Language: A Key To Nationalism

It’s amazing how people can connect with each other through a language. Can you imagine a nation without having a national language? The language of a country binds its people.

One of the most beautiful things in the world is seeing a nation standing and cheering as one in different situations like when their Miss Universe representative is being called, their athletes won in the Olympics, or even their singers are recognized internationally. You’ll hear the loudest cheers and support from the people even if they don’t personally know each other.

It’s such a fantastic thing to see that even how big a world is, people who speak the same language instantly connect. When you find someone who speaks your native language, you immediately feel like you’re home and you have someone who has the same roots as you. Your love for your country suddenly rages and ignites. This is what we call nationalism.

Nationalism is a political philosophy based on the belief that a person’s patriotism and devotion to the nation-state should take precedence above other individual or group interests. Nationalism is a relatively new phenomenon.

Throughout history, people have been attached to their native soil, their parents’ traditions, and established territorial authorities. Still, it wasn’t until the end of the 18th century that nationalism became a widely recognized sentiment molding public and private life.

Nationality is one of the biggest ways to identify ourselves. We draw our values from, and we fight for our country. Back in the 19th century, commitment to a language was the basis of identity. Everyone’s first personal acquisition is language. It’s a hidden haven for like-minded people, a safe haven from prying eyes. It’s the perfect tool for fending off an invading culture.

What Is The Role Of Language In Promoting Nationalism?

According to Nelson Mandela, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” The power of a language to hold people together and ignite national identity is really amazing. That is why having a national language is really important in nation-building. But how does a language promote nationalism?

Medium of Communication

Having a language that is understood by most of the people in the nation is very important. This is called lingua franca. Having a language that is adopted as a common language will help two people with different native languages understand each other.

In a country where people speak different languages, having a lingua franca that will be used for communication, business, academics, media, and government is essential in keeping peace in a country.

When people are able to understand and communicate with each other through different channels like social media, misunderstandings and conflicts can be avoided. When you have a strong appreciation of the people from your nation, it will burn the spirit of nationalism in your heart.

Strengthen Cultural Identity

In Mainland China, we know that people speak Mandarin. In the Philippines, they speak Filipino. In Spain, they speak Spanish. With this, we can definitely say that language plays a significant role in building the identity of a country and its culture.

This explains why Hong Kong speaks Cantonese Chinese, not Mandarin, even though it is a special administrative region of China. Language has been one of the significant factors that contribute to their cultural identity as Hong Kongers.

There are billions of people in the world, and language will always bind people with the same native language wherever they are. Like how Koreans are proud of the world recognition that BTS is getting, language really strengthens the country’s cultural identity.

Encourages unity

Communication is an instrument to promote and maintain unity. When people understand each other through the language that most people understand, it ignites the spirit of unity. When people are united, even people who have the same religion, beliefs, and traditions will come to us one for one goal.

Some may think that the idea of nationalism is a very ideal concept. But, in a world full of people with different cultures and beliefs, language will always make you feel at home and proud of your country and culture. Something that each country needs from its people genuinely. Just like what Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ National hero, said, “While a people preserves its language; it preserves the marks of liberty.”