Minority rights and the preservation of languages

Philosophy 80 (2):199-217 (2005)
Abstract
Do minority groups have a right to the preservation of their language? I argue that the rights of groups are always reducible to the rights of individuals. In that case, the question whether minorities have a right to the preservation of their language is a question of whether individuals have a right to it. I argue that, in the only relevant sense of ‘right’, they do not. They may have an interest in the preservation of their language, but, if so, that interest must be weighed against the costs of satisfying it, and, normally at least, we should expect that the costs will be quite out of proportion to the weight of the interests involved.
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