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Statement of Purpose

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UNITY IN BIOCULTURAL DIVERSITY

Terralingua has two basic purposes. First, to promote the investigation of the links between biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity, as well as the adoption of an integrated biocultural perspective on the perpetuation, maintenance and revitalization of diversity on Earth. We think that a better understanding of diversity will be gained through interdisciplinary research and applied work involving people from a wide range of fields, backgrounds, and ethnic origins. We seek to build bridges and synergies between groups and individuals working in support of the world’s diverse peoples and their languages and cultures and those working to conserve species and ecosystems. We particularly wish to reach out to community-based groups and individuals working on “the front lines,” to establish the partnerships that are at the heart of Terralingua’s vision. We serve as a rallying point for those who share our beliefs and who want to join us in taking action.

Terralingua’s second purpose is to foster the perpetuation of the world’s linguistic diversity in all its forms, regardless of political, demographic, or linguistic status, and to promote respect for linguistic human rights. Our emphasis is on supporting and maintaining language diversity as a whole and fostering the resilience of bioculturally diverse regions rather than on language endangerment per se or documentation of specific endangered languages.

 

Terralingua is a new (1996) international organization committed to:

1. the preservation of linguistic diversity in our world;

2. the exploration of connections between linguistic and biological diversity.

Statement of Purpose.

Terralingua: partnerships for linguistic and biological diversity.

A. Terralingua recognizes:

  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. Terralingua declares:

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, Terralingua sets 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.

Please contact us if you are interested in translating our Statement of Purpose into your mother tongue!