Skip to main content Accessibility help

Minority Language Rights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 October 2009


Contests over human rights as claims or entitlements to state assistance are how a major, if relatively recent, feature of the socio-political processes and institutions, of modern societies (Turner 1993). Within this wider debate about human rights, the subject of minority rights has long been of concern (Dinstein and Tabory 1992, Sigler 1983). A widely held, but not unanimous, view has emerged which argues that minorities have group or collective rights which cannot be reduced to their human rights as individuals. Linguistic and cultural rights are seen by many scholars as two such overlapping dimensions of collective minority rights (de Varennes 1996, Kymlicka 1995a, Phillipson and Skutnabb-Kangas 1995). In a world of multicultural and multilingual states, so the argument runs, these collective rights can only be guaranteed by the active involvement of states in the implementation of policies which support linguistic and cultural rights, just as in the case of more universally recognized and accepted social and economic rights (Stavenhagen 1990).

Foundations of Multilingualism
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1997

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.


Akinnaso, F. N. 1994. Linguistic unification and language rights. Applied Linguistics. 15.139168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Andrysek, O. 1989. Report on the definition of minorities. Netherlands: Institute of Human Rights. [SIM Special No 8.]Google Scholar
Annamalai, E. 1986. Comment: Legal vs social. International Journal of the Sociology of Language. 60.145151.Google Scholar
Anon. 1992. Language rights and the legal status of English-only laws in the public and private sector. North Carolina Central Law Journal. 20.6591.Google Scholar
Arington, M. 1991. English-only laws and direct legislation: The battle in the states over language minority rights. Journal of Law and Politics. 7.325352.Google Scholar
Baker, J. (ed.) 1994. Group rights. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
Bourdieu, P. 1991. Language and symbolic power. [Ed. & introduction by Thompson, J.B..] Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
Bourhis, R. Y. 1994a. Bilingualism and the language of work: The Linguistic Work Environment Survey. Internationaljournal of the Sociology of Language. 105/106. 217266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bourhis, R. Y.(ed.) 1994b. French-English language issues in Canada. [Special issues of International journal of the Sociology of Language. 105/106.]Google Scholar
Brett, N. 1991. Language laws and collective rights. Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence. 4.347360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brownlie, I. 1992. The rights of peoples in modern international law. In Crawford, J. (ed.) The rights of peoples. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 116.Google Scholar
Cantoni, G. (ed.) 1996. Stabilizing indigenous languages. Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University.Google Scholar
Carroll, J. 1994. Lawyer's response to language and disadvantage before the law. In Gibbons, J. (ed.) Language and the law. London: Longman. 306316.Google Scholar
Cingranelli, D. L. (ed.) 1988. Human rights: Theory and measurement. London: Macmillan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Crawford, J. 1991. Bilingual education: History, politics, theory and practice. Los Angeles: Bilingual Education Services.Google Scholar
Crawford, J. (ed.) 1992. The rights of peoples. Clarendon Press: Oxford.Google Scholar
Daoust, D. 1990. A decade of language planning in Québec: A socio-political overview. In Weinstein, B. (ed.) Language policy and political development. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. 108130.Google Scholar
Djité, P. G. 1994. From language policy to language planning: An overview of languages other than English in Australian education. Deakin: The National Languages and Literacy Institute of Australia.Google Scholar
European Commission. 1996. Euromosaic: The production and reproduction of the minority language groups in the European Union. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.Google Scholar
Fetzer, P. 1993. Reverse discrimination: The political use of language. National Black Law Journal. 12.210229.Google Scholar
Fishman, J. A. 1991. Reversing language shift: Theoretical and empirical foundations of assistance to threatened languages. Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
Fortier, D. 1994. Official language policies in Canada: A quiet revolution. International Journal of the Sociology of Language. 105/106.6998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Freeman, M. 1995. Are there collective human rights? Political Studies. 43.2540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gal, S. 1989. Language and political economy. Annual Review of Anthropology. 18.345367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Garcia, O. (ed.) 1991. Bilingual education: Focusschrift in honour of Joshua Fishman A.. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gilbert, G. 1996. The Council of Europe and minority rights. Human Rights Quarterly. 18.1.160189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Green, L. 1987. Are language rights fundamental? Osgoode Hall Law Journal. 25.639669.Google Scholar
Green, L. 1991. Two views of collective rights. Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence. 4.316327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Green, L. 1994. Internal minorities and their rights. In Baker, J. (ed.) Group rights. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 101117.Google Scholar
Gromacki, J. 1992. The protection of language rights in international human rights law: A proposed draft declaration of linguistic rights. Virginia Journal of International Law. 32.515579.Google Scholar
Habermas, J. 1993. Struggles for recognition in constitutional states. European Journal of Philosophy. 1.2.128155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hannum, H. 1988. New developments in indigenous rights. Virginia Journal of International Law. 28.649678.Google Scholar
Hastings, W. K. 1988. The right to an education in Maori: The case from international law. Wellington: Victoria University Press.Google Scholar
Heller, M. 1995. Code-switching and the politics of language. In Milroy, L. and Muysken, P. (eds.) One speaker, two languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 158174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hernández-Chávez, E. 1990. The role of suppressive language policies in language shift and language loss. Estudios fronterizos, revista dellnstituto de Investigaciones Sociales. [Border Studies, Journal of the Institute of Social Investigation.] VII–VIII.18–19.123–135.Google Scholar
Husband, C. 1986. Mass media, communication policy and ethnic minorities: An appraisal of current theory and practice. RUSHAP Series of Occasional Monographs and Papers. 17.138.Google Scholar
Jones, C. and Warner, R.. 1994. Language and education. In Minority Rights Group. Education rights and minorities. London: Minority Rights Group. 1823.Google Scholar
Krag, H. and Yukhneva, N. (eds.) 1991. The Leningrad minority rights conference: Papers. Copenhagen: Minority Rights Group.Google Scholar
Kymlicka, W. 1995a. The rights of minority cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Kymlicka, W. 1995b. Multicultural citizenship: A liberal theory of minority rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Lerner, N. 1991. Group rights and discrimination in international law. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff.Google Scholar
Kymlicka, W. 1992. The 1989 ILO convention on indigenous populations: New standards? In Dinstein, Y. and Tabory, M. (eds.) The protection of minorities and human rights. Dordrecht: Matinus Nijhoff. 213231.Google Scholar
Lowrey, F. 1992. Through the looking glass: Linguistic separatism and nationalunity. Emory Law Journal. 41.223319.Google Scholar
McDougal, M., Lasswell, H. and Chen, L.. 1976. Freedom from discrimination in choice of language and international human rights. Southern Illinois University Law Journal. 1.151174.Google Scholar
McRae, K. D. 1975. The principle of territoriality and the principle of personality in multilingual states. International Journal of the Sociology of Language. 4.3354.Google Scholar
Nelde, P. H., Labrie, N. and and Williams, C. H.. 1992. The principles of territoriality and personality in the solution of linguistic conflicts. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 13.387406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Packer, J. 1993. On the definition of minorities. In Packer, J. and Myntti, K. (eds.) The protection of ethnic and linguistic minorities in Europe. Turku/Åbo: Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University. 2366.Google Scholar
Paulston, C. B. (ed.) 1988. International handbook ofbilingualism and bilingual education. New York: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
Phillips, A. 1995. The politics of presence. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
Phillipson, R. and Skutnabb-Kangas, T.. 1995. Linguistic rights and wrongs. Applied Linguistics. 16.483504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Piatt, B. 1984. Linguistic diversity on the airwaves: Spanish-language broadcasting and the FCC. La Rasa Law Journal. 1.2.101119.Google Scholar
Piatt, B. 1986. Toward domestic recognition of a human right to language. Houston Law Review. 23.885906.Google Scholar
Réaume, D. G. 1994. The group right to linguistic security. In Baker, J. (ed.) Group rights. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 118141.Google Scholar
Riggins, S. H. 1992. Ethnic minority media: An international perspective. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Robertson, A. H., and Merrills, J. G.. 1992. Human rights in the world. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
Rossi, P. H. and Freeman, H. E.. 1989. Evaluation: A systematic approach. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
Siguan, M. 1993. Multilingual Spain. Amsterdam: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
Sleeter, C. E. and Grant, C. A.. 1987. An analysis of multicultural education in the United States. Harvard Education Review. 57.421444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spinner, J. 1994. The boundaries of citizenship. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Stavenhagen, R. 1990. The ethnic question, conflicts, development and human rights. Tokyo: U.N. University.Google Scholar
Subervi-Vêlez, F. A. 1986. The mass media and ethnic assimilation and pluralism: A review. Communication Research. 13.1.7196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Taylor, C. 1992. Multiculturalism and the politics of recognition. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Triggs, G. 1992. The rights of peoples and individual rights: Conflict or harmony? In Crawford, J. (ed.) The rights of peoples. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 141157.Google Scholar
Turi, J-G. 1994. Typology of language legislation. In Skutnabb-Kangas, T. and Phillipson, R. (eds.) Linguistic human rights: Overcoming linguistic discrimination. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 111120.Google Scholar
Turner, B. S. 1993. Outline of a theory of human rights. Sociology. 27.3.489512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Voet, R. 1996. Feminism and citizenship. Oxford: Polity Press.Google Scholar
Williams, G. 1992. Sociolinguistics: A sociological critique. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Young, I. M. 1990. Justice and the politics of difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 169 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 30th November 2020. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Hostname: page-component-8465588854-4c625 Total loading time: 0.643 Render date: 2020-11-30T03:35:54.512Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags last update: Mon Nov 30 2020 02:48:06 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time) Feature Flags: { "metrics": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "peerReview": true, "crossMark": true, "comments": true, "relatedCommentaries": true, "subject": true, "clr": false, "languageSwitch": true }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Minority Language Rights
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Minority Language Rights
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Minority Language Rights
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *