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Language is the starting point for everything

 Photo with permission ©: Kristinn Ingvarsson

 

Remarks by Her Excellency Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former President of Iceland, on the occasion of the opening of Veröld – Hús Vigdísar and the inauguration of the Vigdís International Centre for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding on April 20, 2017.
Our distinguished President and First Lady Eliza,
In this moment of celebration, foremost in my mind is a sense of gratitude toward those who have made Veröld, a shrine to languages in Iceland, a reality.
Language is the starting point for everything. Nothing can happen until we put our thoughts into words – in one of the six thousand languages that exist on the planet. Just as for the people of the world, some of these languages face harsher struggles than others – too many are fighting for survival – and the death of a language is a cultural loss to the detriment of all mankind and all nations.
In a steel pipe that was bricked into the western wall and laid as a cornerstone to Veröld on 19 June 2016, the following text is preserved:
“Language is the mark of mankind.  . . .

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