Nine letters were killed and as many as thirty injured—some in languages as far away as Russian and the central African dialects—in a massive implosion of the French language on Friday, according to the European Union Commission on Language Studies.

The EUCLS released a preliminary report today which estimates the implosion epicenter is only fifty kilometers southeast of Paris. There are scattered reports from the French capital that thousands have been rendered unable to speak any words containing the killed or injured letters clearly, and others closer to the epicenter are now entirely mute.

Katherine Kinko, a linguist with the George Mason University Department of Communication, believes that the French language collapse has been in slow progression for several decades, but the complete power of this implosion took her by surprise. “With all the extra weight of almost infinite silent letters and superfluous, circuitous communication styles, it was inevitable that the French language would eventually collapse. There simply wasn’t enough substance to support all the pretty little syllables that served no purpose whatsoever. But the violence and terrifying scope of the implosion, however, was something no linguist could have predicted.”

At a frustrating press conference, French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac found that he was unable even to identify himself. A press bulletin issued before the conference identified him as “Jq Ch” and his attempts to speak during the gathering itself were fruitless. It is assumed that Chirac was attempting to publicly request help from the European Union and other world powers, and the EUCLS will be sending an investigative team to the region as a result.

President George W. Bush of the United States pledged his wholehearted support for France, identifying the European nation as, “A close ally, and one of the United States’ closest friends.” When asked if the United States would be sending any linguist teams to the hardest hit regions of the implosion, Bush said, “While we stand with our French brothers and sisters, we cannot commit to any such action without a U.N. Security Council resolution.”

The United Nations Security Council is looking into the possibility of authorizing the use of international linguists in France, but Russia and the United Kingdom—both with veto powers on the council—believe that the language troubles in France can be better solved with an increased U.N. Language Inspection regime.