"Terralingua: Partnerships for Biolinguistic Diversity"

A. We recognize:

1. That the diversity of languages and their variant forms is a vital part

of the world's cultural diversity;

2. That cultural diversity and biological diversity are not only related,

but often inseparable; and

3. That, like biological species, many languages and their variant forms

around the world are now faced with an extinction crisis whose magnitude

may well prove very large.

B. We declare:

4. That every language, along with its variant forms, is inherently

valuable and therefore worthy of being preserved and perpetuated,

regardless of its political, demographic, or linguistic status;

5. That deciding which language to use, and for what purposes, is a basic

human right inhering to members of the community of speakers now using the

language or whose ancestors traditionally used it; and

6. That such usage decisions should be freely made in an atmosphere of

tolerance and reciprocal respect for cultural distinctiveness-a condition

that is a prerequisite for increased mutual understanding among the world's

peoples and a recognition of our common humanity.

C. Therefore, we set forth the following goals:

7. To help preserve and perpetuate the world's linguistic diversity in all

its variant forms (languages, dialects, pidgins, creoles, sign languages,

languages used in rituals, etc.) through research, programs of public

education, advocacy, and community support.

8. To learn about languages and the knowledge they embody from the

communities of speakers themselves, to encourage partnerships between

community-based language/cultural groups and scientific/professional

organizations who are interested in preserving cultural and biological

diversity, and to support the right of communities of speakers to language


9. To illuminate the connections between cultural and biological diversity

by establishing working relationships with scientific/professional

organizations and individuals who are interested in preserving cultural

diversity (such as linguists, educators, anthropologists, ethnologists,

cultural workers, native advocates, cultural geographers, sociologists, and

so on) and those who are interested in preserving biological diversity

(such as biologists, botanists, ecologists, zoologists, physical

geographers, ethnobiologists, ethnoecologists, conservationists,

environmental advocates, natural resource managers, and so on), thus

promoting the joint preservation and perpetuation of cultural and

biological diversity.

10. To work with all appropriate entities in both the public and private

sectors, and at all levels from the local to the international, to

accomplish the foregoing.