I have just heard that the United Nations has declared 2008 International year of languages.! Nice one. They say:
“It will aim to promote unity through linguistic diversity. The Assembly called upon States and the Secretariat to work towards the conservation and defence of the world’s languages and requested the Secretariat to appoint a coordinator for multilingualism.
Representatives from several States made contributions. The Andorran representative said, “Protecting languages is one of the fundamental pillars of cultural diversity”.
Meanwhile, there was refreshing news for our Breton, Basque, Occitan and Corsican readers when the representative from France said, “The right to use your own language, the capacity to communicate and, therefore, to understand and be understood, the preservation of an inheritance that dates back centuries or even millennia, should be of prime importance to the United Nations”.
The idea of devoting a whole year to languages was proposed by Austria two years ago at the 33rd UNESCO General Conference held in Paris. (Eurolang 2007).”
On the one hand the UN is putting its money where its mouth is and actually implementing its beliefs by making sure that all of the six official languages of the UN (Spanish, English, Chinese, Arabic, French, and Russian) have all documents and services in these languages, and that linguist diversity is important.
On the other hand they offer very little about the state of indigenous and minority languages of the world explicitly. But I hope putting the idea out there will help get it on governments agendas…
Some other good news is that the:
NATIONAL ALLIANCE TO SAVE NATIVE LANGUAGES
NATIVE LANGUAGE REVITALIZATION NATIONAL SUMMIT
In Washington DC, for more details about this click here.