Language: A Right and a Resource

Approaches to Linguistic Human Rights
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Publication date: 
360 pages

Linguistic Human Rights is a fast growing new area of study combining the principles of national and international law with the study of language as a central dimension of ethnicity. Implementation of these principles is aimed at ensuring that no state or society violates these basic rights.

This path breaking study broadens our knowledge of the important role of language in minority rights and in social and political struggles for linguistc human rights. Exploring the interactions of linguistic diversity, biodiversity, the free market and human rights, the contributors present case studies to highlight such issues as Kurdish satellite TV attempting to create a virtual state on the air through trying to achieve basic linguistc human rights for Kurds in Turkey; the implementation of linguistc human rights in the Baltic states; and the obstacles met in education by Roma and the deaf in Hungary because of lack of appropriate linguistc human rights.


Conceptualizing & implementing

LHRs GENERAL ISSUES: International languages and international human rights.

Heroes, rebels, communities and states in language rights activism and litigation.
“Don’t speak Hungarian in public!”
The common language problem

LEGAL ISSUES: Existing rights of minorities and international law.

The Slovak state language law

MARKET ISSUES: Market forces, language spread and linguistic diversity.

Linguistic diversity, human rights and the “free” market.
Language rights in the emerging world linguistic order

LANGUAGE PLANNING ISSUES: Separating language from ethnicity.

Language policy in a changing society

EDUCATION & ETHNICITY ISSUES: The recognition of sign language.

Linguistic Human Rights problems among Romani and Boyash speakers of Hungary.
Contempt for Linguistic Human Rights in the service of the Catholic Church


"Graduate students, sociolinguists, lawyers and legistrators engaged in discussions of linguistic rights will find the broad range of the volume and its focus on key issues in the advancement of LHRs informative and noteworthy."
"This volume provides a richness of detail on LHR from a number of perspectives, as well as providing both in-depth theoretical papers and detailed case studies... Moreover, the rich material on East Central Europe and the Baltics broadens our knowledge of issues related to LHR in a rapidly changing part of the world... the volume raises a number of key issues for researchers engaged in LHR, discussion of which should lead us to a richer understanding of LHR."
"The main goal is to clarify what linguistic human rights are, what they can and cannot do, and what their implications are in bilingual and multilingual contexts. To achieve this goal, a multidisciplinary approach is adobted, with experts in law, economics and sociolinguistics contributing insights peculiar to their disciplines. This multidisciplinary approach is both informative and rewarding, serving not only to clarify concepts but also to clear away misconceptions and reveal limitations of the scope and strength of linguistic human rights. In this regard, the book is a major contribution to the literature in this field..."
"An impressive example of insights that only interdisciplinary work can produce, Language: A right and a resource, presents articles by linguists, educators, lawyers, political scientists and human rights experts. ...unlike other conference-based collections, the various contributors form a harmonious and insightful whole... ."
"This collection of papers is an important further contribution and should be of interest to anyone concerned with minority rights and the language question. Its approach is multidisciplinary, drawing on insights from the field of law and economics, as well associolinguistics."