Romanian United Fund joins American Romanian Cultural Society in Seattle (ARCS) in celebrating the Day of the Romanian Language with a children contest. We hope that the kids in our community will participate as well. Submissions can be made until August 30th at 12 noon PST. All you have to do is send your answer (can be as short as 1-2 paragraphs) to [email protected]. Additional info about the competition and the awards is available below.
“I don’t like clatite!”
“Mama, where is my maieu?”
“Where is mamaie now?”
“I need to put my tablet to charge.”
“Have you seen my slapi?”
It’s a mix of smiles, resignation, and yes, sometimes frustration. Having spent 7 hours in school speaking English, doing homework at least a couple more hours (also in English), TV and games the same, hanging out with friends also in English it’s no wonder the children mix the two languages. That they retain certain Romanian words that we may use more often.
After all, “clatite” comes easier that crepes (especially if you’re trying to not roll the “r”); “maieu” is not exactly a tank top, is it; “mamaie” is “mamaie”, not grandma, that’s not even debatable; put the tablet to charge (instead of charge the tablet) is the mot-a-mot translation of “pun tableta sa se incarce”; and let’s be honest, if you have a picky and brand-aware teenager then you get away easier with “slapi” than having to distinguish between sandals, flip-flops or Havaianas.
Our kids know Romanian. They understand it well and whether or not they speak it as fluently as we might like is a moot point. Because in the end, when the question “When are we going back to Romania” comes, it warms your heart. It melts just when you see how hard they try to talk to their grandparents, relatives, and friends back home because we know that somewhere deep down, their soul is Romanian. And their shyness and self-awareness now (of their accent, of not being able to find certain words) will dissipate eventually, and speaking Romanian will come as natural as it is for us.