December 9, 2016

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"Requin" in french: us francophones have it easy with this course so far.


Couldn't find an explanation for the non-natives. So story time! In the 19th century (when all small countries were claiming their independence), Romanian imported heavily from French to further reaffirm its Latin identity. Meanwhile, a middle class was finally emerging. Unfortunately, culture had difficulty keeping up with economic empowerment in such a short span of time, leading to the new middle class snobbishly trying to imitate the upper class.

This is captured in Vasile Alecsandri's play "Chirița în provincie" ( https://ro.wikisource.org/wiki/Chiri%C8%9Ba_%C3%AEn_provincie ), where, on the background of the heavy borrowing from French, the character is mocked for doing the opposite, i.e.: taking a word from Romanian, adding a French-sounding termination and claiming that they are speaking French, just like the elite.

One of the examples from the play, "furculiţă" -> "furculision" (for the equivalent pronunciation in French it would have to be spelled "furculition"), apart from being a metaphor for pretentiousness, became a reminder that even when two languages are very close, doing ad literam translations can still fail catastrophically.

So now you know why so many words are similar to French (besides the common latin ones). Just don't overdo it by pulling a "furculition" ;D


Wow, thank you for this! What a cool post :)


Many thanks. Multimesc ' Merci beaucoup. J'ai imprime cette piece de théâtre. It is a good exercise. Now i will try to find a Romanian/French - French/Romanian dictionary. But it's gonna be difficult here in the Peruvian Amazone country.


Like pentru poza cu furculition.:))))


I'm not one (Latino here), but it helps that I know enough Spanish, some Portuguese, and some French to decipher some familiar looking words. :)

[deactivated user]

    "Rekin" in Polish as Polish has a lot of words derived from Latin as well. :)


    tout a fait , pas trop de problèmes jusqu'ici.


    Just curious, are there many sharks in the Black Sea? How often do Romanians encounter sharks? And is there another word for the animal that predates borrowing "rechin" from French?


    There are small sharks "spiny dogfish"(Câine de mare in Romanian) but they aren't dangerous at all.

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