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They say that every fourteen days, a language dies. The statistic isn't alarming, after all there are supposedly seven thousand languages in the world. That a language dies every two weeks, is just a statistic. The concern comes with the knowledge that a language dies because it has been forgotten. Thus it dies without recognition, without farewell and without acknowledgment. It was merely there before, a communication bridge once upon a literary dream - now a nothing. This fascinating tool that we use to interact with our fellow human beings is lost. And we don't care. The Eskimos, they say, had a hundred words for snow.

That favourite pair of shoes that you love all the holes and splits into because they are so perfect and fit you so well - gets a better send off than a language. That coat that's become too small or too big, or too much last years fashion and too little of this years craze gets more of a farewell than a language. The things that break, stop working or are just no longer needed are at least acknowledged in their passing. When a language dies, nobody realises it. We like to pretend that we are overloaded with words. The Egyptians, they say, had fifty words for sand.

A language dies every fourteen days. It dies alone. It dies inside the last person alive to speak that language, to sing the songs that only they know, the words that only they can understand. If we stop remembering the things that have happened, is it because they never were? Or is it because we never really knew?
I was trying to work with the age old saying that 'The Eskimos had 100 words for snow' and such and such. But it didn't flow properly. Then I stumbled across the National Geographic Article Enduring Voices and the lengths the project is going to, to try and highlight the language hotspots across the world where words are fast dying out, soon to be lost. If you're interested the hotspot map can be found here: [link]
“Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”
~John Greenleaf Whittier
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:icontgdpfabianb:
TGDPfabianb Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2015
An very interesting piece of linguistic. I like it a lot. But I want to mention, that the statistics you have been looking through might have used "dead language" in the term what it really means. Dead language does not mean nobody speaks it anymore, it just simply means there are no native speakers anymore, but the language itself is not forgotten. One of the best examples is Latin. It is considered a dead language; yet I will learn it next school year.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner May 3, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for the feedback !:)
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:icontgdpfabianb:
TGDPfabianb Featured By Owner May 4, 2015
No need to thank, my friend.
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:iconhockeymask:
hockeymask Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015
'Strewth !Lucky I got strine as me dink - di lingo.Fair dinkum !
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
:lol:
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:iconrfgfotografie:
RFGFotografie Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Mwah not all languages die for real. The Egyptian language from when farao's where still there. I got to learn on school. Hyrogrlypics or something, way to hard to write down. We don't use them anymore, but that doesn't mean it dies. It just, dissapears in the vocabalary, but it will always be alive in writing.:)
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Also true! :) some are definitely permanently lost :p
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:icontomos2013:
Tomos2013 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014
I really want to learn Ainu and Okinawan. I don't know how I can really immerse myself in them though.
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:iconhoremweb:
HoremWeb Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
You may be surprised (or not) that Egyptians even had a word for snow. sA-r-q-w (possible forms are "salq" or "sarqu" where vowels are falling into "educated guess" category) is described as a rather unpleasant white thing in the mountains of Syria. But even I personally saw snow in Egypt (near Mt. St. Catherine, Sinai, over 2000 meters), though it was gone with the first rays of the sun. 

I would disagree to compare a language to a favourite shoe or dress. It is rather like the wedding dress of grand-grand-grandmother. Once it was fabulous and everybody admired it, later it was a revered old thing (mathom—said Tolkien), than a piece of old fabric for the next generation. And later it was forgotten, perhaps find a place to the attic or the cat had it to get a comfy bed. And then disappeared, but for that time grand-grand-grandma was a scarcely remembered old lady whom grandma had hazy and creepy story of sipping her tea so frighteningly loud and mumbled with teethless mouth some creepy words about being old... and faded. Later even Grandmother has faded and for the youngs' memories she's a tiny, bent old lady with strange tales and a curious look when spotted the bedding of the cat. This is how a language fades and dies. 

Perhaps Egyptians had known fifty type of rock fragmentation, differing by grain size and shapes, etc, that we call collectively "sand". I don't even dare to guess about the frozen things of the Eskimos... :D

Once I saw a list by Wikimedia Foundation I think, that listed the most important titles that are existing in English Wikipedia and haven't got Hungarian counterparts. I was surprised to see "boat" among them. What English calls "boat" is at least four different wessels in Hungarian, with no direct translation. English language uses words sparingly, comparing to others. :D


But you're basicly right and you have it beautifully written. Did you consider that we are less than 270 years apart from loosing all our languages? ;) :)
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Wow thank you for the information! Not surprised, there needs to be words for everything regardless of whether they actually ever see it _ which now they have! :D

Thanks for your kind words too! Scary that we are 270 years apart from loosing all our languages....it can't happen...can it? :B
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:iconhoremweb:
HoremWeb Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Loosing all languages—well, I don't think so, but perhaps loosing all now-existing languages. I don't know about any statistics how many languages are invented or formed within a century. But artifical languages like ido, volaspük, or even sindarin or quenya are popping into existence all the time, and some of them even find a way to speakers of them. I learnt some esperanto in the 90s and then there were children who had esperanto as their primary mother tongue (because their parents were from different cultures and esperanto was the mediating language). Therefore I think that we will talk to each other by languages even 271 years in time. But there will be other languages and perhaps there will need dictionaries like British–American and people will earn their living by translating Australian to Euro-English (that is often hard to understand for a British or especially Midland-American English speakers... :D )

Csángós are Hungarian speaking ethnic communities in East Romania and in Moldavia, who speak an isolated, ancient form of Hungarian. It is very hard for us to understand them, it is liike talking with someone coming from 200 years ago. Or as Switzerdütsch for German speakers—I was told that Swiss German speakers understood those medieval German texts that contemporary Germans can't. 
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:iconjadedgothbutterfly:
JadedGothButterfly Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Knowledge so profound, beautifully written.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you :)
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:iconmoonkestrel:
MoonKestrel Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist
I was lucky to be friends with a linguist, who helped turn a dialect that was only a word-of-mouth kind of language and had no alphabet or any way to write it, into a dictionary, and then taught them how to write their own language and they started producing books for themselves. It was so beautiful! I helped edit the not dialect part of the dictionary, so I had a full insight into it.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
That's so nice!
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:iconmoonkestrel:
MoonKestrel Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist
You just made think that languages can still be rescued and stop their death or at least make them survive for a while longer. It's still sad to find languages dying or to see people using less and less of the words from a language because now they use just one for everything.
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:iconmanouilidis:
Manouilidis Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2013   General Artist
I love the way you wrote. It is sad to see language die cause it gets forgotten. Sometimes I wonder if we might end up in the far away future with just one language for the entire world. This is really well written. I enjoyed reading it, makes me ponder a little. Thank you for sharing.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for commenting :)
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:iconmanouilidis:
Manouilidis Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013   General Artist
No problem Dear :D Happy holidays to you :)
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:iconspacegryphon:
Spacegryphon Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It's better languages die than people. Language barriers have let to bloodshed often enough throughout history.
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:iconpaul774:
Paul774 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013
Reading this makes me sad ... would you say it'S a natural process or can we blame globalization and imperialism for that? that nice hotspot map is not complete though, there's many places in europe with endangered languages too. This topic fascinates me :)
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I wonder :) I think it's a case of ignorance perhaps, in many cases - the need for a common language to communicate, and the lack of time to use intricate ones :)

The hotspot map is still being worked on I think, I imagine it's a huge task as well :noes:
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:iconj-e-n-nifer-lee:
j-e-n-nifer-lee Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Professional
i wish i could make every single writer friend of mine read this, but i am sure they already know....so beautiful.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
:hug: thank you
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:iconcmac13:
Cmac13 Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2013   General Artist
would you say extinction is a part of the cycle of life - are there any statistics on how many languages are born every month?
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
There are no statistics pertaining to how many  languages are born each month, because not enough are born, to make a record. :)
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:iconthinking-silence:
Thinking-Silence Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013
A language is just alife with the people speaking it. Thus the death of language is the death of people and their memory.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Very true :)
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:iconpizzapotatonbacon:
PizzaPotatoNBacon Featured By Owner May 29, 2013  Student General Artist
Very thought provoking. Great word usage, and the structure helps with the impact.
Well done! :clap:
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you :)
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:iconthe-quirky-banana:
The-Quirky-Banana Featured By Owner May 8, 2013  Student Writer
This is absolutely intriguing and thought-provoking, great! :)
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner May 12, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you :)
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:iconhootalex:
hootalex Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You gave me something to think about today!
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Glad to inspire :)
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:iconcakecrumbs:
cakecrumbs Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013
This is both beautiful and thought-provoking at the same time. Lovely piece.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you :)
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:iconbizartistique:
Bizartistique Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2013
It's very interesting. Well done. One comment... this sentence:
That favourite pair of shoes that you love all the holes and splits into because they are so perfect and fit you so well

I'm pretty sure something is grammatically wrong here...
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Hmmm...any idea what?
Thank you :)
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:iconbizartistique:
Bizartistique Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2013
Well... what do you mean by "splits into"? I don't understand that choice of word combination much :aww:
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:iconliliwrites:
LiliWrites Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hello! :wave:

I have used your beautiful deviation as part of my title poem project entry, found here: [link]

Have a great day! :heart:
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:iconkodama:
kodama Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Fascinating. It's about so much more than language, it seems. After all, you could say that each person speaks precisely their own language.

Out of curiosity, are the italicized phrases numbers you have researched or just the common hyperboles you hear about various languages? Either way it is a highly effective tool to take relatively poetic prose and make it more concrete. It's a clever blend of both. Well played.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Yes indeed you could!

They're things I've heard - and I googled them to see if I could find any facts but..it's the same thing really, things people have heard :D So i'm not sure how accurate they are, hence the 'They say...' part. :) Thanks so much for the feedback!
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:iconrlkirkland:
rlkirkland Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Well, a sad thought; handled with care.
Congratulations on your well-deserved DLD. :sun:
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you so much :)
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:icon0hgravity:
0hgravity Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm actually writing a research paper on this very topic. It is an interesting topic for sure and I don't think the impact of a language's loss can be felt as deeply until you hear one of the final speakers of a language say it's like losing a child.

People don't realize how much culture lies in a language. How the loss of a language is a loss of stories, wisdom, humanity.

Anyway, I applaud you for writing such a lovely piece on the topic and you give a good analogy there at the end.
It's good for people to be aware of this.

you may be interested in this website as well: [link]
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
It really is!

Thank you so much for the feedback and the website, I'll be sure to check that out!
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by =DailyLitDeviations and has been selected as our "Pick of the Day". It is featured in a news article here: [link] and on our main page.

Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article. Keep writing and keep creating.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you :)
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:iconthetaoofchaos:
thetaoofchaos Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012   Writer
Very interesting.
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you :)
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