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21 / 05 / 2004
David Crystal: “Every two weeks a language dies”

The tenth Linguapax congress takes place within the framework of the Dialogue Linguistic Diversity, Sustainability and Peace being held at the Forum today through May 23. Linguist David Crystal presented his thesis along with Albert Bastardas, professor of linguistics at the Universitat de Barcelona.

The need to preserve minority languages and their coexistence alongside linguas francas will be the core themes of the Dialogue presented today at the Forum. In fact, renowned speaker and linguist David Crystal, explained that “every two weeks a language dies.” In regards to this, the president of the UK National Literacy Association, reiterated that “two years ago the danger of extinction many languages face was put on the table, now is the time to organize a mature response.”

Crystal pointed out that over these two years academics “have been seriously concerned about many languages, now the concern must be brought to a broader, more political level.” The Welsh linguist added that the answer lies in youth, “we need them to be convinced by our arguments and the means of communication are key to transmitting them.”

In reference to Catalan, Crystal explained that in his country “the Catalan struggle is the one to follow” given that Welsh is undergoing a renaissance. “For a language to survive a prosperous economy must dedicate time to.“

Along similar lines, Dialogue director and president of Linguapax, Félix Martí, mentioned that “the European Constitution must recognize Catalan and the linguistic diversity of the Continent, we believe in a system of cultures, not of states.” Martí explained that there is still lots left to do, “the Declaration of Barcelona presented to Unesco in 1996 is just the first step.”

For his part, Albert Bastardas, explained that Catalan society “cannot renounce their language of interaction, the everyday language must be Catalan, Spanish already has other functions.” The linguistics professor at the UB believes that the same way people mobilize to protect the environment “we have to find mechanisms for saving linguistic diversity.”