The holy trinity of Icelandic identity is, according to a popular poem, land, nation and tongue. Remove one, and the others will collapse. So, will the Icelandic nation survive if, as some predict, the Icelandic language dies out?
For centuries, Icelanders have looked backward to move forward with their language. When they need to come up with words for new technologies or ideas, they dredge up archaic terms — and try to talk the public into re-using them.
We humans have been dropping "um," "uh" and other expressions of hesitation into our speech for a long time — maybe for as long as we've had language. More recently, linguists are noting a shift in usage across a number of Germanic languages from "uh" to "um."
People on the fringes of society — criminals, discriminated-against minorities, rebellious teenagers — often need to speak in code. So they create secret languages, or argots. In Turkey, the LGBT community and others keep their words to themselves with the help of an argot called Lubunca.
We like to know where our food comes from these days, but few people know where the words and names for those foods actually come from. Knowing the origins of those words can show eaters the history and travels of their favorite dishes.
Israeli linguist Arik Sadan is an authority on the Arabic language. Palestinian Sobhi Bahloul is Gaza's best-known Hebrew teacher. They share a love for the other's native tongue. But these two linguists have never met.
For centuries, colonialists, church leaders and educators discouraged Irish people from using their native tongue. When Ireland won independence, its leaders had no idea just how difficult it would be to bring the language back. Despite that, there's hope for Irish today.
No one knows where Japan's indigenous Ainu language, or the people who spoke it, came from. The language is not part of any known linguistic tree. Now, a dedicated group of Ainu and linguists from around the world are trying to unlock the language's secrets before it dies out.
Many Ktunaxa lost their native tongue when they were sent to church-run boarding schools. Now the Ktunaxa language is making a modest comeback at a local school where both First Nations and white students study it.
The Keres language, spoken by the Laguna Pueblo of New Mexico, is dying. When younger tribal members tried to revive it, they were blocked by elders fearful that spiritual essence of the language would be lost.