Language death occurs when a language is no longer in currency. It is also referred to as language extinction. Language death can be described in two stages – extinct and dormant. These classifications are made as per the Ethnologue. It is believed that language is closely tied in with identity.
A language becomes extinct when a person no longer associates the language with their personality. A dormant language is one that is only used as a symbolic nod to an ethnic groups’ identity but not otherwise.
A language can die within a generation. All it takes is a generation of native speakers not using it. Languages can go from endangered to extinct very soon as a result. Most languages tend to stay dead, but Hebrew is a rare example of a language that reincarnated itself after its death. Most languages die because they do not have a written history to guide their revival.
The life of a language depends on the youth. If the younger lot refuses to speak their native tongue, their language will slowly go into oblivion. If a child doesn’t acquire their native language within the age of language acquirement, they are unlikely to teach this language to their children. The language then dies an inevitable death with its last native speaker.