English Teacher Article Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights

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I have just been reading the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights a document backed by UNESCO, many NGOs and numerous univeristies, etc. An interesting document, looking at the problems thrown up by the move towards a globalised world, with greater movements of people, it tries to establish objective principles towards the recognition and status of languages within a territory.

It strikes me as trying to achieve a sensible balance with regard to the question of integration\assimilation of people emigrating to a territory:
Article 4

1. This Declaration considers that persons who move to and settle in the territory of another language community have the right and the duty to maintain an attitude of integration towards this community. This term is understood to mean an additional socialization of such persons in such a way that they may preserve their original cultural characteristics while sharing with the society in which they have settled sufficient references, values and forms of behaviour to enable them to function socially without greater difficulties than those experienced by members of the host community.

2. This Declaration considers, on the other hand, that assimilation, a term which is understood to mean acculturation in the host society, in such a way that the original cultural characteristics are replaced by the references, values and forms of behaviour of the host society, must on no account be forced or induced and can only be the result of an entirely free choice.

I think it would make a useful document to use as a basis, instead of the hysteria the more excitable elements of the media and society advocate. It seems a shame that this document hasn't had a great impact, at least not in the UK.

Categories: General

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