STEFAN NEMANJA’S, TSAR OF SERBIA (Roi de Serbie, 1117 – 1199); TESTAMENT ABOUT LANGUAGE:
The words of Stefan Nemanja ( priest Simeon), said while he was dying,
written by his youngest son Rastko, Saint Sava (from the book “Stefan
Nemanja’s testament by the writer Mile Medic)
“Guard, my dear child, your language as you would your land. Language
can be lost just as castles, land and the soul can be lost.But what is a
people – if they lose their language, land, soul? Don’t take a foreign word
into your mouth. If you take a foreign word, you will not make it your own,but you will lose part of yourself. It is better to forfeit your grandest
and strongest castle than the smallest and the most insignificant word of
your language. Countries and states are not only conquered by swords, but by languages, too. A foreigner conquered and obedient you that much,
counting the words he stole from you and imposed his owns.
A people, who loses his words stops being a people. There is, my child,
an illness which attacks the language as the illness which attacks the
body. I remember such illnesses of the language. It exists most often at
the edge of a people, in a touch of one people with another one, in a place
where the language of one people touches the language of another one. Two people, my child, can fight and can reconsolidate. Two languages can never reconsolidate. Two people can live in the greatest peace and love, but their languages can only be at war. Whenever two languages meet and mix, they are like two armies in a battle to life or death.As long as both languages can be heard in this battle, the battle is equal, but if you
start hearing one language better and louder, that one will prevail. At
last, only one can be heard. The battle is over. There isn’t that people
after the language is lost. You must know, my child, that battle between
the two languages does not last for a day or two, as a battle between two
armies, or a year or two, as a war between two different people, but a
century or two, and this is such a small measure for a language, as it is a
moment or two for a man.
That is why, my child, it is better to lose all battles and wars , but
to lose the language. After a lost battle or lost wars there is people.
After a lost language there is no people. The language is, my child, harder
than any fortified wall. When the enemy breaks down your walls and towers do not despair, but maintain close watch over the language. As long as the language remains untouched, you have nothing to fear. Send your spies and merchants to villages and towns, let them just listen.
In the places where you can still hear our word, where our word is still
rotated like an old golden coin, you know, my child, it is still our land,
no matter who rules here. Emperors come and go, , states fall, but language and people are what remain. Sooner or later the conquered part of the land and the people will return to their linguistic and national homeland.