We should probably take a step back … way, way back.
The second post of this blog covered Romanian. And here I find myself sampling Moldavian aka, Moldovan, which is apparently a clone of Romanian. To the point where even the locals are divided about whether it’s actually a separate language or not.
Where in the world is Moldova? It’s a tiny little country sandwiched between Ukraine and, you guessed it, Romania. Moldova, like its southern neighbor, was settled by Dacians and eventually went through a period of invasions by Eurasian tribes, most notably Tatar, in the Middle Ages before becoming the Principality of Moldavia in 1359. It was also part of the Ottoman Empire, but unlike many of its neighbor provinces, it held on to its autonomy.
Around the early 1800s, an eastern chunk of the principality became Bessarabia, an annexation of Russia (politically and culturally, or at least that was at least Russia’s aim). The western half of Moldavia (not yet Moldova) united with another province called Wallachia to form Romania; Bessarabia joined with Moldavia briefly before it was taken back by Russia. When this happened, the Tatar population was expelled and populations of other ethnic groups (specifically Bulgarians, Slavs and Jews) caused the original Moldavian population to decline.
Bessarabia eventually reunited with Romania after the Bolshevik overthrow in 1917. This would last for a short time, fostering a period of Romanization (which hindered the culture of minorities), until the far eastern part of the region, Transnistria, became part of Russia and was renamed the Moldavian ASSR and the rest of the region was invaded by the Soviets. Even though the Romanians retreated, nearly 40,000 died.
Half of the country would go to the predecessor of Ukraine’s predecessor while the other half formed the Moldavian SSR. After WWII, the region, like Romania, fell under Soviet influence and many people suffered from Stalin’s brutal tyranny. Moldova would break free and declare independence in 1991.
Until 1989, Moldavian was written in Cyrillic. In some parts, it still is. But because we’re modern, I’ll just refer you to the Romanian post I already did.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Part of me is screaming, “why should I even do this? This will be exactly like Romanian!” But I think it’s fair to give Moldavian its due. Obviously it sounds like Romanian to me, but we’ll see if anything major erupts.
Also, do you remember the video I had of little Romanian gem Cleopatra Stratan singing “Ghita”? Well, this American man does a pretty good version that’s apparently also Moldavian (sorry, the embed doesn’t work).