There is a Canadian TV anchor who translates all the English news into Inuktitut live on air. Igalaaq is the only Inuktitut supper hour TV program in the whole country where unilingual Inuktitut speakers have this one chance, for 30 minutes, to see someone speaking their language.
A man from New Zealand memorized every french word in the french scrabble dictionary and won the French Scrabble Championship. He still doesn’t speak any french.
Navajo was once in danger of losing a lot of speakers, but the Navajo nation set up programs to teach the language as well as many bilingual schools. Now there are even institutes, community colleges, and technical universities with classes in the Navajo language.
Indians are relearning Sanskrit and reviving the ancient language, with 10,000 new speakers in 2010 alone.
The Ket people is an isolated population of 1200 in Siberia. Their language is strikingly similar in structure to the Native North American languages, and they are one of the last true hunter and gatherer societies on Earth.
Italian is attractive to the ear because it benefits from a very high number of words that end in vowels, and few words with many consonants in a row, creating an open sound that makes it perfect for singing.
Iceland is extremely protective of their language, instead of loaning words from other languages they repurpose old ones, telephone is ‘simi’, meaning thread, jet plane is ‘thota’, meaning to zoom and the word for computer, ‘tölva’ translates to number priestess or numbers witch.
Spoken by 200 people in central Siberia north of Mongolia, Ket language is considered to be in the same language family as Navajo. That would make Ket speakers the only remaining members in Eurasia of the original population that colonized the Americas.
Hebrew became extinct as a spoken native language around 200 CE. It was revived in Paris on 13 October 1881 when a man called Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and his friends agreed to exclusively speak Hebrew in their conversations.
Between the 1930s and 1970s, employees at Merriam-Webster created a massive “backward index.” It was a card catalog, containing all the words in its dictionary typed backwards. It eventually included around 315,000 index cards. The reason for creating this thing was to allow the company to find words with similar endings. Such as all words ending in ‘ological’. It also helped them create a rhyming dictionary. Computers made the backward index obsolete, but it still sits in the basement of the company’s headquarters.