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10 Examples of Isolated or Extinct Languages

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One of the things that define us as humans is definitely our ability to converse and exchange thoughts, so if you are eager to know about languages read our list of 10 examples of isolated or extinct languages.

While we may argue about many things, we must agree on the fact that language is one of the greatest gifts that the humankind was given. It represents a tool to connect with other human beings, as well as keep us safe. Language is a means of expressing our thoughts and feelings, and it is impossible to imagine a life without this ability. Although we are all aware of the importance of language, many argue about the way in which we acquire language. Some linguists, such as Noam Chomsky, have dedicated their entire lives to studies of language and they have provided answers to many questions raised regarding this topic. Some linguists, such as Skinner, who studied language acquisition, believe that we acquire a language by means of associating words with their meanings. He believed that children learn a language by observing their parents and their environment and listening to the language their parents and people from the surrounding speak. Chomsky, on the other hand, strongly disagreed with this theory because he believed that a child could never be able to process an endless number of sentences simply by observing, without relying on anything else. His theory is that we have a predisposition to acquire a language, something like a basic set or rules that we put to use once we learn the words of the language of our environment. This theory is known as Universal Grammar and it has been an inspiration for other linguists to continue to research this topic and the possibilities of having a predisposition to learn a language.hello-1502369_960_720

As there are different theories and explanations of how we acquire a language, there are also different explanations and factors which cause a language to die or to be isolated. How does a language die out? What causes a language to disappear? What happens with the language when all the speakers die?

It’s not unusual for a language to disappear and a language is considered dead when the last speaker dies. This is not the only way for a language to stop existing, though. There are other ways for a language to disappear, for instance, language shifting. This usually happens due to the dominance of a certain language. When speakers of one language start speaking a second language for some reason, either they are forced to or the second language is more politically important,  this can lead to slowly shifting from the previous language completely where the second language becomes dominant. As a consequence, younger generations stop learning their mother tongues, and they acquire the dominant language instead.

Languages usually do not simply disappear, but they evolve and change with new versions usually being completely different, such as the case with Old English which evolved into Middle and then Modern English. Violence is also one of the reasons why languages disappear. Invasions are the cause of extinction of a great number of languages. Whole communities are forced to give up their language and learn the new one, the language of the oppressors. According to the Guardian, half of the languages we know today are facing extinction as many of them have fewer than a hundred speakers left. The article draws attention to endangered languages before they are completely lost, saying that out of the 6,500 living languages which are currently being used, half of them will disappear sometime in the future. Some languages remain in use in some in some way, though, and they are a subject of study in many schools. This is the case with Latin and Ancient Greek, which were influential and powerful so that years and years later we borrow words from these languages and these words are still in use today. English is one of the examples of languages that borrowed a great number of its words. Probably, many of us aren’t even aware of the fact that many words we use on a daily basis are actually derived from Latin and Ancient Greek. Not all dead languages are always completely forgotten, and some people may still try to learn them.  If you are interested in learning one of the extinct languages then read our list of 6 Easiest Dead Languages to Learn.

It is a common occurrence that languages that are exposed to one another tend to borrow some words and maybe even start to sound alike, but some languages keep their uniqueness and remain distinct from other languages. They are isolated languages and they cannot be linked to any language family known today. There are many examples of such languages, and we decided to explore them as well as those which are extinct so we searched through Encyclopedia Britannica to find data. We present  10 examples of isolated or extinct languages.

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