The 21st of February 2015 has been proclaimed to be International Mother Language Day, by UNESCO. To read the official statement, the Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, go to: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002316/231624E.pdfFor further information on linguistic human rights go to: http://www.linguistic-rights.org/
UEA has circulated an Esperanto translation of the message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day 2014. For the Esperanto text go to Latest News and click on the wee Esperanto flag.
The Minister of Māori Affairs Dr Pita Sharples has proposed a bill in Parliament that will create a new entity known as Te Matawai, which, he says, will give power back to an iwi-represented board, rather than the Minister. Many Māori groups are opposed to the proposal.
The Auckland Languages Strategy Working Group has criticised it. They fear that it will weaken support for the Māori Language. They say that it would be more effective to allocate more money directly to school and community initiatives. "We are working towards a regional languages strategy for Tamaki Makaurau, after central government has repeatedly failed to prioritise New Zealand’s diversity of languages at a national level. For Aotearoa to gain the full benefit from the many languages spoken here, and for Te Reo Māori to thrive, we believe a national languages policy is needed."
Labour and Green MPs voiced their concerns in Parliament, when the bill was introduced, that the bill does not clarify the Crown's “commitment and responsibilities to Te Reo” as it should.
Tau Henare MP, pointing to the progress of Welsh in Wales, advocates the development of a plan to introduce teaching Māori language to everyone in all NZ schools. He said in Parliament: “It would do wonders for this nation’s belief that it is a bicultural nation. It would do wonders for race relations. It would do wonders for our ability to talk to people of other cultures. When you learn a second language or even a first language, it is easier to learn the next one and the next one.”
The most unusual event during the 99th Universal Esperanto Congress will be a football match between a team of esperantists and a team of the Armenian Community in Argentina. The players for the Esperanto team will be selected from the congress participants to represent the worldwide Esperanto movement.
match will be under the auspices of the Ministry of Sport of the
Buenos Aires government and the South American Council of New
Federations (CSANF) who have announced the match on:https://www.facebook.com/csanf2007
The match will take place in the sports ground "Polideportivo Colegiales" (120 Freire Street) on Thursday 31 July 2014 starting at 20:30. The winning team will be presented with the International Friendship Cup.
Information from: http://uea.org/
A session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) took place in Geneva between the 6th and 11th of July 2014. Stefano Keller, a member of the Executive of UEA and the chief representative of UEA at the UN in Geneva, noticed that a proposed resolution did not mention the use of mother tongues, which is a precondition of full and adequate participation in the life of any society. Keller called for inclusion of the required phrases.
During the discussion of language rights in relation to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Keller drew attention to the significant reduction in biocultural diversity and the necessity to conserve it for sustainable survival. For that the protection of each language is important, especially for the languages of indigenous peoples, because they contain the knowledge necessary to conserve diversity.
Keller also drew attention to the need to act with respect for the human dignity of each people, so that none of the more powerful force their languages and cultures on the others. He emphasised the fundamental role of the mother tongue in the life of every person and repeated his call to include that in the resolution.
This article is a summary of a report by UEA, Gazetaraj Komunikoj n-ro 546.
The popular astronomy website Heavens-Above.com is now available in Esperanto. The author of the Esperanto translation is the Ukrainian amateur astronomer Pavel Moĵajev, who uses this website mainly to look up the position of artificial satellites. In an interview on Libera Folio he explains why he took on the task and how the Esperanto version can be useful.
The whole article is available at: http://www.liberafolio.org/2014/la-universo-nun-alireblas-en-esperanto
This information was supplied by László Szilvási, (Ret-Info)
The first number of the magazine Esperanto to be edited by Fabricio Valle is at the printer and subscribers will receive their paper copy in January. There are some big changes to the layout and type of contents of the revue. The new editor aims to make its appearance more inviting.
To give all esperantists a taste of the new-look revue, the January edition is freely down-loadable from the UEA website <http://www.uea.org/revuo/index.html>.
Those who wish to read the subsequent editions of the magazine, can avail themselves of the opportunity to register online as a member of UEA at <http://db.uea.org/alighoj/alighilo.php>.
Reference: Gazetaraj Komunikoj de UEA n-ro 529
Another article on 17 September 2013, on multilingualism, and the opposition to having a "mainly English" language policy in the EU. "United in diversity"? The problems if all serious stuff is in English, and the other languages lose their technical vocabulary and style. "Already today, in liberal and pro-American countries where English ability is outstanding, like Denmark and the Netherlands, people fear that their languages are considered fit for fewer and fewer arenas. Populist and xenophobic parties... play on this fear". The author is pushing for every schoolchild in the EU to be taught "a second foreign language after English".
The Economist has published two articles about language problems in the European Union.
An article on 10 September 2013 discussed a recent conference on multilingualism in Krynica, Poland. It mentions the number of official languages in the EU has risen to 23, which makes it difficult to create unity in the EU. It mentions the difficulty of interpreting at such conferences, and the difficulty of understanding those struggling with English. It claims that "Technology is making cross-linguistic communication much easier, but even with all of the recent strides in machine translation, quality is still choppy, and remains impossible for the kind of spontaneous conversations that start friendships." Which is what we have been saying for along time.
On 26 September 2013 The Economist published an article about Esperanto in the section called, appropriately enough, "Prospero". While it is the sort of knocking article that one expects from a mainstream English language magazine, it does contain some relevant facts. It mentions that "Esperanto remains atop the heap" of invented languages. It mentions estimates of the number of Esperanto speakers, and the number of pages in the Esperanto Wikipedia. It finishes with the usual plug for English.The author correctly says that to learn Esperanto one needs to be motivated "by an ideal of international harmony", and bemoans a lack of Esperanto culture. However the author does acknowledge that the Esperanto community is "proud of its respect for existing cultures".