Moldovan language

The Moldovan language ("Limba moldovenească," ISO 639 codes: mol, mo; Ethnologue code: none), the official language of Moldova, is in linguistic terms actually a regional vernacular of the Romanian language. It was renamed as a "language" for political reasons by the government in order to fight "Romanian expansionism". It is spoken by about 3.5 million in Moldova, of which for about 3 million it is the mother tongue.

Until 1940, when Moldova was a part of Romania, there was no language called Moldovan: the language spoken in this region was Romanian, but after the USSR annexed this territory, the language was renamed in the attempt to sever all ties with Romania and to justify the annexation. Even the Latin alphabet was changed to a version of the Cyrillic alphabet derived from the Russian variant. (See: Moldovan alphabet) Also, during Soviet rule, Romanian speakers were encouraged to switch to the Russian language, this being a prerequisite for higher education, social status and political power.

In 1989 Moldovan was declared the official language of Moldova, and the Romanian version of the Latin alphabet was restored as the official script.

After the independence of Moldova in 1991, the constitution that followed acknowledged Moldovan as the official language. A 1996 attempt by the Moldovan president Mircea Snegur to change the name of the language to Romanian was dismissed by the Moldovan Parliament.

In 2002 the government of Moldova tried to give the Russian language the same privileges as Moldovan, and it was declared to be a mandatory foreign language in schools. This created a wave of indignation among the Romanian-speaking majority of the population, and rallies against this decision were organized in Chişinău and other major cities.

In 2003 a Romanian-Moldovan dictionary (authored by Vasile Stati) was published, suggesting that the two countries speak different languages, although the linguists of the Romanian Academy declared that all the Moldovan words are also Romanian words. Even in Moldova, the head of the Academy of Sciences' Institute of Linguistics, Ion Bărbuţă, described the dictionary as an "absurdity", serving political purposes.

On the 2004 census about two thirds of the Romanian-Moldovans declared their mother tongue to be "Romanian", and one third "Moldovan", which is according to the press why the release of the official census results was delayed.


External link

ca:Moldau de:Moldawische Sprache fr:Moldave es:Idioma moldavo nl:Moldavisch ja:モルドバ語 lt:Moldavų kalba mo:Лимба молдовеняскэ pl:Język_mołdawski ro:Limba moldovenească ru:Молдавский язык


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