We recommend an official interlinguism policy (i.e. a policy of official unilingualism and personal bilingualism). Specifically, we recommend that the local government adopt a by-law that recognizes any land within ten kilometers of a riverbank or waterway as an Indigenous Language Zone (ILZ) that would require the municipality to:

  • adopt an official language of its choice; and

  • give hiring preference, in the government and in any natural monopoly under its jurisdiction, among any candidate who is born more than one year after the adoption of the bylaw and who will work within the zone, knowledge of the local official language and any other qualification being equal, in order of priority, to the person who knows:

1. the local indigenous sign language,

2. International Sign,

3. The locally-most-important sign language (if it differs from the first two and according to the demographic data of the last five years),

4. the local indigenous oral language,

5. Esperanto, and

6. the locally-most-important unofficial language (if it differs from the first two and according to the demographic data of the last five years).

To require that all other qualifications be equal increases the probability of competence. By prioritizing a sign language over an oral language, we compensate for the fact that we can learn an oral language more easily from a book or an audio recording than we can a sign language that we can learn more exclusively by video or in person. By prioritizing a local indigenous language over an international auxiliary language, we compensate for the more limited geographic promotion of the local indigenous language compared to the international auxiliary one. By prioritizing the international auxiliary language over the locally-most-imporant unofficial language, we ensure that non-speakers of a sign language, the local indigenous language. and the locally-most-important unofficial language can master an easy-to-learn language in order to enjoy more just access to employment in the local government. By adding the locally-most-important unofficial language to the list, athe bylaw would privide a larger field to avoid a shortage of qualified candidates.

By ensuring that any candidate knows a language from one of the six categories mentioned above in addition to the local official language we greatly increase the probability that Deaf, indigenous, and dyslexic residents or visitors will be able to access a service in a sign language, the local indigenous language, or an easy-to-learn international auxiliary language with a phonetic spelling (which the Deaf will find easier to learn to pronounce, dyslexics to read, and Deaf-dyslexics to do both).

Although such a bylaw would not guarantee that one could access local services in a language other than the locally official one, it would greatly increase the probability of if being so. More importantly, it would increase the economic value of these languages and thus their popularity as languages of instruction or second languages in the open market of public education.

It could allow the local government to promote closer relations with the German town of Herzburg am Harz and other municipalities that have also adopted a policy of interlingualism of one kind or another.

The French Nation of Canada would not oppose the expansion of the ILZ beyond the ten-kilometre limit either.


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