Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Transylvanian Trysts

I got here last Wednesday.  Ready to set up my new life in Csikszereda, capital of Haghita County, Romania, and one of the last bastions of Hungarian Transylvania.  It's a small town, about 40,000 people and bears all the hallmarks of pretty much every Romanian town I have seen - attractive old centre, hideous communist concrete suburbs. 
90% of the population speak Hungarian as a first language with Romanian very much the minority language.  For a speaker of neither language this presents something of a problem.  Which do I learn first?  The language of my home town or my home country?  The challenging and virtualy impenetrable Hungarian, or the more familar latin based Romanian?
Romantically, it would seem linguistically correct to select Romanian, but in fact my romantic rationale leads me in the opposite direction.  My reason for being here, and my reason for being, are Erika, and her daughter Bogi.  For that reason it will be Hungarian that I struggle with, whilke taking the occasional language-learning vacation on the warm and familiar shores of the romance language which fills the airwaves and dominates the land beyond our small pocket of Magyar-ness.


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