LINGUIST List 6.1408

Thu Oct 12 1995

Disc: Language and Dialect, Linguistic Human Rights

Editor for this issue: Ljuba Veselinova <>


  1. Kathleen March, Re: 6.1394, Disc: Language and Dialect
  2. Karl Teeter, Linguistic Human Rights

Message 1: Re: 6.1394, Disc: Language and Dialect

Date: Wed, 11 Oct 1995 17:20:58
From: Kathleen March <>
Subject: Re: 6.1394, Disc: Language and Dialect

Celso's remarks concerning Galician/Galizan are some of the most sensible to
be heard in a long time. Those of us who know the situation in this
geographical area must either start listening or talking to each other
seriously. Kathleen March
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Message 2: Linguistic Human Rights

Date: Tue, 10 Oct 1995 09:38:09
From: Karl Teeter <>
Subject: Linguistic Human Rights

Dear Colleagues: I have found myself recently wondering whether there
really is a proper separate subject matter for LINGUISTIC human rights as
against human rights in general. With languages alone, we are already
dealing with a situation where there are over 6000 of them, and LESS THAN 1%
are even granted the minimal recognition of having a writing
system. Much as I believe that everybody should have a recorded literary
tradition to refer to, it all begins with the ability to record one's
literary tradition. In recognition of languages, we have advanced little
if at all from the days when Ken Pike subtitled his textbook PHONEMICS "A
Technique for Reducing Languages to Writing". We are still at a stage
where our efforts might well be primarily directed to tasks such as this,
basic linguistics. Once people have the option of being able to write
they have an important tool to demand their human rights. Without it all
of the pontificating about LINGUISTIC human rights simply goes on in
disregard of almost everybody in the world. Somebody react, please; this
is just my off-the-cuff feelings about a number of the messages I have
recently read here on this subject! Yours, kvt (=Karl V. Teeter,
Professor of Linguistics, Emeritus, Harvard University)
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