Mankind killed God and ushered in an age of persecution
In a cemetery near the fishing village of Mousehole, in Cornwall, stands a memorial stone to Dolly Pentreath. Erected in 1860, it commemorates her death in 1777: already, by then, the last known native speaker of the Cornish language.
What would it be like to watch your language die over your lifetime? A language encodes a way of looking at the world, as much as of interacting with others. The many Inuit words for “snow” may or may not be apocryphal, but the legend captures something true: a language goes into great detail on subjects its speakers believe important. What would it be like to be the only one left for whom these words, those sentences, felt natural and obvious?
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