Thursday, January 10, 2019

Indigenous languages

The UN has declared 2019 to be the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL2019). Of around seven thousand languages spoken in the world, over 2600 are claimed to be endangered in some way (which may mean not being passed on to children, spoken by decreasing numbers of people, given no official recognition or even discriminated against in some way).

 Many indigenous people are subjected to enforced relocation or assimilation into a country’s majority language or culture. 

According to the website, ‘Language is pivotal in the areas of human rights protection, good governance, peace building, reconciliation, and sustainable development.’

This is perhaps rather optimistic, but many speakers of endangered languages suffer greatly because of the language they speak, and this is often entwined with other issues, such as occupying land potentially rich in exploitable resources. 

Nobody should be forced to learn another language in order to live a safe and decent life. Capitalism's drive for profit means that many millions of people are threatened with losing their languages, their ways of life, even their lives.    


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