Language Revival (Questions)

Hello! I have some questions for you:

  1. Is it possible to make a language revivification, when it has no native speakers anymore?
  2. If it have natives, how can a team make it a spoken language?
  3. If it would be possible, what death language would you learn? (My - death - favourites are Shuadit and Knaanic)

Thanks for your answers, have a nice day!!!

March 8, 2017


1: Yes, that's already happened with e.g. Hebrew. Hebrew hadn't stopped being spoken, but until it was revived about a hundred years ago, it was only spoken in religious contexts, similar to the way Latin is used by some Christians.

2: If it has native speakers, it's already a spoken language. I think I've probably misunderstood your question :)

3: Proto-Indo-European. I'm having a lot of fun exploring it by learning languages from the Indo-European language family, in my slow and amateurish way.

March 8, 2017
  1. Yes, sort of. In this case, the revival team would be making a "tribute language" really. It would supplant the old one and become "official" by virtue of the fact that no original users exist. Pronunciation would be a guess, unless some electronic media survived.

  2. DuoLingo sort of started this with Irish. There are now more Irish learners on Duo than native speakers in Ireland. Hopefully we will help save this lang (and Welsh) from extinction.

  3. Sumer. What would the oldest lang known be like?

March 8, 2017

I have long thought that Hittite would be fun language to revive -- but it is Indo-European and the world already has a lot of Indo-European languages. Sumerian -- perhaps uniquely among the major, well-attested ancient languages -- is a language isolate and thus would probably be the most interesting one to have come back.

March 9, 2017
  1. Already answered.
  2. [Do you mean, if it HAS NO native speakers ???] If there are no recordings, use written records from other languages of the time that we know how to pronounce, and for what can't be determined precisely, guess, as has been done for varieties of ancient Egyptian.
  3. Latin, ancient Greek of some variety.
March 8, 2017
  1. I believe that this was already done with the Hebrew language. Hebrew is actually the only revived dead language in the world. However, during the reconstruction process the pronunciation became very German/ Yiddish since most of the speakers at that time were speakers of Yiddish; a Judaeo-Germanic language. Many Celtic languages have gone through revival of interest such as Irish, Cornish and Manx
  2. I am not exactly sure, but if you go into the modern history of the Hebrew language you might find some detailed answers.
    1. Unsure. One (half-) answer might be formal Tamil [formal is reminiscent of the Tamil that was used for thousands of years BC until present] and Bangla Shadhu Bhasha. Bangla isn’t a dead language but the Shadhu Bhasha [saintly language] is a dialect previously used by extreme higher classes of the society and it used 90% Sanskrit vocabulary. It’s not spoken by people anymore and only used for literature, but it is dying out. I also did a little Sanskrit and also enjoy the middle Indo-Aryan languages [such as Prakrit, Pali and Apabhramsha] which were intermediate forms between the Old Aryan and modern Aryan languages [Hindi, Marathi, Bangla].
March 9, 2017
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