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First World Language Resources Protection Conference ends in Changsha

2018-09-22 13:36:00

The first World Language Resources Protection Conference ended on September 20 in Changsha, Hunan Province. CHEN Baoshen, Minister of Education, WU Guiying, Deputy Governor of Hunan Province, and OU Mingxing, Permanent Delegate of China to UNESCO attended the closing ceremony and delivered speeches.

Minister Chen noted that language was an important medium for the transmission of human civilization down through generations and a key lever for mutual understanding and inter-civilization exchanges. He believed that the protection of linguistic diversity was of great significance to the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals. China, as a multi-ethnic and multilingual country, had a fine tradition of protecting its rich language base and ensuring the harmonious coexistence of mandarin, dialects and minority languages.

He said that, over the past 40 years, the Chinese government had taken effective measures to popularize and standardize the use of mandarin, protect minority languages, and promote the learning of foreign languages. The development of languages had played an irreplaceable role in the country’s drive towards modernization and safeguarding people’s political, social and cultural rights.

He stressed that protecting linguistic diversity was a prerequisite for protecting cultural diversity and that the death of any language was an irreparable loss for humanity. Protecting linguistic diversity was therefore critical. To this end, he proposed four measures: a) Promote language exchange while respecting linguistic diversity; b) Strengthen language education by improving related education systems and helping young students discover the beauty of languages; c) Introduce innovative and rational approaches to protect language resources in line with the norms and actual usage of languages; and d) Facilitate the development of language products, exploring new areas of language services and reviving the world’s missing languages by using modern technical methods to preserve a holistic understanding and view over the evolution of human languages.

DU Zhanyuan, Vice Minister of Education and Director of the National Language Commission hosted the closing ceremony. During the two-day conference, government officials, experts and scholars from around the world had in-depth exchanges and discussions on the theme “Role of Linguistic Diversity in Building a Global Community with A Shared Future”. They reached consensus on many issues and facilitated the adoption of the Yuelu Declaration (Draft), as a major outcome of the conference. The conference itself and the adoption of the draft declaration can be considered as a milestone for the protection of the world’s language resources.

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