Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Romanian Education System (3)


Finally, many months after starting this small series, I am ready to get to the third and last part of it - though obviously since I started it the education system here has had loads more crap piled upon it.  As of the day before yesterday there is yet another new education minister, but I'm not hopeful of positive change any time soon.
But I digress.  
The third area in which I encounter a massive problem with the Romanian education system is not an area which affects much of the country.  But it is certainly a huge issue here. 
This is to do with the teaching of Romanian in schools. Specifically the teaching of Romanian to those who don't speak Romanian as a mother tongue.  Which is most kids in Csikszereda, including my own daughter.  
Now before I start on my now customary rant, let me make it totally clear that I believe very strongly that all Romanian citizens should be able to speak Romanian. It seems to me more or less unarguable. But - the current system actually, I believe, makes it harder for people who don't speak Romanian as a first language to learn it than it should do.
First of all, let's clear up a semantic thing, partly because it irritates me, and partly because it will make it much easier to write the rest of this post. That is that kids who, say, speak Hungarian as a mother tongue, need to learn Romanian as a Second Language.  Clearly they are not learning Romanian as a foreign language (because it's obviously not a foreign language).  They are learning it as a second language.  Second, in this context, does not imply second class or second rate, merely a marker of the order in which the languages were learned. Kids in the UK or USA who are not native speakers of English learn English as a Second Language and nobody gets stressed about this terminology.  So, for my own sanity I will call it Romanian as a Second Language (RSL) here, rather than the convoluted phrase that is often used to try and avoid this which is something like Romanian for Romanian children who don't speak Romanian as a first language.  
Now for a large part of my adult life I was a language teacher. In fact at times I still teach English.  I do know a little bit about how language teaching and learning works, so unlike most of my usually ill informed posts this one is coming from a place of some actual knowledge. It may be the last time it happens, but we'll see.
The situation at the minute is that all children in the Romanian state education system study the same subjects to the same curriculum (there are some minor variations in subjects studied, especially in languages, but in general). This means that all children in Romania study Romanian in the same way. That is to say that children who speak Romanian as a first language study the same curriculum as those who study it as a second language. There is a certain desire born of nationalist head-in-the-sand-ism that we should close our eyes to the fact that in fact these two groups of children have different needs and are coming from a very different starting point.  If we treat them exactly the same, the logic seems to go, then they will all be good Romanian children.
But in fact, of course, the opposite happens. Kids who really should be learning RSL, end up finding themselves completely lost in a curriculum which is completely unsuitable for them. My daughter  is expected to read literature, which in many cases is not even modern Romanian, but is an archaic version of the language.  The grammar work she studies is heavy in metalanguage and light in practicality.  In short she is not taught Romanian as a tool  for a communication, but as a literary language to be examined. Which does, obviously, make some sense for most Romanian kids (though I'm not entirely convinced of the value to Romanian kids of reading Ion Creanga at the age of 12, myself, but that's by the by).  I've lost count of the times which I've come upon her crying because she just can't understand what she's supposed to be doing, each page of the novel takes her hours to read, and she beats herself up over the fact that she can't do what she shouldn't be expected to do.  And, she is one of the best in her class.  She is motivated and keen and actually is doing very well in Romanian, despite the system. I'm incredibly proud of her, and her language skills, but at times it's heartbreaking to watch.  
And it of course means that many kids who need RSL, are not learning Romanian well. At best they can learn to struggle through the exam system and not be completely held back by it, but they are not learning to use the language properly.  And surely the goal of this system should be that RSL kids leave school speaking Romanian very well and therefore being able to be full members of society.  This must be what would suit everyone. (Unless of course the goal is to actively disadvantage RSL kids - and it does disadvantage them as they have a much harder time in the national exam in Romanian at the end of the 12th grade for example, which in turn harms their overall grade, quite apart from harming their ability to succeed in one of the primary life skills that they need - the Romanian language)
(Actually at this point I should probably add that I am not alleging some nationalist conspiracy to keep the Hungarians and others back and deliberately make their lives difficult.  I genuinely think it is this way as a result of simple pigheadedness and stupidity)
To give another example of how this plays out: Some while back some friends who are from here but who moved to Hungary returned with their two children aged 11 and 13. Obviously having been brought up in Hungary the boys spoke no Romanian, but back here in Transylvania attending school they are of course studying Romanian. At a party a few months after they came back (at which I was present) the younger boy was asked by his mother to show us what he had learned at school that week. He then proceeded to recite the entirety of a fairly long Octavian Goga poem. He could recite it word for word, quite well, I'm told, but understood barely a word of it. Now it seems fairly clear that this is not good language teaching.
Obviously there are other side effects to this as well.  Not only does it fail to teach RSL kids Romanian successfully (which of course has a knock on effect of making their lives difficult and also failing to develop the potential of everyone), but it leads to a dislike of the language in general (after all it is the school subject which most makes the kids in question suffer). This is - in some cases - exacerbated by the nationalist feelings that they may be getting from their parents or classmates, and in turn exacerbates them.  All in all, the effects go beyond the academic achievement of the child in question, but actually can serve to cause even deeper rifts in society.
It's not that the Romanian education system is not good at teaching languages - these days most young people speak very good English for example, and many also speak French, German, Italian or a number of other languages.  It's just that the approaches and methodologies used in teaching those foreign languages are not allowed to be applied to teaching Romanian as a Second Language.

This change seems like such a no-brainer that one might wonder why it hasn't yet happened.  Indeed so much of a no-brainer is it that even Basescu, a noted no-brainer himself, has mentioned that he thinks it should be changed.  But yet, every year it is still the same. One might even have cause to wonder what the UDMR are actually doing with their time in government if they can't even influence a policy that is so clearly and insanely fucked up. 

35 comments:

Craig Turp said...

Did you know that the outgoing Minister of Education sends his children to school in Germany?

andyv said...

What is UDMR doing for solving this problem? Like you said, this is a LOCAL issue. The local political representative (which in this case are mostly UDMR's members of the Parliament/Government) should make sure that the problem is known at the central level and propose solutions. This is how I image a representative democracy should work.

Anonymous said...

MESSAGE FOR ALL "THE MISERABLES" OF THE EUROPEAN UNION MONSTER!
http://newslive-gr.blogspot.com/2012/02/message-for-all-miserables-of-european.html

Andy H said...

andyv: It's not exactly a local problem - after all there are RSL children across the country from Constanta to Timisoara (it's more acute in places like this for sure). However it is a problem for the core constituency of the UDMR and as such I have to assume that the UDMR do try and influence policy in this area, but I've never seen any evidence of it, and they (the UDMR nationally) seem more interested in (a) clinging onto their position in the government and the cushy jobs that go with it; and (b) occasionally shouting uselessly about autonomy knowing that they won't get it, but that it keeps people here happy.

They'd be much better advised actually trying to make substantive changes - and this one would not only help the Hungarians (and other minorities) but also help the country as a whole.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Andy
I am very interested in this topic, as a mother of a child who is taught in a different language than mother tongue. It is not the same thing, but I believe I could have a better glimpse than many others. We are a Romanian family living abroad (CH), and believe me the language thing gets on my nerves sometimes.
It's not the same, I know, as my child goes to a local school, with kids who speak a dialect of the German language among themselves, and yet a different language - Hoch Deutsch, during the class hours. Still, foreign kids are supposed to brilliantly switch between those two languages (yes, many people say they ARE two different languages) and suppose to be of the same level with the local in order to succeed or have good marks... Not to mention they will have to be very good at French, it is a serious subject for the Matura exam..(French is one of the official languages)
So, chin up...there are even worse /complicated situations :))

I believe that in your case, Romanian should be thought as a second language, and even if the curriculum includes literature lessons, those should be made way more accesible, with modern texts etc. My son wouldn't understand Creanga, believe me.

Oh, well, I'll get back at you later, interesting topic.

Cheers

Expata :)

Anonymous said...

As a Romanian kid growing up in Bucuresti I have no value left from the Romanian literature we studied in the 80s. The system of teaching was confusing and antiquated. I did well in grammar, though.

I was also unaware of what teaching a second language means to a child until my son had to pick up English in Australia.

I think people like yourself who understand the issue should follow in dr. Arafat's steps but in the Education system. We all would benefit from that.

As far as UDMR goes I see no difference from the Romanian parties...

Dragos Toma said...

Because romanian isn't the SECOND LANGUAGE, it should be the first language, but those parasitic and irredentist hungarians want to show off with their peace of shit, inpronounceable language. If you live in Romania, you should teach romanian first to your kids, and then, or in paralel, whatever other language you may want. And also, not make a big case about it.

Nobody bothers the ethnic germans in Transilvania, everyone respects them, because although they came here about the same time as the hungarians, they respect the place and culture.

Why would you even want to live, as british, over there and teach your kids hungarian first, instead of the OFFICIAL NATIONAL language?

Zaharia Codrulescu said...

In Romania, only the Romanian language!
Period.

Anonymous said...

The whole Romanian system is in shambles. One third of the population is already in other countries. Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

Some of the comments above show why the system is as it is. That is because some believe that teaching the language this way would "change" the kids in little Romanians.

The results are in fact opposed to this impossible aim and the "nationalists" - who seem still to be in power in the RO eduational system - just don't get it.

Mamun said...

Your blog is well perform to sharing.


romanian

Spotty said...

Without excellent transilvania language teaching things would be worse.

Klaus said...

Why you use the hungarian name for MIERCUREA-CIUC? How do you think in your country people would react if you would have used the name of a city in a minority language (even if that minority is a majority in that area)? . You show disrespect to the romanians using a hungarian name for a city from ROMANIA.

Andy Hockley said...

Oh for fuck's sake. This shit again.

Dragos, you are an arsehole.

Zaharia, also.

Klaus... I despair. How the fuck is it disrespectful to refer to Miercurea Ciuc as Csikszereda? If I referred to San Sebastian as Donostia is that disrespectful to the Spanish? In my country (which you have asked about), nobody gets upset by people who refer to Cardiff as Caerdydd

If I refer to Chernivtsi as Cernăuți, am I being disrespectful to Ukrainians? I suspect in that case you'd make an exception, because in the end the point you're trying to make is not about respect but a simple nationalist bigoted one

At the top of every page on this blog I use both the name Miercurea Ciuc AND Csikszereda. It is entirely clear to everyone reading this what the names refer to.

To summarise: Referring to Miercurea Ciuc as Csikszereda: not disrespectful. Referring to Csikszereda as Miercurea Ciuc: not disrespectful. Referrring to it as Szeklerburg even: not disrespectful. My next answer to you if you still persist with this nonsense: will be disrespectful.

Olahus said...

Hello, Andy, and Happy new year 2013.

I know you gave us permission (most recently through my colleague reccsman/Istvan) to publish the translation to our blog, MaghiaRomania.

But could you allow me to publish it firstly on my Adevarul blog? http://beta.adevarul.ro/blogs/sever.miu

I think this issue must receive national attention. And, of course, I'll give a link towards the original post and one to your blog.

Thank you in advance,

Olahus

MaghiaRomania Admnin

Andy Hockley said...

Hi Olahus

Yes go ahead.

Cheers and happy new year

Olahus said...

Before we finish the translation, a few questions from one of our translators:
->You say: "It's just that the approaches and methodologies used in teaching those foreign languages are not allowed to be applied to teaching Romanian as a Second Language."
What do you mean here: is it because the Education Law does not allow them? Or do you consider that those methodologies aren't completely suited for RSL and a middle way should be found?

->"Basescu, a noted no-brainer himself" what is here the meaning of "no-brainer"?

thank you in advance!

Andy Hockley said...

"You say: "It's just that the approaches and methodologies used in teaching those foreign languages are not allowed to be applied to teaching Romanian as a Second Language."
What do you mean here: is it because the Education Law does not allow them? Or do you consider that those methodologies aren't completely suited for RSL and a middle way should be found?"

The former. Not sure if it's the law as such, but the system (probably the law) means that the skills of language teaching are not brought into the school curriculum for those who are learning Romanian as a "second" language

->"Basescu, a noted no-brainer himself" what is here the meaning of "no-brainer"?

It's a (poor) joke. The normal idiomatic meaning of "no-brainer" is roughly "something that is clear and obvious". That's how I used it in the first instance. This instance I was using it to make a sort of pun on it and to insert my opinion that Basescu is an idiot (ie a "no-brained person"). For the translation I would recommend dropping that non essential clause "a noted no-brainer himself", as (a) it adds nothing to anything; (b) it's not actually very funny; and (c) it probably won't work in translation anyway.

Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,

I am very sorry for you daughter difficulties. However, I wish her the best and good luck in her achievements.

Sometime ago I had a fried with her daughter, living & working abroad. Each foreign language brings some effort to be learned – and for your daughter the Romanian is a foreign language.

The difference between a Spanish from USA and British/ Romanian from any foreign country and a Hungarian from Romania is that basically almost all persons (expect some very old, illiterate ones) from Romania know the Romanian language. I got this during the military service, long time ago: all Hungarian-Romanian colleagues knew and handled the Romanian with no difference. Today they are the parents of their kids who meet difficulties, same as your daughter: it’s because of so many reasons, but not what you believe.

Of course, nobody can learn about a 3rd, 4th level of any discipline before passing the 1st and 2nd one.
Of course any teaching methodology is subject to ever improvement – and your advice should be taken accordingly, but currently the Romanian one is not quite the worst.

As an English, nevertheless your income, I suggest you to introduce your daughter to a special school, e.g. British school, private school. Optionally and much cheaper you could keep her there, but engaging a professional teacher, able to train her in particular according to her/ your need.

Gratings,
Danny boy

Peter said...

"let me make it totally clear that I believe very strongly that all Romanian citizens should be able to speak Romanian. It seems to me more or less unarguable"

Let me argue with this sentence. This statement is only true if not speaking the language is a disadvantage in one's early or adult life. It does not have to be the case if the state provides you proper education in your mother tongue starting from kindergarten to university and you can be fully functional at your work and local environment as an adult because everybody else speaks that language (as it is the case in Csikszereda).

For me it was very eye-opening to go to Quebec. The French minority was deemed to slowly shrink and eventually become extinct in the middle of the overwhelmingly English majority culture of North America up until the 1950-60s. However the French Quebecois were able to fight for themselves and revive their language and culture with VERY STRONG POSITIVE discrimination. Today, a child growing up in Quebec does not need to learn English if he or she does not want to and will live a fully functional life. Even immigrants (European, Asian etc) growing up in Quebec learn French first and may or may not learn English as well later. The strong push for French-only culture and education system was the ONLY way to preserve this minority culture there. And remember neither the French in Canada, nor the Hungarians in Romania are recent immigrants, they have been living there for centuries and part of the established culture of the area.

I do believe that Canada is much richer having a sizable French minority and culture within its border. I strongly believe that Romania would be much richer in the future if the Hungarian or Saxon minorities would flourish there. Unfortunately the Saxon culture is already extinct, but there is still a chance for the Hungarian. I know that in Eastern Europe this is quite an utopia ... but why not support it, if it would make everybody (Hungarians and Romanians equally) culturally richer???

Balint said...

It's a very interesting article and also useful. I like it, I agree with almost every word. There is just one "small" technical problem that needs to be corrected. Actually the new Law of Education (passed in Spring 2011) features in art. 46 several phrases that state that Romanian language should be (!) taught in a different manner to children belonging to ethnic minorities, than to those who have Romanian as mother tongue. Thus, the legal frame is given (pushed through, by the way, by the UDMR, and not by anyone else) for the first time ever in Romania. The question is now how the implementation is going on. Knowing the Romanian educational system that's the hardest part. And actually I am not even implying that it would be something about inherent nationalism, it is purely about the system's resiliance to changes. On the other hand, since the legal frame is there, and the politicians did their job(!wow), I think, that the rest now REALLY lays in the hands of the "educators". Surely, it's not the politicians that should solve everything, we should start doing something as well...

Anonymous said...

Dany boy reverts:

I expected some interesting further comments, in the line with Andy post, but I am already very sorry to be involved in so low & regular nationalist dispute.
If wanted this, much easier direct on “Adevarul” page. I am so sorry again for my role here as well as for Andy.

What I see is just a local fight for a kind of independency/ rejection; if Transylvania/ Miercurea Ciuc has something to do with Canada/ Quebec problem, that’s an interesting simple question: I assume the complete & correct historical topic is beyond this blog’s participants and so less important in the 2013 EU; however many important Canadian politicians preserved for long time their chairs thanks to this matter.
Is Andy interested on this, isn’t he?

As far as I know, the actual present fight is rather for the reach forest and much less for the culture; unfortunately without a “cultural” shelter not too much may be done.

I wish everyone a higher cultural degree, so that a piece of silence to take place.

Olahus said...

http://adevarul.ro/educatie/scoala/Scoala-secuime-literatura-da-romana-practica-ba-vede-unenglez-predarea-limbii-romane-unguri-guest-post-1_50f48dc256a0a6567e84455f/index.html

Thanks again, Andy!

Vasile Rascanu said...

Vasile Rascanu Va prezint scuze , domnule profesor, pentru toate aceste comentarii inepte ( nu de aici, ci din linkul:http://ziarero.antena3.ro/article/view/id/49758#addComm) , acefale ! Am rezultate deosebite predand corect limba romana elevilor nativi maghiari, dupa metode specifice predarii limbilor straine, ajung la rezultate deosebite in binele lor si a romanilor, de fapt toti cetateni romani, nu si cei care se isterizeaza acolo brutal si pitecantropic, acesta nu este patriotism, ci sovinism. Va multumesc pentru profesionalism !

Andy Hockley said...

Multumesc Mult!

biboros said...

Hi Andy,
I very much enjoyed reading your article - and as a Hungarian from Slovakia, I was struck by the parallels between what you described and my own experience of learning Slovak in Slovakia about twenty years ago. I am not quite sure what the situation is right now (as I left the country ten years ago), but I can say that the methods they used were just like you described, and therefore also good for nothing. I was (un)fortunate enough to grow up in an isolated Hungarian community, so I never picked up Slovak on the streets the way kids in Bratislava or other big cities did. Thanks to the fabulous education system and the completely outdated approach, I never learnt to speak Slovak perfectly. The irony of the whole situation is that the widely accepted view among Slovaks was/is that we (Hungarians) simply did not want to learn Slovak, or that our language deficiencies were due to our own resistance that stemmed from some sort of ethnic pride, when in fact the truth is that it was the education system that was a piece of shit. Not to mention the psychological damage a kids has to go through when she goes out of her way to master the language (I remember staying up late at night, and many many tears), and then all she encounters is still not being able to communicate in everyday situations, AND being put down and blamed as a result. Took me years to overcome this victim attitude, years that I spent veeery far away from Slovakia.
Thanks for the article, hope many people learn from it.

biboros said...

Hi Andy,
I very much enjoyed reading your article - and as a Hungarian from Slovakia, I was struck by the parallels between what you described and my own experience of learning Slovak in Slovakia about twenty years ago. I am not quite sure what the situation is right now (as I left the country ten years ago), but I can say that the methods they used were just like you described, and therefore also good for nothing. I was (un)fortunate enough to grow up in an isolated Hungarian community, so I never picked up Slovak on the streets the way kids in Bratislava or other big cities did. Thanks to the fabulous education system and the completely outdated approach, I never learnt to speak Slovak perfectly. The irony of the whole situation is that the widely accepted view among Slovaks was/is that we (Hungarians) simply did not want to learn Slovak, or that our language deficiencies were due to our own resistance that stemmed from some sort of ethnic pride, when in fact the truth is that it was the education system that was a piece of shit. Not to mention the psychological damage a kids has to go through when she goes out of her way to master the language (I remember staying up late at night, and many many tears), and then all she encounters is still not being able to communicate in everyday situations, AND being put down and blamed as a result. Took me years to overcome this victim attitude, years that I spent veeery far away from Slovakia.
Thanks for the article, hope many people learn from it.

Klaus Kaiser said...

Andy let me correct you (if i can say like this) : You didnt wrote Miercurea-Ciuc AND Csikszereda, u wrote (quote) :"My life in and around Csíkszereda, also known as Miercurea Ciuc"
You should wrote : Miercurea-Ciuc also known as Csiksereda, , because this is in ROMANIA Not Hungary.
And your comparison with Welsh or scottish is not the same: Scotland was forced to "unite" with England, meanwhile Transilvania who always had romanian majority, decided FREELY to join Romania.

Andy Hockley said...

Dear Klaus,
A long time I made a decision on this blog, which I stated at the time, that I would always refer to Romanian towns by the name that the majority of their residents would use, and that in the case of Hungarian majority towns I would then put the Romanian name afterwards. [Therefore: Csikszereda (aka Miercurea Ciuc); Cluj; Brasov; etc] There's no reason why you would have seen this policy, since it's buried somewhere in the archives of this blog, but that's my position and I'm sticking to it.
I understand your argument too, but I do get pissed off with people telling me what I "should" do.

(and as I have said a LOT of times, I am fully aware of which country I live in and it baffles me why people insist on telling me repeatedly)

Also I have never compared Transylvania with Scotland. If I have ever compared anywhere in Romania to any other area, it would be to compare "Szekler Land" to such areas. (I refer to it by its name in English purely because I am utterly fed up with the stress people get into about which fucking language I use to refer to places. Why people treat language as the be all and end all of everything utterly baffles me. People learn a first language (unless they are bilingual, in which case they learn two) as young children, its not some kind of fucking political statement. )

I'll leave the history side of your comment aside, because as everyone knows there are many sides to every historical story, and to go into the nuances here in the middle of the comments would take forever and not get anyone anywhere

Mihaela Nitulescu said...

There are no differences between people whatsoever. Romanians go to England and they complain about English people ('oh,i don`t understand them, they drink too much, they don't care about personal hygiene,lazy bastards, etc'), Hungarians come to Romania and they complain about Romanians ('f*king gypsies, land thieves, etc'), English come to Romania and complain about Romanians and so on. Just as a fact i will quote what an English friend of mine posted on Facebook this days: 'Live by our rules.NOTICE. To all who are not british by birth or heritage. You came here of your own free will, we never asked you to come here. If our flag, poppies, culture, which we have 4 of.our beliefs, our secular society, the way we dress, the way we apply law and order bother you`s so so much. Then you know where the airports and train stations are. Pack your bags and fuck of. AND DON`T COME BACK'. I won`t say anything about the 'English' which is crap and probably who wrote that never went to school, but now I wonder, what`s wrong with you people? Do you, Mr. Andy, think that any of our politicians will ever read this article? If you have good ideas about our educational system go and put them on the right table, but stop judging and creating this hostile ambient. I have a silly question for you: when your family from abroad send`s you a Christmas card, what it is written on the envelope? is Miercurea Ciuc or Csi..i won`t even bother to spell it. Cuz i live in Jersey UK and when my family is writing to me, on the envelope is not Jerzi, is Jersey, the correct name of the place (and that`s just to make you understand the frustration you created above). I do believe that you wrote it in Hungarian on purpose just because you are established in that area of the country and you are attached to it (not to be blamed for), but try to show some respect to all of us, it won`t hurt you. And yes, you are right about education in Romania, but everywhere you will go in this world you will never meet people happy about the educational system (or any other system), and if you have traveled you know that i am right. So, you want to do the right thing? Go and do it in the right place, don`t make people hate eachother more than they already are, especially now when everything is fragile between Hungarians and Romanians.
Just to sustain what i said about the education everywhere else in the world - a fiend of mine went to take an English course and, let me tell you that, nobody cares about those who do not understand, nowhere.

Andy Hockley said...

Hi Mihaela

I'm not sure I entirely understand your comment, but here are some thoughts.
1. That facebook friend? You need to get rid of him/her. Yes you're right that every country has its share of total bigoted idiots. Of course. That doesn't make any of them right. they're all arseholes and need to be told that on a daily basis.
2. Do I think that politicians will read this? When I wrote it, no, but then it got translated and put in Adevarul and created something of a minor storm. I guess probably, in the end because of that, some did read it. I'm glad that it got some attention because I think it's an important point, but I certainly didn't expect it to. I fail to see how I am the one "creating this hostile ambient". I'm actually trying to do the opposite. You'll have to explain why my post was hostile, because I really don't see it.
3. When letters come to me they are addressed to Miercurea Ciuc, obviously. As I have said repeatedly this is a town with 2 names (or 3 if you want to be accurate, since it has a German name too). How is it disrespectful to choose to use the one that the majority of its residents use? I don't try and pretend that it doesn't also have a Romanian name (or as you would have it "the correct name of the place"). Going back to an earlier question I raised, if I refer to Chernivtsi as Cernăuți, am I being disrespectful? Would you never call it Cernăuți?
4. Read this post again, and tell me where and when i am trying to make things worse between Hungarians and Romanians. Seriously. You've either entirely misunderstood the post or you're seeing things which don't exist

Mihaela Nitulescu said...

1. what i am trying to say is that people are different everywhere, and, when we don`t agree with them, instead of trying to understand why they think different (i am not talking about murderers and offenders, strictly about people whit others ideologies than ours)we prefer to call them names like idiots. Like one of your reader told me last night: we have to separate ourselves from those who think otherwise. Crap! Is no such thing as separating, is only understanding, and accepting, and trying to change things trough companionship and love.

2. Simple, I will explain you why Hungarians don`t learn proper Romanian. It all started long time ago when Transylvania joined Romania and Hungarians were very upset because of that. Then, the new born child wasn`t allowed to speak Romanian (or maybe his parents didn`t know it), went to school and it was damn difficult to learn everything as Romanian is a complicated language, with lots of tenses and so on. Child grows up, frustrated about this plus the rage passed on by the parents, is an adult now and has his own child. What he does is: because of his rage and hate, forgets how difficult was for him to learn Romanian, he does the same thing his parents did to him, he refuse to speak Romanian with his child (as little as he knows), and his child grows up angry and frustrated and so on till nowadays, hundreds of years since then, when, instead of speaking with the child, since birth, both Romanian and Hungarian, the parents refuse to do so because something that happened long time ago and has nothing to do with them anymore, but it seems lice a never-ending story. Probably, nobody knows exactly what happened then, anymore (cuz all of those who knew are long dead), and is irrational to put your ego in front of your child`s education. Because they have dozen of generations before and is impossible for them not to know the language. In your case you are right to be frustrated about the education system, as you were not born here so you have nothing to pass on to your daughter, from our language. But that is it! You, your daughter and you friend with the 2 kinds that came back! Or do you think my mother use to read me Creanga when I was a baby? No! Simple Romanian talking is enough until they go to school.

3.I refer to the cities, countries, and places, according to the language i am speaking. So i call it Cernauti when i speak or write Romanian, which is not your case. As you will see above, I wrote Transylvania and not Transilvania, as it is. For you to understand. As an other example if i write Varsovia, in english, i will write Warsaw, but if you want to write it in polish will be Warszawa. You refer to Bucharest as Bucharest, in english, and that`s ok, but if i`ll write it in Romanian it will be Bucuresti. When you write in english you write Miercurea Ciuc, it`s official name, because you don`t know it any other way (like you know Warsaw or Bucharest) otherwise this all article is a mess.

4. By saying Csz..aka Miercurea Ciuc, which supposed to be the other way around, as yourself admited that when you receive letters from family they write to you at Miercurea Ciuc.

Now you now why most kids from Miercurea Ciuc don`t speak Romanian, although they, and their parents, and their grand-grand parents are born there.

Because you wrote this article just hearing the story of one side and you thought you are going to 'save' them from the horrible Romanians :) when they can help themselves more than they imagine by dropping a war which is not ours (present generation) to carry on.

As much as i would love to stay around i am really hungry and i have to go :)

PS: Nobody from your neighbors thought to pass it on to Adevarul until now (though you wrote it more than one month ago)...don`t you wonder why?

All the best.

Andy Hockley said...

Seriously Mihaela, it;s clear that you haven't even read what I wrote. You are writing what you think I think, not what i say.

Just to summarise the entire puece for you in a short form.

Hungarian Romanians should learn Romanian. The current education system doesn't really help them to do this. Hence they are suffering and the country of Romania suffers in turn.

Does this help?

This sentence, for example, is realy offensive to me because it assigns me a motive which is far from mine and has no basis in any sort of reality "Because you wrote this article just hearing the story of one side and you thought you are going to 'save' them from the horrible Romanians"

And I can't get past this to argue with you really, because you are the one being ridiculously one sided here. Honestly.

Mihaela Nitulescu said...

OMG, yes, i agree, Hungarian Romanians should learn Romanian! They should start with the new generation, and if what i said will not work (speaking with the baby in both Romanian and Hungarian - so they will conserve their language as well and so they will give their baby the right to learn another language as a second one)then you can blame it on me! :)

IF any change will be done in our education system that will be a great thing, but i doubt that so they better start doing the right thing from now on.

I am sorry for you daughter, for she is having trouble in understanding our language, but i don`t think Romania (like any other country) will change the entire system for 3 kids.
Just being realistic.

Have you heard about Popesti Leordeni City? Is a city populated by bulgarians. All of them now Romanian, i know people with jobs within SRI and other challenging institution. So, after all, Romanian is not impossible to learn.

Andy Hockley said...

But I'm not talking about 3 kids, I'm talking about all the children in this country whose first language is not Romanian. That's a LOT of kids.

And it's not about Romanian being difficult, it's about the system/curriculum being set up poorly so that they are not successful at learning it. They need to be taught it as a communicative subject. Other languages are taught very well here. Just not the one that is actually the most important.