More than half of the worlds population speaks more than one language. Learning additional languages has become inevitable – even for English native speakers.
In fact, speaking, reading, writing more than one or two languages is the “new normal” for a while already.
Fostering multiple languages across the lifespan is a true commitment that requires consistency, dedication, passion, time and the right strategy. It starts when we’re children and continues throughout adulthood.
At Plurilingual Living we help all those who live and work in a multilingual or international community, maintain and foster all their languages.
Would you like to contribute?
We invite linguists, psychologists, teachers, educators, parents, speech therapists etc. who live and work with multiple languages to contribute with their knowledge, share their expertise, research findings and experience on this site. You can submit a post, a video, an interview, a podcast at email@example.com.
Where are you on your plurilingual journey?
If you speak, read or write more than two languages on a regular basis, you are plurilingual already.
Maybe you want to raise your children with multiple languages or you’re a teacher or health practitioner working with these children: you’ll find support and expert advice on this site.
Why Plurilingual? (Why not Multilingual?)
The terms multilingualism and plurilingualism are sometimes used as (quasi-)synonyms, but they are not…
– Every person who has competence in more than two languages, can switch between using multiple languages depending on the situation for ease of communication is a plurilingual.
– The term multilingual is used to describe situations wherein multiple languages exist side-by-side in a society but are utilized separately. For example, Switzerland is a multilingual country, with 4 national languages and many local dialects and regional variants.
The mission of Plurilingual Living
is to support plurilinguals
maintain all their languages,
no matter where they live and work
Language identity is a human right as defined in Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which states that all individuals are entitled to “the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for [his/her] dignity and the free development of [his/her] personality.”
Enacted by the United Nations in 1948, the UDHR forms the basis for modern human rights law and governance. In recognition of language’s central role in sustaining communities’ cultural identity, the UDHR has been translated into over 500 languages.
The most basic definition of linguistic rights is the right of individuals to use their language with other members of their linguistic group, regardless of the status of their language.
They evolve from general human rights, in particular: non-discrimination, freedom of expression, right to private life, and the right of members of a linguistic minority to use their language with other members of their community.*
Individual linguistic rights are provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
- Article 2 – all individuals are entitled to the rights declared without discrimination based on language.
- Article 10 – individuals are entitled to a fair trial, and this is generally recognized to involve the right to an interpreter if an individual does not understand the language used in criminal court proceedings, or in a criminal accusation. The individual has the right to have the interpreter translate the proceedings, including court documents.
- Article 19 – individuals have the right to freedom of expression, including the right to choose any language as the medium of expression.
- Article 26 – everyone has the right to education, with relevance to the language of medium of instruction.
Linguistic rights can be applied to the private arena and the public domain.
*Varennes, Fernand de. (2007). “Language Rights as an Integral Part of Human Rights – A Legal Perspective”. In Koenig, Matthias, Guchteneire, Paul F. A. (eds), Democracy and human rights in multicultural societies (pp 115–125): Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
Our children have the right
to speak their home/heritage language:
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that:
- Article 29
1. States Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:
(c) The development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values, for the national values of the country in which the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate, and for civilizations different from his or her own;
- Article 30In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities or persons of indigenous origin exist, a child belonging to such a minority or who is indigenous shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practise his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language.