Event Title

How to Own a Language: Linguistic Ownership and the Perils of Linguistic Marginalization

Poster Number

24

Presenter Information

Andrew Harris, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor

Josephine Koster, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

English

Location

Richardson Ballroom

Start Date

24-4-2015 3:20 PM

End Date

24-4-2015 4:50 PM

Description

Regardless of its distinctive purpose in our existence, the concept of language ownership has been a topic of debate for legal scholars and linguists alike. Without responsible linguistic education, the perceived ownership of particular sounds will continue to negatively impact linguistic minorities that are prone to discrimination. Paramount in the discussion of language is its ensured protection and the protection of the rights of its speakers. In general, the legal copyrighting of an entire language is retained for languages created within corporations or as the shared property of a private entity. For example, the languages created by J. R. R. Tolkien for Middle Earth are not public property; rather, they are subject to standard Fair Use guidelines, as the languages are the creative property of the Tolkien estate. Linguistic communication is a part of what makes us uniquely human. Although the construction, formation, preservation, and continued use of a language are not fundamental human rights – in an appropriately broad sense – at present, progress in such a direction is underway. Ownership of a language is not an objectively definable notion and attempts to define such constraints usually cause more strife than is alleviated. My paper diffuses common misconceptions about language ownership and offers insight into the linguistic application of ownership and personal property.

Comments

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium (BigSURS), April 2015

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Apr 24th, 3:20 PM Apr 24th, 4:50 PM

How to Own a Language: Linguistic Ownership and the Perils of Linguistic Marginalization

Richardson Ballroom

Regardless of its distinctive purpose in our existence, the concept of language ownership has been a topic of debate for legal scholars and linguists alike. Without responsible linguistic education, the perceived ownership of particular sounds will continue to negatively impact linguistic minorities that are prone to discrimination. Paramount in the discussion of language is its ensured protection and the protection of the rights of its speakers. In general, the legal copyrighting of an entire language is retained for languages created within corporations or as the shared property of a private entity. For example, the languages created by J. R. R. Tolkien for Middle Earth are not public property; rather, they are subject to standard Fair Use guidelines, as the languages are the creative property of the Tolkien estate. Linguistic communication is a part of what makes us uniquely human. Although the construction, formation, preservation, and continued use of a language are not fundamental human rights – in an appropriately broad sense – at present, progress in such a direction is underway. Ownership of a language is not an objectively definable notion and attempts to define such constraints usually cause more strife than is alleviated. My paper diffuses common misconceptions about language ownership and offers insight into the linguistic application of ownership and personal property.