AIIC declaration on the preservation of world linguistic heritage

"When you lose a language, you lose a culture, intellectual wealth, a work of art. It's like dropping a bomb on a museum, the Louvre." 1

Language is the living expression of human culture and the various languages of our planet give voice to the diversity of human experience. Much as genetic diversity is now considered a common good to be safeguarded, linguistic diversity must be considered a world heritage meriting preservation.

To circumscribe the languages in which we communicate is to impoverish our common heritage of human wisdom and to deprive humankind of the fruits born from a cross-pollination of ways of thinking, feeling, and approaching existence. Any "cost accounting" in relation to languages must take into account the often intangible, but nonetheless very real benefits inherent in cultural diversity, cross-cultural communication and the human language bank.

The use of multiple languages in international concourse is not an impediment to communication, but an essential part of it. It is precisely to promote understanding that our world linguistic heritage must be promoted and preserved.

1) Comment by the late Kenneth Hale cited in The Economist (November 3, 2001). Mr. Hale was Professor of Linguistics at MIT and the author of "The Green Book of Language Revitalisation."

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AIIC. "AIIC declaration on the preservation of world linguistic heritage". April 9, 2002. Accessed May 27, 2020. <>.

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michael greco


I speak five languages. by far the easiest is Esperanto. But this community is the only linguistic community I know of which, by and large, has a profound respect for every other linguistic community.

Esperanto speakers world wide are--almost by the very nature of their situation--supporters of linguistic diversity and respect the rights of all people to retain their own language, be able to work, travel, learn without their language being an obstacle to this.

Esperanto by its very nature is a Neutral, Second

language which can be learned in weeks! not years.

And can be used today to speak to people across the globe. Let alone stay for free in their home!

The media as a rule just ignore, or ridicule Esperanto.Or say it's a dead language.

The Powerful have no desire to allow it to grow.

Example is theattempt(since its inception) of

Esperanto speakers to have a voice at the UN.

It will never hapen.

Unless there are some drastic changes in our leaders' ideals.

For now the ideal is "divide and..." continue to keep subdued.

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Vincent BUCK


Quand j'ai posé la question de savoir où était restée la version française (en avril dernier), on m'a répondu qu'elle était en cours de traduction.

Est-elle déjà publiable aujourd'hui ?

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Georganne Weller


I am very pleased to see AIIC go beyond the realm of conference interpreting and to broach the underpinnings of our professional calling. As a member of AIIC I am proud to see the association make this statement.

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Manuel Sant'Iago Ribeiro


inspired PT version, congrats!



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