[lg policy] CARIBBEAN-Linguists sign off Language Rights and Policy Charter

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 21 14:43:53 UTC 2011

CARIBBEAN-Linguists sign off Language Rights and Policy Charter

KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Representatives of 15 Caribbean countries
plus the United States, United Kingdom and France have signed off on
the Charter for Language Rights and Policy for the Creole-Speaking
Caribbean, marking the successful conclusion at of the International
Conference on Language Rights and Policy in Kingston.

Over two days, the 50 conference participants deliberated on the final
wording of the articles of the document, and have produced the Charter
that will now provide the regional framework for resolving the
language problems of the Creole-Speaking Caribbean.

In describing the way forward for the implementation of the Charter,
Professor Hubert Devonish, Co-ordinator for the Jamaica Language Unit
and Conference Chairman outlined the 3 key steps as being: adoption of
the Charter by Governments, the corporate sector and civil society
groups; establishing The Regional Council of Language Policy and
Rights; and the launch of the Caribbean Creole Language Day and the
Caribbean Language Public Appeal.

Endorsement of the Charter will be sought by sharing the Charter with
local and regional civil society groups and the mass media,
telecommunications organisations and the wider corporate community, in
particular those who publicly use Creole language in advertising as
part of their business activity.

Governments will play the major role in the process of adoption of the
charter at a national and regional level. To this end, the policy will
be submitted to leaders of government with a view to them submitting
the policy for consideration and adoption by their cabinets and/or
parliaments as appropriate.

At a regional level, an approach will be made for adoption at the
level of CARICOM, via its Social Development Unit and by UNESCO.

The Charter calls for the establishment of a Regional Council on
Language Policy and Language Rights which will perform the functions
of advocating for the adoption of the Charter, provide research
support in order to ensure that territories have the detailed
knowledge of their own language situation as to allow them to take
steps to implement the Charter, and monitor the implementation of the
Charter and any violations which may occur in the territories that
have adopted it.

The actual structure of the Council will be decided based on a 3-month
consultation. The consultation will be carried out by the Jamaica
Language Unit, at the University of the West Indies, Mona, in
conjunction with the Society for Caribbean Linguistics (SCL) and
including Groupe d’Études et de Recherches en Espace Créolophone et
Francophone (GEREC-F), the Creole Language research group based in
Martinique and Guadeloupe, and any other persons, groups or bodies
that have expressed an interest in the Charter.

The regional council is to be launched on 28th October 2011 as part of
the celebration of Caribbean Creole Language Day to be celebrated in
all the Creole-speaking countries of the Caribbean.  Linked to this
will be a public appeal to contribute to an Endowment Fund that would
finance the work of the Regional Council.

The International Conference on Language Rights and Policy was
organized by the Jamaican Language Unit/Unit for Caribbean Language
Research at the University of the West Indies, Mona. The conference
was the conclusion of an on-going process of intense debate and
discussion by a team of 30 international experts on Caribbean


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