Languages are not static entities. They are born, they evolve, fall out of usage and eventually die. Sometimes the death of a language is gradual. At other times, it is hasty. There are many factors that lead to the death of a language. Some of these are –
Languages can die when the community associated with the language fall victim to war or natural disasters. When only a handful of people speaking a certain language survive, it is only natural that the language slowly becomes extinct.
Bilingualism is another factor that contributes to the death of language. When a native speaker adopts another language for communication, they lose proficiency in their primary tongue with time. Globalization demands that a common language be used for communication across the world. So as the number of English speakers rise across the world, indigenous languages being abandoned in favor of English die out.
The state can also contribute to the erasure of a language by decreeing a primary language for compulsory education. Local and minority languages get sidelined in this process. The pressure of homogenization dictates how compulsory education is administered and local language traditions are lost.
These are handful determinants that influence a language’s lifecycle.