The rights and role of communities PDF Print E-mail

Communities are the owners and custodians of their languages and cultures. They have the right to the greatest possible access to the best available linguistic and educational supports and resources for the revitalisation of their languages. They have the right to develop as many skills as possible, in the course of any language project. They have the right to be consulted about all aspects of materials published in and about their languages.2

While many materials are available for many languages, it is also true that some of these materials have not been of immediate benefit to language communities. It is good for communities to deal with this, for example, if they are not already familiar with the linguists who have done work on their languages, communities could find out who the linguists are and approach them and talk with them. It is helpful to get to know the person behind the linguistic documents. If the linguists who have materials on their languages are still alive, communities can gain a lot from contacting them.

Increasingly, Indigenous people are emerging from within communities and are researching and teaching their languages and acting as a ‘connector’ between the linguist and the community. These people have a very important role to play on behalf of their communities. While communities consider non-Indigenous consultants to be important supporters and collaborators in language work, there is nothing more important and powerful than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working on their own languages.

2
The Australian Linguistic Society has described linguistic rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities which members of
the society respond to in their work with Indigenous language communities. See http://www.latrobe.edu.au/rclt/als/ethics.html
2 The Australian Linguistic Society has described linguistic rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities which members of the society respond to in their work with Indigenous language communities. See http://www.latrobe.edu.au/rclt/als/ethics.html