Claude Hagège

Stop Killing Languages! Publication date : November 1, 2000

In this book, Claude Hagège sets out to show that human languages are simultaneously mortal and immortal. Although a language may disappear with the end of a civilisation or of a people, its disappearance is different from that of physical objects. The author presents his argument in three parts: 1. Languages and Life, 2. Languages and Death, and 3. Languages and Resurrection. In the first part he shows that the life of a language is in some ways similar to that of a living species. The second part describes and analyses several examples of languages that have disappeared. The third demonstrates that languages can be resuscitated — even those that have been long forgotten — if the collective will to do so is strong enough.
In Halte à la Mort des Langues, the reader is struck by the extraordinary living force that lies within all languages, and which simply the power of the human mind.

Claude Hagège teaches at the Collège de France and holds a gold medal from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. He was awarded the Blaise Pascal prize in 1993 for his book Le Souffle de la Langue. He is also the author of L’Homme de Paroles.