The State We’re In: Language rights

Bilingual inscription in Ancient Greek and Aramaic, one of the world’s oldest continuously spoken languages (3rd c. BC, Kabul Museum) (© Wikipedia)

Language is the greatest tool of communication we have and it brings people together. So why is it that such a precious and essential tool is often at the heart of ethnic conflict and injustice, even cultural genocide? Many of the world’s roughly eight thousand languages are disappearing. Some are just abandoned for various reasons or even systematically made to vanish. We speak with professor Peter Patrick of the University of Essex, and we take a look at the latest developments in the age-old conflict between speakers of Flemish and the Walloon speakers of French in Belgium.

Presenter: Jonathan Groubert

Broadcast: June 29, 2008