In the literature on language death and language renewal, two cases come up again and again: Irish and Hebrew. Mention of the former language is usually attended by a whiff of disapproval. It was abandoned relatively recently by a majority of the Irish people in favour of English, and hence is quoted as an example of a people rejecting their heritage. Hebrew, on the other hand, is presented as a model of linguistic good behaviour: not only was it not rejected by its own people, it was even revived after being dead for more than two thousand years, and is now thriving.
He says, “In language, as in life, it sometimes happens that a certain code outlives its use,” pointing out that “Language does not exist independently of society and culture, and if a community comes under intense pressure from another one, it has to adapt to survive.” There’s nothing profound or especially new, but it’s an enjoyable read, and of course I heartily approve of his conclusion: “Change is part of language: you can embrace it, or resist it, but there’s no escaping it.” Thanks for the link go to Trevor, who adds that he is bothered by “the omission of any mention of the penalties for using Irish in the 19th century and before.”