Academic journal article Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations

Modifications of the Romanian Vocabulary Introduced after 1989 - with Implications on Translations

Academic journal article Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations

Modifications of the Romanian Vocabulary Introduced after 1989 - with Implications on Translations

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. The present article has as its purpose to present the way in which the vocabulary of the Romanian language from the last two decades has known very important modifications, as a result of the changes present in political, economic, social, cultural plan as well as at the level of mentalities. These modifications should be the focus of attention for those concerned with communication issues, but especially for those who work or are in the process of training to work in specialized translations departments or in mass-media.

Keywords: the connection between language and society; the predominance of the technical-scientific language; the metaphorization of specialized terms; the demarcation "literary-non-literary"; the Romanian language of nowadays: a mixture of Anglo-Romanian jargon, pretentious expressions, slang and familiar terms

We all agree that there is a very tight connection between language and society, the periods of major changes in the life of a society (as the period our society has been going through since 1990) leading to important modifications of the verbal means that we use to communicate. At the level of Romanian vocabulary, some words and some meanings associated to words fall into disuse or acquire new connotations, whereas other words or meanings of words emerge - many of which are not yet to be found as dictionary entries. Moreover, the stylistic modifications regarding the relation between language variants are also obvious. Under these circumstances, in order to consolidate and disseminate a cultivated variant of Romanian language, in 2005, the Romanian Academy, more precisely the Iorgu Iordan - Al. Rosetti Institute of Linguistics succeeded in publishing two fundamental works: Dicfionarul ortografié, ortoepic §i morfologic al limbii române (The Orthographic, Orthoepie and Morphological Dictionary of Romanian, second edition, also called DOOM2) and Gramática limbii române (Romanian Grammar). On the occasion of the second edition of the DOOM, the president of the Romanian Academy at that time, Eugen Simion, defined it as follows: "a necessary work, that the large public has been waiting for, a work of national interest, which will from now on be used as a unique source in correctly applying the academic norms in the domain of Romanian orthography. Our DOOM appears at a time when it is highly needed". Needless to say that this is a work that translators cannot do without.

Hosting a television show at România de Mâine (Romania Tomorrow) television, a linguistic culture show - Speak, write Romanian - I asked the academician Eugen Simion to briefly characterize the way in which Romanian language is used. His answer was that "the Romanian language has become ugly" in the sense that the way most of us speak is characterized by relaxing exigencies, allowing "unliterary" linguistic elements such as: regionalisms, popular expressions and even slang expressions to penetrate the "neat language". The explanation is simple: the Romanian society has been confronting with an acute crisis of values in these last two decades, which has led to a horizontal positioning, to accepting both value and non-value, to socially imposing the model of an individual who, as concerns the norms of the Romanian language, adopts the principle of the character "mam-mare" (big mama) from the famous Romanian sketch Mr. Goe, by Caragiale: "you may speak as you know, I speak as I speak". And "when half-leamedness shakes hands with preciosity and snobbery, one may commit mistakes that are harder and harder to eliminate" (Theodor Hristea). According to specialists' estimations, the most sensible 'seismograph' that register the changes that appear in political, economic, social, cultural plan as well as at the level of mentalities is the publicistic language, always in a permanent search for the expressive innovation and the lexical pictoresqueness.

Although language, seen from a historical perspective, appears as an element of stability in people's life, it is nevertheless subject to variation and change. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.