oa Alternation - Linguistic rights litigation

Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Martel (1999) sees litigation as one of the most important instruments of language activism. This article focuses on the role of litigation in obtaining linguistic rights with particular reference to the South African context. The article begins with a discussion of the importance of litigation in general. It will be shown that linguistically, constitutions contain general principles about linguistic rights rather than specific detail. It is the task of courts to give content to the principles in the light of cases before them. Lessons are drawn from the United States of America, showing the development and interpretation of the First Amendment that guarantees freedom of speech. The same principle holds for linguistic rights litigation.

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