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Status of Moldavian in relation to Romanian

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by irinet, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    Moderator note: Split from here.

    Hi,
    As you know, Moldavian is a dialect of the Romanian language. There is a very interesting thread about dialects here which I follow, too because dialects and varieties of any language seem so diverse and amazingly surprising at the same time.
    When listening to a Moldavian's way of uttering one cannot confuse his origin, be that person from my country or from the Republic of Moldova. Both pronounce 'i' for 'e' or the "şi" for "ce" as in: "/Şiai făkut/" instead of "/tcheai făkut/" - 'What have you done?' Also, the vowel /a/ is more open than the Romanian standard pronunciation. Palatalisation is another case: "cheatră (Mold.dialect) - piatră (Rom); "ghine (Mold.) - bine (Rom.)That's the most obvious similarities still preserved in both regions (Eastern part of Romania and the Republic of Moldova) where this dialect is spoken. In point of differences as you've asked, I would say that the Moldovian dialect still uses old words that we no longer use (archaisms). Plus, I cannot deny the Slavik influence there which is fresh considering all the historical facts. I have also noticed when meeting Moldovians that they have some problems in following standard Romanian, by which I mean the Muntean (Muntenesc) dialect, which does not happen in my country. But I can find a reasonable argument for this in that while our dialect has evolved, theirs, on the other hand, has been well conserved.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  2. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    I would be cautious with calling Moldavian a dialect of Romanian, for several reasons. First, the distinction between language & dialect in itself is problematic. Second, I think it would be as calling American English a dialect of British English.
     
  3. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    Sorry, but Moldavian is a dialect. I have not touched the 'variety' topic nor have talked about the American - English... .
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  4. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    I don't speak Romanian so I can't judge by myself but according to what I read, it seems Standard Romanian and Standard Moldavian are best regarded as two standard registers of the same macro language. Given the recent ruling of the Moldavian constitutional court, I don't see a big problem in using the designation Romanian for the entire macro language.
     
  5. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Exactly my position. The only problem I've got is with calling Moldavian a dialect.
     
  6. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    I find the notion of standard registers more precise mainly because the dialect borders don't agree with the national borders. Apart from that, I wouldn't be too concerned calling Romanian Romanian and Moldavian Romanian both dialects (the emphasis being on both).
     
  7. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    I fear Irinet won't agree.:D
    Historical dialects of Latin, yes.
     
  8. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Dialects of the Romanian macro language or of the Romanian dialect continuum.
     
  9. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Also fine by me.
     
  10. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    Good evening,

    To your assertion, I wonder if there is the concept of "German German" as a dialect in your macro language?!
     
  11. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    For much the same reasons yes. German dialect boarders don't match national boarders. For that reason I would prefer to speak of German, Austrian and Swiss standard registers for the respective standard languages. Dialect borders are different. 8 out of 9 Austrian federal states belong to the same dialect region as 3 out out of the seven Bavarian regions and the 9th Austrian federal states belongs to the same dialect region as German speaking Switzerland an the southern 2/3 of the German state of Baden-Württemberg.
     
  12. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    I would say that there does not exist this type of categorisation: a dialect cannot be "standard". That's the idea of being classified as a dialect, because it's not standard language among other reasons. Unless you deny the existence of the word "dialect", and consider Romanian Romanian / German German as varieties of a macro language like the varieties of English do exist.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  13. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    If a register is used as standard in a section (regional, social or whatever) of a language it is a standard register. I explained why I prefer to say register rather than dialect.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  14. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    Yes, now that you have splitted the thread for a good reason, it would be very nice to listen to the Moldanians' opinions over the Prut! I am a Moldavian from the Danubean side.
     
  15. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    So, you are a Moldavian dialect speaker from the Romanian side of the Moldavian dialect area. Then I would have expected you to agree that there is a difference between the Moldavian standard register (=the official language of the Republic of Moldavia) and the Moldavian dialect area (=a vernacular or dialect group of vernaculars spoken in both countries).
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  16. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    There are many, many languages in the world that during some time or even today don't have a standard register / variety. Some languages, on the other hand, have several competing or peacefully coexisting norms, even within one and the same country.
     
  17. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    Yes, but this is the regional register of a language. It can also intertwine with the vulgar register and the archaic register under the circumstances. We do not have competing norms in my language, but a single norm. Those registers are not standard. Consequently, there is not a Moldavian standard register but only a Moldavian dialectal zone that comprises Moldavian speakers of the same language which is Romanian. To this, there are indeed displayed specific linguistic features (ling. deviations from the norm) which are regional, vulgar and archaic more or less to be distinguished according to the place on the map. Thus, I can say that some Romanians over there are more Moldavians than others. Also, the Moldavians over the Prut are as Moldavians as the Romanian from Iassi, a city in the Northern-East of my country.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  18. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    First, do you acknowledge that there are actual usage differences (concerning the lexicon, grammar or pronunciation) between the standard language used in Moldavia and Romania?

    Second, provided your answer to the first question is yes, what does in your understanding prevent these differences from constituting different registers? I could see two possible answers: 1) the differences are too insignificant or 2) the standard register is the union of both usages, i.e. there is a consensus among speakers that whatever is standard in one of the countries is by the virtue of it also acceptable as standard in the other.
     
  19. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    Now I have to leave, but it seems to me that talking about registers minimises the topic, really. The Muntean /Muntenesc dialect is standard register in my country. We'll see later.
     
  20. Caktus Junior Member

    Romania - Romanian
    "Standard Moldavian" and Standard Romanian are identical. Also, the language taught in schools in Moldova is called Romanian... this is the name written on the manuals themselves.
     
  21. Hulalessar Senior Member

    Andalucía
    English - England
    So are we saying that (a) the standard language of Romania and Moldavia is the same language just as the standard language of France and the francophone part of Belgium is the same language (b) this standard language is called Moldovan by some in Moldavia (c) there are dialects of Romanian one of which may be called Moldavan but which is not confined to Moldavia?
     
  22. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Let's extend the approach to a neighbor area: if Moldavian is a dialect or register of the greater Romanian why then Belarusian and Ukrainian are separate languages and not dialects or registers of the greater Russian, codified as separate literary languages for political reasons? Why is Afrikaans a separate language? Or, in the contrary case, why e. g. Latgalian is not different from Latvian? I have a strong impression that the common opinion even among scholars generally agrees with the political views dominating in the country of their origin.
     
  23. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Yes, of course. How else would you differentiate language and dialect than by the will of the communities.
     
  24. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    The series of variables that determine whether the way a certain people speak in a given area is a language or dialect of that of another area or country is complicated and not really related to relative linguistic distance. As you can find in certain threads here, Europeans often wish to make the distinction between variations of English and it's not rare to find "American" used here and there. In the US however there is no desire to label the language anything other than in English, even among strong patriots. Quite the contrary, there actually is a strong rejection of questioning the linguistic unity of the language. The subject in school and language in all documents is always referred to as English, not even American-English. Yet that does not reveal a sense of being "Anglophile" or even a longing for England either. It's seen as a fact. It's English, full stop.


    The differences between Moldavian Romanian and Romanian Romanian are similar to those found in any major language group that has formed regional dialects. I suspect a rejection of language unity stems from the fear of somehow being absorbed by Romania. They are neighbors, same language, same people? Torn apart by a tragic history? So why not unify if they are basically the same? Even more so if the Moldavian dialect (as I understand from this thread) is also common in a large area of Romania near the border. For those who write in Cyrillic script, the differences are even highlighted more. Some people feel differences need to be exaggerated to justify political separation. They may fail to notice, for example, that the Scottish independence movement never mentions language or advocates restoring Scots or Scottish Gaelic after independence, both of which are passing into history. Their sense of otherness from England does not stem from language and needs no such justification for separation.

    Why is Afrikaans a language? The need to create a South African identity???:confused: Or perhaps to justify and officialize the drastic simplification of the language when compared to the language spoken in the Netherlands? Kind of like making Ebonics a full-fledged language?
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2014
  25. Nino83 Senior Member

    Italian
    In these cases intelligibility can be a crucial point.
    Afrikaans has only some little difference in grammar* (no verbal conjugation for person, loss of the preterite and pluperfect, no distinction between subject and object pronouns in the plural) as Brazilian Portuguese (there is not a loss in conjugation for person but a substitution of pronouns, with você, a gente, vou/ia fazer instead of farei/faria, vi ele/eles instead of vi-o/os), but BP and EP are mutually intelligible while intelligibility between Afrikaans and Dutch is smaller than between, e.g., Danish and Norwegian or Danish and Swedish.

    But if Standard Romanian and Standard Moldavian are grammatically and phonologically almost identical (as Caktus said), there's no reason to say that there are two different languages.

    *plus some other difference, like the loss of gender, the use of "to have" to form the perfect, double negative
     
  26. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    In fact, Romanian is now the official language of Moldavians, though, as you name here, they are talking into 'standard' Moldavian or as I say, they are talking in a Romanian dialect.
     
  27. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    As are you...
     
  28. Hulalessar Senior Member

    Andalucía
    English - England
    Fine, so long as it is understood that "Romanian" means two different things in the above. In the first instance it means "Standard Romanian" and in the second something like "Balkans Romance". The language they speak in Chișinău is not a dialect of the language they speak in Bucharest.
     
  29. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    The statement is explicitly about standard languages of the countries and not how people in the streets of these two cities speak.

    When every well formed sentence in standard Moldavian Romanian is a well formed sentence in Romanian Romanian and vice versa, then it is reasonable to call the standard languages identical. If on the other hand an American student would get a bad mark for the two "spelling mistakes" in the Sentence He realised his neighbour was not home then it would be preferable to consider Standard BrE and standard AmE as separate registers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2014
  30. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    I wonder, if/when the remaining pieces of the former Yugoslavia will be incorporated into the EU, what will be the official point of view as to the number of languages in the place of what was previously called Serbo-Croatian? So far, the official site of the European Commission lists Croatian as a separate language (http://ec.europa.eu/languages/policy/language-policy/official_languages_en.htm). In any case, the differences between the literary Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian and Montenegrin hardly exceed those between the Romanian and Moldavian.
     
  31. Hulalessar Senior Member

    Andalucía
    English - England
    That is not how I read it.
     
  32. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Than I suggest you read further back in the discussion. There is a Moldavian dialect but that is not the difference between the national languages of Romania and Moldavia but the regional vernacular of a region that does not agree with national boarders and must therefore be distinguished from national standard registers, if those exist. He had already agreed on that. What we are now discussing is that "if".
     
  33. Hulalessar Senior Member

    Andalucía
    English - England
    I think Angelo di fuoco got it in post 27. What he and I are saying is that there is a language or group of dialects called Romanian and that it has at least two dialects, one of which is called Romanian and the other Moldovan. Quite separate from that, (standard) Romanian is called (standard) Moldovan by some in Moldova. Accordingly, both "Romanian" and "Moldovan" can mean two different things. All I am saying is that the dialect called Moldovan is not a dialect of standard Romanian.
     
  34. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    Pardon me, Hula, which language (name it, please, and please do not say 'Balkan Romance', as that's not a language) would that Moldovan dialect belong to, Hula?
    I am simply amazed that you can write '=' between a dialect and the word 'standard'!
    First, this dialect is not the same as with other dialects we have, like: meglenoromân, istroromân, aromân, which are to be met in the Balkans.
    Second, I supose a Slovak and a Polish can understand each other very well though they talk distinct languages. This is not the same situation between the Romanians, either be the language they share standard or dialectal, and the Moldovans because they will simply talk the same language. Moldovan is heteronym to Romanian and not separate nor distinct. In its turn, Romanian as well as French, Italian, Spanish, etc., is heteronymic (dependent) to our Latin 'roots', though the temporal distance is far remote. So, I presume that Slovak, Polish, as well as Dannish, Norvegian and Swedish, for instance, are ausbau languages while that's not the case here, in this thread.
    Also, to name that a dialectal continuum between Romanian and the dialect of Moldovan is false as well. I suppose the Arab speaking countries may be categorised under this umbrella, Berndf.
    And 4th, which is last but not least, what we may call here as the Moldovan dialect is, in fact, a subdialect of the Northern dialect from my country. There are even more: crişean, maramureşean, bănățean. Standard Romanian is represented by the Southern dialect which comprises 2 more varieties: oltean and dobrudjan.
    At worse, you, Hulalesar, but not me because I am not inclined as well to agree though I am stating it, can consider that the 'standard Moldovan' may be a political language due to the XXth century political events. That will be all.
    It is true that not so far ago, the Republic of Moldova had 2 official languages: Russian and Moldovan. But there were political and territorial issues / motivations for that option. I consider that it was their best choices at the time. However, history will ever tell the truth above and we do not need to distort it !

    To this, I have a question for you, though: how would you consider Scottish to English, for instance, Hula? Merquiades has already touched the topic.
    And I also wonder if , when I go to Chişinău, I have to consider that I will be talking a foreign language there? And could this be equivalent to speaking Italian or English when I visit Italy or London, for instance, as you said that "the two can mean different things"? That different?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  35. Hulalessar Senior Member

    Andalucía
    English - England
    The problem here is one of labelling. The terms "language" and "dialect" are relative and from one perspective there are only dialects. Just as nothing can be a mammal without being some sort of a mammal, so no one speaks a language without at the same time speaking a dialect. What is considered the standard (spoken) language (whatever that means in a particular place) is just as much a dialect as what is considered non-standard. Confusion arises because standard languages often have names which relate to countries. That leads people to believe that what is described as, say, a French dialect is somehow an offshoot of standard French, or worse, some inferior or corrupt version of standard French, when in fact both standard French and the so-called dialect are both descended from a common ancestor. What we often have therefore is a collection of dialects referred to as, for example, French, but with one of them also called French.

    In the case of English and Scots we have a group of dialects which may, with other varieties, be called "Anglic", "Insular Germanic" or "English". If we are going to assert that Scots is a variety or dialect of English that is fine so long as it is clearly understood that by English we do not mean English as spoken by educated people in the south of England, but rather the abstraction which is conveyed more clearly by "Insular Germanic". In practice to assert that Scots is a dialect of English is unhelpful as it likely to convey the wrong idea.

    "Balkan Romance", like "Insular Germanic", is not spoken by anyone, but both terms are useful to avoid confusion.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  36. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    Thanks for your input, Hula. I didn't know that.
     
  37. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Of course. That would even be terminological nonsense as “standard xxx” is a designation for a register and not for a language.
    Balkan Romance is a larger dialect group of mainly historical significance as non-Romanian members of this group are extinct or at the verge of extinction. As a dialect, Moldavian is a sub dialect of a subgroup of Balkan Romance called Daco-Romanian, Romanian or Vlach (Vlach itself is an ambiguous term because it is also used for a larger sub group of Balkan Romance including dialect as far south as Greece). The dialect borders within (Daco-)Romanian are nowhere close to the modern national border between Romania and Moldavia. If the opposition Romanian vs. Moldavian makes any sense at all than as designations of the respective national standard registers of a Romanian (macro) language. And that’s all I am saying.
    :)
     
  38. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    We have had many discussions about "language" and "dialect at thisforum. The only productive conclusion from all these discussion is that the two terms are used indiscriminately and without being agreed upon. So, anybody can call a speech "dialect" or "language" as one will, and nobody can claim that his use is better than the other's. There are no universally agreed linguistic definitions of the two terms. The argument is usually politically motivated.
     
  39. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    Right! This assumption does not exclude the one in which we can state that a dialect or a political language is in a strong relationship to the language the respective dialect was territorially broken apart. Our memory cannot be so temporary!
     
  40. Bostan New Member

    Kishinev (Moldova)
    Romanian & Russian
    Moldovan is just the political name of the language in Moldova, not the scientific one. I, personally, don't care how they name it, I think naming the language Romanian cannot threaten the country's sovereignty whatsoever (see Germany and Austria).
    Unfortunately, very few people do use 100% standard Romanian in everyday life, the language itself used in everyday life contains a lot of Russian words, expressions, swearings and so on. Regarding the language situation in big cities, Russian continues to be the 1st language used in everyday life, although the use of Romanian is growing, so on the streets in Chisinau one can hear either Romanian(40-50%), either Russian (50-60%). In the countryside they speak less Russian and more Romanian. In schools they don't theach Moldavian, they teach Romanian, btw, which proves once more that the name "Moldavian language" is nothing but a political term.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  41. irinet

    irinet Senior Member

    Bucharest
    Romanian
    We also have 'lipoveni' in Moldavia, a small ethnic group whose origin is attested as being from Russia : 1. Russian fugitives in the XVIIIth century, living in the Eastern - North part of my country (Iassi), and 2. the 'cazac' group, living in the Eastern - South of my country, that is Dobrogea (Tulcea city).
     

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