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Wed, 20 Apr 2011 13:02:38 EDT by admin, 130275 views
City University of New York
Education paper by Gazda, Angela K. (all papers)
Forced Assimilation and Language Shift Resistance through Education in Csángóland
The Csángó Hungarians of Moldova in Eastern Romania are among the most economically, politically, and linguistically marginalized communities in the country. The Csángós were and continue to be denied at every turn the right to educate their children in their native Hungarian, even to worship in their native tongue. The process of language loss and assimilation is hastened not only by various coercive measures taken by the state, the leadership of the regional Roman Catholic diocese, local teachers’ groups and so on, but also by a more subtle process by which the local Csángó Hungarian is losing prestige among the younger generation in many villages. Currently, the Csángó Hungarians have, for the most part, little influence on the political forces controlling their economic, political and cultural fate. The Csángós have appealed to the European community for help, but their success at marshalling EU support has been limited. November 2011 marked the tenth anniversary of the largely ignored Recommendation 1521 of the Council of Europe regarding Csángó minority culture in Romania. Grassroots efforts to educate Csángó children in Hungarian have begun to bear fruit. In response to the repeated refusal by officials to institute Hungarian language teaching in schools, the Association of Csángó Hungarians in Moldavia organized an expanding extracurricular Hungarian language education program for Csángó children. The program, operating for about a dozen years now, provides Hungarian instruction to more than 2000 Csángó children in 25 villages as well as the opportunity for high school students to attend Hungarian boarding schools in Székelyland, which increasingly serves as a springboard for pursuing higher education in Hungarian. The successful program is financially supported by donations as well as the Hungarian Ministry of Culture. In recent months, a dispute over funds between the Hungarian government and the Association of Csángó Hungarians in Moldavia has placed the future of the program and thus Hungarian instruction in Moldova in jeopardy.
Brief Professional Bio:
Angela K. Gazda (City University of New York) is an anthropologist specializing in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Her broad research interests include ethnicity and minority cultures, citizenship and transnationality, immigration and globalization, cities and modernity, sexuality and gender.