The 2003 Convention for the safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage defines the intangible cultural heritage as “the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage” .
Intangible cultural heritage can be manifested in various domains:
Oral traditions and expressions, language is a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage.
Performing arts, which includes traditional music, dance and theatre.
Social practices, rituals and festive events.
Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe.
Intangible Cultural Heritage gives communities and groups a particular sense of identity and promotes respect for cultural diversity and human creativity. To be safeguarded, it must be transmitted from generation to generation. The intangible cultural heritage is traditional and living at the same time, this means that it is mainly transmitted orally and constantly recreated. Several elements of the intangible cultural heritage are endangered because of globalization.
[...] To allow the financing of these programs, a Fund for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage is established. To attribute funds, a special attention is given to the safeguarding of the heritage inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. In addition to the regular contributions of States Parties, voluntary contributions are encouraged to contribute to the implementation of the Convention. Bibliography - Claude Hagège, Halte à la mort des langues, Editions Odile Jacob, octobre 2000 - Daniel Nettle, Suzanne Romaine, Ces langues, ces voix qui s'effacent, Editions Autrement, août 2003 - Audrerie Dominique, Souchier Raphaël, [...]
[...] Oral traditions and expressions as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage world is a mosaic of visions and each vision is encapsulated by a language. Every time a language is lost, one vision of the world disappears”. David Crystal, outstanding linguist. A. Languages as a factor of identity Languages are an invaluable inheritance; they are a reference mark of identity, a vector and especially a vehicle of the culture. Oral traditions and expressions are composed of an enormous variety of forms including proverbs, riddles, tales, nursery rhymes, legends, myths, songs This part of the intangible cultural heritage transmits values and collective memory; it plays a fundamental role in cultural vitality and social identity. [...]
[...] Thus, the “Declaration of Vienna” of the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 affirms the right of the “people belonging to minorities to use their own language” (article 19). The Convention for the safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was conceived to protect the living heritage of humanity while promoting cultural diversity. Even if the 2003 Convention does not provide the safeguarding of languages, the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage contained in the Article 2 of this Convention includes oral traditions and expressions. All Intangible Cultural Heritage domains depend on language for their day-to-day practice and inter-generational transmission. [...]
[...] However, UNESCO elaborated the 2001 UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity, the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the 2005 Convention on the Protection and promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions to promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism. Nevertheless, several sector of UNESCO have developed language related programs, creating a new inter-sectoral strategy concerning language. In order to protect oral traditions and expressions, one may consider that it is fundamental to preserve their social function, their role in everyday life. [...]
[...] Endangered Languages program at UNESCO Languages are not only tools of communication; they also reflect a conception of the world. They are vehicles of cultural expressions and of value systems. Languages are an essential component of the living heritage of humanity. According to the experts of the 6700 languages spoken today are in danger of disappearing; currently one language disappears every two weeks. A. Determining the vitality of a language Since 1993, UNESCO's Intangible Heritage Section has carried out its Endangered Languages Program. Its aims are to promote and to protect linguistic diversity throughout the world. [...]
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