What happens to a language when the last fluent speaker dies? Unless someone has taken the time to record it or to pass it on, the language will be considered extinct. Currently, two languages in the United States are actively dealing with this dilemma. How far would you go to save a dying language?
In Alaska, the native Eyak language’s last known fluent speaker, Marie Smith Jones, died in 2008. But 21-year-old Guillaume Leduey from France has set out to save this now-extinct language. He’s been teaching himself Eyak for the last few years, with the help of DVDs and Eyak tales.
Guillaume still isn’t sure if he’s up to the challenge of bringing Eyak back from extinction…but what he is doing is truly honorable! Read about his quest here .
And in Kansas, 87-year-old Cecelia Jackson is currently recording the Potawatomi language to keep it from dying out, since she is its last fluent speaker. The Potawatomi reservation is located in Northeast Kansas.
What do you think? With languages dying every year, is it possible to save all of them? Click here to find out how many languages have become extinct in America since 1950!