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?