Talk:Language death

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See also: Talk:Linguicide

Nice Bibliography but No Citations[edit]

The article has an extensive Bibliography but no citations to it within the article text. -The links all seem to be to the works of one man. Very repetative, be nice to have more than one POV here. (talk) 00:03, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Getting rid of the inaccuracy tag[edit]

From reading the talk page, it looks like the {accuracy} tag is mostly around these questions:

  • Is there a difference between the terms "dead language" and "extinct language"?
  • Can a language be called dead/extinct if it disappeared by gradual evolution into one or more child languages?
  • Is Latin a dead language?

Wikipedia is not a place for original research. So, the solution to these questions is not to debate analogies to biology, but to do some academic research and see how the terms "dead language", "extinct language", and "language death" are actually used by linguists. If there's a big difference between how they're used by linguists and how they're used colloquially (as evidenced by cited examples), that could be mentioned in the article as well.

Given the huge bibliography on the end of this article, I'm surprised the question has remained unsettled for so long. Unfortunately, none of those bibliographical citations are footnoted to sentences in the text, so there's no way to tell which statements are supported by the works in the bibliography, and which aren't.

My quick search of for documents publicly available online suggests that "dead language" and "extinct language" are used synonymously by linguists, and I also see references to Latin and other "ancestor" languages as dead/extinct 1 2 3 4. However, my findings are extremely limited, based on what I can find online. I'm sure that someone with access to a university library could get a much more definitive result by checking out some linguistics texts and journals. -- 20:26, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Since there doesn't seem to have been a lot of activity on this page in the past couple of months, I'm going to be bold and bring it in line with my (limited) findings, in regard to whether Latin is a living language or not. I won't remove the accuracy tag, though, because the article still needs more substantial research than the handful of journals that were accessible through -- 20:39, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
I remember in college learning that "dead language" is a colloquial term for any language that is no longer spoken regardless of whether it has living descendants. Linguists call this an "ancient language." They never use the term "dead language." If the language has no living descendants it is also called an extinct language. Bostoner (talk) 02:32, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Irish again[edit]

I'm going to remove the reference to Irish from the section about language revival in this article. While "language revival" seems to refer to both extinct languages and endangered languages (assuming that the language revival article is correct), this is an article about extinct languages. The Irish language article says that Irish never went fully extinct, and this assertion doesn't seem to be contested. -- 19:44, 5 November 2005 (UTC) hi

merge with Linguicide?[edit]

can this be merged with the Linguicide article? — ishwar  (SPEAK) 17:38, 2005 Jun 2 (UTC)

Yeah maybe — I presume you mean moving the stuff from there into here (i.e., keeping it all at Language death). Language death seems the most common term to me; linguicide covers just a subset of cases where a certain intention is ascribed to a certain actor. — mark 22:23, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Irish goverment & Irish death[edit]

"Successive Irish governments since 1922 are thought to have done more harm than good to the Irish language." - this needs substantiating. Secretlondon 19:35, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

There is extensive discussion of the counterproductive policies on the Irish language page. But Irisih isn't dead quite yet: it's moribund. I'm more bothered by the assertion that "Latin never really died" and that we can't assign at least a rough date for the death of native colloquial Latin. (The dramatic collapse of the case system and the neuter gender in most daughter languages is a good place to start). --Jpbrenna 21:51, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

From personal experience I agree that with the critique of govt policies. The main problems are A: The syllabus concentrates almost exclusively on written rather than spoken Irish. Special Irish-medium schools called Gaelscoileanna are supposed to be much more successful at attaining fluency but people can lose it afterwards. B: The State has not facilitated interaction in Irish between citizens and the organs of the State. Personally, I found the problem in A so irritating I managed to get an exemption from Leaving Cert exams years ago (final second-level). We need more Gaelscoileanna and for the syllabus to be radically changed. It's so frustrating when you spend the class concentrating on poems and grammar instead of oral communication. - Peter

I dont know about Irish, so I wont comment on the government's participation. However, when discussing language death, the different factors leading to death and the previous states of endangerment (e.g. moribund, obsolescence) should be considered. This is probably the reason for the mention of Irish. But, I am not saying that the article doesnt need expansion — I think it does.

what followed I have removed to Num sit lingua Latīna mortua necne (haeret in "linguārum mūtātiōne"!)- Is Latin a dead language? (It's stuck in "language change") :-P Ūnus ē Latīnīs novīs (talk) 00:51, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

POV-ness of the death metaphor[edit]

The metaphor of death is used in many ways to describe what happens when people stop speaking a language. Death-related terms include:

  • Language death
  • Linguicide
  • Language murder
  • Linguistic genocide
  • Killer language
  • Dead language
  • Moribund language

I realize that many of these, especially "dead language" are standard terms for talking about this subject. The problem is, they also suppose a specific perspective on the process. Would a note about these terms help? Is there some way we can describe a full shift away from a language in terms where we don't anthropomorphize it into something which can die (and hence, whose passing should be mourned)? -- Jeff 04:32, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

First, of the terms you list, 'language death', 'dead language' and 'moribund language' are the most common and hence they sound somewhat less shrill (to me, at least) than the others. I feel less comfortable about the marginal terms 'killer language' and 'linguicide' and the like. My take on the most common terms would be that we don't need to 'de-anthropomorphize' them, because the metaphor conveys useful information about the subject at hand. Do you have a suggestion for an alternate term? — mark 07:16, 9 November 2005 (UTC)
Linguists don't still use the term "dead language" because of its confusion with the colloquial meaning, which includes languages that gradually evolved into other languages, such as Latin. The current term is "extinct language." Bostoner (talk) 01:19, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Many linguists still use the phrase "dead language", though some maybe not when they are trying to be precise. Some shout for more precision of expression, but they are few. It is a term that ordinary people use, also. Pete unseth (talk) 03:21, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Recent reverts[edit]

I haven't yet looked closely into this article, but I concur with Ish ishwar that the Latin-becoming-a-dead-language case should not be treated under the heading of "language death". It's "dead" now, but it hasn't "died" in the sense of this article. Whatever it was that happened to Latin wasn't an instance of "language death" in the way this term is commonly used. That said, the text proposed by Ish ishwar seems a bit misleading to me too; I'll try and come up with another formulation later. Lukas (T.|@) 17:29, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Consequences on grammar - Nonsense or Vandalism[edit]

"changes caused by language death result from convergence, interference, and independent autogenetic processes"

Autogenetic processes?? Huh?

"overgeneralization" "undergeneralization"

Over and under eh?

Assuming the section isn't a joke, it's needs to be rewritten to actually make sense. Otherwise it needs to be removed and soon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19 May 2006, 18:40

Well, it's actually correct in the sense of a shopping list of what might be covered in that section. But of course the technical jargon won't make much sense to the lay reader in this condensed form. I'm earmarking it and will try to work on it when I find the time. There's lots of interesting research on these questions, that much is for certain. Lukas (T.|@) 19:26, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

please also take a look at the section, "Language loss & language acquisition" it's very opaquely written and difficult to decode. in particular, what does a "temporal identity" refer to?

Sociolinguistics is not a cause[edit]

I was shocked to read: "Sociolinguistics may play a role in language death if the constructions of society fail to support linguistic diversity." Sociolinguistics is a science that studies the relation of social attitudes and social behaviors to language. I know of no way in which sociolinguistics "may play a role in language death" unless simply having more knowledge about how languages die actually contributes to their death. To the contrary, sociolinguistic understanding is one of the sources of support for the kind of "awareness" that the article goes on to say is important to language maintenance, and sociolinguists are often involved in developing language policies expressly aimed at language maintenance. Perhaps what the author meant to say was something like: "Language attitudes may play a role in laguage death if social institutions fail to support linguistic diversity". I know of no sociolinguist who does not support linguistic diversity. Lemccbr 13:14, 23 May 2007 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

I added a merge suggestion tag to add material from Killer language for several reasons:

  • The term in not in popular use among academics. See these google results: linguistics "killer language" (about 600 hits)
    • Compare that to: linguistics "language death" (about 57,000 hits)
  • The essence of this definition of a killer language is 'a majority language that causes language death for a minority language'. The material in the article adds little to language death and possibly the sources can be merged and a mention of the term
  • (Some academic speak ahead) The definition of a 'killer language' is unclear. It is defined as a language that 'kills' a mother tongue--which is a person's first language. In fact, language death is most common on the societal and not individual level: the process is typically that an immigrant or person in a colonized country speaks a native tongue and later generations choose to learn the new language instead. Converting mothertongue to something like 'the historical language of a group of people' and clarifying what is meant by 'at a cost' would fix this...though I think this would be best explained in the language death article.
  • AfD might be a better mechanism for this though I think the results would be about the same--adding a few cites or ideas from there to this article. Antonrojo 15:49, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
I think you can merge it without going to AfD. I don't see a problem with the merge. Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 01:19, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

almost a third of the external links are no longer opperational. unless anyone wants to replace them with updated links, i'll delete. Da Baron (talk) 05:27, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Language death policies continue worldwide[edit]

Currently at this time, the world has about 3,500 languages and 10,000 some dialects spoken, a sudden decrease from 6,500 known languages and over 20,000 dialects about a century ago. By the year 2050, there will be only 500 languages in the world and perhaps 1,000 dialects. A tremendous drop in tribal, regional and national languages in favor of "lingua francas" such as English, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin Chinese and other "official" languages of countries' governments, in global academia, economics and mass media.

The most controversial linguicide claim comes from the Occitan-speaking population of southern France, they accuse the French Republic government for over two centuries of aggressive, humiliating, nationalistic (to insist non-French speaking regions are disloyal people) and strict policies to destroy the Occitan language "the langue d'oc" with its subdialects (i.e. the Provencal language) and replacing them with the "official" French language or the "langue d'oil" originating in the Northern regions around Paris. Even to this day, the French republic was very slow and resilient to legally recognize and tolerate the use of regional "subdialect" languages like Occitan or Provencal in both regional and national government level.

The biggest casualities of linguicide was in North American Indians and most Indigenous peoples of the Americas have over 90% ratio of extinct languages, the rest are endangered and only 20 known languages to have some limited official usage. In South America- Quechua and Aymara in Peru and Bolivia, Guarani in Paraguay, Mapuche in Chile and Amazonian languages in Brazil. In North America- about 60 languages in Mexico and 30 languages in Canada have over 10,000 known fluent speakers, although the U.S. has the Navajo, Lakota, Cherokee and Pueblo Indians languages to each have over 10,000 speakers; and about 15 languages spoken by Inuit, Aleuts and Alaska Natives used semi-regularly in villages and communities across the state of Alaska.

Several hundreds of Native American languages have less than 100 speakers, most of them will become extinct when the last speaker of these languages dies whether or not their verbal or written language skills are recorded and preserved. The state governments in the U.S., provincial in Canada and the Mexican national government are taking drastic steps in protecting and promoting some few hundred total Native American languages, a reversal of former linguicidal policies and for Native Americans in the U.S., First Nations groups of Canada, or Indigenous peoples of Mexico to not lose an ancient part of their tribal heritage before it's gone forever. + (talk) 01:17, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Num sit lingua Latīna mortua necne (haeret in "linguārum mūtātiōne"!)- Is Latin a dead language? (It's stuck in "language change") :-P[edit]

Quae dē "morte" linguae Latīnae scrīpta sunt, ē locō "Irish goverment & Irish death" īnscrīptō hunc in locum novum trānsposuī, praeter ānsam, quam duplicāvī.

What was written about the Latin language, I moved from the section "Irish goverment & Irish death" to this new section, except the "start", which I have copied.

(In īnfimō addidī, quae mhh.. plūs minusve futilem hanc disputātiōnem faciant! - Below, I've added, what, well, makes more or less futile this discussion!)

Ūnus ē Latīnīs novīs (talk) 00:46, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Ānsa, quam dīxī: - The said "start":

(There is extensive discussion of the counterproductive policies on the Irish language page. But Irisih isn't dead quite yet: it's moribund.) I'm more bothered by the assertion that "Latin never really died" and that we can't assign at least a rough date for the death of native colloquial Latin. (The dramatic collapse of the case system and the neuter gender in most daughter languages is a good place to start). --Jpbrenna 21:51, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

respōnsī prīncipium est dē linuguā Hiberniā et ōmissum

The beginning of the answer is about the Irisch language and left out

re Latin: Latin is not dead in the same sense as many other languages. The reason is this: All languages change over time. The thing we call Latin did indeed change as well. However, there was no point in the history of its development where Latin speakers stopped speaking. Rather, in different geographic and cultural areas, the speakers in these respective areas slowly started to sound different. Eventually, at one point, two given groups of speakers from different areas no longer found it easy to communicate with one another. There was not a cessation of language use.
It may be useful to use a (another) biological metaphor. Related languages are said to be a part of genetic family trees. So, we could call Latin a baby that grew up and "became" a child. This baby did not die first and then "become" a child.
Other languages, in contrast, do not have the opportunity to change naturally. You see a different situation where the native speakers actually cease to exist. It is not the case where there is both a baby and a child. Languages that have died have no children.
Perhaps the only sense in which Latin may be called a dead language in a similar sense as the dead Tasmanian languages, is concerning the use of Latin as an international written language of education & scholarship. Here written Latin did not change — it was simply no longer used by European scholars and clergy (although there are still some remnants of this). But even so, this is different from the Tasmanian languages in that there were no native speakers of written Latin whereas there were native speakers of the Tasmanian languages.
Hopefully, this makes sense. peace – ishwar  (speak) 22:59, 2005 Jun 21 (UTC)
No, it does not. I majored in Latin, (though I'm getting rusty), so maybe I could go back in time and shoot the breeze with Cicero for a little bit, whereas your average Frenchman or Italian who hasn't made extensive study of Latin could not. Latin is dead as a doornail, and no one speaks it natively. There is significant discontinuity between the Romance languages and Latin.
Minimē - et cūr per ūnīversum semper "nātīvitātem" ad nauseam iterātis??? Loquor bene, nōn optimē forsan - sed intellegor! Et sunt, quae quīque melius quam mē loquantur - et eās eōsque intellegō. Illud argūmentum sēnsū caret - meminī amīcum in Americā merīdiōnālī nātum dīxisse dē Germānō suō medicō: "Facile mē fācundius Anglicē sciat."
By no means - and why by the universe do you always repeat "nativity" ad nausem ;-)??? I speak well, not best, maybe - but I'm unterstood! And there are others, who talk better than me - and I understand them. This argument has no sense - I remember that a - not illiterate - friend of mine, born in America, said about his German doctor: "He probably is more eloquent in English than I am."
Ūnus ē Latīnīs novīs (talk) 00:46, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

The modern Romance languages differ from Classical Latin in a number of fundamental respects:

  • No declensions (except Romanian)
  • Only two grammatical genders, rather than the three of Classical Latin (except Romanian and Italian to a small extent, and except several gender-neutral pronouns in Spanish, Italian, Catalan etc.)
  • Introduction of grammatical articles, based on Latin demonstratives
  • Latin future tense scrapped, and new future and conditional tenses introduced, based on infinitive + present or imperfect tense of habere (to have), fused to form new inflections.
  • Latin synthetic perfect tenses replaced by new compound forms with be or have + past participle (except Portuguese and French, where the Latin plusquamperfect tense has been retained and Romanian, which has 2 perfect tenses - one synthetic and one compound - that have the same meaning and also has a synthetic plusquamperfect tense in the indicative mood that is formed using the suffix "-se", derived from the suffix used in Latin to form the subjunctive plusquamperfect, "-isse").

(From the Romance languages page).

It is wrong to say that Latin "grew up" and become Italian or French or Romanian. Rather, it grew up into Late Latin, and died a gradual death, but its children survived it. Sometimes its children visit its grave and fondly remember the good old days (Ecclesiastical Latin, Humanist Latin), but sadly, there was nothing they can really do to bring it back. All they could do is create a sad caricature of a living language by proppping their dead ancestor up at the table and pretending to have dinner with it, like the Inca used to do with their dead royalty. (No offense to the Inca, but all offense possible to modern "Living Latin" proponents). You can try to resurrect Latin, but if you do, and it becomes a living language again, and gradually change, and cease to be the fossilized creature we know as "Latin." That's exactly what happend with Greek in the 19th & 20th centuries. Modern higher-register Greek is a compromise between the naturally developed language and deliberate re-adoption of obsolete forms.

Sure, there is a strong family resemblance, but the children are their own people, as Latin was its own distinct person, different from its Old Latin ancestor and the Proto-Italic subgroup of the Celtic-Germanic-Italic branch of Indo-European that it descended from. There are strong family resemblances between Ancient and Modern Greek, Old, Middle and Modern Persian, Old, Middle & New English, etc., but they are separate languages. --Jpbrenna 22:03, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

  (No offense to the Inca, but all offense possible to modern "Living Latin" proponents).
Cūr? - Why? Certē mūtātur lingua Latīna: Stent modō cāsūs et verbī facultātēs et quaedam nōtiōnēs "Latīnae"! - Surely Latin changes: May only stand the Cases and the verb's possibilities and some "Latin" notions.
Cūr mē violās? Sī cruciābāris, nōn linguā sed stultissimā īnstrūctiōne cruciābāris! - Why do you hurt me? If you were tortured, you were tortured by the very stupid lessons!
 ...cease to be the fossilized creature we know as "Latin."(..)
Nōn erat - et id sine nātiōne - per mīlle et trecentōs annōs. Multō plūra collāpsō imperiō scrīpta sunt Latīnē, quam anteā!
It was not - and this without a nation - through 1300 years. Much more was written in Latin after the breakdown of the empire, than before!
  ...and gradually change,...
dum quīdam hominēs quandam rēgulārum partem servant - nōnne restat - in nucleō! - "Latīna" ??? Et, sī māior pars regulārum nōn mūtātur - iamne est "creātūra fossīlis" - aut iterum nōn iam Latīna???
as long as some people preserve some part of the rules - does it not - in its core - remain "Latin"??? And, if a bigger part of the rules is not changed - is it then already a "fossilized creature" - or again no longer Latin???
Quid dīcis? Is that a "fossilized creature" : ephēmeris??
Schola multās rēs necat - accūrātissimē autem linguam Latīnam
School kills many things - the most accurate it kills the Latin Language
iterum sed ultimum: "Latin lessons" == "Lingua Latīna"

Ūnus ē Latīnīs novīs (talk) 00:46, 20 June 2011 (UTC) maestus et caput quassāns valēdīcēns

So revert the article? Your facts seem very assured (you obviously know what you're talking about). Latin is dead. --JDnCoke 00:22, August 18, 2005 (UTC)

minimē!Ūnus ē Latīnīs novīs (talk) 00:46, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
hi. Rather than a revert, a rewrite is needed.
regarding the "deadness" of Latin, we are not disputing whether Latin is dead, but the distinction between the meanings of the term dead as it refers to languages and the question of how this applies to an article called Language death (although this is not made clear above). I dont think that it is wrong to say that Latin "grew up" and became French, etc. But, perhaps we can leave this metaphor behind. So, I will rephrase my point above: speakers of Latin gradually turned into speakers of French, etc. through a process called language change. Latin did not die and then there were Romance languages. Romance languages stand in a lineal relationship to Latin. Although there are no speakers today with Latin grammars, there are speakers today with grammars that stand in a lineal relationship to Latin. People call Latin dead because there are no native speakers today. We can call this type of deadness: dead-through-change where we compare different grammars of different time periods that stand in a lineal relationship.
The other type of deadness is when there are no speakers today of a given language grammar and no speakers today of any language that stands in a lineal relationship to that given language grammar. This language no longer participates in the language change process because of the absence of lineal relationships to present-day speakers (note that before this break in the relationship the said language did participate in language change). We can call this type of deadness: dead-through-social-practices.
Making the distinction between two types of deadness is useful since they occur in different contexts. Dead-through-change will always occur with any language because all languages change. (maybe everything in the universe changes.) The eead-through-social-practices state only occurs when there exist certain socio-political environments that cause this.
So, I think that it is clear from the above that the term dead is used in two different senses. Now our issue is what does language death mean? Although dead is used ambiguously to refer 2 different things in linguistics and in popular writing, language death is more often used to refer the dead-through-social-practices state. Books and articles that refer to the dead-through-change state use terms such as, language change, diachronic linguistics, historical linguistics, etc. In fact, I would find it misleading to title a book "Language death in Europe" that discussed the language change.
Anyway, it is all not so transparent in the terminology usage, unfortunately. – ishwar  (speak) 09:02, 2005 August 18 (UTC)
  • Of course Latin evolved to Italian, French, Portuguese and Spanish, and it did not died out and people start using another language. That's not correct, people continued using Latin. It is splited, not dead. People often see grammatical differences from Vulgar Latin and Classical Latin, that is due that classical latin was an artificial standard, the Romans spoke the usual vulgar latin, that evolved into today's languages. The article is correct! How can you make a clear distinction from Old and Modern English? and the other died? I was reading the article, and I was shocked why it had a POV tag. POV is the tag itself. Even knowing this, I think it is very strange that the grammar of Italian is so similar to Portuguese or with Spanish. In fact, you just need to learn the terminations and the pronunciation, and few more (the hardest is writing, mostly because of different spelling rules). -Pedro 14:48, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
hi. the tag was added to article because of the statement about the Irish government. User Jpbrenna responded to that and also his conception of language death. I responded to her/his comments about death. peace – ishwar  (speak) 15:08, 2005 August 19 (UTC)

Hi, thought I would join the cocktail party. One thing that I've noticed this whole discussion suffers from is a lack of clear understanding as to what the spatial and temporal borders of "a" language are. To speak of Latin as never having died out (but gradually changing form into the Romance languages of today) is and emic interpretation of language change. This interpretation makes a number of assumptions: 1) that linguistic features are understood in the same way by speakers of Romance languages and Latin speakers 2) that we can at all know how Latin speakers concieved of their semiotic universe 3) that the first assumption is due to gradual linguistic (not necessarilly Darwinian) "evolution." On the other hand, recognizing the phonological and morphosyntactic differences between Latin and the Romance languages as a reason to call these two categories "different languages" is an etic interpretation of language change. The morphosyntax and--assuming that an archaeology of phonology is possible--phonology of both Latin and the Romance languages are measurable. Differences can be statistically demonstrated. These differences, as discussed in other posts, are dramatic and point to a divergence. Personally, I would not call, for instance, French a modern form of Latin. I feel that I am qualified to make that claim because I have studied both languages and I know that French, apart from the morphosyntactic qualities discussed in other posts, is full of non-Latin influences. Indeed, are they at all influences? Could I not just as easily argue that French was "influenced" by Latin, but is in fact a continuation of the Gallic dialects spoken by a particular tribe that came to be known by the Romans as the Parisorum? Where in Latin do we find forms such as "jamais" ("never," Latin: "numquam") or "aller" ("to go," Latin: "ire")? Look at the French word for Germany: "Alemagne." Now look at the Latin word for the same: "Germania." There is no etymological continuity between the two. "Germania" was a name given to a particular region inhabited by all sorts of barbarians. "Alemagne" is a Germanic word that most likely comes to us from the combination of "alle" (all) and "mannir*" (men), since the region was not ethnically discrete but became known as "all men," or a federation of germanic tribes. So what is French? Is it a modern form of Latin? or is it a modern form of Gaulois? Is it useful to be asking these questions? Isn't it most practical to recognize French's independent status as a language? There is significant discontinuity between the French language as it is spoken today and the linguistic influences that gave rise to it.

"People call Latin dead because there are no native speakers today.". That's really circular. Is Shakespeare's English dead? Yes because there are no native speakers today. We are in a need of a distinction between "Variety A evolved into variety B" and "Variety A influenced variety B and died". If language A evolved into language B then language A and B are instances of the same language: the language varieties are intelligible. The parallels between dachronic and synchronic linguistics are apparant. This is of course not without problems:

"For example, on both sides of the border between the Netherlands and Germany, the people living in the immediate neighbourhood of the border speak an identical language. They can understand each other without difficulty, and would even have trouble telling just by the language whether a person from the region was from the Netherlands or from Germany. However, the Germans here call their language German, and the Dutch call their language Dutch, so in terms of sociolinguistics they are speaking different languages."


Thus this language is intelligible by Germans and by the Dutch. But is it German or is Dutch? It seems it's both.

If this area of overlap is not too large it can be regarded as a border line case. Turning to diachronic language this means: sudden changes are less problematic than gradual changes because the smaller overlap in intelligibility makes it easier to seperate the dead language from the living one.

Old English evolved into Middle English after 1066. The conquest by William the Conqueror lead to a great amount of change in the English language. This change happened in a short period so it was a sudden change. Middle English is intelligible by modern day speakers. Old English is not. This means Old English is a seperate language and a dead one too. This is what was called dead-through-change above

If there is not even a gradual change it is language shift. All speakers of variety A change to variety B and they consider B a different language than A. Language A is not changed; rather there are two distinct languages in the speakers' heads: language A and language B. If they don't teach language A to others (e.g. their children) the language will die with them. This is what was called dead-through-social-practise above.

kees -- 13:31, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

Salvēte legentēs scrībentēsque! Hello readers and writers!

Est fābula, nōn vērum linguam Latīnam esse mortuam/extīnctam - It's a legend, not the truth, that the Latin language would be dead/extinct.

Haec vincula satis faciant argūmentātiōnis: - These links should be enough of an argument:

"wikia": - wikis:

prīmus nexus huic locō est aptus: - The first link is apt to this site:

alter nōn secus: - not less the second:

pāgina Vicipaediae Latīnae: huic reī dēdicāta - the article of the Latin Wikipedia on this subjekt:

('soror anglica' - 'the English sister': et quae īnfrā sunt omnia - and all below)

circulii Latiinii (omnibus prōpositīs apertī): Circles of Latin speakers (open to all subjects): e.g.

etiam vinculārium fundātiōnis melissae īnspiciātur(per nexum alterum)! You should also look at the link collection of the Fundatio Melissa(via the second link)!

vinculāria: - link collections: ;-)

hoc ultimum certē satis interētiālium locōrum Latīnorum mōnstrat ! This last one surely shows enough Latin websites!

Quārē nunc ēnumerāre locōs dēsinō: ipsae ipsīque iam indicātōs scrūtāminī! Thus I stop enumerating sites: explore you yourself the already indicated ones!

Quod ad fācundiam attinet: Certē multae multīque sunt nōn tam facundī Latīnē loquentēs, sed hās tantum īnspiciātis epistulās: In multīs eārum magna appāret fācundia!

When it comes to fluency or even eloquence: Surely many of the Latin speakers are not that fluent or eloquent, but look at these letters alone: In many of them great eloquence is shown!

Hinc condiciōnī ad "mortem linguae" necessāriae nōn satisfacit lingua Latīna: Thence the condition necessary for "language death" is not fullfilled in case of Latin: 
 In linguistics, language death (...) is a process that affects 
 speech communities where the level of linguistic competence that 
 speakers possess of a given language variety is 
 decreased, eventually resulting in no native and/or 
 fluent speakers of the variety.

Nam istud "vel" absurdumst: īnspectīs exemplīs suprā allātīs et porrō secūtīs - QUIS MEHERCLE DĪCAT ESSE "MORTUAM" LINGUAM LATĪNAM - tantummodo ob eam "causam", quod nūllae nūllīque reperiuntur loquentēs nātīvī? As the "or" is absurd: having looked at and followed the examples cited above - WHO BY GOD WOULD SAY LATIN WOULD BE "DEAD" - only for the "reason", that there can't be found any native speakers?

In summam: Lingua Latīna minimē est mortua - conclusion: Latin is by no means dead!

Valēte - be fine

(aliās vērē respondēbō - I'll write real answers another time)

"Types of language death" - a major error[edit]

 (...)A language that has reached such a reduced stage of use is generally considered moribund.<ref name="Crystal, David 2000"/> 
Once a language is no longer a native language - that is, if no children are being socialised
into it as their primary language - the process of transmission is ended and the language
itself will not survive past the current generation.

The latter for Latin is not true(1300 very vivid = not just "surviving" years!). The reason is that languages can be learned (= transmitted) at age far after childhood and that, given a good training in reading, listening, conversation and writing(e.g. by the Birkenkenbihl-method (c)), with a high level of fluency and even eloquence at reach. Reading needs texts - and there are many of them regarding Latin. Even if a full = perfect understanding of the semiotic world of the Romans, the Medieval times seems impossible, we can understand a wide range of their notions and therefor "learn their world" - we might not know the plants denounced by some words - so this small part of the Language is dead = not understandable - But the "rest"? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ūnus ē Latīnīs novīs (talkcontribs) 01:43, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Linguicide and glottophagy[edit]

Are these extra rather funny names for language death important enough to deserve print in the lede and in bold? Seems humor like that can go in a footnote instead. -Stevertigo (t | c) 02:11, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

They're not humor just because you're unfamiliar with them and they sound funny to you. They could move out of the lead, but they'd remain in bold per MOS:LINK, since they're attested terms that redirect to this page. WP doesn't usually use footnotes for such things (no one reads them); we try to incorporate material into the main article body. That said, the concept of linguicide is not simply language extinction but intentional language extermination, and should be covered in its own section. Glottophagy is the absorption of one language by another, so a) it also should not be in the lead, not being a synonym of language death, but a particular mechanism of it, and b) the concept and sources for it should be integrated into the article Language shift, and the term should redirect there. That article already covers glottophagy, but is doing is doing so without naming it and in a scattershot way (e.g. the entire section Language shift#Hungary is about repeat instances of glottophagy by the Hungarian language, and several other sections there involve it, but the process is not described in that article's lead).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  04:20, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

Proposed merger with Extinct language[edit]

Language death and Extinct language are an apparently accidental WP:CONTENTFORK of the exact same topic. However, the latter contradicts the former: "Extinct languages are sometimes contrasted with dead languages, which are still known and used in special contexts in written form, but not as ordinary spoken languages for everyday communication", and it links to Language death as if it covered "dead languages" in this sense, like Latin, which it does not. That use of "dead language" is a vernacular use, not a linguistic one; languages preserved for ritual and other specialized use are sociolects. (And that description of "dead-language" sociolects is wrong in other ways; they are frequently used in spoken, not just written, form.)

I propose merging the content of the articles, at the title Language extinction, and redirecting both original titles (and various other obvious terms like Dead language) to it, with Dead language going possible to a Language extinction#Dead languages subsection, if there is some need to preserve prose that addresses extinct languages themselves, as such, rather than the socio-linguistic process of their extinction.

As an illustration of why this pointless split is problematic, consider that probably 90+% of the time, anyone linking the word "extinct language" or "dead language" on WP intends that the reader go to the conceptual material at Language death, as the material presently at Extinct languages is about the languages as "things" unto themselves, and does not explain much of anything about language extinction. That article basically has no reason to exist, and its continued existence does little by divide content improvement efforts, confuse readers, and necessitate time-wasting coding like [[Language extinction|extinct language]].

 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:48, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

Language death and extinct language are two distinct things with different literatures. Language death is a process and linguists study its causes and effects. Extinct languages are any language that is no longer spoken, including both languages that die and and languages that transform into daughter languages. I see no reason we shouldnt have articles on both topics.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 05:42, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
I concur, they're different concepts. --Jotamar (talk) 18:09, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
This article about Language death is about a process. Extinct language is about those that have completed the process. It is more of a list. The two languages should both exist, but with links to each other.Pete unseth (talk) 19:38, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
A different question is that perhaps dead language should redirect to extinct languages and not here. --Jotamar (talk) 15:09, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

Incomprehensible graphic[edit]

Language shift can be the result of linguicide, in which ethnic group members no longer learn their heritage language as their first language.

This graph, in the section "Types of language death", seems incomprehensible. It appears to be trying to be an Euler diagram, but the intersections of the circles make no sense—the graph shows that there are people who are both first language and second language learners of the language. I recommend that the image be removed, as it is confused and adds nothing to the article's content. Loraof (talk) 22:16, 10 June 2016 (UTC)