Mar 6, 2023Liked by David Smith

We love what you are doing and we especially love this article on language.

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David, as a language teacher I am saddened to see language used as a political football in this day and age. There may be more linguistic differences between the residents of Texas and Minnesota than between those of Moldova's capital and rural residents. But yet we don't say they speak Texan or Minnesotan (well, I guess there are a few Texans who would dispute that!) It seems that the official name is just being used as a way to score points for one side or the other. People are still going to speak the same way they always have. Thank you for this interesting article and historical perspective.

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Hi Pamela! Thanks for the comment!

I also find this sad but also very tiring. It's a long running argument that takes up political space without actually having substantive impacts on Moldova - at least in terms of economy and reform.

That said, it is a visceral issue for lots of people in a way that I do understand. I should have written more about this in the history section but it isn't just about renaming the language and imposing a foreign alphabet. The Soviet Union also embarked on a widespread "Russification" campaign with Russian being the primary language of power and in many of the highest paid professions. Basically they pushed people's native language into the home or in the villages. Further, under Stalin large numbers of Moldovans were deported to Siberia and replaced with Russian settlers - especially along the border with Romania.

So it's a very tough demographic problem too. Around 11% of Moldovans speak Russian as their native language but most people in Moldova speak it in some capacity and it is still used widely. Native Romanian speakers see this all as a long history of attempts to suppress their culture and ethnicity and the "Moldovan" language is only one part of it.

Bottom line - I hate this topic because it takes up so much political energy that isn't being used for reforms that have higher impact on people's lives. I also hate how it is used to create a culture war by pro-Russian groups specifically to derail such reforms. But I understand at the same time that the issue is deeply felt and very personal.

I think the best hope here is that this law goes through and puts the issue to bed permanently. We shall see...

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Mar 7, 2023Liked by David Smith

Hi, David, and thanks for the additional clarification of the complexity of this issue. It reminds me somewhat of the Japanese attempt to eradicate the Korean language 1912-1945. Obviously and thankfully they did not succeed, but when I lived there in the '80s there was still a great deal of animosity toward the Japanese among many groups of Koreans. You are right about such issues being deeply felt and personal

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