Research Project
CNCS, IDEI − PN II ID PCE 2011-3-0971
Contract nr. 229/5.10.2011
Period: 2011-2015

 Levels of Linguistic Competence among Speakers of the Moldavian Csángó Dialects according to Generations and Geographical Locations

 Nivele de competenţă lingvistică printre vorbitorii de dialect ceangăiesc din Moldova în ceea ce priveşte generaţiile şi locaţia geografică

 

Financed by: UE FISCDI (Unitatea Executiva pentru Finantarea Invatamantului Superior, a Cercetarii, Dezvoltarii si Inovarii)/Executive Unit for Financing Higher Education, Innovation, Creativity

Director of Project: Tánczos VilmosAssociate professor (reader), PhD, Habil.
(Hungarian Department of Ethnography and Anthropology, Babeş−Bolyai University, Faculty of Letters, Cluj−Napoca)
No other members.

Summary of the Project

The aim of the research is to investigate the levels of linguistic competence among speakers of the Csángó dialects nowadays and provide data regarding the linguistic competence and the number of the speakers within generations and geographical locations, describing the causes and processes of the language shift that is currently taking place.
The language of the Csángós consists of actually very archaic dialects of the Hungarian language and their folk culture is extremely archaic, preserving several mediaeval elements. The majority of the Catholic population has been entirely Romanianised linguistically. Today, the number of originally Hungarian speaking Catholic Csángó population in Moldavia (approximately 232,000) today – in my estimate – only around a quarter still speak their traditional vernacular language. Most of the Csángós live in two counties (Bacău, Neamț), in the neighborhood of the Siret river.
The Moldavian Csángós themselves do not constitute a homogeneous group, either historically or linguistic–ethnographically. Today all the Csángós from Moldavia speak to a certain extent the official language of the state, that is Romanian, but many of them  are bilingual, who in everyday life, and especially within their homes still speak the Csángó dialects. In some villages the linguistic assimilation is completed, while in others the middle and older generations still speak their traditional language.
According to official Romanian censuses in the 20th century the Catholics in Moldavia, regarding both their mother tongue and their nationality, became Romanians, the number of the Hungarians Catholics has become totally insignificant. The 2002 census records only 2,015 Hungarians Catholics in the Moldavian counties. This figure is, quite obviously, only a fraction of the real number of people still speaking the old Hungarian dialects of Catholics in Moldavia.

Objectives

The research seeks answers to the following questions:

  • If a language is spoken by tens of thousands of people, why does not this fact appear in official censuses?
  • How many of the Moldavian Csángós can speak their ancestors’ language?
  • To what extent have the generations lost their traditional language in the different settlements?

Methods: the repetition of a comprehensive on site survey and fieldwork. This is necessary because in the 15 years since1994-1996 the linguistic assimilation continued and we do not have valid data referring to the state of linguistic competence today. Furthermore, the levels of linguistic competence according to generations and locations have not been investigated.
The survey consists of the spontaneously observation of the linguistic situations, and the digital recording of interviews, filling in the data sheets and taking photos. The results of the survey are published in research articles.

Research outcomes

The European Council made the recommendation nr. 1521 to Romania in order to protect the Csángó culture, but in order to implement it, and in order to be able to revitalize their language we need exact data about the state of their language and culture (data about the level of linguistic competence within each village and among the segments of the population, also data about the differences in dialects, etc.). These data can then be used in education, in the organization of religious life and it can be used in further scientific (ethnographic, linguistic) researches.
The religious ceremonies of the Catholic Church are almost exclusively performed in Romanian; the priests speak with their congregation only in Romanian. A small progress has been made in the field of Hungarian language education. At the beginning only in one or two, now already in 20 villages – with sustained human effort – the Hungarian language could be introduced as mother tongue in schools, but only for 2 or 3 hours in a week. However, only about 10% of the children still speaking Hungarian dialects take part in such a Hungarian language education.
The Romanian state does not officially recognize the existence of the Moldavian Csángó ethnic group (i.e. censuses do not show this specific identity and specific linguistic situation) and, since it regards the Csángós as Romanians, it does not grant them the most basic minority rights, thus forcing the complete linguistic assimilation of this ethnic group to the Romanians.
Officially in Romania it is considered that the culture, ethnicity and identity of the Csángós have never existed. In other words: among the Csángós there have never been any processes of assimilation and in the present there are no problems because the Csángós are supposed to be Romanians, the traditions or cultural values of the Csángós are only endangered by processes of modernization, etc.
The Csángós themselves stigmatize their own language, not only the official authorities. Because the value of the local dialect in the social communication is decreasing, passing on this dialect to newer generations is more and more difficult.
In the Hungarian dialect of the Csángós there are several borrowings from the Romanian language, mostly for the newer concepts, and therefore almost all the Csángós are convinced that their language is neither Hungarian nor Romanian, but a sort of a “mongrel” language, a “mixture” of questionable value. Consequently, for the Csángós, this archaic dialect is not a symbol of their national identity. This dialect does not have a written form, therefore it has no value in modern life, for example, in the school, in administration in the press, etc.
My preliminary researches have shown that there is a language shift taking place: owing to linguistic changes the exclusive use of the Hungarian dialect is switched to an exclusive use of Romanian. In order to slow down the processes of assimilation and be able to initiate a language revitalization we need such researches that provide exact data referring to generations and specific geographic areas.

Results of the Research Project

Accumulated databases, maps, charts

a) List of Moldavian Csángó Settlements
b) Database: levels of linguistic competence according to Generations and Geographical Locations
c) Charts − Total Data according to Generations and Geographical Locations
d) Maps − Hungarian language proficiency in Moldavian settlements (Map 1, Map 2)

Publications

a) Books

  • Language Shift at the Moldavian Csángós. The Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities. Cluj-Napoca, 2012. 338. p. ISBN 978-606-8377-10-0 (with map annexed)

Read part of the book on the website of The Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities, here (scroll down): http://www.ispmn.gov.ro/nodes/term/slug:studii-etnografice-despre-minoritatile-din-romania

  • Madárnyelven. [Gibberish. About the Language of the Moldavian Csángós] Kolozsvár, Erdélyi Múzeum-Egyesület, 2011. 332. p., ISBN 978-606-8178-41-7 (with map annexed)

See: http://eme.ro/servlet/eme/template/publisher,PPaper.vm/paperid/521/layout/PKiadoPrintLayout.vm/clickedmenuid/PublicationsMenu;jsessionid=6860CC2F870DA9C0AE5D29FA9847A145

  • Ceangăii din Moldova. Identitate etnică, lingvistică și religioasă. Institutul pentru Studierea Problemelor Minorităților Naționale (Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities), Cluj-Napoca, [2015, forthcoming, lb. română]

b) Edited Volumes

  • Language Use, Attitudes, Strategies. Linguistic Identity and Ethicity in the Moldavian Csángó Villages. Edited by: Lehel Peti − Vilmos Tánczos. The Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities. Cluj-Napoca, 2012.

Read part of the book on the website of The Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities, here (scroll down): http://www.ispmn.gov.ro/nodes/term/slug:studii-etnografice-despre-minoritatile-din-romania

c) Studies

  • Egy moldvai csángó férfi vallásos világképének öt regisztere és a szakrális kommunikáció lehetőségei. (The Registers of Popular Religiousity of a Csango Man and the Possibilities of Sacred Communication) In: Pócs Éva (szerk.): Test, lélek, szellemek és természetfeletti kommunikáció. Vallásetnológiai fogalmak tudományközi megközelítésben. Budapest, Balassi Kiadó, 2015. 580−611. (Tanulmányok a transzcendensről VIII.)
  • A romániai magyar néprajzkutatás tizenkét éve (2002−2013) (12 Years of Hungarian Ethnographic Research, 2002–2013). In: Péntek János−Salat Levente−Szikszai Mária (szerk.): Magyar tudományosság Romániában 2012−2013 között. Kolozsvár, Ábel Kiadó, II. 2015. 69−176.

Vezi: http://kab.ro/userfiles/book/2%20kotet%20-%20Magyar%20tudomanyossag%20Romaniaban%202002-2013%20kozott.pdf

  • „Pozsony Franciscus et Catharina uxor…” Petrás Ince 19. századi családösszeírásai moldvai csángó falvakban. (Parish archives of Ince János Petrás in the 19th century in Csango villages of Moldova) In: Jakab Albert Zsolt−Kinda István (szerk.): Aranykapu. Tanulmányok Pozsony Ferenc tiszteletére. Kolozsvár, Kriza János Néprajzi Társaság−Szabadtéri Néprajzi Múzeum−Székely Nemzeti Múzeum, 2015. 339−345.
  • Újabb adatok Petrás Ince János (1813−1886) életpályájához. (New Data about Ince János Petrás) Székelyföld XIX. 2015. 1. 101−120. – It was also published in: 1. In: Keszeg Vilmos−Szász István Szilárd−Zsigmond Júlia (szerk.): Kriza János Néprajzi Társaság Évkönyve 22. Néprajzi intézmények, kutatások, életpályák. Kolozsvár, Kriza János Néprajzi Társaság, 421−436.; 2. Moldvai Magyarság XXV. 7. (290.) 4−7., 8. (291.) 5−8., 9. (292.) 4−7., 10. (293.) 7−9. (Bilingual Hungarian−Romanian: New Data about Ince János Petrás [1813−1886])
  • Egy moldvai csángó falu vallási néprajzi monográfiája. [Iancu Laura: Vallás Magyarfaluban. Néprajzi vizsgálat. Budapest, L’Harmattan – PTE Néprajz−Kulturális Antropológia Tanszék, 2013. (Studia Ethnologica Hungarica XVII.)] Erdélyi Múzeum LXXVII. 2015. 2. 204−209.
  • „A hallgatás, az elhallgatás is hazugság.” [Mihai Perca: Rădăcini. Despre maghiarii din Moldova. 2012.] Művelődés LXVII. 2014. 2. 4−6.
  • Újabb források a Vadrózsák keletkezéstörténetéhez [Szakál Anna: „Így nőtt fejemre a sok vadrózsa...” Levelek, dokumentumok Kriza János népköltészeti gyűjtőtevékenységének történetéhez. Kriza János Néprajzi Társaság – Magyar Unitárius Egyház. Kolozsvár, 2012. 416 old.] Erdélyi Múzeum LXXVI. 2014. 1. 166−170.
  • Székely László (1912−1982) életpályája és szellemi hagyatéka. In: Keszeg Vilmos−Szász István Szilárd−Zsigmond Júlia (szerk.): Kriza János Néprajzi Társaság Évkönyve 22. Néprajzi intézmények, kutatások, életpályák. Kolozsvár, Kriza János Néprajzi Társaság, 2014. 421−436.
  • Csángó language ideologies. In: Lehel Peti − Vilmos Tánczos (eds.): Language Use, Attitudes, Strategies. Linguistic Identity and Ethicity in the Moldavian Csángó Villages. Cluj-Napoca, The Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities, 2012. 203−232. ISBN 978-606-8377-01-8. In Hungarian: Csángó nyelvideológiák. In: Hires-László Kornélia−Karmacsi Zoltán−Márku Anita (szerk.): Nyelvi mítoszok, ideológiák, nyelvpolitika és nyelvi emberi jogok. A 16. Élőnyelvi Konferencia anyagai. Budapest [Hungary]−Beregszász [Ukraine], Tinta Könyvkiadó−II. Rákóczi Ferenc Kárpátaljai Magyar Főiskola Hodinka Antal Intézete, 2011. 28−47. ISBN 9789639902947.
  • A moldvai csángók nyelvészeti kutatása – Investigarea lingvistică a ceangălor moldoveni [Linguistic Research of the Moldavian Csángós]. Moldvai Magyarság XXII. 2012. 11. (258.) 18−19., 12. (259.) 19−21., XXIII. 2013. 1. (260.) 17−20., 2. (261.) 16−20., 3. (262.) 15−19., 4. (263.) 16−19., 5. (264.) 16−19., 6. (265.) 16−20., 7. (266.) 16−21., 8. (267.) 16−21., 9. (268.) 16−19., 10. (269.) 16−17., 11. (270.) 14−17., 12. (271.) 18−20. (bilingual)
  • Estimated Hungarian Language Command among the Moldavian Csángós, 2008−2010. In: Lehel Peti − Vilmos Tánczos (eds.): Language Use, Attitudes, Strategies. Linguistic Identity and Ethicity in the Moldavian Csángó Villages. Cluj-Napoca, The Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities, 2012. 239−278. ISBN 978-606-8377-01-8 (only data, with map);
  • „Hát mondja meg kend, hogy én mi vagyok!” A csángó nyelvi identitás tényezői: helyzetjelentés a 2011-es népszámlálás kapcsán. [“You tell me what I am!” Factors determining Moldavian Csángó identity: on site report on the census of 2011] In: Pro Minoritate (Budapest) 2012. ősz, 80−112. ISSN 1216-9927
  • The Moldavian Csángós. Questions of Demography and Linguistic Assimilation. Uralica Helsingiensia 5. Ethnic and Linguistic Context of Identity: Finno-Ugric Minorities. Edited by Riho Grünthal & Magdolna Kovács. ISBN 978 952 5667 28 8, ISSN 1797-3945. Helsinki, 2011. 297−119.
  • Hungarian Language Command among the Moldavian Csángós, 2008−2010. In: Barszczewska Agnieszka − Lehel Peti: Integrating Minorities: Traditional communities and Modernization. Cluj−Napoca, Editura Institutului pentru Studierea Problemelor Minorităţilor Naţionale − Kriterion, 2011. 265−378. ISBN 978 606-9 2744-9-1

Habilitation thesis

  • Language Shift Among The Moldavian Csángós. Levels of Linguistic Competence among Speakers of the Moldavian Csángó Dialects according to Generations and Geographical Locations – Cluj-Napoca, UBB Cluj, 13 March 2014, Philology

Participations in national and international conferences

  • Identities Beyond Borders. 40th Annuale Conference of American Hungarian Educators Association (AHEA). Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca (Romania), 8−11 July 2015. Organised by: The American Hungarian Educators Association (AHEA)–Babeș−Bolyai University din Cluj-Napoca. Title of the presentation:  Defining Factors of the Ethnic and Linguistic Identity of the Moldavian Csángós. Keynote speaker.
  • A nyelvföldrajztól a névföldrajzig. Határtalan névföldrajz (From the Geography of Language to the Geography of Names). Alsóőr/Unterwart (Ausztria), 2015. May 28−30. Organised by: Imre Samu Nyelvi Intézet/Imre Samu Sprachkompetenzzentrum. Title of the presentation:  Moldvai csángó családnevek Petrás Incze János 1870-es években készült névösszeírásaiban.
  • A kolozsvári néprajzkutatás hagyományai. (The Traditions of Ethnographic Research in Cluj) Cluj-Napoca, 16 October 2015. Organised by: Universitatea Babes-Bolyai, Hungarian Department of Ethnography and Anthropology, János Kriza Etnographic Society, Academic Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Science (MTA-KAB) Cluj. Title of the presentation: Erdélyi Zsuzsanna és Erdély.
  • A  kolozsvári  magyar  néprajzoktatás  és  –kutatás:  tudománytörténet  és  kulturális  örökség. Néprajztudomány  és  -kutatás: szemléletek, intézmények,  életpályák  Erdélyben. [Hungarian Ethnographic Researches in Cluj: History of Researches, Ideas, Institutions, Life Works in Transylvania]. Cluj-Napoca,  2014.  October  24. Organizers: Babes-Bolyai University, Hungarian Department of Ethnography and Anthropology, János Kriza Etnographic Society, Academic Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Science (MTA-KAB) Cluj. Title of the presentation: Székely László szellemi hagyatéka. [The Spiritual Legacy of László Székely].
  • The Fifth International Political Anthropology Summer School on the theme „Beyond Sacrifice: About the Rational and the Irrational in Political Anthropology”. Acquapendente, Italy, 29 June – 5 July 2014. Organizers: Bolsena Study Centre. Title of the presentation: Language Shift among the Moldavian Csángós. Levels of Linguistic Competence According to Generations (http://www.politicalanthropology.org/events/summer-schools.html).
  • Kutatás-módszertan és adatvédelem. A 21. század kihívásai a társadalomtudományi kutatásokban [Research Methods and Data Management. 21st­-century Challenges in Social Science Researches], Cluj-Napoca, 2014 May 9. Organized by: Hungarian Departament of Ethnography and Anthropology of Babeș−Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca − Kriza János Etnographic Society, Cluj-Napoca. Title of the presentation: A néprajzi gyűjtés technikai eszközei. [Technical means of ethnographic research]
  • Katolikus Akadémia. [Catholic Academy]. Cluj-Napoca, 2014 March 20. Organized by: Babeș-Bolyai University, Faculty of Roman-Catholic Theology. Title of the presentation: A népi vallásosság [Folk religiosity].
  • Néprajzi örökség – kulturális örökség. A kolozsvári (romániai magyar) néprajzkutatás története: intézmények, mozgalmak, életpályák. [Hungarian Ethnographic Researches in Cluj: History of Researches, Ideas, Institutions, Life Works in Transylvania]. Cluj-Napoca, 2013 October 18. Organizers: Babeș-Bolyai University, Hungarian Department of Ethnography and Anthropology, János Kriza Etnographic Society, Academic Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Science (MTA-KAB) Cluj. Title of the presentation: Petrás Incze János szellemi és tárgyi öröksége [Material and Spiritual Legacy of Incze János Petrás].
  • Emlékülés Petrás Incze János (1813-1886) születésének kétszázadik évfordulóján. [Conference Comemorating the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Incze János Petrás (1813-1886)]. Eger, Hungary, 2013 September 21. Organizers: Demeter Lakatos Hungarian Csángó Cultural Association, Catholic Theology of Eger. Title of the presentation: Petrás Incze János élete és életműve. [The Life and Work of Incze János Petrás]
  • A moldvai csángók VI. Nemzetközi konferencia. Veszélyeztetett örökség – Veszélyeztetett kultúrák. [The Moldavian Csángós. VI. International Conference: Endangered Heritage – Endangered Cultures] Budapest, 2012 May 11−12. Organizer: Teleki László Foundation. Title of the presentation: Hozzászólás a moldvai csángók nyelvcseréjének kérdéséhez a 2011-es népszámlálás tapasztalatai és előzetes adatai alapján. [Intervention into the Debate over the Question of the Language Shift of the Moldavian Csángós, based on the preliminary data of the 2011 census]
  • A kolozsvári (romániai magyar) néprajzoktatás és -kutatás története. [Hungarian Ethnographic Researches in Cluj: History of Researches, Ideas, Institutions, Life Works in Transylvania]. Cluj-Napoca, 2011 October 21. Organizers: Babeș-Bolyai University, Hungarian Department of Ethnography and Anthropology, János Kriza Etnographic Society, Academic Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Science (MTA-KAB) Cluj. Title of the presentation: Lükő Gábor bukaresti tanulmányai, kapcsolatai. [Gábor Lükő’s Study Years and Scientific Relations in Bucharest].

Scientific reports (in Romanian)

Raport – 2011

Raport − 2012

Raport − 2013

Raport − 2014

Raport − 2015

Scientific reports (in English)

Report – 2011

Report − 2012

Report − 2013

Report − 2014

Report − 2015