Charles Nodier on marginal languages

Nodier was a distinguished bibliophile and member of the Académie Française who ran the library at the Parisian Arsenal, which, according to Musset, was where romanticism set up shop. (Émile de Girardin says in Mme de Girardin that Hugo, like everyone else, fell in love with Mrs and called her Notre-Dame de l’Arsenal.) His novel Inés de las sierras was inspired by a trip to Barcelona, of which more later, and here he is on that most un-republican of subjects, minority languages:

No, gentlemen! no language will die a statutory and judicial death, in the shadow of a lyceum, garrotted, muzzled, dickied [plastronée] by strictures daubed on a pedant’s pulpit! Never will a rector assisted by two oaves [cuistre is Provençal and may for all I know, not having looked, have something to do with the Spanish cutre; re the plural “oaves”: ’tain’t half so weird as be plastroner] heave it into the great forever in the name of king and consistory! Languages are longer-lived, not to be killed. So leave us our patois, if you please, gentlemen of Cahors! Leave them to us begad! they will at least compensate us a little for the good French [in mode] nowadays!

And so say all of us, although we sometimes wonder as to the logistics.

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