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The greatest crime is to kill the language of a nation…

Charles Nodier

The greatest crime is to kill the language of a nation with all that it contains of hope and genius. Charles Nodier

Jean-Charles-Emmanuel Nodier was a French writer, novelist and academician (29 April 1780 in Besançon – 27 January 1844 in Paris). He is attributed great importance in the birth of the Romantic movement.

What does Charles Nodier wish to tell us with this sentence? Perhaps that a language is a treasure whose speakers are the holders. A language is much more than a communication tool. It is above all a reflection of a people, a history, a topology, the arts and culture of a nation. The extinction of a language is comparable to the extermination of an animal or plant species. The diversity of languages is comparable to the diversity of species. It is conducive to a certain harmony and balance. When one species becomes extinct, the entire food chain is threatened. Although it may be a prey or a predator, there is an interdependence in nature. The same applies to languages, some, although sometimes dominant for one or under the yoke of another, feed and grow in contact with them.

Thus, a language has its contribution to make to all humanity. It holds a range of concepts, a profusion of meanings, emotions, stories and narratives, sensations and experiences that humanity would miss if it were to die. A language is a connection with our forefathers, no matter how far away they may be, they serve as both guide and consolation. They promote hope through their beauty and uniqueness. They reflect the genius of the simple fact that they reflect the complexity of the human societies that preceded us and those in which we still live today.

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