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Economy and wealth in the maintenance of endangered languages.

A sociolinguistic perspective

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26/05/2011 às 20:21

6.Conclusion

As a preliminary assertive for this work, it was concluded that languages are dying in a much accelerated speed and that this had already been the subject of intense studies by sociolinguists. A second main conclusion is that, amongst the various means for language revitalization, economy should play a key role as it is considered vital to the self-esteem and viability of minority groups in contact with a mainstream groups who speak a different and more advantageous language.

This study proposed to analyse what is missing from the legal instruments on linguistic minorities when compared with the sociolinguistic doctrine. This comparison paid off as it was clearly noticeable that the important economic factor was absent from the law. It has pointed out here that this omission is, if not alone, one of the main reasons for the failure to revitalise endangered languages and this happens in two ways.

The first way is that the extreme benevolence to States in relation to financial responsibilities towards minority groups made all the granted rights weaker and very difficult to implement, as it is impossible for poor and disadvantaged communities to set up schools, translate official documents, engage themselves in cross-border communications or name streets in their languages without governmental help.

The second and most important way is failing to acknowledge the economic fragility of the linguistic minorities. This makes all the effort to recuperate languages inefficient, as it misses the main point to be considered. The cost of this lapse is drastic. All the efforts to build up minority languages might have been in vain as the evidence demonstrates that a poor economy is the one factor that links most of the dying languages. The languages which do not match this scenario tend to be spoken by isolated communities with little contact with outsiders.

There are artificially-created hierarchies and economically-based supremacy of some populations over others that can and does change the way linguistic minorities see their language and once that feeling of humiliation about their language brings embarrassment and shame, the direct outcome is that they tend to decide not to transmit it to future generations, bringing the language to a risky and almost certainly fatal situation.

This discussion is partially explained by the language-based prejudice, which created a hierarchy of languages. Hudson wrote about the subjective inequality of accents and that theory was here adapted to help us understand the ideas of advantages and disadvantages in a situation of linguistic conflict. No community would spontaneously choose to abandon its language if not under very dramatic circumstances and it is clear that those circumstances are related with staying in a low position in the language hierarchy usually brought by financial misery and lack of perspectives.

This work demonstrates that the economic bleakness of ethnic communities as a problem not properly addressed by law. It also has to be considered that the condition of poverty and the law-making process are independent from each other. It is not being said here that legal gaps are responsible for the misery of linguistic minorities and therefore killing their languages, but that because these communities are generally poor and this is unquestionably killing their languages, legal instruments on the theme that miss this economic situation as a subject to be addressed also miss the whole point about keeping languages alive.

Identifying weaknesses in minority instruments is only a small step towards resolving the problem. More needs to be researched about how to encourage fresh and bold approaches in new treaties, conventions and instruments on linguistic minorities. Additionally, a means needs to be found by which the State addresses the economic need of endangered communities and acts positively to protect them.


References

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Note

  1. CRYSTAL, David. Language death. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. P. 71.
  2. Ibid. P. 68.
  3. Ibid. P. 6-8.
  4. Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project. Available at: http://www.hrelp.org/ [accessed 29 August 2009]
  5. DUNBAR, Robert. "Minority language rights in international law" in "The international and comparative law quarterly",Vol. 50, No 1 (Jan., 2001), pp. 90-120. P. 90.
  6. PENTASSUGLIA, G. Minorities in international law: an introductory study. Strasbourg:Council of Europe Publishing, 2000. P. 119.
  7. CRYSTAL, Supra note 1. P. 127.
  8. FASE, Willem; JASPAERT, Koen; KROON, Sjaak. "Maintenance and loss of Minority Languages: introductory remarks" in FASE, Willem; JASPAERT, Koen; KROON, Sjaak (eds.) Maintenance and loss of Minority Languages. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 1992. P. 75.
  9. CRYSTAL, Supra note 1. P. 136.
  10. Ibid. P. 140.
  11. Ibid. Pp. 141-142.
  12. Ibid. Pp. 130-132.
  13. Ibid. Pp. 133-136.
  14. Ibid. P. 132.
  15. EDWARDS, John. Language, society and identity. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1985. P. 92.
  16. Ibid. P. 93.
  17. Ibid. Pp. 93-94.
  18. Ibid. P. 94.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid. P. 95.
  21. CRYSTAL, Supra note 1. P. 135.
  22. DUNBAR, Supra note 5. P. 93.
  23. Ibid.
  24. Ibid. P. 101.
  25. Ibid. P. 104.
  26. Ibid. Pp. 110-111.
  27. Ibid. P. 112.
  28. Ibid. P. 113.
  29. Ibid. Pp. 114-115.
  30. Ibid. Pp. 115-116.
  31. Ibid. P. 117.
  32. Ibid. P. 110.
  33. HUDSON, Richard A. Sociolinguistics. 2. ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Pp. 205-206.
  34. Ibid. P. 205.
  35. Ibid. P. 207.
  36. EDWARDS, John. Language and disadvantage: studies in language and disability and remediation 5. London: Edward Arnold, 1979. P. 70.
  37. FONTAINE, Lorena; PINTO, Anna. Rights of indigenous peoples, 24 June 2004.(Online) Equitas. Available at: http://www.equitas.org/english/programs/downloads/ihrtp-proceedings/25th/Eng_Rights-Indigenous-Peoples.pdf [accessed 03 September 2009]
  38. TARIQ, Rahman. Language policy, multilingualism and language vitality in Pakistan. (Online) Academy of Punjab in North America. Available at: http://apnaorg.com/book-chapters/tariq/ [accessed 03 September 2009]
  39. EDWARDS, Supra note 36. P. 136.. Pp. 73-74.
  40. AITCHISON, Jean. Language change: progress or decay? 2. ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. P. 204.
Assuntos relacionados
Sobre o autor
Daniel Nogueira Passos

Bacharel em Direito pela Universidade Federal do Piauí - UFPI. Mestre em Direitos Humanos pela Birkbeck - University of London

Como citar este texto (NBR 6023:2018 ABNT)

PASSOS, Daniel Nogueira . Economy and wealth in the maintenance of endangered languages.: A sociolinguistic perspective. Revista Jus Navigandi, ISSN 1518-4862, Teresina, ano 16 , n. 2885, 26 mai. 2011 . Disponível em: https://jus.com.br/artigos/19180. Acesso em: 8 ago. 2022.

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