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Teoria i metodologia

World Language Policy in the Era of
Globalization: Diversity and Intercommunication from the Perspective of 'Complexity' by Albert Bastardas i Boada


6. Synthesis and conclusion: some principles and values for peace and linguistic justice throughout the planet

To sum up, and to help to round off the discussion and reflection, I will repeat some of the principles on the linguistic organisation of mankind, developed throughout the essay and dealt with in earlier research: (19)

One. The ideologies and conceptual landscapes we need to think the problem must take into consideration the so far existing sociolinguistic experience if we are to avoid a linguistic organisation of the planet based on a hierarchical and asymmetrical structure between the language or languages of intercommunication and the remaining codes. Equalitarian coexistence must be based on the correct distribution of functions, using the principle of ‘subsidiarity’, which would introduce the norm that everything that can be done by local languages, does not need to be performed by a more general code of intercommunication. The main idea would be adequate protection of the own ecosystemic spaces of each language.

Two. One of the guides for applying the first principle must be that being sufficiently competent in a code of intercommunication does not do away with the right or need of human linguistic communities to use their codes fully and in the maximum possible local functions. The indiscriminate application of the ‘principle of competence’ will always favour the code that is most generally shared (that of intercommunication), which could take functions from other languages, endangering their existence and, hence, activating unnecessary conflicts that are hard to resolve.

Three. Since human beings can represent reality arriving at conclusions that do not depend directly on reality, but rather on narrative and interpretative configurations created by humans themselves, in addition to the practical instructions for organising linguistic communication, public authorities must disseminate an ideology that clearly favours diversity and linguistic equality. Therefore, they need to promote the self-dignity of marginalized linguistic groups and offset wide-spread popular representations such as the ideology of 'linguistic superiority' or phenomena such as the self-perception of inferiority to external 'reference groups or languages' considered as models to be assimilated.

Four. Preference should be given to methodologies for developing communicative competence in the code of intercommunication to ensure a sufficiently high level for the diverse generations of individuals that will acquire this language. We should also ensure that inadequate results do not lead to parents (able to do so) using the code of intercommunication as their child’s L1, instead of the native variety of the group. Clearly, this development of practical knowledge of the language or languages of interrelations should not prejudice the development and use of local languages.

Five. Equal attention should be paid to the study of cases whereby a linguistic group has frequent social contact with a considerable number of individuals whose L1 is a code of intercommunication, as it is highly likely that the predominant trend will be to use the latter as a habitual norm; this would have potential repercussions on the intergenerational reproduction of the other language if the populations integrated socially. In these cases, the mechanism of mixed marriage can unintentionally reduce the index of generational transfer of local codes considerably if the population is not made aware and if linguistic diversity is not fostered within the family unit itself through the principle of 'one parent = one language', in cases where this is possible and necessary.

We are, therefore, faced with a fascinating task of research and organisation, requiring considerable imagination. We urgently need to organise ourselves to inform, persuade and convince the heads of world organisations, state governments and other public organisations to study how these principles can be applied and to put them into practice. Furthermore, it is both urgent and necessary to carry out in-depth research on the various aspects concerned (politics, law, pedagogy, philosophy, socio-economics, etc.), from the point of view of ecological complexity, bearing in mind that, as Morin says, "political action itself, more so than complex knowledge, depends on the strategy, on the art". (20)

The extension of perspectives of complexity and their application to very diverse fields is one of the current needs of the entire planet. It may be necessary to relocate this reconstructed thinking in the widest context of a crisis of civilisation leading us to re-think fragmentary and reductionist views of the world in favour of representations that are closer to the reality of human facts and values based on ecological vision, sustainability and universal fraternity. The physicist, Fritjof Capra, maintains that a change in thinking is not enough: our values must change too. Both ways of thinking and values must combine in equal measures the trends of self-assertion and integration, which are, as Capra says, basic in all living systems. "Neither of them is intrinsically good or bad. What is good, or healthy, is a dynamic balance; what is bad, or unhealthy, is imbalance – over-emphasis of one tendency and neglect of the other". (21) Capra therefore suggests dealing with the columns of the table below complementarily, in order to rectify, particularly in Western culture, the predominance of assertive thought and values at the expense of integrative ones:

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