Tongue Bath

If you ask someone from Cluj-Napoca what language they speak here in dear, quaint Moldova, you’d get a unanimous answer: Romanian. Indeed, if you remember my post Akum noi toti govarim pa romaneste, you know that Romanian is the official language of the Moldovan constitution and so you probably consider the case closed.

As an early Christmas gift to all those dirty non-believers (in Orthodox Christianity using the old calendar, hence blue Santa people), our new potato face prezident Igor Dodon decided to open up a can of whoop-ass worms on the language controversy.

Considering how slowly the government usually works, Dodon’s crack Russian computer guys updated the official presidential website literally overnight to now offer three language choices: English, Russian…. and Moldovan *gasp* And on Igor Dodon’s CV, it lists him as being a native speaker of the Moldovan language *gaspandpearlclutch*

Certainly this is just dirty Russian propaganda, is it not? Well…

Allow me to don my devil’s advocate hat for a moment.

Judge: Counselor, are you ready to proceed?

Me: Yes, your honor. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have to admit that the prosecution’s case certainly sounded good. I applaud his ability to weave together such a positive sounding tale from mere scraps of reality. Certainly, it is true that Romanian and Moldovan are mutually intelligible. But does that mean they’re identical? Of course not. So what then is a language?

Prosecutor: Objection, your honor. Is there a question in there?

Judge: Exactly. Speed it up and get to the point, counselor.

Me: Yes, your honor. I’d now like to enter exhibit 5, if I may, your honor.

Clerk: Exhibit five is so entered.

Me: As you can see, Portuguese is spoken in several countries around the world. The largest, by far, is Brazil. Indeed, there are more Portuguese speakers in Brazil than everywhere else combined. Yet the Portuguese that they speak in Brazil is so different than the Portuguese spoken in Lisbon that software companies, app makers, and printed book writers always offer either European Portuguese or Brazilian Portuguese. So if these two are so different, then where indeed can we draw the line between two languages?

Prosecution: Objection! A rhetorical question is not a real question.

Judge: I’m giving you five seconds to get to the point, counselor.

Me: Yes, your honor. Back to Romanian and Moldovan. All of this so-called controversy is just a smokescreen to hide the real truth.

Jury: *gasp*

Me: That’s right. If anything, it’s what they’re speaking in Romania that should change its name to Moldovan.

Judge: Order! Order! Order in the goddamn court!

Prosecution: Your honor, this is just some kind of sick publicity stunt.

Judge: If I hear one more peep out of anyone who is not authorized to speak, I will throw your ass in jail for the night. Do I make myself clear?

Me: Your honor, please allow me to call my first witness.

Judge: Go ahead, counselor.

Me: Your honor, I call to the stand Mihai Eminescu, Andrei Muresean, and the 1866 Constitution of Romania.

Prosecutor: Your honor! Surely, this far exceeds the bounds of good taste.

Judge: Counselor, is this some kind of stunt? Don’t think that you’re immune to spending a night in jail yourself.

Me: It’s awfully kind of you to hold that over my head, your honor. May I proceed?

Judge: Very well.

Me: Unfortunately, your honor, my time machine seems to have developed a glitch. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to re-establish the connection. But I do have a written statement here signed by all three.

Prosecution: Objection, hearsay.

Judge: I’ll allow it.

Me: Thank you, your honor *clears throat* The three of us agree that the Romanian language was written in the Cyrillic alphabet for centuries. While we, of course, were excited about using the new Latin alphabet, our phrasing, grammar, and vocabulary were far more Slavic than the language used in modern Romania.

Judge: Cross?

Prosecution: That’s it? So the greatest heroes in Romanian literature and statecraft were what? Little Russia lovers like those degenerate Moldovans? Is that what this is, a witch hunt?

Me: On the contrary. What I’m saying is that it’s obvious that Moldovan or the Moldovan dialect is the far older version of the two dialects/languages. Therefore, it’s actually Romanian or the Romanian dialect of Moldovan that’s the newcomer on the block.

Prosecution: Good god, is there no end to your foul imaginings?

Me: What can I say? That is the logical conclusion if you follow it all the way through. Whether you’re talking about pronunciation, Slavicisms, or phrasing, it’s indisputable that Moldovan is the big brother of little baby Romanian.

Judge: All right, I’ve had enough of your shenanigans. Bailiff! Arrest this blasphemer and throw his ass in jail.

Me: You can take my land, but you’ll never take my freedom!

Igor Dodon: Wait, who was that guy? That was awesome.

Oops, that didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped :)

And for those hot heads who are ready to lynch me, I’ll have you know that we speak Romanian in my house. Go dance a hora and shush :D

2 thoughts on “Tongue Bath

  1. Hold on a sec. You are (sadly) taking the tone of the “moldovenists”. I hope your reasoning does not go down the drain as well.

    Just to town down on the drama, I will not want to have you arrested or anything similar. Just trying to have a logical conversation here.

    First, the argument of the Cyrillic alphabet being “traditional” alphabet is factually wrong. If 13xx Moldovans were writing in a Latin Alphabet, the Cyrillic one can’t claim any legitimacy:

    Third, the idea of the Romanian language being recognized as the language spoken in Moldova has had *some* roots. Try this document from the 16 hundreds for a taste:

    If you say that you are more Romanian than me, you should have no difficulties in understanding the second word on the top row (red ink). Or the last word above the third row written in red letters. Or the last two rows in red ink.

    Or how about the weird idea that the Romanian Standard was NOT established on basis of the Moldovan dialect, but rather on the influence-neutral language spoken along the Ploiesti-Brasov-Fagaras corridor?


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