Language Revitalization

Table of Content


            Every country and nation has their own identity and their own language. This world is moving so fast and every thing is working digitally and no one has time for older things, and every one wants to achieve the top in limited time. Every one wants to reach the top and achieve every possible best thing for himself and his family. This world has become a global village and every one is running after new and an advance technologies, modern products etc which saves lots of time. In ancient days, numbers of things were done by hand or manually but with the passage of time, every thing is changed now there are thousands of machines are replacing human power and do lots of tasks in short time with great efficiency. Every nation has its own norms and values and all nations’ has its own language and own values. In this world, there are thousands of languages are being spoken since many years in different regions of world.

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English is one of the most common languages which are used for international communications by number of countries. But, beside English there are number of languages are present and being spoken in different regions and countries. Language is a set of visual and auditory symbols of communication. There are number of languages that can only be used for speaking, language is basically considered as a mode of communication for human beings, all human being needs support of some language for communicating with each other. Without a specific language set human beings cannot interact with each other. Linguistic is the scientific study, with a broad range of sub fields.

History of Linguistic:

            The origin of linguistic is originated from India in 5th century when BCE grammarian formed 3,959 rules of Sanskrit morphology. Later in west, different successful projects and efforts of science and mathematics and other formal system made linguistic a study of semantic code. Efforts of 20 century resulted in form of academic discipline of linguistic. There are number of languages are being spoken in different regions and human languages are generally known as natural languages. Basically, linguistic is the study of different languages which describes the human faculty of language. In middle age, Arabic Grammar and Hebrew grammar are gift of this era. Modern linguistic begun to develop in 18 century and got its established place and identity in 19 century. Linguistic has many sub fields, major sub fields are as follows:

·         Historical linguistics

·         Descriptive linguistics

·         Generative linguistics

            Communication history date’s back to the earliest sign of life, symbols were developed about 30,000 years back and writing symbols were developed 7,000 years back. There are thousands of natural language and some set of artificial languages. Artificial language is a language developed by different people for their own communication. Merlin Donald observes the development of languages in late 20’s and he writes about language:

“A shared communicative culture, with sharing of mental representations to some degree, must have come first, before language, creating a social environment in which language would have been useful and adaptive.”

Time to time changes come in language and due to these changes languages get modified, and it has been observed that  modern and advance form of languages are coming up. Thousands of people including young generation speak a new and refined form of their mother tongue. With the passage of time, every language has faced some changes and modernity in it.

Language Revitalization:

             Language revitalization is a process which takes place by the interested parties, individuals, government parties, groups, different authorities and cultural groups, forums of bringing back those languages which are out of use these days. These parties’ tries to recover the spoken use of different language which is now obsolete. Language death is a common term in linguistic which is widely used for the process by which leases ceases to be used by the people who formerly speak it. The goals and aims of revitalization of language vary from country to country and region to region depending upon certain crises. A main goal of number of communities is same i.e. to bring back out of use languages. These communities work for bringing back dead languages. Return of Languages endangered in use is the main goal of all these communities and this activity is known as language revitalization.

There are number of languages which has been the major subject of different communities to give life again include: Ainu, Belarusian, Breton, Basque, Chinook Wawa,  Comanche,  Coptic, Cornish, Faroese, Hakka, Hawai’ian, Leonese, Manx,  Maori , Milanese, Romansh language,  Sami languages, Sanskrit, Shanghainese, Scots, Scottish Gaelic,  Tlingit. The most important revitalization of one a language is very common and known by world wide is the revitalization of Hebrew language. It was the very important and a big revitalization of any language till yet. Sometime language revitalization brings some changes and some new objects in language with that language become easy to pipe up and also it starts sound interesting and attractive with the aid of which revitalization of that particular language become easy and effective.

For revitalization of languages, some models and approach are presented by which some languages is revitalized I a proper manner.

Reverse Language Revitalization:

            The one of the most famous model of revitalization of language is Jausha’s fish man. This process is helpful in making dead languages sustainable and established, this process consist of eight steps; these steps are specially designed for dead languages that are not in use from past many years. All languages has heir own requirements and own criteria. Revitalization process by different communities depends on their effort and dead language’s requirements and needs. (Crystal, n.p.) Some time language there is strong need of producing and polishing objects in a language to make it sustainable again. (Clevedon, n.p.) For that, communities produce reform language objects and symbols for long term use. Fishman model produce effective results as in this approach direct efforts are needed to make language sustainable again. This approach saves time in various steps and efforts. As some approaches offer publicity and efforts on TV and newspaper when number of people aren’t in habit of using particular language. There are number of factors involve in revitalization of language which makes revitalization easy and effective.

Language revitalization needs strong steps and measures with slow efforts as fast and short term effects could harm particular language. (Reyhner, n.p.) Language revitalization needs people’s time, efforts, money, information, proper research, gods and money. Sound knowledge of language can also help a lot in making any language revitalize. Assessing and understanding of language vitality is little difficult enterprise. A language spoken by thousands of people n different regions is easy to revitalize than a language that has dozen users which rarely use it.

Language Revitalization Factors:

     For making any language sustainable and established again, efforts and some approaches are required. For long term it’s necessary to use proper approach. UNICCO Ad Hoc group produces number of factors which involve in language revitalization, factors involve in language revitalization as follows:

Factor 1 is about Intergeneration language transmission with efforts
Factor 2 is about Absolute number of speakers are necessary for revitalization
Factor 3 includes Proportion of speakers
Factor 4 explains trends in existing language domains
Factor 5 emphasizes on response to new domains and media
Factor 6 focuses on materials and different objects for language education and literacy
Factor 7 is about governmental and institutional language policies
Factor 8 defines community members’ attitudes toward their own language
Factor 9 deals with Amount and quality of documentation.
These factors have a lot to do with number of language reutilization effects and efforts. First three factors emphasizes on the basic requirements for brining back any dead language. Factor 4 describes the domains and deals with range of existing domains. Factor 5 deals with modern language and their respective changes. Factor 6-8 focuses on governmental efforts and government policies and community’s member’s attitude and behavior which have a great impact on language revitalization. Factor 9 tells the ways of documentation for proper and effective results. These factors have a great significance on any language retrieval.  Factors and ground realities help a lot in retrieval of dead languages. Some reproduction of old objects is also required in some cases. The level of vitality accessing the urgency of new languages varies region to region. Documentation has also a great significance in language revitalization of any particular language.

            There are about 60-90% languages of this world is now lost and are now number of communities are working for their retrieval. Every nation has its own language and its own requirements. It is necessary that every nation must have its own identity. Languages are the mode and medium of human communication and every nation and country needs their own cultural and own norms and values which always become a sign of their identity in front of others. Thousands of languages are now obsolete and world wide communities, parties and individuals are worried about retrieval of dead languages. Number of communities worldwide only emphasizes on the ways of preventing languages, all are focusing on educating people and launch programs to educate people so that they can be able to maintain their lifestyle, identity and language. Literacy and motivation among people belonging to any language which is rarely spoken in all over the world so that people can also keep their language live by their attitude and use.

Number of researches is going on language revalorization and many communities are also working for dead and endangered languages. (Cintra, n.p.) Hebrew is the one of the best example of retrieved language. Promoting languages in news papers or on TV channels is also a good impact but it requires proper planning and proper on time decision making.  Language retrieval or linguistic study helps in educating new generation about different languages and nations. Research follows different domains also produces effective results in the light of strong and good approach. Different courses are going on in different universities to develop language identification and awareness in students about dead and endangered languages.

Language Revival:

   More than 70 languages are now become extinct from this world. Different communities are working for their revival. Number of languages is also present which has only fewer speakers. According to US estimate that more than half languages spoken today have very less quantity of speakers and rest have only quarter of speakers. (Albert, n.p.)

Few strong and proper measures are required for proper adjustment and improving the counting of their speakers. If proper and good actions would not be taken, an in next hundreds years thousands of nations will loose their identity by loosing their language. In upcoming years, it is expected that number of languages will become extinct. There is an endangered language fund is present which is dedicated only for endangered languages revival. As, language revival needs strong efforts, money and services so language revival fund spends money for the revival of different extinct languages (Cuesta, n.p.). There is a huge number of revival languages, some of them are as follows:

Estonian, Basque, Belarusian, Catalan, Cornish, Czech, Frisian, Galician, Hawaiian, Hebrew, Manx, Miranda’s.

Number of language regulators is also present which has great role in languages revival:

Faroese, Finnish Kielitoimisto, French (France),Académie française (French Academy), French (Quebec), Galician ,Hebrew ,Hindi, Central Hindi Directorate, Hungarian, Magyar Tudományos Icelandic Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese,Kannada ,Latin,Latvian, Lithuanian, Valstybin?, Lusoga, Lusoga Language Authority Malay, Maltese ,Maori ,Norsk Akademi, Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk), Språkrådet Occitan, Conselh de la Persian, Polish, Rada J?zyka Polskiego, Portuguese (Brazil).

At governmental level different policies and different measures are always taken for language revival and improvement. (Jean, n.p.) Governmental efforts matters a lot in revival of any language. Many countries have their own language policy to encourage or discourage the use of particular language. (David, n.p.) Few policies are as follows:

Assimilation policies, Non-intervention policies, differentiated legal statute policies, Valorization of the official language policies, Sectarian Policies.

Teaching Method:

 Teaching any language has great significance and plays an important role in building language status and in establishing any language. If teaching of any language would be interesting then number of speakers can increase. Teaching methods and teachers attitude affects a lot and need special attention and strategies for effective results.  Teaching any other language is a different task, teacher need to start from scratch including language symbols and different objects. There are different methods for effective language teaching. Russian methods of teaching are very common which includes almost 50 strategies techniques of teaching foreign languages; it has been adopted by number of teachers in different universities and schools worldwide specifically in Europe, Asia and America. The goal of Russian method is to make learners comfortable with new language in short time period. This method uses different techniques which makes environment comfortable and feasible for both existing learners and beginners. This method first emphasizes on spoken language than written one. This method encourages contextual learning specifically to meet the requirements of new and modern world. Good language teaching helps student to start practice communicating in different situations. The aim of this method is to create non competitive environment for all students to speak third world languages. The goals of this method can be achieved by number of techniques, tools and different strategies. It creates and maintain dynamic classroom which emphasizes on holding student’s attention. Eliminate the fear of mistakes from the heart of students; engage the students on emotional level. Emphasize students learning on student’s own life experiences. John Russians developed this method twenty years back and it still produces effective results in learning foreign languages.

            Every human being needs a tool or bridge for communication with others. Without any similar bridge or tools no one can understand the needs and requirements for understanding the needs and requirements of other people. This is a common problem, number of speakers face these days is of foreign languages. This world has become a global village and things are getting digitalized on every next minute so for long term planning, every one is required to struggle for the betterment and revival o their own languages’. Although, communities and different parties are interested in his attempt but an individual effort can also help a lot in revival of old languages. When a person has his own mother tongue with a large number of users worldwide, it is always an honor for a person. Languages allow for the creation and exchange of different meanings, symbols and words. No language can guarantee of mutual understanding, this is due to the reason that meaning doesn’t reside solely in the message. Languages are use t create meanings so the users involve in this process must be active and willing. Speakers intend to convey meaning and recipient recognizes the meaning and communities’ intention. Like other things language can also achieve goals if properly applied? Language is a tool by which people explicate their meanings and decisions. Revival of languages needs strong efforts, activeness of all participants and strong policies. Efforts on government level can make things better in short time. Language is primarily used for communicating emotions, language is a semantic tool for communication efforts, meaning and emotions. Language revival can bring changes to number of nations and can also be done by different ways in order to achieve effective and long term results.


            Language revival is a process of bringing back languages those are out dated and obsolete now days. For an own identity its necessary that every nation must have its own language with own norm and values. Language is a mode of communicating, transferring information from one communicator to recipients. Every one need a similar bridge or a tool for understanding other’s idea and meaning. Without a common or same language no one could be able to understand the saying and message of other. Language is compose of different symbols and objects and every language ha sits own set of objects, symbols etc. As, this world is growing fast and things are getting modernized and digitalized day by day so most of things are getting obsolete same in case of languages. Thousands of languages worldwide are now become extinct and hundreds of languages have only few native speakers who rarely speak. Different communities and arties are taking strong measures to bring back such languages for the betterment of different nations. But, still a strong approach and measures are required for effective results (David, 2004). Steps at the governmental level affect more than individual efforts for language revival. United nation are doing efforts for language revivals.

            Beside different language policies, some efforts are also required for proper language revival (Paul, 1986). There is a need of improving teaching methods by which non competitive atmosphere can be created. Different techniques and tools must be used for producing better teaching methods and strategies. Some agencies and parties use TV’s advertisement and newspaper but this effort is not very effective when a few number of speakers uses a particular language. For keeping languages alive, individual efforts on one’s own are required. A competitive environment and relax and free atmosphere always helps a lot in promoting foreign and reviled languages. Language revival needs efforts and money at both public and private level. There is a fund which bears all expenses in process of language revival. Foundation for endangered languages works well for dead languages. It announces different conferences, various activities, its main objectives include

·         Promoting awareness both inside and outside about dead languages.

·         The use of endangered languages in different context.

·         Monitoring linguistic policies and strategies and work for the betterment of endangered languages.

·         It also focuses on documentation and validation of endangered languages.

·         Providing proper and valid information of endangered and dead languages.

·         Using different tools and techniques for the promotion of endanger and dead languages. Foundation of endangered language is producing effective results in different regions.

Endangered languages can be reviled by taking some strong decisions and on-time implementations, with a combination of refined teaching methods and techniques. Usage of different tools would be helpful in promoting awareness of dead languages worldwide. Hebrew is one of the best and successful examples of language revival.

Works Cited

Aitchinson, Jean. (1991). Language change: progress or decay? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bastardas-Boada, Albert (2007). “Linguistic sustainability for a multilingual humanity”, Glossa. An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 2, num. 2.

Clevedon, (1999). Multilingual Matters. Reversing language Shift: Theory and Practice of Assistance to Threatened Languages.

Crystal David. (2000). Language death. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crystal, David. (2004). Language revolution. Cambridge: Polity Press.

David Crystal, (2000), Language Death, Cambridge University Press, (417.7).

Lindley Cintra, (1971), Boletim de Filologia, Lisboa, Centro de Estudos Filológicos.

Paul, (1986). Discontinuity in a life cycle: The death of Trinidad Bhojpuri. Language, 62 (2), 291-319.

Reyhner, (1999), Revitalizing indigenous languages. Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University, Center for Excellence in Education.

Vázquez Cuesta, (2002), interview given to La Voz de Galicia.


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