Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 21:32:17 GMT From: Natalie Maynor Subject: From The George Wright Society I was asked to forward this to the ADS-L. Natalie > CALL FOR INTEREST > > ANNOUNCING the creation of a nonprofit, nongovernmental, international > organization devoted to preserving the world's linguistic diversity, and to > investigating parallels and links between biological and cultural > diversity, TENTATIVELY CALLED: > > *Terralingua: Partnerships for Biolinguistic Diversity* > > Dear Colleague: > > Last July, at a Symposium on Language Loss and Public Policy held at the > University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, some of the participants began > discussing proposals to form an organization to preserve the world's > linguistic diversity. Beyond this, these participants determined that any > such organization ought to coordinate with groups working to preserve the > diversity of species and ecosystems, thereby emphasizing the mutually > reinforcing importance of cultural and biological diversity. At that time, > a small ad hoc organizing committee formed to hammer out a statement of > purpose for the organization. > > After going through a number of drafts, we, the members of this ad hoc > committee, now feel ready to announce the formation of the organization and > issue this Call for Interest to gauge potential support from you and > others. We *tentatively* propose to call our organization "Terralingua: > Partnerships for Biolinguistic Diversity" (see below for more on the name). > > The organization will have two basic purposes. First, to preserve the > world's linguistic diversity in all its forms, regardless of political, > demographic, or linguistic status. This means that we are concerned with > the loss of any form of language, whether it be an endangered language, a > disappearing dialect of a non-endangered language, declining bilingual use > of a language (endangered or not) within a given country, and so forth. As > you can see, the emphasis is on diversity as a whole rather than > endangerment, though of course we will necessarily be deeply involved in > supporting the preservation of critically endangered forms of language. > > We also are convinced that attempts to preserve either linguistic or > biological diversity will ultimately not succeed unless both are preserved; > that is, we believe in a holistic view of diversity in culture and nature. > Thus, Terralingua's second basic purpose is to promote the investigation of > the parallels and links between cultural diversity (of which linguistic > diversity is an important part) and biological diversity. We want to build > bridges between groups and individuals working to save languages and > cultures and those working to save species and ecosystems. All of this is > fleshed out in the organization's Statement of Purpose, which is attached > to this Call for Interest. > > What exactly do we propose to do? Initially, our goals are modest. First > of all, we want to serve as a rallying point for those who share our > beliefs and who want to join us in doing something. Second, we want to > solicit your suggestions on how we can establish the partnerships that are > at the heart of the Terralingua vision. We particularly want to reach out > to community-based groups and individuals working on "the front lines," so > we would appreciate it if you could send us contact information for those > that you know of. Third, we want to hear from you about what you think the > organization's priorities should be. Once all this is in place, we will > pursue a specific plan of action. As you well know, much needs to be done > on all sorts of fronts. But we think that, working together, we have the > talent, vision, and energy to make a difference for diversity. > > INTERESTED? > We invite you to help us in making this organization a living, working > reality. Start by giving us your ideas on building partnerships and > priorities for action. We would also like to have your suggestions for > what the organization should be called. Some of us like the "Terralingua" > name with the subtitle, but others find the "Terralingua" part > frivolous-sounding and obscure and have suggested a more straightforward > name, such as "Coalition for Biolinguistic Diversity" or, simply, > "Partnerships for Biolinguistic Diversity." What do you think? E-mail > your ideas, along with your name, mailing address, telephone/fax, and > e-mail address, along with any suggestions or comments, to: > > David Harmon (Provisional Secretary) > gws[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] > > The initial announcement of the organization is being made through e-mail > postings to a variety of lists serving the disciplines listed in the > Statement of Purpose. Based on the response, we will then do a regular > mailing to potential members and partners who do not use e-mail. On or > around 15 February 1996, those who have responded will receive a prospectus > for the organization containing a detailed statement of structure and a > preliminary plan of action. At that time you will have an opportunity to > formally join, if you wish (there is no obligation). We anticipate asking > for modest membership dues (on the order of US$10.00 per year) to fund the > operation of the organization. > > With thanks in advance for your consideration, > The Terralingua Organizing Committee (gws[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] > > --------------------------------------------------------------------------- > STATEMENT OF PURPOSE > "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 > self-determination. > 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. > > (END) > > ------------------------------- > The George Wright Society > P.O. Box 65 * Hancock, Michigan 49930-0065 USA > telephone (906) 487-9722 * fax (906) 487-9405 > e-mail: gws[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] or gws[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] > *A nonprofit association of park & protected area professionals* >