Seen but not heard: Addressing inequalities surrounding ethnolinguistic identity - Young & Wisbey
*Accepted under the "Addressing Inequalities" Global Thematic Consultation - Call for Proposals for Background Papers, Oct 2012*
by Catherine Young, Matthew Wisbey, LEAD Asia, SIL International
Abstract: Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is advancing unequally. Some goals will almost certainly be missed and progress towards others is slow (United Nations, 2012). This paper highlights the particular inequalities facing minority ethnolinguistic communities and the impact these inequalities have on progress towards all the MDGs. It begins by explaining the inherent value of languages and the policy and planning challenges surrounding language, before explaining the fundamental role of language in education and the way languages can become bridges or barriers for communities. It ends by highlighting the important role language plays in minority ethnolinguistic communities’ access to development opportunities and gives examples of situations where minority ethnolinguistic communities have successfully engaged in development opportunities and the benefits that have consequently resulted.