When a language dies out, future generations lose a vital part of the culture that is necessary to truly understand it. When a language dies, a unique perspective towards the world and an approach to living in that place dies with it. Western colonisation and rapid urbanisation has played a large part in the endangerment and extinction of many languages.
UNESCO provide a classification system for language conservation status:
Most children speak the language, but it may be restricted to certain domains (e.g. home).
Children no longer learn the language as a 'mother tongue' in the home.
Language is spoken by grandparents and older generations; while the parent generation may understand it, they do not speak it to children or among themselves.
The youngest speakers are grandparents and older, and they speak the language partially and infrequently.
There are no speakers left.
ABORIGINAL & TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER LANGUAGES
Our languages are critically endangered in Australia and it is estimated that every two weeks in the world a language disappears with Australia’s original languages fast becoming obsolete. Aboriginal people in Australia have the oldest living civilisation in the world. Since European colonisation Indigenous people have been disconnected from the languages of their country. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people, the loss of language means the loss of cultural and personal identity. This often brings distress and suffering.