If you’re interested in the life span of languages, here’s an intriguing story in the New York Times, New Mexico Is Losing a Form of Spanish Spoken Nowhere Else on Earth.
The piece describes the arrival of Spanish-speaking migrants who settled in a remote corner of what is now New Mexico in the late 1500s. Cut off from the flow of Spanish-language speakers in more accessible locales, this version of Spanish came to incorporate vocabulary from native languages, and, eventually, English, while retaining verb conjugations trapped in the 1500s.
But with youth more interested in computer screens, and an older generation still conversant in the dialect dying out, the future of this Spanish subset is uncertain.
“Our unique Spanish is at real risk of dying out,” Cynthia Rael-Vigil, 68, told the Times. Rael-Vigil traces her ancestry to a member of the 1598 expedition that claimed New Mexico as one of the Spanish Empire’s most remote domains. “Once a treasure like this is lost, I don’t think we realize, it’s lost forever.”
Read about efforts to preserve this tongue in the link above.