Language and religion


HOW WE STARTED TO WRITE WITH LATIN ALPHABET

Description: Banat Bulgarian is a microlanguage with its proper alphabet, largely based on the Croatian script. It is considered a result of many literary efforts of the Paulicians since their settlement in Banat by the end of the 17th century. Ioan Vasilcin recalls the steps of Banat Bulgarian becoming a literary language by stressing the importance and significance of publications and teachings in schools. The arguments brought forward by him in this interview reinforce the idea that the Banat Bulgarian alphabet is an object of pride mostly developed and refined through the initiative of passionate individuals. It was and remains a symbol of struggle through time and a unique form of expression of the community's identity.

Cite as: Kək'í smy stígnəl də pýšym səs lətínicətə – How we started to write with Latin alphabet; performer: Ioan Vasilcin; camera/ interview: Thede Kahl, Andreea Pascaru; transcription: Petru Ciocani, Thede Kahl, Andreea Pascaru; translation: Petru Ciocani; editor: Ani Antonova; retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID number: bana1308ROV0007a.

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HOW RELIGION SAVED OUR LANGUAGE

Description: Gheorghe Augustinov, a priest living in Timisoara, is a passionate speaker and a critical observer of language trends and practices among the Bulgarian community of Western Romania. In this video he gives us an insight into the dynamics of the sociolinguistic environment he experienced as a student and priest over the years. By tracing back the history of the Banat Bulgarian settlements and how they were built and spread over time, he emphasises the importance of religion among the Bulgarian minority, which managed to keep its language alive and the community together during the time of communism and the absence of schools.

Cite as: Čərkvəta i jézika – How religion saved our language; performer: Gheorghe Augustinov; camera/ interview: Andreea Pascaru, transcription: Thede Kahl, Andreea Pascaru, Petru Ciocani; translation: Andreea Pascaru; editor: Ani Antonova, retrieved from: www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID number: bana1308ROV0003a.

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THE FUTURE OF OUR LANGUAGE

Description: In this video, Gheorghe Augustinov discusses the challenges of preserving the current linguistic and cultural heritage of the Banat Bulgarians. By reminiscing about the time he came in contact with science and consequently also more intensely with the Romanian language, he emphasises the importance of deliberately planning the future of this Slavic language variety and the group's traditional values. He also takes into account the dominant influence of the sociolinguistic environment, media and the general modern lifestyle. Nevertheless, he accentuates the role that standard languages, in this case the standard Bulgarian language, can play in the decline of a microlanguage developed in the diaspora.

Cite as: Bədeštot na naš jəzik' – The future of our language; performer: Gheorghe Augustinov; camera/ interview: Andreea Pascaru; transcription: Petru Ciocani, Andreea Pascaru; translation: Andreea Pascaru; editor: Ani Antonova, retrieved from: www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID number: bana1308ROV0004a.

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HOW IMPORTANT WERE CHURCH AND SCHOOL IN THE PAST?

Description: Banat Bulgarians were finally allowed to study and teach their language in schools around the middle of the 19th century. By the end of the 19th century, their language had already been recognised as a literary language. Nonetheless priests still played a very important role in passing on cultural traditional knowledge whilst sustaining language activism as well. One important activist from this sphere was Jozu Rill, author of the first grammar and a trailblazer in the language planning process. Shortly after however, the Banat Bulgarian teaching process took an unfavorable turn: due to the assimilation process of the Hungarian government the community was forced to wait until 1930 to revive its activities. Yet more difficult times would follow. In this interview, we discover the prominent role priests  had in ensuring the survival and dissemination of the Banat Bulgarian language, despite the difficult years under the communist regime when it was prohibited in schools.

Cite as: Čərkva i škula naprek' – How important were church and school in the past?; performer: Ioan Vasilcin; camera/ interview: Thede Kahl, Andreea Pascaru; transcription/translation: Petru Ciocani; editor: Ani Antonova; retrieved from www.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID number: bana1308ROV0007a.

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SHOULD OUR LANGUAGE BE TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS?

Description: In this interview, Ioan Vasilcin raises question about how the practice of teaching the minority's languages among the Banat Bulgarian community can be improved. He highlights the fact that, although for the community members learning the standard Bulgarian language is an important aspect of one's identity and helps maintain relations with the country of origin, the BB language is not given enough space and resources in order to expand. Father Vasilcin draws on a possible solution which results in three principle acts: implementing weekly classes in kindergarten and school which can improve the prestige of the language; learning how to write according to the microlanguage's alphabet; recognising diploms for young people who have studied in Bulgaria in order for them to feel motivated in returning to Romania and making a future in the country they were born in.

Cite as: Nášə bənátsk' jəzík' u škúlətə – Should our language be taught in schools? Performer: Ioan Vasilcin; camera/ interview: Andreea Pascaru; transcription: George Andreas-Budur; Thede Kahl, Andreea Pascaru; translation: George Andreas-Budur; editor: Ani Antonova; retrieved from ww.oeaw.ac.at/VLACH, ID number: bana1308ROV0009a.

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