LEGACY OF THE LANGUAGE , ‘Legacies of Stefan Nemanja’ (founder of the Serbian state, 1113, died 13. February 1200)

Guard to your language like your country, child of mine. The word can be lost like city, like land, like soul. What would the nation be if lost all that?

Do not talk with foreign words. If you do, know that you have not take it over, but that you converted yourself. You would better lose the greatest and hardest city and your countries than the smallest and most insignificant word of your language.

Swards are not the only arms to conquer the countries and lands, languages are too. Know that your enemy conquers you by quantity of words he cancels and overcomes.
ANa i Stefan Nemanja
On the fresco: Serbian Holly king Stephan Nemanja and Ana ( Stefan Nemanja was the Grand Prince (Veliki Župan) of the Serbian Grand Principality (Rascia) from 1166 to 1196, and founder of the Nemanjic dynasty)

If the nation lost its words, it is no longer the nation.

There are illnesses, child of mine that attacks language like an infection the body. I can remember those illnesses and foolishnesses. Oftentimes that is happening at the borders of nations, at one point of contact, where one language rubs with another.

Two nations, my dear, can fight and reconcile. Two languages can never reconcile. Two nations can live within greatest peace and love, but their languages can only fight. Whenever two languages meet and mix, they are like two armies in a battle for death and life. Until when both can be listened, the battle is equal; when one starts to overpower, that one will prevail over. At the end, there is the only one. The battle is over. One language vanished and one nation disappeared.

That battle between languages neither lasts for a day or two, child of mine, like battle between armies, nor for a year or two like war between people, but a century or two; and for language that is so tiny measure of time like a moment or two for a man. Therefore, it is much better, child of mine, to lose all battles and wars than lose a language. If the language is lost so is the nation.

Man learns his language for one year and memorizes it as long as he lives. Nation memorizes its language as long as exist. Foreign language man learns for one year also. That is time he needs to gave up of his own and accept foreign. Dear child of mine that is the illness and the peril of language, when one man starts to give up his own one and accepts a foreign one, no matter if that is by his own will or to be obliged to.

Even I have been using the language as the most dangerous weapon in my battles, child of mine. Even I have been releasing the illnesses and perils onto their languages. During sieges and long after, I have been sending herdsman, peasants, artisans and vagabonds to flood their cities and villages as servants and slaves, merchants, bandits, libertines and promiscuous women. I have conquered more by language than by sword.

Be aware child of mine from those speaking different languages. They imperceptible arrive, you do not know when and how. They are bowing and getting away at every step. They are lovable and fawning like dogs cause, they do not know your language. You can never tell what are they thinking of you, and you cannot, they are mostly silent. The first ones coming to investigate the situation inform others and, here they are, they crawl over the night in constant rows like ants.

Some day you dawns surrounded by a mob of people speaking different languages from all sides.

You are too late finding out they are not mute; they have their own language, songs, dances and rites. They are becoming louder, they are not pleasing and begging but asking for and grabbing. You are staying at your own but in a foreign country. All you can is to drive them away, or you to run away which seems more possible.

Conqueror of land conquered that way needs no army, just to take what language won.

Language is harder than any rampart, child of mine. When all your ramparts and fortresses are broken by your enemy, do not desperate but listen to what is going on with your language. If the language remains intact, you do not have to worry. Send spies and merchants deep into the villages and cities, to observe. Where our word echoes and revolves like gold coins, there our country still exists in spite of the ruler, child of mine. Emperors are changing, states collapsing, but language and people stays; in such a way overcame parts of country and people will be rejoining some day with its source of language and home of people.

Remember well, child of mine, not every overcoming or secession is of that danger for a nation as for a generation.

translation: Monk Teodosije