Thursday, July 4, 2013

15: Moldovaneste

According to the constitution of Moldova the official language of the country is Moldovan...but the language identified as Moldovan that is used on a day-to-day basis in the government is indiscernible from Romanian. Essentially it is as if the American constitution stated that the national language of the USA will be known as American. There are very distinct differences from the English spoken in other countries of the world but everyone agrees that it is the same language at its core.

In Moldova those differences in language usually manifest more often with spoken rather then literary language and especially for people living in the villages of Moldova rather than the cities where people would say that they speak "clean" Romanian rather then the Moldoveneste of the villages. Moldoveneste is essentially Romanian with a country accent and a lot of slang and also a fairly large vocabulary of Russian words used indiscriminately in conversation.

I have gotten so used to hearing the language spoken in my village that the times when I did happen to go to Romania or when I speak with people in the big city who speak very clean Romanian I have trouble trying to understand them, and the feeling is usually mutual.

Trying to learn Romanian was made a lot harder because any time I tried to look up a word I didn't understand I would have a hard time finding it in the dictionary...sometimes because the word is mispronounced, sometimes because the word is actually Russian, and sometimes because the word does not exist in any dictionary.

For example you have a pretty common phrase in any language  "How are you?" in Romanian you would say correctly, "Ce faci?" (Che fahtch)  and in Moldoveneste you would take away most of the more harsh sounds and the words would flow a little lighter over the tongue so it becomes "Șifași?" (shefahshi)

In addition to the ch- sounds being replaced with softer sh- sounds b- sounds are replaced with g- sounds. Such as the word the word for fine "bine" (bee-nay) becoming "gine" (gee-nay) and "vorbește" becoming "vorgește."

Also I should note that the language interview, which graded me as having an Advanced Low ability to speak Romanian, evaluated my ability to speak and understand clean Romanian, which is like only being tested in the dialect of a foreign language you had less experience with. Not bad I'd say.

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