I wanted to learn my language but the problem is it’s extinct and nobody speaks it. I have extremely limited resources what should I do?
Wohoo! Go you! If you have the Internet…you have a world of resources at your fingertips!
I had to talk to some friends who work with tribes in the Southwest around language revitalization about this one.
They told me there are actually a lot of resources out there regarding how to bring back an “extinct” language. What came to mind are the Pequot, who lost their last language speaker in the early 1900’s and there was also no orthography developed. From what my friends can remember, they stared working with nearby Tribes, whose language was in the same language family, and started to rebuild their language from there. It was a really big deal about 10 years ago.
Here’s an opinion piece you might find helpful:
There’s also this online resource from Northern Arizona University: http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/RIL_Intro.html. This website can be a good place to start looking into what it takes to build language revitalization efforts.
There’s also the Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium and the Indigenous Language Institute Symposium, which are places to meet others doing language work and to find resources. Indigenous Language Institute also has workshops available. You can check out these links: https://sils2020.ca/ and https://ilinative.org/.
Here are a couple good books that are great places to start learning of language revitalization:
- The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice by Leanne Hinton
- How to Keep Your Language Alive: A Commonsense Approach to One-on-One Language Learning by Leanne Hinton
Lastly, here are a couple more resources you may find helpful:
Hopefully, this will get you started with thinking about what direction you want to go with this. There are a lot of great resources and people with the same passion out there…start making those connections and let us know how it goes!
Best of luck!