Just four people keep a language alive

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Hugo Martínez Andrade  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:47
Member (2012)
French to Spanish
+ ...
:( Jul 25, 2012

I feel so sad when I read this...

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Mihailolja
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:47
Ukrainian to English
+ ...
Disaster Aug 1, 2012

No other word for it.

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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:47
Hebrew to English
Inevitable Aug 1, 2012

Everything dies.

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:47
Russian to English
+ ...
Hi, Ty. Aug 1, 2012

Languages can be preserved -- there are scientific methods of doing it. It takes a really huge effort later on to reconstruct languages. I am sure this language will survive, it there are still four users. It is quite a promising number, provided that some people really care about it. If the young generation is not interested in the language of their ancestors, maybe the future generations will use the linguistic material preserved by the linguists.






[Edited at 2012-08-01 10:10 GMT]


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 04:47
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Dead Aug 1, 2012

LilianBoland wrote:

Languages can be preserved -- there are scientific methods of doing it. It takes a really huge effort later on to reconstruct languages. I am sure this language will survive, it there are still four users.

I'm sure it won't. There is a reason why the number of users fell to such a low level, so I'd fully expect the language to die out with the eventual death of these four speakers, or maybe continue for a generation or two if they have children who still speak the language. I certainly can't see a small language like that continuing to live organically indefinitely into the future, and I'm not sure that's such a tragedy. If the language is interesting linguistically, let the linguists record as much of it as they can and that's the end of it. If people find that a more widespread language suits their life better - if, heaven forbid, they wish to communicate with people other than the 3 other speakers of their language or seek better emplyoment, erudition etc. for themselves or their children - they should switch.


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Diego Achío  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:47
Member (2010)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Amazing Aug 1, 2012

Rather than being sad, you guys should be proud of these people for maintaining their mother tongue til the end. There are so many different dialects in Costa Rica which are on the verge of extinction too, and only traditions and their speakers can make them survive, sadly families constantly choose to learn their countries most used language, stop using theirs and their kids' generation never get to learn their original dialect.

I hope they can preserve this language as long as they can, and that some expert gets interested in it to save it with today's technology or something...


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:47
French to English
+ ...
When there are 4 speakers left... Aug 1, 2012

The language is effectively extinct. It's silly to use terms like "severely endangered".

There's nothing you can do to "save" the language at this stage. The best you can do is record as many linguistically interesting examples of it as possible so that at least there's some kind of a historical record of it.

I'm always amazed at how people wait until a language is effectively extinct before then making a plea to "save" it. You should really start making your plea when there are 40,000 speakers, not when there are 4...!


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:47
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, they should record conversations in that language Aug 1, 2012

and also it would be useful to create a dictionary. It should not take that long, just a year might be enough to do that kind of a project. It is not so bad if there are still four speakers left. Do they speak another language to a certain degree, another Indian language that has more speakers?

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