Language and Universalization

How to Cite

Meyjes, G. “Language and Universalization: A ‘Linguistic Ecology’ Reading of Bahá’í Writ”. The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, Mar. 1999, pp. 51-63, doi:10.31581/jbs-9.1.112(1999).


In this article, interpretation of Bahá’í writings regarding language, cultural diversity, and worldwide communication leads to the seemingly paradoxical position that the promotion of linguistic minority rights in must coincide with promotion of an International Auxiliary Language (IAL). Opposing trends toward increased globalization and growing nationalism are noted and their concurrence explained. The notion of “cultural justice” is expounded and the unregulated global spread of English today critically assessed in its light. By contrast, from the perspective of Bahá’í writ, IAL emerges as a language intended to facilitate worldwide communication without unduly impinging on humankind’s native linguistic traditions. Thus, Bahá’í writings appear to support a worldwide linguistic ecology better planned, more equitable, less prone to precipitous change, and more cognizant of the singular role of language in humanity‘s individual and collective identity.
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Copyright © 1999 Gregory Paul P. Meyjes