The official language of a state is a unique and mandatory platform for informing the citizens about their common life today and tomorrow. Respectively, the more solid is the platform, the stronger is society and vice versa. Even children who heard about the biblical legend about the Tower of Babel know what the absence or disappearance of such a platform can lead to. The current state of the Romanian language in the Republic of Moldova in direct connection with the state of the whole Moldovan society was discussed by experts invited to IPN’s public debate “Chances of the Romanian language and of Moldova society”.
Igor Boţan, the standing expert of IPN’s project, explained that the official language is the language that is stipulated expressly in the Constitution of states for being used by the state institutions in the management of public affairs. Respectively, the official language is the language is which normative documents that are mandatory for all the citizens and public institutions of the state are drawn up and issued. Approximately half of the countries of the world have an official language. “The official language needs to fulfill three functions. It should be developed so that the adopted laws and normative documents are written explicitly and are understood by everyone, so that the people of art could express the range of feelings they experience and the people of science from the given states could write their scientific works in this language” said Igor Boțan.
He also said that a society is a group of people with permanent relations between them (common interests, values and goals) or a social group that occupies a particular geographical area and obeys particular political authorities and whose members have particular common cultural aspirations. The family is the basic cell of society and is a group of persons related either by consanguinity (recognized birth) or by affinity, which is by marriage or another type of relationship. The goal of the family is to maintain the wellbeing of its members and of society. Society incorporates all the families.
Writer Maria Pilkin said that her conscious existence is equal to the Republic of Moldova’s age. When she was 10, important changes happened in the Republic of Moldova, including in linguistic terms. She was at the primary school and just returned with her family from Ukraine. Even if they spoke Romanian in her family, in the first grade she studied in Ukrainian and then in Russian. When she returned to Moldova, she studied in Romanian. This way, she can say that she has bilingual competence.
The writer told about a trip she paid to Iasi together with her class. She was a sociable child, but at a certain moment she remained silent when she heard how the people there spoke. Even if she realized everything they said, the language was different. “It was a linguistic performance difference. In the 1990s, even many intellectuals from the Republic of Moldova had this linguistic competence, but the Romanian language is also the language in which artists, writers can create and performance appears here. The Romanian language in the Republic of Moldova definitely evolved. But there are yet many shortcomings not in terms of textbooks, but rather as regards the implementation of particular policies, a social contract with the whole society concerning the language. It goes to other language speakers, ethnic minorities and native speakers who tend to speak English or Russian as this seems to be cool to them. This generates other types of problems,” she stated.
Writer Ivan Pilkin, vice president of the Writers Union of Moldova, said that in 32 years of the declaring of Independence, Moldovan society is much more courageous and determined as regards the discovery of the purpose of the own existence. “Here, we can note the dynamism of society, which connects to the other phenomena of the global world of which we form part in a more diverse way. It is a society that looks for solutions to overcome the traumas of the Soviet past. They more often and more openly discuss the deportations, collectivization that are regarded critically and effort is being made to acknowledge them. We are a society that gradually leaves the sphere of influence of Russia and orients itself to the values of European civilization,” noted the writer.
“The less good side is that a particular level of nostalgia for previous times persists in society and there are particular rudiments in daily behavior, typical of a human phenomenon called “homo sovieticus”. This makes us be vigilant about our identity, which affects the official language” stated Ivan Pilkin. He noted that his family is of intellectuals and his wife Maria is also a writer. He grew up in Basarabeasca, in an environment where they spoke mainly Russian, but he later devoted himself to the studying of the Romanian language and reached particular competence. For many years he taught universal literature at the Moldova State University in Romanian and in Russian. Over the past years, he switched over from teaching to cultural management. During the past ten years, he has focused on translations and tried through texts translated from Romanian into Russia and from Russian into Romanian to build bridges between these two spaces.
The public debate titled “Chances of the Romanian language and of Moldova society” was the 289th installment of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.