Wanted Languages: Dead or Alive

I was reading about the demise of the old Cromarty dialect in Scotland recently. Retired engineer Bobby Hogg died at age 92 taking with him the traditional living language of the north-east tip of the Black Isle, just north of Inverness. With this man passing our last opportunity to understand many things has also gone.
David Ross of the Herald in Scotland wrote ‘He could still close his eyes, see the boats heading out to sea and hear the unique speech pattern that set his people apart.’ What does this mean in broader terms ? What significance does a language or dialect hold ?
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