the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights (6 June 1996, Barcelona, Spain).

In the direction of principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with this declaration constantly in mind, the Declaration calls for the right of teaching and education to promote and respect the basic rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, on the national and international levels.The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognizes that civil and political rights derive from the inherent dignity and where everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (Strasbourg, 1992), which includes 23 articles,[4] stresses the value of inter-culturalism and multi-lingualism. It considers that the protection, preservation and enhancement of regional or minority languages should be neither to the detriment of the official languages nor to the determent of the need to learn them. The Charter[5] is a convention designed on the one hand to protect and promote regional and minority languages as a threatened aspect of Europe’s cultural heritage, and on the other hand, to enable speakers of a regional or minority language[6] to use it in private and public life. Its overriding purpose is cultural. It covers regional and minority languages, non-territorial languages and less widely used official languages.The Charter sets out the main objectives and principles that states undertake to apply to all regional or minority languages existing within their national territory. Secondly, the Charter contains a series of concrete measures designed to facilitate and encourage the use of specific regional or minority languages in public. The Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights (6 June 1996, Barcelona, Spain)[7] contains 52 articles. The second and third title, is the overall linguistic regime; Section I: Public administration and Official bodies (articles 15-22), Section II: Education (articles 23-30), Section III: Proper Names (articles 31-34), Section IV: Communications and Media. This convention, considers as the axes of a linguistic community: historicity, territoriality, self-identification as a people, and the fact of having developed a common language, as normal means for communication between its members and that the native language of a given territory as the language of the community historically established in a specific space. The necessity of preserving the linguistic rights of which is understood as a human collectivity, which shares the same language and which have been established in the territorial space of another linguistic community but without an equivalent historicity. The Declaration does not consider the territory only as a geographic area, but also as a social and functional space essential to the full development of a language. By this when they are separated from the main body of their community by political or administrative boundaries, when they have been historically established in a small geographical area surrounded by members of other languages communities; or when they are established in a geographical area which they share with the members of other language communities with similar historical antecedents (Article 1.3).

The Declaration is based on a balanced articulation between the rights of the communities and linguistic groups, and the rights of the individuals which belong to them. Therefore neither one nor the other can represent an obstacle to interrelation and integration with the receiving linguistic community, nor restrict the rights of this community or of its members in the full public use of their own language throughout their territorial space. Thus, it makes explicit a series of inalienable personal rights which may be exercised in any situation, rights such as: the right to be recognized as a member of a language community; the right to the use of one’s own language, both in private and in public; the right to the use one’s own name; the right to interrelate and associate with other members of one’s language community of origin; the right to maintain and develop one’s own culture; and all the other rights related to language which are recognized in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of (16 December 1966) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 3.1; (16 December 1966). At the same time, it considers a right and an obligation of the individuals who establish themselves in the territory of a different linguistic community to maintain there in relationships promoting integration, understood as a resocialization of these individuals in the society that receives them. While accepting assimilation only as the result of a totally free individual option, assimilation being understood as the acculturation of the individuals within the society that receives them, so that they substitute their own original cultural features with the references, values and behaviour proper to the receiving society (Article 4.2). To these personal rights, the declaration adds as rights of linguistic groups: the right for their own language and culture to be taught; the right of access to cultural services; the right to an equitable presence of their language and the culture in the communications media; the right to receive attention in their own language from government bodies and in socioeconomic relations (Article 3.2). Besides the general principles, the headings of the declaration define linguistics rights in the fields of public administration and official bodies.

Based on the above mentioned declarations, the concepts of ‘Linguistic Human Rights’ and ‘Linguistic Citizenship’ are introduced and developed within the fields of language planning and socio-linguistics. The following paragraphs presents information on the two concepts in order to evaluate how the speaker of Sudanese indigenous languages in the various areas of conflict, perceive these rights and how the Sudanese elites adopting Arabicization policies view and react towards these rights.

  1. Linguistic Human Rights

Linguistic rights (or language rights or linguistic human Rights, LHRs) is a field that developed within language planning and sociolinguistics (Fishman et al. 1968, Whiteley 1971, Heath 1976). The fundamental goal of any legislation about language, as Turi (1994) put it, is to resolve the linguistic problems, which stems from conflicts and inequalities by legally establishing and determining the status and use of the concerned languages. However, ‘Linguistic Rights’ or ‘Linguistic Human Rights’ are viewed differently. De Witte (1993), Giordan (1992), Vilfan (1993)  and many others give historical, descriptive and theoretical accounts of official and non-official language policies where human rights are considered as a dependent or resultant variable. An exhortatory and even ideologically biased group dealt with social change or future developments in which language rights are clearly independent or casual variable. A third group represented by Domίnguez and Lόpez (1995), Hale et al. (1992), Robins and Uhlenberg (1991)  focuses on endangered and disappearing languages.The definition of the term ‘linguistic rights’ or ‘linguistic human rights ‘differs in law from country to country (Paulston 1997: 75). However, it is defined by Skutnabb-Kangas (1995) as the human and civil rights concerning the individual and collective right to choose the language or languages for communicating in a private or public atmosphere, regardless of ethnicity or nationality or the number of the speakers of a language in a given territory. Linguistic rights include the right to legal, administrative and judicial acts, education, and the media in a language understood and freely chosen by those concerned. They are a means of resisting forced cultural assimilation. Linguistic human rights have two dimensions: individual and collective. The first one, individual, involves continuity from one generation to the next over time. It is the rights to acquire the cultural heritage of the preceding generation, initially in primary socialization in the family and close community. The second one, collective, involves cooperation between individuals, binding together a group, people, a population of a country through sharing the languages and cultures of all (Skutnabb-Kangas 1995: 11-12(. The lack of linguistic rights is viewed by some researchers as among the reasons of social, economic and educational backwardness. According to Skutnabb-Kangas, (1995: 7), “[…] the lack of linguistic rights often prevents a group from achieving educational, economic and political equality with other groups. Injustice caused by failure to respect linguistic human rights is thus in several ways one of the important factors which can contribute to inter-ethnic conflict”. Berair (2007:  149-150) argued that minority groups in the Sudan do not obtain their linguistic rights. Ethnic languages are abandoned and marginalized and there is a violation, of some degree, of the minor Sudanese languages. The domination of one single language, or more specifically, the “Arabic-only language policy”, has resulted in a form of linguistic violence and linguistic impoverishment (ibid).

However, many decrees and laws concerning language have been declared  in Sudan such as the  Addis Ababa Accord 1972, but they are not implemented due to scarcity of academic and financial resources. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 between the South (SPLM) and North Sudan (the government of Sudan) is an example at hand. It embodies articles on the respect and promotion of indigenous languages. Accordingly, the concerned councils should be activated to make actual steps in the promotion and documentations of these languages. The real implementation of these articles on the ground remains symbolic, because languages are not among the decision makers’ priorities. The question of language remains unanswered, although it becomes clear that language may be among the factors of the conflicts in Sudan. Therefore, some researchers argue that Arabic has to be viewed as a neutral language without relating it to Islam. Maintaining languages and cultures in Sudan has to be the task of their own native speakers. Linguistic awareness among these groups has to be raised, because a lot of them do not even know that their languages have undergone change, shift or are endangered. Linguistic rights have to be promoted by the state through policies accounting for the minority languages. As in South Sudan, after CPA, Southern Sudanese indigenous[8] languages are recognized as national languages and their functions are extended to include many formal domains at the level of the states. In the state of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal (NBeGS) -one of South Sudan’s states- the Dinka language is used in courts, broadcasting and in education. It is taught as a subject in primary education (Nashid 2014).

  1. Linguistic Citizenship

Stroud and Heugh (2004: 14) introduce the concept “linguistic citizenship” to enable real participation in governance for all citizens. Within the general frame of linguistic citizenship, minority languages should be available in the political discourse and linguistic diversities and has to be acknowledged and respected. According to them (ibid: 18), “[…] linguistic citizenship pertains to a view of language as a symbolic, material, intimate and global resource in the service of participatory governance.” In this sense, language is seen as a resource speakers use to gain advantages from exercising “multilingual repertoires”.

According to Petrovic (2009), the complexity of the nexus of multilingualism and citizenship is not accommodated in language human rights discourses. Therefore, the concept of linguistic citizenship is introduced to “reposition language into discourse of postliberal citizenship, more widely and to capture a better understanding of languages as a (material sociopolitical) resource in complex late modern context of multilingualism” (ibid: 212). In this sense, linguistic diversity and difference are seen as a primary means, rather than problems, for material realization of democracy. It focuses attention on how speakers themselves may exercise control over their language, deciding what languages are, and what they mean, and how language issues can be discursively tied to a wider range of social issues (Stroud 2001(.

Stroud’s notion of linguistic citizenship is based on distinction between affirmative and transformative orientations to the problem of resource redistribution and status recognition. The affirmative orientation is the one behind linguistic human rights. According to Stroud (2001: 344), it attempts to resolve such problem by “[…] positively affirming, or recognizing the cultural uniqueness, identify and/or value of the collectivity in question, thereby also underwriting the right of groups to equal treatment or, even more radically ‘positive discrimination’.”

In this sense, affirmative orientation assumes that the identification of a specific group is clear. In contrast, transformative orientation, the one behind linguistic citizenship, attempts to “deconstruct the previously devalued identities of stigmatized collectivities and solve problems of a more equitable discrimination by means of general welfare strategies” (Stroud 2001: 344). It denotes the problematic implications of a group’s recognition. According to Stroud (2001: 342), linguistic citizenship is transformative orientation, because the concept has historically been an avenue by which different issues (from economic right to gender) is thrown up for public discussion.

According to Assal (2010: 9-13), multilingualism, citizenship and national identity are interrelated. Therefore, there is a relationship between citizenship as a concept identified by political science and linguistic human rights. In Sudan, the question remains between minor Sudanese languages against one dominant language, i.e. Arabic. Citizenship rights are universal and in contexts of multicultural societies, there is a need to shift the attention from nationality to citizenship. It is an appropriate legal framework for codifying equal rights for all citizens regardless of ethnicity, religion or other differences.

Linguistic citizenship is important, as claimed by Birair (2010: 120), since the awareness of citizenship can be considered as the starting point of the individual’s formation of self-evaluation, countries and associate in citizenship evaluations. Therefore, self-actualization is achieved through an individual’s own language, which cannot be completed unless the individual gains his/her linguistic rights. Individual linguistic rights are a means of being a citizen terms of belongingness, participation and equality.(ibid)

Arabic, the national lingua franca, has to be introduced to the Sudanese nation by creating the means of learning it, and it has to be taken as a central basis for Sudanese citizenship. Recognition of the other Sudanese languages has to be increased. Accordingly, both Arabic and the ethnic languages can flourish together as stated by Bell (1989: 194-195:(

“[…] The top priority must be to increase the power of the Sudanese citizen over his environment and to benefit himself and his community; he must master the national lingua franca, Arabic. This will entail the development of even more imaginative techniques to help him learn Arabic. Adding to that, there must be a continuing move towards the recognition of vernacular languages. This will help to demolish psychological obstacles to Arabic and will enrich the national culture. These languages flourish alongside Arabic and make their distinctive contribution. Certain vernacular languages are already established as the media of early primary education. Particular emphasis must be placed upon mutual understanding within the nation”.

  1. Sudan Language Policies

           Background information of language policy and planning in Sudan will be presented in the following paragraphs. The historical development of official language policies in Sudan will be periodized into three stages (Nashid 2014): the first one was during the Anglo-Egyptian rule (1898-1945), the second period started from the end of World War II, 1945, to the Addis Ababa Accord, 1972, and the third one extended from Addis Ababa Accord (1972) to the era of the National Salvation Government and National Congress party government (1989-2005).

          The main goal in the first period was to curtail the spread of Arabic language and eventually curtail Islam in southern Sudan. To achieve this goal, English was chosen as the official language in both the north and the south, whereas, a number of vernacular languages were chosen to be developed and used for administrative and educational purposes.

         During the Colonial era, a number of measures were taken to linguistically differentiate the North from the South.[9] These measures started with the Regaf Conference (1928) in which six Southern Sudanese languages were selected to be written in Latin script and to be used in primary education as a medium of instruction. They are Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Bari, Latuko (or Latuho) and Zande. The conference also concluded that “[…] Colloquial Arabic in Roman script will be required in certain communities where the use of no other vernacular is practicable” (Matthew 1928:30). The British aim was to stop the spread of Islam and Arabic language in the south through the implementation of the Southern Policy or the Closed District Policy, i.e. the Construction of No Man’s Land (1929), the Creation of the Closed Areas District Ordinance (1929) and the Ordinance of the Educational Policy of the Nuba Mountains (1930)-one of the regions of  Sudan. This policy aimed at separating the two regions of southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains from the north. According to Abu-Manga and Abu Bakr (2006), the failure of this policy was due to the fact that the implementation of this policy was characterized by being extreme and neglected some practical sides as the necessity of developing a lingua franca among southern multilinguals. The main impact of the Southern Policy was the creation of a small southern Christian and English-speaking elite (Miller 2003:162).

            The second period started from the end of the World War II in 1945 to the Addis Ababa Accord in 1972. In 1946, the separatist policy towards the south was abandoned. In the 1949, the Legislative Assembly passed a resolution that the Arabic language should be the official language for the whole country. Against this background, the southern Sudanese elites opposed to what they saw as political linguistic and cultural domination by the ethnic groups from the north.

          After the independence in 1956, the policy of the elite[10] tended towards national integration through the use of the Arabic language. Therefore, the Sudanese state adopted a single language and single culture-oriented policy of Arabization and Islamization of the southern population in order to counteract previous colonial policies and promote national integration and social cohesion. Behind the Arabicization policy was the idea that the Arabic language and culture were superior to African cultures (Miller 2003: 163).

           During the period 1958-1969, the educational system was the main instrument used to impose the Arabic language and Arabicization of the south (Nyombe 1997:117). The government adopted the choice to merge the north and the south. Therefore, Arabic was allowed to spread without giving any attention to three issues. Firstly, other languages and their speakers’ cultures and spiritual beliefs are not considered. Secondly, neither consideration nor attention was given to the problematic issues of education and syllabi and how these syllabi are important to the environment of the students. Thirdly, no attention is given to the fact that Southern Sudanese students had received their education in completely different syllabi, which did not reflect their culture and environment. Lastly, the teachers working in the south received no special training for teaching Arabic to non-speakers of Arabic. That is to say, the government started implementing this policy without ample preparation of teachers and materials (Abu-Manga and Abu Bakr 2006).

           The results of these policies had affected and handicapped the educational process. Generally, the language policy from independence to 1969, aimed at replacing English and  southern Sudanese languages with Arabic and eliminating the use of local languages in all domains of official interaction, especially in the domains of education and mass media. As stated by Abdelhay (2007: 244):

[…] In the postcolonial policies of Arabicisation in the North and the South, Arabic was instrumental in attempt to build a unified and homogenous nation-state. This state declared policy of Arabicisation was strongly resisted by the Southerners.”     

            The third period extends from the Addis Ababa Accord (1972) to the advent of the National Salvation and National Congress party government and up to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), 1989-2005.  Previous to the Addis Ababa Accord was a change in policy towards diversity, i.e. the language policy changed towards recognition of the diverse cultural and linguistic heritage of southern Sudan. In the 1972 Accord, Arabic was adopted as the official language of the country whereas English was the working language in the south. Since education is the main arena for language policy, six southern Sudanese languages (Dinka, Bari, Kresh, Lotuto (Lotuko), Moru, Ndodgo and Nuer) were selected to become media of instruction in grade 1-2 in primary schools, while Arabic or English were the means of instruction from grade three and upwards. Sixteen other southern Sudanese languages were assigned for general literacy purposes in Southern Sudan. The refusal of the Northern power holders to accommodate the needs of the southerners in the  post-colonial Sudan has led to the eruption of civil war between the two parts of the country, which was settled by the CPA in 2005 (Abdelhay 2007).

        Thus, throughout the post-colonial era, Arabic became the only medium of instruction in all northern and southern government schools, except for schools in the states of east and western Equatoria, which either used English or both English or Arabic. Arabic was used in literacy programs all over the country. Since 1990, tertiary education was Arabicized in Sudan.

         In 1997, a National Assembly for Language Planning was constituted. The decree to create the assembly was proposed by academic experts; namely Abu-Bakr Yusif Al-Khalifa[11] and Almin Abu- Manga[12]. Arabic was recognized in the decree as the official language and the other Sudanese languages as national languages. The aims of the decree were to propose an official language policy and planning, to promote the spread of Arabic in its capacity as a language of wider communication and to endorse Arabic as “a means for economic growth and social development in addition to its role in the political and intellectual management of the nation” (Al-majlis Al-watani 1997: 4B). Therefore, linguistic and cultural diversity was recognized. As it is mentioned, the linguistic heritage in Sudan can be protected by “observation, transcription and documenting of different languages” (ibid). Generally, Arabic and Islam were promoted during this period and the policies of Arabicization were greatly adopted. Language policy practices in different domains in Sudan, as presented by Abu-Bakr and Abu Manga (1997: 2-12) can be summarized as follows:

          In legislation, laws are written in Arabic, translated into English and published in both Arabic and English. In the judicial system, both Arabic and English are used; besides, other Sudanese languages can also be used in local courts in non-Arabic speaking areas. Arabic is to be  used in administration in the north and English is allowed to be used in the south. Political practices as election campaigns and political meetings are to be conducted in Arabic and in local languages when addressing monolinguals, and Pidgin Arabic (Juba Arabic) when addressing multilinguals in the south. Religion is another domain in which Arabic is used in public worship places in both mosques and churches. Relevant languages such as Dinka and Nuer are to be used in linguistically homogeneous areas. Arabic is the dominant language within business. Press is communicated in Arabic with the exception of a few newspapers and magazines written in English. There are 18 regional radio stations in addition to the National Radio of Omdurman, where the major broadcasting language is Arabic. Fifteen other languages were used in broadcasting, including Pidgin Arabic, Dinka, Hausa, Beja, Berta, Ingassana, Fulfulde, Nyimang, Koalib, Belanda, Jur, Shilluk, Nuer in addition to English and French. The national TV broadcasts mainly in Arabic and sometimes in English and French.

           The Arabization[13] and Islamization policies were among the reasons of the eruption of civil wars in southern Sudan (see Wol 2007, and Tutkuay 2011). In 2005, with the signing of the CPA to settle the conflict, the CPA recognized the linguistic and cultural diversity of Sudan. CPA contains significant language policies that were included within the Protocol on Power-Sharing, the arena of intensive power struggle between the north and the south.[14] It was assumed that the implementation of the above mentioned agreement would lead to a change in the future language policy, since the Sudanese languages were given, for the first time, the status of national languages. Therefore, this was considered by a number of researchers as Abdelhay (2007) as a landmark in the history of Sudan. If the CPA clauses on language are implemented, then other Sudanese languages will be documented, protected and increasingly used. They might be adopted as official working languages for administrative or educational purposes at state level which may help these languages to be maintained. In addition, southern nationalism will be achieved as claimed by Abdelhay (2007: 190): “A faithful implementation of the NLP (Naivasha Language Policy) within a multinational democratic federation informed by the principle of active citizenship can contain not only the divisive monolingualism but also the southern nationalism.

Moreover, the languages used in education were highly evaluated by southern Sudanese and government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) as mentioned by Abdelhay (2007: 188):“[…] There is a piece of ethnographic evidence showing that GOSS and its people regard education as a liberating tool from the cultural control of northern governments”.

          In the CPA, both English and Arabic are given the status of the official working languages and at governments and higher education levels in southern Sudan, in addition to any other national language of southern Sudan when it is necessary. With the effect from the 2010 academic year, southern Sudanese indigenous languages would be included in southern Sudan’s school curricula. South Sudanese have expressed satisfaction with the introduction of local languages into their school curricula by the Ministry of Education. It was implemented in South Sudanese schools, as in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, in which the Dinka language is being taught as a subject in both primary and secondary education, and it is required when the student attends his/ her final examination to enter university. Therefore, it is being taught both in government and private schools (Nashid 2014).

         Teaching of the local languages, as is mentioned by many South Sudanese when they were interviewed in the study of Nashid (2014), will help their children to study better, can increase children’s understanding and help them to discover their environment, and also promote national cohesion. However, the diversity and multiplicity of languages in South Sudan increases the difficulty of the languages to be chosen as a media of instruction (Nashid 2014).

        To sum up, language policies and planning in Sudan – as has been reviewed above – excludes Sudanese languages and in the south they were directed towards the favour of either Arabic or English depending on the motivations or ideologies behind the choice, i.e. they reflect the ideological backgrounds of the policy makers. Besides, the linguistic and socio-cultural assimilative policies, which were implemented in northern Sudan, had very little success in the south since southern Sudanese still remain socially, linguistically and culturally distinct communities[15]. They are among the reasons for language shift and marginalization of other Sudanese languages and cultures, which the CPA attempt to maintain. This claim is expressed by different researchers as Berair (2007), Wol (2007) and Tutkuay (2011). Berair (ibid) claims that the lack of a proper and accommodating language policy in Sudan, which includes minority languages, started a sort of linguistic impoverishment or pauperization to the extent that many indigenous languages have become endangered languages[16]. None of the Sudanese languages satisfy the condition of the ‘major languages’ status as explained by Abu-Manga (2012: 8). The operating forms of ideology resulted in different acts of hegemonization to a considerable degree of cases of linguistic rights violations and language inequality. Minority languages and cultures have been assimilated into a dominant one; in other words, periphery languages into spoken Arabic of Khartoum and rural cultures into urban cultures or city cultures (Berair 2007).

  1. Linguistic Human Rights and National Security

           National security is defined by various classical scholars in the West as: a state or condition where our most cherished values and beliefs, our democratic way of life, our institutions of governance and our unity, welfare and well-being as a nation and people are permanently protected and continuously enhanced (Holmes 2015).The term “national security” has long been used by politicians as a rhetorical phrase and by military leaders to describe a policy objective. More recently, however, it has been adopted by social scientists, to refer to both an analytical concept and a field of study. When modern social scientists talk of the concept, they generally mean the ability of a nation to protect its internal values from external threats. The field of study, therefore, encompasses attempts to analyze the manner in which nations plan, make, and evaluate the decisions and policies designed to increase this ability.[17]

         There are seven fundamental elements that lie at the core of the term national security, and therefore further amplify the definition of national security. At the same time, they constitute the most important challenges facing the nation and people. These are socio-political stability, territorial integrity, economic solidarity and strength, ecological balance, cultural cohesiveness, moral-spiritual consensus, and external peace.[18] The armed conflict in many areas of the Sudan can be considered as a threat to the national security. Some of the researchers (see Wol 2007) mention the issue of linguistic rights among the factors of these conflicts, in particular the violations of linguistic rights as they assume. Therefore, this study approaches the issue by examining two different viewpoints: linguistic groups in the four areas of conflicts (South Sudan, Darfur, the Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains) and elites, who adopt Arabicization policies, which were reviewed in the previous section (4).

In  post-World War II, throughout the Cold War and in the post–colonial Sudan, the idea of the traditional nation-state, whereby a single distinct national or ethnic, cultural or linguistic group dominates the political mind of the elites, was dominant. This is the case in the majority of countries around the globe and in particular in Africa, the Middle East and the Arab World, including the Sudan. Despite the fact that states are multi-cultural, and the norm today is that most states are recognised as multi-cultural, most states are ruled by power elites, who seek to impose their identity and language on other cultural or linguistic groups or minorities, with whom they share the same land and territories. Attempts to impose linguistic and cultural characteristics of the dominant elites often come at the expense of other linguistic, cultural and minorities groups (see UN and International Conventions above, op.cit.).

         According to the UN Declarations, speakers of linguistic or cultural groups have the right to education and communication with the government in their mother tongues. As such, states bear the responsibility to ensure that various cultural and linguistic groups enjoy their fundamental linguistic and cultural rights. In this direction, most of elite participants perceive the issue of linguistic rights and cultural rights as a threat to national security, because obtaining linguistic rights – as they assume – will create different groups that will ask for separation or secession from the country, as southern Sudanese did. The result will be the fragmentation of the Sudan. Hence, the dilemma of the perception of language diversity evolves as a problem and not a rersource. In other words, language diversity is perceived by the elite participants as a source of conflict as they think that the ‘one-nation, one-language’ ideology is the best policy to create a homogeneous Sudanese nation, as stated by a member of the High Corporation for Arabicization, the Ministry of Higher Education “[…] Arabic language is the best choice for all Sudanese, we need to unify people and this could only be achieved through Arabic language“, another member supported this by saying ” […] calls for Ruṭna[19] is irrational because it leads to the total fragmentation of this country; therefore it posed threats to the national security of the Sudan, thus, policy makers should choose the best for the Sudanese, and it is Arabic“. He added if it is just a language issue why southern Sudanese people choose English when they are given the choice and not one of their languages? This emphasized the fact that it is just a war against Arabic not more not less”.

           National security is a concept which varies from society to society and from nation to nation. Back in the early post-colonial era and Cold War era, the concept of security is quite different from the present globalization era. The prevailing term is the ability of a country to safe guard itself from the use of economic, political and military force. According to Holmes (2014: 23), national security is the safekeeping of the nation as a whole. Its highest order of business is the protection of the nation and its people from attack, thus, it affects all policies (ibid). Adding to that, Cortbett (2015: 20-21) emphasized that viewing the perceived social “injustices” or inequality as a national security problems, is a distoration of the concept of national security, since they are a domestic concern. Based on Cortbett’s argument, the violation of linguistic rights is not a national security matter if it is seen as social “injustices” or inequality.

At present, despite the so-called Arabic Spring and globalization, the Arab elites in general and the Sudanese elites in particular, continue to handle the issue of national security with the same traditional paradigm and frame of mind of the post-colonial era, and within the same perspective of the Cold War era. As such, every cultural, linguistic or human rights issue, or any issue concerning the issue of minorities or rights of linguistic and cultural groups, is considered as an issue of national security and must be dealt with as such- as has been clearly stated by Sudanese elites who have been interviewed by the researcher in the High Corporation for Arabicization, the Ministry of Higher Education, Khartoum at Thursday, 27 of August 2015. Where they emphasized that Arabicization policies as un officially declared state policies is the best choice for the Sudan national security. Thus, the position of the state concerning language policies is handled within this frame of mind, as being an issue of national security. Moreover, the issue of national security and the position of the elites do not include the interest of other linguistic or cultural groups sharing the same country, land or territory and living in the same state.

           Thus, the  the majority of the Sudanese elites, who adopted the Arabicization policy, since the post-colonial era, the Cold War era and even in the globalization era, have dealt with the issue of linguistic rights and language policies within the framework of trying to impose a mono-language or mono-cultural perspective on all other languages, linguistic and cultural groups living in Sudan.

  • Summary

                Based on the previously discussed issues, researchers, such as Berair (2007), agreed on the great effects of the one-language policies on the language situation in the Sudan. It is considered by them among the factors of conflicts in different areas of Sudan (see Wol 2009), which will be summarized below:

  • Language policies and planning in Sudan excludes indigenous Sudanese languages and is directed towards the favour  of  either Arabic or English, depending on the motivations or ideologies behind the choice, i.e. they reflect the ideological backgrounds of the elites and the state.
  • The policies of Arabization and Islamization are a reflection of an implicit attitude which considers language policies as one of the main issues threatening the national security.
  • Communities, cultural and language groups, perceive state policies as one of the major factors concerning the lack of their basic human rights, from which their grievances stem. The state policies are also among the many reasons for the previous conflict in the southern Sudan, and now in all other marginalized areas of the Sudan.
  • The refusal of the northern power holders to accommodate the needs of the southern Sudanese, which include ‘linguistic rights’, in postcolonial Sudan, led to the eruption of civil war between the two parts of the country, which was settled by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA, 2005).
  • The lack of a proper and accommodating language policy in Sudan, which includes minority languages, started a sort of linguistic impoverishment or pauperization to the extent that many indigenous languages can be labeled as endangered languages.
  • The operating forms of ideology resulted in different acts of hegemonization to a considerable degree of cases of linguistic rights violations and language inequality. Minor languages and cultures have been assimilated into the dominant one. In other words, periphery languages into the Colloquial Arabic of Khartoum and rural cultures into urban or city cultures. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) included, for the first time, the recognition of national languages.
  1. Methodology

           This section tackles the methodology used in the present study: the main tools of data collection and the demographic characteristics of the participants. It also provides an analysis of the data and ends with the results.

          A qualitative method[20] is used in the present study to have insights on the underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations for the phenomenon under investigation. It helps the researcher to gain general underastanding of the phenomenon from different viewpoints. Individual interview is the main tool of data collection. The aim of these interviews is to find answers to the following questions: how do linguistic groups (in the four areas of conflict, including the former southern Sudan) in Sudan perceive the notion of linguistic rights? Is the violation of these rights among the factors of conflicts in Sudan? How do Sudanese elites who adopt Arabicization policies interact with this issue? Would linguistic rights of these linguistic groups threat the national security of Sudan?

            A number of interviews are conducted with two categories: participants and elites[21]. Participants (above 20 years old, male/female, and educated/illiterate) are people belonging to South Sudan, Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile area. The second category is elites adopting or believing in Arabicization policy. The data is obtained from two sources: primary (interviews) and secondary (documents)[22]. The sample is taken from the two main categories. The first category (participants) is sub-divided into: population and key informants. The key informants are divided into two types: positional[23] and reputational[24].  The second category (elites) includes key informants.

           Sample selection is distributed on the states according to age, gender and education for population, convenience for reputational key informant based on having influential and guiding role in the community, and on being at the job at the time of interviews for positional key informants. In addition, twelve interviews are conducted in each state and are distributed equally on the above mentioned three categories. Based on the fact that southern Sudan consisted[25] of ten states (Nothern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal,Warrap, Jonglei, Unity, Upper Nile,  Western Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Central Equatoria, and Lakes) and Darfur consists of five states (Western Darfur, Southern Darfur, Northern Darfur, Eastern Darfur and Central Darfur), one state (Southern Darfur) is randomly chosen to represent the area. In addition, twelve interviews are conducted with the elites. If the saturation did not obtained by the determined interviews, the number would be increased. But the saturation is obtained by the 60 interviews.

           The interviews were carried out during the period of July 2015 to January 2016 and with the assistance of three students from the University of Khartoum. Halim Fadul, Jicob Lanjor Riek Deng, and Mubark Mohmmed Idris. The interviews with the participants of the Nuba Mountains and Darfur were carried out at Khartoum due to the sensitive and insecure situation there which make it impossible to go. These interviews were carried out with the great assistance of Halim Fadul- from Darfur. The interviews with southern Sudanese participants were carried at Khartoum by Jicob Lanjor Riek Deng- Nuer, and in South Sudan by the researcher. Mubark Mohmmed Idris-from the Blue Nile area- is the one who conducted the interviews with the Blue Nile participants in the area of conflict.  The researcher conducted the interviews with the elites, mainly with participants from the High Corporation for Arabicization, the Ministry of Higher Education, Khartoum.

  • Demographic profile of the participants

             The 48 participant’s ages range between 20-78 years old. 77.1% of them are males (37/48) and the remaining 32.9% are females (11/48). 95.8% of the participants (46/48) are educated and the remaining 4.2% are illiterate (2/48) and they are females. Only 4.2% are civil servants (2/48) and the rest (95.8%, 46/84) are joining private jobs. They belong to different ethnic groups, including West African immigrants and Sudanese. They are Fur, Zaghawa, Masalit, Nuba, Tunjur, Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Anuak, Ingassana, Berta, Gumuz, Hausa, Bargo and Felatta.

           The choice of the twelve individuals representing Sudanese elites was based on one criterion: believing or adopting Arabicization policies. Ten out of them are males and the remaining two are females. They are highly educated, civil servants, in addition, some of them are post graduate students. They are above forty years old, and belonging to different ethnic groups; mainly Arabs and Nile Nubians (Nobiin).

            It is worth mentioning that ethnic origin, linguistic knowledge or education (for elites) are not among the inclusion ctrieria of participants’ or elites’ choice. Therefore, being highly educated and belonging to Arab or Nobiin ethnic groups for the 12 Sudanese elites and belonging to different ethnic groups with different levels of education for the 48 participants in the four areas of conflicts in the Sudan is not determined or controlled by the researcher. And what is presented in the above paragraphs is just a description of  the demographic profile for the participants and elites.

  1. Data analysis and discussion

           The interviews with the participants from the four area of conflict in Sudan aim at having a comprehensive idea about the participants’ language acquisition, language repertoire/knowledge, and the languages they used more. It is found that 83.3% (40/48) of the participants acquire their native languages[26] as first language[27] (L1) and the remaining 16.7 % (8/48) acquire Arabic. The majority of the participants are multlinguals (52.1%, 25/48), 43.8% are bilinguals in Arabic, local languages[28] and English. Mother tongues, Arabic and English are what constitute the linguistic repertoire/knowledge of the majority of the participants in the four areas and they are the languages spoken more. The majority of the participants prefer to speak their native languages and Arabic. Since the participant’s knowledge and use of their native languages is an important aspect of their linguistic behaviour, one can assume that speaking these languages in all domains of language use may be among the priorities of their speakers’ self and group identification. Based on that, not obtaining such rights may be one of the driving forces of conflicts.

         Two questions try to shed light on the participants’ viewpoints on the necessity of using their native languages on all domains of language use and it also focuses on the actual use of their native languages. It is found that 25% (12/48) of the participants show the necessity of speaking their native languages on all domains, 66.7% (32/48) emphasize their use only in private domains especially in group communication and the remaining 8.4% (4/48) assume that it is not necessary at all to use them either in public or private domains.

               The actual use of native languages is necessary since it gives insights on the participants’ obtaining of “linguistic rights”. About 47.9% (23/48) emphasize the use of their native languages, 29.2% (14/48) use them only in private domain and 14.6% (7/48) do not use them at all. Accordingly, more than 50% do not feel freedom of code choice. The lack of this right is considered by the participants as: a violation of human rights, the real causes of the extinction of their native languages, results in the full domination of Arabic language and it lies behind the elimination of identity and culture of the speakers of other Sudanese languages (these are a translation of some examples of their answers).

          Do the participants from the four areas of conflicts perceive the notion of “linguistic right” as being reviewed above? This question is important. If they have a clear perception of their linguistic rights, the assumed violation of these rights may be among the reasons of conflicts. About 83.3% (40/48); in which 97.5% (39/40) of the participants develop their own notions which are based on the right of using their native languages only on the private domain; spefically in ingroup communication. The remaining 16.7% (8/48) have a clear idea about the concept/notion of ‘linguistic rights’. For those who clearly identified the concept of ‘linguistic rights’, it is found that level of education (university students) and profession are among the factor which raised the participants’ awareness of this concept. South Sudanese and Darfurians appear to be more aware compared with the other two groups may be because the conflict in the two areas is politicalized.

           Do they viewed the violation of “linguistic rights” as one of factors of conflicts in the four areas of conflict in Sudan? About 16.7% of the participants do not have any idea about the violation of their ‘linguistic rights’ since they voluntary acquire and use Arabic whereas 83.3% emphasize this violation as one of the reasons of conflicts. All the participants from the Nuba Mountains, and 70% of the South Sudanese have claimed these linguistic violations.

              The question on the consequences of not obtaining linguistic rights can be summarized as: violation of human rights, language extinction, and Arabic domination, elimination of identity and culture of the speakers of other Sudanese languages, Arab colonialism, and the creation of a feeling of the necessity of defending the Sudanese languages.

            To 18.3% of the participants, ‘linguistic rights’ is not among the reasons of conflicts in Sudan, it is just a political issue related to power sharing and authority. The participants belonging to the Blue Nile area emphasize this view and go further to say that knowing one language is the main reason of conflict in the Blue Nile area. Because the use of native language among the speakers belonging to one ethnic group excluded others and open the way to more conflicts. Exceptionally, South Sudanese and some of the Christian participants belonging to the Nuba Mountains who consider the imposing of Arabic language as one of the main factors of conflicts because it reflects the Arab colonialism.

                   It is important to approach the issue from an alternative or opposing viewpoint. Therefore, a number of interviews (12) were conducted with some of the Sudanese elites who adopt Arabicization policies; mainly in the High Corporation for Arabicization, the Ministry of Higher Education[29].These interviews focus on a number of issues: what are their views on the linguistic diversity in Sudan? Do they consider the implementation of Arabicization policies is the perfect solution for what can be resulted from this linguistic diversity? What do elites claim on this violations of linguistic rights? Are Arabicization policies one of the reasons of conflicts in the four areas of conflicts in Sudan?

               To 70% of the Sudanese elites, the linguistic diversity which characterizes the linguistic situation of Sudan is absolutely a negative phenomenon because the existence of these different languages is an indicator of different cultures, thinking and life styles. The remaining 30% believe that this linguistic diversity will enrich the Arabic language within which all these Sudanese nations will be melted in  one nation, one-language. Do they think that these policies are the suitable solution for the consequences of this linguistic diversity? They agreed on the validity of these policies because having one language is the direct way towards national integration. In addition, how can these languages be used officially on the state’s level since they are not codified and unwritten languages, and they receive no attention from their native speakers?. Therefore, these languages are better to be used only on the private domains for communication between speakers of a linguistic group. Accordingly, Arabic language should be the country’s official language, the language of education, and administration. Moreover, the use of the Arabic language is a necessity to overcome this complex situation.

         The elite participants believe that the implementation of the Arabicization policies is one of the mechanisms of achieving national unity. This demolishes the claim of the existence of a violation of the linguistic rights in the Sudan. Moreover, there is no relation between these policies and the conflicts in Sudan since Arabic language is acquired and used by these groups based on their free will, not forcefully. What is mentioned by those who claimed violations of “linguistic rights”is just a politicalization of language issues and hence threatening the national security of Sudan[30]. More than one language policy will result in the fragmentation of the Sudanese nation, i.e. a number of completely different nations in one country and each one will ask for its secession on the long run as the case of southern Sudan. All this is threading the national security. They substantiate their viewpoints by mentioning that for those who ask for linguistic rights, they do not choose any one of the Sudanese indigenous languages as an alternative of Arabic, instead they choose English. About 91.7% (11/12) of the participants of the Sudanese elites emphasize that language issues cannot be among the factors of conflict in Sudan. The remaining 8.3% (1/12) claims that there is no violations of linguistic rights as defined by the international standards, instead there is a necessity of using Arabic language as previously mentioned.

            The last question with the Sudanese elites focuses on that if the use of Sudanese languages on the state’s level may negatively affects the national security of Sudan. They all agreed on that it affects negatively the national security because it leads to the fragmentation of the Sudanese nation which will result in a number of petty states on the long turn. They also believe on the success of Arabicization policies in achieving its goals; unifying the Sudanese nation. But the questions arise here, does Sudanese nation integrated/unified? On what bases can the Sudanese nation be defined/identified? Is it on the basis of language, race or culture?

  1. Conclusion

           The aim of this paper is to investigate the position of language policies, the dominance of a mono-language system; Arabicization policies and the position of the elites, linguistic groups and linguistic rights in the Sudan. It also aims at providing insights into how linguistic groups in the Sudan (in the four areas of conflicts) perceive the notion of ‘linguistic rights’ and what do they mean by linguistic rights violations and does it seen by them as one of the reasons of conflicts: the civil war in southern Sudan (1983-2005), the Darfur crisis (2007), the conflicts in the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile areas?.

The literature on language rights in the Sudan could be classified as being of historical and/legal nature. Moreover, a link can be made between this issue and the ongoing, ideologically-governed debate, since 1930s, on identity, culture, nation-building, and the ethnolinguistic diversity of the Sudan. This debate was directed lately towards one-nation, one-language policies. The main question here is how can the Sudanese nation be identified? Should it be identified on the basis of Africanism (al-Afrigaaniyyia)[31], Arabism (al-ʕuroopiyyia)[32] or Sudanness (al-Sudaanawiyyia)[33] The answers to this fundamental issue is not determined yet, and of course language is central to each one of these bases.

It is found that the majority of the (48) participants prefer to speak their native languages and Arabic; although, they emphasize their use of their native languages only in private domains especially in group communication. Since the participant’s knowledge and use of their native languages is an important aspect of their linguistic behaviour, one can assume that speaking these languages in all domains of language use may be among the priorities of their speakers’ self and group identification which leads to the necessity of obtaining the linguistic rights for these groups. The lack of this right is considered by the majority of the participants as: a violation of human rights, the real causes of the extinction of their native languages, results in the full domination of Arabic language and it lies behind the elimination of identity and culture of the speakers of other Sudanese languages.

Moreover, the majority of the participants in the four areas of conflict in Sudan have no clear perception about “linguistic rights” as identified by universal declarations/standards; in spite, they develop their own notions which are related to the use of native languages in private domains. For the few participants who clearly identified the concept of ‘linguistic rights’, it is found that level of education (university students) and profession are among the factor which raised their awareness of this concept. In addition, some of them (all the participants from the Nuba Mountains, and 70% of the South Sudanese) emphasize the violations of their linguistic rights and a number of them consider these violations as one of the reasons of conflict. How can we give support to the view which focuses on the violations of linguistic rights as one of the reasons of conflict in Sudan that is raised by people who do not have a clear idea about this notion?

For the Sudanese elite participants who adopt or believe in Arabicization policies, the linguistic diversity which characterizes the linguistic situation of Sudan is absolutely a negative phenomenon because the existence of these different languages is an indicator of different cultures, thinking and life styles; thus, it will lead to the fragmentation of the Sudanese nation unless it is well managed by the Arabicization policies, i.e. all these Sudanese ethnic groups/nations should be melted in  one nation, one-language. They considered this linguistic diversity as a direct threat to Sudan’s national security. Moreover, they confirmed that there are no violations of linguistic rights and what is claimed by these researchers is a politicalization of linguistic issues. Also, there is no relation between the Arabicization policies and the conflicts in Sudan since Arabic language is acquired and used by these groups based on their free will, not forcefully. The negative effects of the linguistic and cultural diversity of Sudan, as assumed by some of the Sudanese elites, threat the momentum consolidation of the country. They agreed on the validity of these Arabicization policies because having one language is the direct way towards national integration. They believe that, other Sudanese languages could not be used officially on the state’s level since they are uncodified, unwritten, and receive no attention from their native speakers.

This issue needs more investigation. Each area has to be studied individually since each one of them has its own ethnilinguistic characteristics and privacy, so there would be differences in perceptions and causes of conflicts. Other methods of data collection as focus group discussion, participants’ observations, and questionnaire can be used. The sample size could be increased based on statistical equation. Additional dimensions should be added to have a comprehensive coverage of the issue.

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Appendices

Appenix 1: Comprehensive Peace Agreements (CPA); the main statements on language

The CPA contains significant language policy that included within the Protocol on Power- sharing, the arena of intensive power struggle between the North and the South. The main five statements, which constitute the Naivasha language policy, are:

Chapter1, article

2.8Language

2.8.1  All indigenous languages of the Sudan are national languages and shall be respected, developed and promoted.

2.8.2  Arabic language is the widely spoken national language in Sudan.

2.8.3  Arabic, as a major language at the national level, and English shall be the official working languages of the national government and languages of instruction for higher education.

2.8.4  In addition to Arabic and English, the legislature of any sub-level of government may adopt any other national language(s) as an additional official working language(s) at its level.

2.8.5  There shall be no discrimination against the use of either Arabic or English at any level of government or stage of education.

The implementation of the above mentioned clauses will lead to a change in the future language policy, since the Sudanese languages are given, for the first time, the status of national languages. Therefore, it is considered by a number of scholars as a landmark in the history of Sudan. If CPA clauses on language are implemented other Sudanese languages will be documented, protected and increasingly used, which may help them to be maintained. In addition, Southern nationalism will be achieved as claimed by Abdelhay (2007: 190): “… A faithful implementation of the NLP (Naivasha Language Policy) within a multinational democratic federation informed by the principle of active citizenship can contain not only the divisive monolingualism but also the southern nationalism”.

The NLP is intended to act as a corrective to the divisive ideology of monolingualism by contributing to the emancipator project of ‘New Sudan’. There is a piece of ethnographic evidence showing that GOSS and its people regard education as a liberating tool from the cultural control of northern governments (ibid: 188)

The Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan (2005), which followed CAP, mentions language in Part 1, chapter 1, article 6 as follows:

1.6.1  All indigenous languages of Southern Sudan are national languages and shall be respected, developed and promoted.

1.6.2  English and Arabic shall be the official working languages at the level of the governments of Southern Sudan and the states as well as languages of instruction for higher education.

1.6.3  There shall be no discrimination against the use of either English or Arabic at any level of government or stage of education.

1.6.4  English, as a major language in the Southern Sudan, and Arabic shall be the official working languages of the governments of Southern Sudan and the states and the languages of instruction for higher education.

1.6.5  In addition to English and Arabic, the legislature of any sub-level of government of Southern Sudan may adopt any other national language as an additional official working language or medium of instruction in schools at its level.

1.6.6 The Government of Southern Sudan shall promote the development of a sign language for the benefit of people with special needs.

Appendix 2: International Declarations of Linguistic and Cultural Rights

1-Universal Declaration of Human Rights,1948,

2-International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,16 Dec.1966.article 27,

3-European Charter on Minority languages,1992,

4-Convention on the Rights of the Child,1989.

5-Universal of Linguistic Rights,6 June, 1996.

Appendix 3: Arabization and Arabicization

To arabize means to give someone or something an Arab or Arabic character. The adjective ‘Arab’ is relating to Arabs as people and Arab countries while the adjective Arabic is related to literature or the language of Arab people (Pearsall 1998: 83).

Maḥmūd (1984: 2) mentioned three kinds of ‘tacrῑb’: linguistic, cultural and social. The linguistic one, Arabicization, focuses on Arabic language; its structure, lexicography, terms, scripts, typing, its relation with foreign and national languages, translation to and from Arabic, its reinforcement, its use in education, administration and society, and lastly the maintaining of its linguistic accuracy. Cultural Arabization is connected with the Islamic-Arabic culture, Arabism, Arabic nationalism and Islam. Its fundamentals are revival and restoration of the Arabic-Islamic identity, the spread and reinforcement of the Arabic-Islamic culture, and the elimination of the cultural dependency and subordination. Social Arabization focuses on the economic and political fundamentals it has in facing the position and role of an Arab nation, which lives within the challenge of an international civilization and the dialogue-conflict, based on the relationships it has with the countries of the North. The linguistic and cultural Arabization is opposed by the Southerners language ideology. However, there was another Southern Sudanese group who believe that arabizing the South is legal.

According to Miller (2006), Arabization increased after Sudan’s independence in 1956 and it seems to have considerably speeded up in the last three decades due to the combination of several factors, such as: urbanization, migration, mobility, schooling, and pro-Arabization state policy.

Appendix 4: The Southern Policy or Closed District Policy

Rejaf Language Conference (1928)

One of the significant measures intended to separate the south religiously, culturally and politically was the Rejaf Language Conference. The conference took place at Rejaf in Southern Sudan in 1928.

  1. List of languages and dialects spoken in the southern Sudan;
  2. To make recommendations as to whether a system of group languages should be adopted for educational purposes, and if so, which of these languages should be selected, for the various areas;
  3. To consider and report as to the adoption of a unified system of orthography;
  4. To make proposals for co–operation in the production of text–books; and the adoption of skeleton grammars, reading book, and primers for general use.

The construction of no man’s land, (1929)

One of the measures adopted by the British government to restrict the spread of the Arabic language in the south was the creation of what has come to be known as ‘the no man’s land’. The policy of creating this ‘no man’s land’ is embodied in the following statement which is worth quoting in full:

Another aspect of the implementation of the Southern Policy required that contact between the southern  tribes and their neighbouring Arab tribes should be discouraged. Tribes such as the Banda, Dongo, Kreish, which had been greatly influenced by Islam and Arabic culture and were in constant contact with the Arab tribes in Darfur and Kordofan, were removed from their regions and rehabilitated in other areas away from the influence of their Northern Arab neighbours. This created a vast ‘no–man’s land’ between the tribes of the southern Sudan and the Arab Nomadic tribes North of the Bahr al Arab River in Darfur, which acted as a barrier between the two.

The creation of the Closed Areas District Ordinance, (1929)

This regulation was intended to exclude the Egyptians, the northern Sudanese, and Muslims from the south. The ultimate target was to protect the south from the influence of the Arabic language and culture. As a result, northerners were prohibited from entering the south without the prior consent of the British authorities. This measure also demanded that tribal leaders and their followers should abandon Arabic dress and the use of Arabic names.

The Ordinance of the Educational Policy of the Nuba Mountains, (1930)

– one of the regions of  Sudan.

[1] The term elites is used in this context to denote the Sudanese intellectuals who are considered as a potential leaders in their communities, i.e. the elite of the dominant Arabic-speaking population.

[2] There are many language groups in the Sudan which have started to document and codify their native languages such as Tima, Nobiin, Beja, Tagoi, and some of the Nuba Mountains language groups. In addition, the description of the Sudanese languages is among the priorities of Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, University of Khartoum, because Sudanese languages are classified as endangered languages with different levels of language endangerment (see Abu-Manga 2014: 14).

[3] Sometimes the term mother tongue or mother language is used for the language that a person learnt at home (usually from his parents). Children growing up in bilingual homes can, according to this definition, have more than one mother tongue (Rampton 2003: 108; Bonfiglio 2010: 36-39).

[4] http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/en/Treaties/Html/148.htm

[5] Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights(https://www.coe.int/t/dg4/education/minlang/aboutcharter/default_en.asp).

[6] A minority language is defined by Swann et al. (2004: 206) as “…a language that is spoken by a numerical minority (or by a politically subordinate group): the language group is referred to as a linguistic minority. A minority language is sometimes also referred to as a community language, ethnic language, or heritage language.”

[7] http://www.unesco.org/most/lnngo11.htm.

[8] An indigenous language is used in sociolinguistic literature to denote a language that is native to a region and spoken by indigenous people but has  the status of a minority language ( Muniz 2007: 157-158).

[9] See Annex 4 for more information on the Southern Policies.

[10]  Elite (al-ṣafwa or al-nukhba) is a widely used term in the political context in the Sudan. It  denotes the decision makers, potential leaders and intellectuals.

[11] The director of the Yusif Al-Khalifa Centre for Wrting Languages in Arabic Scripts.

[12] The Head Department of African Languages, IAAS, University of Khartoum.

[13] See Appendix 3 for more information on Arabization and Arabicization.

[14] See Appendix 2 for the main five statements, which constitute the Naivasha Language Policy.

[15] This idea can be supported by the researcher’s discussions with South Sudanese people in both Sudan and South Sudan in which they emphasize these differences and also from their speech in TV and radio programs. In addition, they called their war which was the longest war in Africa (1955-2005) as ‘liberation war’. At the end they chose the secession in 2011 and  July 11th is their Independence Day.

[16] Previous sociolinguistic surveys covered different areas in Sudan, such as Darfur in 1984 (al-Fashir 1969, 1975, 2001, Nyerteti 1986, Nyala and South Darfur State 2012), Dongola 1975, Sinkat 1975, New Halfa (1975 and 1980), Blue Nile (Mairuno 1987), al-Rahad (Kenana 1984), Shendi 1996 and the Nuba Mountains 1978-1979 and 1999 (Dair, Angarko and Habila 1979, Heiban 1978, Abu Jebeiha 1996 and Dilling 2005 and 2006). In addition to the stidies conducted on immigrants in Khartoum, they show the tendency of these groups of language shift towards Arabic,and their negative attitudes towards their native languages. Sudanese languages are unwritten with low status (see Nashid 2014: 112-165).

[17] From: online encyclopedia http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/National_Security.aspx.

[18] From: http://www.dlsu.edu.ph/offices/sps/rotc/pdf/ms1/threat-NatlSecurity.pdf.

[19] This term is often used to refer to the languages spoken by the non Arab people of Sudan and it is not preferred by linguists for its bad connotation.

[20] For more information about qualitative method see Denzin and Linclon 2005 Flick 2006, and Kuhn 1996

[21] The terms’ participant’ and ‘elite’ are used in the present paper just to distinguish between two categories of participants.

[22] The literature on the Sudan language policies is the secondary source of information.

[23] The term ‘positional key informant’ is used in the present paper to denote individuals or governmental and non-governmental organizations.

[24] The term ‘reputational key informant’ is used in this context to denote individuals having influential position in the community.

[25] There is new administrative division in which these ten states are subdivided in a number of states

[26] A native speaker is someone who acquires a particular language from birth to early childhood naturally, via interaction with family and community members, rather than by formal instruction. As such everyone is a native speaker of at least one language (Swann et al. 2002: 220). Sometimes the term native language is used, in sociolinguistic literature, to indicate a language that a person is as proficient in as a native inhabitant of that language’s base country, or as proficient as the average person who speaks no other language but that language.

[27] The term first language is used generally to refer to the first language that an individual acquires. However, it may also refer to the language in which an individual is most competent at any one point in her/his life, and this may be different from thefirst language in a chronological sense (Swann et al. 2004: 110).

[28] Local languages are generally vernacular but certain local languages are limited carrier languages. Carrier languages are languages that are spoken in at least two countries, and are largely widespread beyond their regional boundaries. In some countries, some local languages have specific status. Still their usage goes no further than the limits of the groups that use them as native languages (Diki-Kidiri 2001).

[29] These interviews were conducted in the Higher Corporation of Arabicization, on Thursday, 27 of August 2015.

[30] This viewpoint is supported by Al-Tayeb Hassan Badawi, the Sudanese Minister of Culture,in his speech in the symposium entitled:“the Role of Arabic language on the enrichment of Sudanese national languages’’, hold at the National Centre for the Development and Promotion of National Languages, Khartoumon Monday 11.5.2015.

[31] It is a trend adopted by some of the Sudanese who attempt to identify Sudan within as African (cf Hashim 2009, and Rahim 1971).

[32] It is a widely spread ideology which identified Sudan within the frame Arab identity (Hashim 2009, and Rahim 1971).

[33] Sudan to this group is basically identified within the Sudanese frame (Hashim 2009, Zin al-Aaabiddiin 1991 and Bashir 1991).

الوسوم

المركز الديمقراطى العربى

المركز الديمقراطي العربي مؤسسة مستقلة تعمل فى اطار البحث العلمى والتحليلى فى القضايا الاستراتيجية والسياسية والاقتصادية، ويهدف بشكل اساسى الى دراسة القضايا العربية وانماط التفاعل بين الدول العربية حكومات وشعوبا ومنظمات غير حكومية.

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