This was written and posted here in 2016:
Are Sauk, Latin, Myskoke, Chickasaw languages asleep or is there something more going on? It’s easy to say they’re dead or on the point of extinction (in five years 70 of the remaining 139 Native American languages will disappear). But are they really going to be dead? Will they just be asleep? What’s really going on with these languages?
In my view, Jacob (Sauk), John and Robert (Latin), Kate (Myskoge), Cherokee (Wade) and Josh Hinson (Chickasaw) may intuitively want to do more than just “wake up” or “revitalize” their languages. Maybe they want to hear them again, loudly and everywhere amidst the laughter and tears of life – fully alive again. But why would they want to do that?
Are their goals to revive the culture via the language? The culture has been destroyed, either by time (Latin) or intentionally (U.S. Government systematically from 1900 to 1950 – see http://www.culturalsurvival.org/programs/elc/program).
It surely is about keeping the culture on life support and bringing it back to vibrancy via the language, of course. But maybe there is more going on here.
It’s like on a long bike ride in the mountains I will stop and sit in the quiet overlooking the magnificent vistas we are blessed with in Colorado. I close my eyes for a minute or two and then when I open them I see a lot more than I could see before: single trees, valleys, lakes, snowbanks (even in August) appear as if by magic once I have given my senses a chance to open up to them, to see more deeply.
So also, I ask if it is possible that there is more to hear in the world of sound? Could we, if we listen closely enough, hear the echoes of words which still remain somewhere in the air from centuries past? I know, it’s weird, but it’s my blog so I get to say what I want, to think how I want.
Where do words go after they are spoken? Is there a kind of residue, an echo, of them left over somewhere? Do they get to be fainter and fainter echoes of themselves in some parallel universe of sound?
When Sauk land was Sauk land, do the sounds made there by those who lived there remain as an etherically faint echo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzV9QExGFQs). Could there be a place where those sounds still live? Are those working to preserve these languages drawn by that echo?
If one accepts the existence of an invisible world, an active place where all sorts of things are going on that we can’t see and so don’t pay any attention to, maybe there is also an inaudible world, a place where sounds/words, go after they are made/spoken.