Educational materials © for/by Peter L. Patrick. May contain copyright material used for educational purposes. Please respect copyright.
Linguistic Human Rights:
A Sociolinguistic Introduction
o My own research interests are focused principally on the structure and use of disrespected language varieties: Caribbean Creole languages, African Diaspora English varieties (such as US African American English, British Afro-Caribbean English), and urban vernacular dialects of English in the US and UK, with a side interest in signed languages (but no competence as a signer!). Like most sociolinguists, I believe that such speakers have the right to have their language recognized and respected, the right to determine when they should use it without prejudice or restriction by non-speakers, the right to proper attitudes and understanding of their language by educational institutions, equal access to essential social services (medical care, legal aid, voting rights etc.) and so forth. It has been a short step from these beliefs to a desire for a generalized view of language rights, which both incorporates the cultural and historical experience of unique groups, and unifies them with universally applicable needs, deserts and responsibilities. (Whether this is possible, I am not sure.)
o In spring 2002 at the biannual Sociolinguistic Symposium, a colloquium on Linguistic Rights and Wrongs (organized by Donna Patrick & Jane Freeland) piqued my interest - especially a paper by Jan Blommaert and Stephen May, “Moving beyond ecology of language and linguistic human rights: Developing a non-essentialist defence of minority language rights”.
first developed this site in 2003 as a brief primer in connection with a visit to the
Subsequently in 2003 I sought dialogue and had several discussions
with staff of the
As current organizer of the Linguistics
Dept. Seminar, I have used my discretion to bring several speakers with a
particular interest in this field, developing into an Annual Lecture on
Language and Human Rights at
August 2003, at a conference of the Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics
o In June 2004 a set of guidelines was proposed and adopted, which is now being publicised.
o In autumn 2004, several signatories of the Guidelines have moved resolutions endorsing them to organized bodies of linguists. For an online copy and more on this topic, see here.
o In October 2004, I expanded and revised the original website to reflect the growth of these interests, and to serve as a resource for a potentially wider group of people.
Last revised 2 November 2005