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> Use of the English language
Bill Murray
Posted: October 09, 2005 06:46 pm
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I belong to well over 100 forums such as this one, almost all of which are based outside the US.
I would like to congratulate the Romanian members of this forum for their almost perfect use of idiomatic "American" English, a command of English I find on virtually no site where English is not the first language of the country of origin of the site.
As a native American, I am reasonably proud that I have a fairly good command of Swedish and Spanish due to living in Sweden and Peru for two years each but I am nowhere as good at those languages as you folks are at English.

Having said this, may I ask if Romania has had a long term national program to learn English as do Holland and Sweden, to my knowledge, or have each of you just decided on your own to learn the language???

I understand, right or wrong, that English has since 1945 more or less become the international language of commerce but most countries seem to have accepted this rather than promoted it and embraced it.

Anyway, guys, it is a pleasure reading your posts and I just wanted to pass that thought on to all of you.
Cheers
Bill
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Florin
Posted: October 09, 2005 11:56 pm
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Among the Socialist countries members of the Warsaw Pact (i.e. located in Eastern Europe) Romania was the only one who after 1965 offered in schools, on a national scale, 2 foreign languages, which could be both not the Russian language.
The comparison with the Russian language is important, because in the other European Socialist states they learned as foreign language only Russian, and sometimes German (like in Czechoslovakia).
In the Socialist Romania you started the first foreign language in the second class of primary school (at 7...8 years old) and the second language in the 5th class (at 11...12 years old). Even if you did not attend a university, at the end of high school you had 11 years in the first language and 8 years in the 2nd language.
Also all of us learned Latin for one year.

So depending your luck, you had the chance to study pairs of languages selected from English, French, Russian, German, Italian, Spanish. (Again... Add Latin for one year.) This was the case of the average Joe (in Romania, the average Ion). If you had an interest in languages other than these, you had to follow a profound study in a specialized University.
The only way to choose the language yourself was by choosing the primary school. Once in a primary school, you had to fit in, following what was available in that school. After my 1st class, my mother moved me to another school to spare me from starting Russian since the 2nd class, at 7 years old.

This is not an answer for everything. If somebody did not like to learn, the fact that in school he had the chance to follow 11 years one language, and 8 years another, may not count. Also, many who are in this Forum were too young to "enjoy" the Socialist educational system, and as you wrote they are very good.

Also, Bill, if you consider how many people around you lived in the United States for 10, 20 or 30 years, and they still speak horrible English, you may also want to take into account that the Romanians may have a talent in learning foreign languages. Just consider the Indians (those from the Asian subcontinent), who many of them in their native countries were trained in high schools and universities 100% in English, but you wouldn't say so when you hear them in the supermarket or in your neighborhood.

This post has been edited by Florin on October 10, 2005 01:50 am
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