The Globalisation of (Educational) Language rights

Abstract

Languages are today being murdered faster than ever before in human history: 90% of the world's oral languages may be dead or moribund (no longer learned by children) in a hundred years' time. The media and the educational systems are the most important direct agents in language murder. Behind them are the real culprits, the global economic, military and political systems. Linguistic human rights might be one way of promoting conflict prevention and self-determination, preventing linguistic genocide, and maintaining linguistic diversity and biodiversity (which are correlationally and also causally related). The most basic linguistic human rights for maintenance of linguistic diversity, specifically the right to mother tongue medium education, are not protected by the present provisions in human rights law. Linguistically, formal education is today often 'forcibly transferring children of one group to another group' (one of the definitions of genocide in the UN Genocide Convention). Human rights are supposed to act as correctives to the 'free market'. Despite good intentions, forces behind economic globalisation have instead given brutal market forces free range.

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Skutnabb-Kangas, T. The Globalisation of (Educational) Language rights. International Review of Education 47, 201–219 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1017989407027

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Keywords

  • Medium Education
  • Formal Education
  • Educational System
  • Political System
  • Economic Globalisation