The Value of Language Diversity

We can do more Massachusetts — Support Language Opportunity!

Language diversity brings many benefits: each tongue contains a wealth of knowledge, often reflecting rich spiritual and cultural traditions, critical medicinal and agricultural practices and unique understandings, all providing a lens into how different groups of people view the world. Language is intrinsic to a people’s identity, so to lose a language may mean to lose a people.

We need to take seriously the proposition that languages are part of a person’s – and a society’s – identity and we need to value languages as we do other precious resources.

What would this look like? Local schools would teach in multiple tongues…

Should All Students Learn a Second Language?

Yash Khatavkar, a TED-Ed Club Member and high school senior, argues for increased language learning:

Speaking someone else’s native language is not only important for things such as business and trade, but is also critical for more lofty purposes such as international understanding and transcending cultural boundaries.

Language and Human Rights

The Linguistics Society of America presents a webinar on Making the Connections Between Human Rights and Linguistics. Topics include:

  • Advancing the Right to Benefit from Scientific Progress
  • Assisting Linguists Whose Human Rights Have Been Violated
  • Ensure the respect of the linguistic rights of all communities that speak local languages
  • Ethical Linguistic Practices in the Context of Field Research
  • Case Studies of Human Rights Advocacy in the Linguistic Sphere
  • Work so that more speakers of local languages can have access to quality education in their native languages

Co-Facilitators:

  • Jessica M Wyndham, Associate Director, Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Michel DeGraff, Professor of Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Date and Time: March 20, 2015 at 12:00 – 1:00 pm ET

Registration information

Double Standard for Bilingualism?

“Bilingualism is often seen as “good” when it’s rich English speakers adding a language as a hobby or another international language, but “bad” when it involves poor, minority, or indigenous groups adding English to their first language, even when the same two languages are involved.”