Couple Single-Handedly Resurrects Extinct Language By Teaching It To Baby Daughter

(Photo by Gints Ivuskans / AFP)

Sarah Weaver Social Issues Reporter
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A Latvian couple has succeeded in resurrecting the extinct Livonian language by speaking it to their daughter, according to a report from Latvia’s LSM.

Renāte and Jānis Medņi have published a textbook on the language, according to the outlet, and are hoping parents and children can use the volume to learn and revitalize the language. (RELATED: Tornadoes Tear Through South, Southeast Leaving Three Dead)

“We want to be a good example for others to follow. You just have to do it, you have to dare to do it. We talk all the time about the Livonian language, culture, revitalization or revival, but it actually has to be done!” Jānis said.

Renāte and Jānis’s child, Kuldi Medne, was born in 2020 and is currently the only person whose native language is Livonian. The book is dedicated to Kuldi, whose name in Livonian means “golden child.”

“The learning material is organized into 14 household topics. Each topic can be read both in Livonian and also in parallel Latvian, and is supplemented with a small insight into grammar, a folk song, poem or rhyme suitable for children, as well as a list of words,” the LSM report reads. “The artist’s drawings, in which the Livonian color codes are also thought of, help to learn and understand words.”

Livonian suffered after its speakers were scattered from their homeland along the Livonian Coast following the Soviet invasion of Latvia in 1940. The last known native speaker passed away in 2013 in Canada.

The parents plan to update the book and release an audio version.

Tags : latvia
Sarah Weaver