Dead language is a language that no longer has native speakers, but that has known grammar and vocabulary and is recorded in written documents, so it can be studied and used today even though its pronunciation is unknown. It differs from the concept of extinct language , since the latter occurs when a language is no longer used and can no longer be learned through documents, being recognized only by the influence on other languages. Examples of dead languages are Coptic , Latin and ancient Greek .
Types of dead language [ edit | edit source code ]
Dead language can manifest itself in several ways:
- gradual dead tongue
- dead language from the bottom up: when language change begins in a low-level environment, such as home.
- dead language from top to bottom: when linguistic change begins in a high-level environment, such as the government.
- Suddenly, physically or biologically, when the people from whom the language originates are forced to stop using it or are exterminated.
The most common process that leads to the death of a language is one in which the community of speakers of one language assimilates another, becoming bilingual , and gradually shifts fidelity to the second language and gradually stops using its original language. This is an assimilation process that can be voluntary or forced. Speakers of some languages, especially regional or minority languages, may decide to abandon them based on economic or utilitarian fundamentals, in favor of more widely used or more prestigious languages. This process is gradual and can occur from the bottom up or from the top down.
Languages with a small population, geographically isolated from loudspeakers can also die when their speakers are killed by genocide, disease, or natural disaster.
A language is often declared dead even before the last native speaker of the language dies, when only a few natives at an advanced age remain alive, and they no longer use the language to communicate, so the language is effectively declared dead. The language with a very low number of speakers is usually moribund. Since the language is no longer a native language – that is, if no child is learning it as a primary language – the transmission process ends and the language will not survive after the current generation. This is rarely a sudden event, but a gradual process, with an increasingly rare use of the language, until it is used only in academia, to study the culture of a people, such as literature, poetry and literature. music, for example. Language transmission to children decreases over time, affecting fluency in the language, which is no longer used at the expense of the dominant language. An example of this process is that of the Dalmatian language .
Language death can accelerate when children are taught to avoid their parents’ language for economic, political or religious reasons. Other times, minority languages resist over time, for example, when speakers isolate themselves, or have a nationalist feeling towards the population whose language is dominant. Over time, governments have tried to force the population to stop using a minority language, for political or religious reasons.