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ERIC Number: EJ866828
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-0143-4632
Language Rights in Historical and Contemporary Perspective
Bruthiaux, Paul
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, v30 n1 p73-85 Feb 2009
This paper presents a reconceptualisation of language rights, drawing on historical sources and contemporary practice. It shows that early advocates of rights saw these as limits on the state's ability to deprive citizens of basic liberties. Only later did the concept come to include the requirement that the state be proactive in providing selected groups with specific assistance, including in areas such as language use and language education. The paper challenges the view that language rights constitute entitlements based in moral imperatives, to be provided by a proactive state regardless of cost. It further argues against the very concept of language rights by suggesting that language-related assistance is qualitatively equivalent to other aspects of social policy aiming at promoting the public good through systematic evaluation of costs and benefits. From this perspective, "rights" are in fact claims on public resources, to be negotiated along with all other claims. While the pursuit of language rights often stems from moral outrage in the face of exclusion and inequity, exclusive reliance on morality at the expense of systematic assessment of costs and benefits risks making current conceptualisations of language rights irrelevant to policy makers. (Contains 8 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A