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Keep your Language like you would your Country

"Better to lose all battles and wars than to lose your language," says the monk Simeon and Serbian ruler Stefan Nemanja in his legacy.

Serbian ruler Stefan Nemanja spent the last year of his earthly life in the monastic community of Mount Athos as monk Simeon. On his deathbed he recited a legacy that was captured by his youngest son Rastko - Saint Sava, the first Serbian Archbishop. Height hundred years later, this legacy is still relevant to his people and has not lost its meaning.

Language:  “Beware, my dear children, keep your language like you would your country. A word may be lost like a city, a country or a soul. And what about a nation who loses its language, its country, its soul?

Do not take other people’s words. If you take someone else's words, do not think that you have won, no, you have alienated yourself. It is better to lose your biggest and toughest city in your country, rather than the smallest and most insignificant word in your language.

Countries cannot win battles just with swords but also with their language. Know that thy enemy is conquered and beaten by the number of your words he consumes.

Nations who lose their language will cease to exist!

There is, my son, a disease that attacks the tongue like a disease attacks your body. I remember such infections and afflictions. It happens more often on the edges of people, from one nation to another, where a language of a nation rubs against the language of another.

Two nations, my dear, can fight never reconciling. Two languages can never become reconciled. Two nations can live in peace and harmony, but their languages will always fight. Whenever two languages meet and come together, they are like two armies in battle. As long as during this battle both languages are heard the struggle is equal, when you hear more and more of one, know that one will prevail. The battle is over. With one language disappearing, one nation disappears.

Know my son, that battles between these languages do not take one or two days,  like battles between armies , nor one or two years , like wars between nations , but a century or two. For a language it seems such as short span. Therefore, my son, it is better to lose battles and wars than to loos your language. After battles and lost wars, a nation will exist however after the loss of a language the people will be lost.

It will take a man a year to learn his language, and never forget while alive. A nation will not forget it whilst it exists. It will take a man a year to learn a foreign language. That is how long it will take a man to renounce his language and accept someone else's. My dear, that is the infection and demise of languages , whether a man has to or is obliged to, he will slowly denounce his language and accept another’s.

I have as well my son, used language as my fiercest weapon. I have infected and afflicted other nation’s language in front of my armies. During sieges , and soon after I sent shepherds, peasants, craftsmen and vagrants to flood their towns and villages, as servants, slaves, merchants, thieves , adulterers and prostitutes . My servants went to half conquered lands and cities. I have conquered more corners of the earth through them than by sword.

Beware, my son of foreigners. They come quietly, you do not know when or how. They adore you and hide from you when you step in. Because they do not know your language, fawn over you and treat you as a master. You never know what they are thinking and cannot know, because they are usually silent. They first come to search out how, tell the rest, and then overnight conquer in continuous rows like ants when they find food. One day you wake up surrounded by foreigners from all sides.

You then find out that they are not mute, speak and write, they have their folklore and customs. They become louder, they do not pray or beg, but seek and seize. And you stay on your own in your land, becoming a stranger. You are left with either to deport them or to leave.

You will find out that foreigners will win the battle without sending their armies. Their army come to take what their language has conquered.

It was, my son, harder than any walls. When your enemy breaks through all the walls and towers, despair not but watch what happens with your language. If your language is left intact, do not be afraid. Send spies and merchants deeply into villages and towns to listen. Where our words resonate with ripples, then they like an old coin, you will know that this is still our country , regardless of who rules over it . Emperors come and go, states fall, language and people are the ones who remain , and will even conquered,  sooner or later return to their linguistic homeland and their nation’s home .

Remember, my son that all winning secession is not as dangerous to people as it is harmful to future generations. It may harm a single generation, but not the nation. The people, my son , will be stronger and last longer than a generation and from every state. Sooner or later people will be connected like water burst the barriers that separate it. A language, my child, the language is like water, the same on both sides of the dam, which will be a silent and powerful force that runs deep  to connect people in one homeland and one state."


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