Which Romance language sounds more Slavic?

Alberto   Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:40 pm GMT
I don't see any difference (in sound) between Continental Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. To me, both sound very similar. I don't know where ,you guys see that difference...
gajo   Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:29 pm GMT
Alberto what about cleaning and washing your ears once for all? :-)
Alberto   Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:36 pm GMT
Why should I be the one to wash my ears when you are the ones who see similarities between Portuguese and Russian? Isn't that weird to you? Or you have missed the Logic classes? You are blind guys...blind of complexes, it is easy to see that...
Wenno   Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:56 pm GMT
French sounds more Slavic.
JGreco   Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:55 pm GMT
"I don't see any difference (in sound) between Continental Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. To me, both sound very similar. I don't know where ,you guys see that difference... "

You must not understand or hear either languages on a regular basis. At least my mother who is a Brazilian from Florianopolis can tell the differences between the two standard accents, since it is significant.
cmcmc   Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:20 pm GMT
French sounds like Polish (not all the time, fcourse) :)
Especially when words are nasalized: oni są (sć) etc.
Anglicki   Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:57 am GMT
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cq_UMRj_BN0

This ad plays similarity between Portuguese and Russian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ_0sSC1Q-Q

This Portuguese girl has a near-accentless reading of a Polish text, but she does read carefully.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Agv6OxyxFE

This Romanian speaker has a bit of a Slavic accent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hukEU649PKY&feature=related

This Romanian speaker has a street Romanian accent, which sounds Russian-accented.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yA-lL7_-pw&feature=related

This broadcast Romanian sounds a little more like some language spoken in Southern Italy.
Puti   Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:32 pm GMT
Portuguese.
But not all varieties.
Janos   Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:52 pm GMT
"Anglicki Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:57 am GMT
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cq_UMRj_BN0

This ad plays similarity between Portuguese and Russian.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ_0sSC1Q-Q

This Portuguese girl has a near-accentless reading of a Polish text, but she does read carefully.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Agv6OxyxFE

This Romanian speaker has a bit of a Slavic accent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hukEU649PKY&feature=related

This Romanian speaker has a street Romanian accent, which sounds Russian-accented.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yA-lL7_-pw&feature=related

This broadcast Romanian sounds a little more like some language spoken in Southern Italy. "

Anglicki, The Romanians you have chosen in the first two video clips are from Republic of Moldova...they speak with a 'russina" soft accent. The meteorlogist speaks Standard Romanian, that's the difference.
JGreco   Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:38 pm GMT
I agree with Janos. The majority of Romanians FROM Romania speak with a variation of the accent that the weather broadcaster had and even softer than that. That is why i feel Romanian can sound less Slavic than Eu.Portuguese.
Anglicki   Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:24 am GMT
Janos, thank you for the info.

That must be why Romanians sound like speaking a Southern Italian language. These guys from Moldova speak with Russian accent.

And most Portuguese from Portugal sound Slavic, except Northern Portuguese.
Raul Negru   Wed Sep 02, 2009 10:43 pm GMT
"This Romanian speaker has a bit of a Slavic accent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hukEU649PKY&feature=related

This Romanian speaker is RROMA, from the province of MOldova and his Romanian accent is influenced by both, slvic and gipsy language. He misspronunced a lot of words ...who ever knows Romanian well , cand see that. Besides, his wife who appears a bit in the scene, is wearing and showing the typiical gispsy clothes and hair style. In fact, in the end he mentioned the name "Bulibasha" which in their social structure, is the head of comunity. They ar ecomplaining here about a police force intervention to capture his son from some reasons...
Branco   Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:49 am GMT
Portuguese.
ravinescu   Fri Sep 04, 2009 10:37 am GMT
When judging the "slavic" sound of one language or another, one must define what this means. From this thread it seems that a lot of users assume that slavic = russian which is only half true, because if the russian language is indeed slavic, it is not the only slavic language. The sound of russian is different from the sound of polish, czech, slovakian and other slavic languages, just like the sound of french is different from that of italian, spanish or other romance languages.

So it seems that in this thread the discussion refers to which romance language is more similar in sound with the russian language, not with slavic languages in general. Of course that in this particular situation, european portuguese sounds more like russian than romanian (spoken in the southern region of Romania, where the capital Bucharest is located). But romanian language spoken in Moldova (the north-eastern part of Romania) is much closer to russian in sound than the language spoken in Muntenia (southern part of Romania) or Transylvania (central and western part of Romania). So there are differences in pronunciation between the different parts of Romania, which is quite normal.

Speaking only about the sound of a language is somewhat misleading, because it does not take into consideration the vocabulary and grammar, which are more important for a language than phonetics. Portuguese language doesn't have any relationship with slavic languages, whereas the situation of romanian is quite different, being heavily influenced by slavic. To understand the relationship between romanian and the slavic languages one must know the history of the romanian people. Unfortunately, even many romanians don't know the history of their own people because they have read only the school manuals, which contain a lot of propaganda when it comes to the genesis of the romanians. The truth can be learned from the professional history books that are available in every bookstore in Romania. One of these books is a treatise in 3 volumes named "Istoria Romānilor" [History of Romanians] written by the renowned historian C.C. Giurescu between 1935-1946, a book that can be bought from every bookstore in Romania or from the internet.

I will try to summarize the history of the genesis of the romanian people and of the romanian language.

On the territory of the present day Romania lived in antiquity tribes that were named dacians, which were supposedly of thracian origin. Some of these tribes established a state named Dacia that later entered in conflict with the roman empire, because the romans conquered the territories south of the Danube and the dacians (that lived mainly north of Danube) were raiding and pillaging those territories. As a consequence of the wars between romans and dacians, Dacia was finally conquered in the year 106 and transformed into a roman province. The conquered territory was roughly 1/4 of the territory where romanian speaking people lives today (Romania + Republic of Moldova). A map of Europe in the year 200 can be seen below, the roman empire being colored in pink, with the conquered dacian territory being shown north of the lower Danube river.

http://www.euratlas.com/history_europe/europe_map_0200.html

It is not known how many of the dacian population survived the roman conquest, because the romans killed a lot of people, enslaved others and it also seems that they deported part of the population. It is quite sure that Dacia was not emptied of its original population, that would have been impossible, given the mountainous terrain predominantly covered with forests. But it is also true that the population declined in number, so the romans brought in colonists, foreign settlers. They were needed to restore the number of the population and also to work in the mines from which the romans extracted minerals (gold, silver) or salt. There are thousands of inscriptions left by these colonists, and from them one can deduce their ethnic origin, because they wrote also the name of their native provinces. The majority of the colonists belonged to populations conquered previously by the romans, populations that were more or less romanized. They were mainly people from the roman provinces of Thracia (present-day Bulgaria), Illyricum (present-day Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia) and Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). A lesser number were from more distant provinces like Syria, Gallia, and even from the Italian Peninsula. This is the first difference between Romanians and the other romanic people of today. The colonization of Gallia (present-day France) and the Iberian Peninsula (present-day Spain and Portugal) was made with colonists from Italy (the Italian Peninsula), the emperor Trajan (which conquered Dacia) being a spaniard born in a family of roman colonists of italian origin.

The colonists brought by the romans in Dacia spoke vulgar latin (the language of the people, not the classical variant), but it is not known how correctly it was spoken, because as I said the majority of the colonists were from territories neighbouring Dacia, not from the Italian Peninsula. It is also not known what language was spoken by the original dacian population, because they did not write and to this day only some dacian names are known. The only insight into the dacian language is guessed form the words that are similar in romanian and albanian, which is considered to have derived from a thracian language possibly related with dacian. It is assumed that the people resulted from the mixing of roman colonists and dacians was a romanic people who spoke some sort of latin mixed with dacian words, but little is known about it. This was the first step in the genesis of the romanian people and language.

The roman province of Dacia was under constant attack from germanic tribes coming from the north and also from dacian tribes not conquered by the romans (free dacians). So in the year 271 the roman administration and army whithdrew completely from Dacia, taking with them a part of the colonists. Again, it is not known how many of the colonists left Dacia alongside the army to go in the province of Moesia (south of the Danube river). Some of them were dependent of the roman adminstration or army for their living, so these ones probably left. But others stayed in Dacia, because they were probably happy to be freed from the roman system of taxation. The germanic tribes and the free dacians entered the former province of Dacia after the romans have left. So the roman presence in Dacia was short lived (~170 years), much shorter than the presence of roman adminstration in the territories conquered in western Europe.

For the next 1000 years the territory of present-day Romania (including the former province of Dacia) was the temporary home of many migratory populations of various ethnic origin: germanic, slavic, turkic, etc. Those that stayed longer and in greater number were the slavs. The slavs arrived around the year 400 and settled on all the territory of present-day Romania. They used the territory north of the Danube river as their home and base from which to launch attacks on the roman empire that held territories south of the Danube. There are archeological findings that show a cohabitation of the romanic (daco-roman) population with the newly arrived slavic population. This is the second and final part of the genesis of the romanian people and language. Between the years 400-900 it is considered that the slavic population was assimilated by the romanic (daco-roman) population that lived north of the Danube. Some time around the year 500 the roman empire defense positions at the river Danube were breached and the slavs also began to settle in the Balkan Peninsula (present-day Bulgaria and Serbia). This lowered somewhat the number of slavs north of the Danube and apparently allowed the romanic population to assimilate the slavs that stayed and lived alongside them. As a note, it must be mentioned that the slavs that settled north of the Danube and participated in the genesis of the romanian people were "primordial" slavs, that were not differentiated in specific populations (russian, czechs, slovaks, poles, etc.).

The important contribution of the slavs in the genesis of the romanian people is easily observed even today. There are millions of romanians that have last names (family names) of slavic origin. For example the following last names are clearly slavic, even though some have one of the typical romanian endings, namely "escu": Bogdan, Bratu/Brătescu/Brătianu, Dobre/Dobrescu/Dobrin, Dragomir/Dragomirescu, Dragoş, Drăgan/Drăgănescu, Mircea/Mircescu, Neacşu/Necşulescu, Neagu/Negulescu, Radu/Rădulescu/Rădoi, Stan/Stănescu, Stancu/Stănculescu, Stoica/Stoicescu, Şerban/Şerbănescu, Voicu/Voiculescu, Voinea/Voinescu, Vlad/Vlădescu, etc. The people that have these names are not slavs, they are romanians just like any others, but their names show that they have distant slavic ancestors. Actually, because of the mixing of the population in Romania, practically all the romanians have slavic ancestors, even though their current names do not show it. Every romanian has at least a close relative with a last name of slavic origin. And there are also the toponyms, the names of the geographical elements (rivers, mountains, plains, hills), villages or towns. It is believed that close to half of the romanian toponyms are of slavic origin, the other half being of romanian origin. The slavic toponyms are easily recognizable, for example those that have the particle OV, like in the russian names Popov, Cerneahov. In Romania there are a lot of these toponyms, for example: Ilfov, Dīmboviţa, Prahova (counties), Braşov, Craiova (towns), Moldova (region) etc.

When it comes to the language, the slavic contribution is also obvious. In the 19th century almost half of the romanian words had a slavic origin. But then in the years 1800-1900 a cultural-political movement named "Şcoala Ardeleană" [Transylvanian School] insisted on the adoption of the latin alphabet and also tried to purge all the non-latin words from romanian. The latin alphabet was adopted in 1860, prior to that romanian being written in the cyrillic alphabet. The latin alphabet had initially some shortcomings, because the romanian sounds Ă,Ī,Ş,Ţ do not exist in latin, so new letters had to be invented for them. However, the transformation of the romanian language by extreme latinization as wanted by the Transylvanian school was a failure, because the population could not understand the new language, which created great problems related to writing and speaking. The removal of non-latin (especially slavic) words from romanian was deemed stupid and non-practical by many romanian writers so this was abandoned in the end. The "relatinization" of romanian has not taken placed directly, but indirectly, using french as an intermediary. In the 19 and 20 centuries the romanian language was modernized by importing a huge number of french words (many of latin origin), that were adapted for the romanian language (for example the french "chauffeur" [driver] became "şofer" in romanian). At the present time, close to 40% of the romanian vocabulary is of french origin, greatly surpassing the percentages of words of latin or slavic origin (approximately 20% each). However, many of the french words are related to modern objects or situations (science, technology, culture) so the percentages of words of latin and slavic origin are higher (more than 30% each) in the language used in everyday situations.

There is a darker side to the romanian story and this is related to the continous attempts to present romanians and the romanian language as being very close to romans (the people) and to latin (the language). History tells otherwise and although the romanian language is indeed a romanic language, it is not the closest to latin, as many romanians like to say. The romanian language was isolated in eastern Europe and consequently it differs in a lot of ways from the western romanic languages, which had the advantage of being close to one another. The ressemblance of romanian to the othe romanic languages was boosted by the huge import of french words, but this was an artificial evolution, not a natural one. The influence of the slavic language in romanian is important, surely much more important than the germanic influence in the western romanic languages. And when it comes to the population, this slavic influence is much greater, genetically speaking.

It is strange and hard to understand the effort put by many romanians to hide the slavic contribution to the genesis of the romanian people and language and to greatly emphasize the connection with the romans and the latin language. Actually the real name of the people is "rumān" and the real name of the country is "Rumānia", not "romān" and "Romānia". This was changed probably from 1800 onwards, although the rural people always called themselves "rumāni", not "romāni", and even today some use the old (real) name. This modification has not affected the name of the people and of the country in foreign languages, with the exception of english. In french the names are "roumain/Roumanie" (pronounced "rumen/Rumani"), in german they are "rumane/Rumanien, in spanish they are "rumano/Rumania". Only in english after WWII century the name was changed from "rumanian/Rumania" to "romanian/Romania", but the old name is also used.

The romanian language also had suffered some "plastic surgery" transformations to make it seem more latin.

Romanian makes heavy use of the sound Ī (close central unrounded vowel), which is probably of slavic origin, so it is a nightmare for those that wanted romanian to derive only from latin. The Ī sound is named in phonetics "posterior i" and is written with a barred i ( ɨ ), so it is obvious that it is related to the i sound. From the begging of the writing in latin alphabet some romanians wanted to expel the Ī sound from the language. Because this was not possible they choose to mask it as a different letter, Ā. Of course someone that says in succesion the sounds I, Ī and A can see that I and Ī are related, whereas A is not related with them, so the writing of Ī as Ā is completely illogical and complicates the writing of romanian.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close_central_unrounded_vowel (the Ī sound)

The Ī sound has displaced in the evolution of romanian the A sound in some words of latin origin, and this was probably a linguistic crime in the eyes of some hotheaded romanians that were pro-latins and anti-slavic. So it is written now with two letters, with Ī if it occurs in the beggining of the words, and with Ā if it occurs in the center of the words. But it is actually the same sound, the stupid rule being only for aesthetic reasons and to make more obvious the latin origin of some romanian words. For example the romanian sentence "El mănīncă pīine īn casă" does not seems so similar in writing with the french sentence "Il mange du pain dans la maison", so the rule masks the Ī as an Ā by writing "El mănāncă pāine īn casă". Furthermore, writing with Ā in the center of the words has sometimes the effect of masking the latin origin of some words. For example the writing "rāu" [river] masks the latin word from it is derived, that is "rivus". And there are also many other examples, like "sān" [breast] which derives from the latin word "sinus". The writing with Ā masks also the origin of some words derived from slavic (or other non-latin languages), it just makes a mess of the etymology of romanian words.

Even more serious than that Ī/Ā divide is the situation of the ortography of the romanian verb "a fi" [to be].

The romanians always have said "Eu sīnt, Noi sīntem, Voi sīnteţi, Ei sīnt" [I am, We are, You are, They are]. The form written as "sīnt" is derived from the latin "sint" and is as old as the romanian language. But because of the presence of Ī in the center of the word, it does not look like a latin word. So in the 19th century it was decided that "sīnt" had to be replaced with "sunt", to show to the world the origin of the romanian language. It is hard to find a more stupid decision in the whole history of linguistics. The form "sunt" ("Eu sunt, Voi sunteţi, Ei sunt") is more difficult to prounce for romanians than "sīnt", especially when speaking freely, like in everyday life. Moreover, the form "sunt" is not at all melodic, so it is avoided by singers. Even those that force themselves to pronounce "sunt" cannot hold this pronounciation when speaking more quickly, they automatically switch to the form "sīnt", much easier to pronounce, because this is the form created by the romanian language in its differentiation from latin. So the replacement of the romanian word "sīnt" with the latin word "sunt" had no effect other than to make the language harder to pronounce and to slow the flow of words. This is why more than 90% of romanians do not use "sunt" when speaking, they use "sīnt".

The removal of the needless Ā letter from romanian (except for "romān" and derived words) and the writing with "sīnt" had been intended from a long time ago, and in 1932 an ortographical reform was made under the control of the renowned linguist Ovid Densuşianu, reform that lasted in practice only a few months before being overturned by a pressure to maintain the writing that emphasizes the latin origin of the language. However, the communist governement in power between 1947-1989 applied the ortographic reform of Densuşianu in order to simplify the writing, so all the population (even the rural one) could learn to write more easily. From 1964 to 1993 romanian language was a logical and natural language that used only Ī (except for "romān" and derived words) and "sīnt". In 1993, under the democratic government the ortography was changed again and reverted to the old 1904 style ortography that used Ā and "sunt". It was the stupidest thing to do, and the romanian linguists protested because this measure would complicate the writing, but the decision was a political one, so it was deemed mandatory for schools and universities. Of course that for the population this style of writing with "Ā/sunt" is not mandatory, so many people (also journals or editing houses) do not use it and use the natural and logical style, the one with "Ī" in every place (except for "romān") and "sīnt".

For a language it is important to speak it and write it as easily as possible. All the ortographic reforms (for example the french one in 1990) want to simplify the writing. The romanian ortographic "reform" from 1993 is an exception, and a very bad one, because it was a political induced modification of the language, not a truly ortographic reform made for linguistic reasons, the result being a language harder to write and speak. And all this for a cause (the showing of the latin origin) that no one today (not even romanians) is interested in. So there is a lot of ortographic "pain" in Romania for absolutely no advantage at all, because in the present times a people is judged not by its origin or by the language that it speaks, but by its achievements.
Wong   Fri Sep 04, 2009 12:07 pm GMT
Multsumesc ravinescu!