Monday, May 31, 2010

De ce limba engleza tinde sa devina limba universala

Am auzit in ultima vreme tot felul de afirmatii potrivit carora limba engleza a devenit limba universala a planetei datorita flexibilitatii sale si usurintei de invatare.
As vrea sa clarific cateva lucruri si sa aduc argumente care demonstreaza alte motive pentru care limba engleza a devenit atat de populara in lumea intreaga (este un proces care a durat peste un secol).
Da, engleza este intr-adevar o limba sintetica, desi nu a fost dintotdeauna asa. Imi aduc aminte ca in facultate cursul de Engleza Veche mi s-a parut extrem de greu iar limba suna mai degraba a germana sau scandinava.

1. Popularitatea limbii engleze se datoreaza in primul rand unor factori politici si economici care s-au prefigurat la finalul secolului 19, inceputul secolului 20, atunci cand s-a schimbat treptat balanta marilor puteri ale lumii iar America, cea mai mare tara vorbitoare de limba engleza, a preluat hegemonia politica, economica si industriala, consoldandu-si pozitia dupa cele doua razboaie mondiale.

2. Sa nu uitam de Imperiul Britanic, care a dominat lumea timp de cateva secole si a exportat limba engleza spre alte continente in coloniile sale (in calitate de putere suprema maritima, industriala, economica si culturala, preluand acest statut de la Franta).

3. In India, tara cu cea mai numeroasa populatie de pe planeta, fosta colonie britanica, administratia tarii s-a desfasurat in limba engleza, iata de ce indienii, acum imprastiati prin lumea intreaga, au contribuit si ei la raspandirea englezei ca prima limba straina

4. Prin comercializarea sistemului de operare Windows, Microsoft a transformat engleza in limba universala a calculatoarelor si a internetului (80% din informatia de tip electronic este in limba engleza), acesta fiind un aspect foarte important al comunicarii in epoca moderna (nu toate popoarele sunt la fel de nationaliste ca francezii sau rusii incat sa traduca Windows in propria limba!)

5. Filmele americane, accesibile ca pret, mesaj, preferatele multor canale de televiziune au propagat o engleza usor de asimilat, mai ales in tarile unde se practica subtitrarile (industria din America fiind cea mai prolifica din lume)

6. Din ce in ce mai mult, artistii care isi doresc sa patrunda pe piata muzicala internationala abordeaza texte in limba engleza, pentru a targheta o audienta cat mai larga (tarile vorbitoare de limba engleza ocupa o patrime din glob)

Astfel, engleza devine in mod logic cea mai viabila solutie pentru comunicarea internationala atat in mediul de afaceri cat si cel diplomatic ajungand la statutul de "lingua franca".
Da, engleza este intr-adevar o limba flexibila si destul de usor de invatat (nu si pentru asiatici iar pentru latini poate parea dificila). Marele avantaj al englezei este ca lexicul sau are foarte multe cuvinte scurte (o silaba sau doua) care sunt usor de retinut, dar in acelasi timp, aceste cuvinte au de obicei foarte multe sensuri si iti ia ceva timp sa identifici nuanta in context...
Un alt atu al englezei este existenta unui asa zis vocabular de baza, foarte redus, care fiind asimilat devine suficient pentru a comunica, din acest motiv multi vorbitori de engleza ca si limba straina se plafoneaza in acest punct, nefiind interesati sa-l extinda, pentru ca in fond nu ar avea nevoie. Acest vocabular de baza/simplist al limbii engleze este de obicei cel auzit prin filmele americane adresate unui public larg, cum ar fi serialul TV “Friends”. Daca stii macar putina engleza nu ai cum sa nu intelegi replicile personajelor iar asta te face sa crezi ca stii deja suficienta engleza!
Versiunea britanica si cea australiana mi se par cel mai greu de digerat. Si asta nu datorita vocabularului ci mai ales pronuntiei. Simplificarea englezei in timp la nivel de vocabular nu inseamna deci si unificarea pronuntiei, care ramane specifica fiecarei zone.

Da, engleza pare la prima vedere usoara si flexibila, daca te limitezi la achizitionarea lexicului sau fundamental dar, eu personal, dupa ce am utilizat engleza timp de mai bine de 15 ani inca am impresia ca numai nativii pot stapani aceasta limba extrem de bine, pentru ceilalti, engleza este si ramane, de cele mai multe ori, doar “a currency for communication”.

Quiz: Me about Myself

1. What’s your favorite color?
Red, because it shows passion

2. What’s your favorite band?
It used to be Savage Garden in my teens, now I listen to many genres of music; it’s hard to choose only one band :)

3. Are you happy with your life?
No, never, unfortunately I am the kind of person always willing to get more, to improve, to become perfect. Looking back, I obviously had great results and accomplishments as a student, in high school and in college, but never after that. Having a full time job takes up too much of the time I would dedicate to study and research. I NEED MORE TIME!!!

4. What’s your biggest wish?
To move to France, speak French every day and visit every centimeter of that country :)

5. What’s your opinion on life?
I strongly believe in reincarnation. That’s why I somehow accepted the fact that I cannot get everything in this lifetime as long as I am convinced that I did some amazing things during my past lives and some other opportunities are yet to come in the next ones. There is really no ending and I am not afraid of death, which is merely a new beginning to me. As to life, it is a sequence of tests to get to another level of perception and fulfillment.

6. Do you have any obsessions?
Maybe my childhood, the best period of my existence so far. An avalanche of good memories keep coming back to me in certain moments, it can be overwhelming. I really miss those times and those places…

7. Why France? Why French history and so many French books?
I cannot explain this attraction to France and French history. It’s beyond anything reasonable. I am ready to devour any kind of information related to this subject.

8. What did you wish to become when you were a child?
An actress, a singer, a politician, a writer, a model, a journalist and a historian altogether :) and I still hope to be able to pursue at least one of those dreams, that of becoming a writer someday.

9. Your favorite line from a movie/TV series:
Joey from “Friends” when he turned 30: “- Why God, why??? We had a pact!!!” : )))) cause that’s what I was going to say on my 30th birthday : ))))

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Retirement dreams fallen apart

There are rumors that the Romanian government is going to remove the right to retire before 60, as part of the fiendish plan to reform the pension system and keep public finances afloat.
The decision is obviously taken due to deepening recession and swelling unemployment, but also the tendency to keep the pace with the most successful Western European Union countries that have risen their legal retirement age to 60 or even so, long time ago and are now considering to rise it again.

I don’t really know what to say. I am bewildered at this troubling news, trying to warn off my dreams about a happy retirement.

I have always wished to buy a peaceful small cottage in the countryside and dedicate the rest of my days after retirement to reading, writing and spending time surrounded by nature. Now, I am not even sure I would ever reach that moment. Now I am not motivated enough to live, knowing that I would have to work the most part of my life and perhaps die at the office sometime before the legal retirement age. You have to be bullish not to see what this is all about.

Our government’s purported intention is certainly not to destroy our dreams, but their indefatigable desire to take away from us the only period in our lives when we can actually do what we like leads quite to that cruel resolution.
I agree that our country’s legal retirement age is one of the lowest in Europe, but this avalanche of spending cuts, growing taxes and painful reforms are making us very vulnerable and uncertain about our future. Is there any future at all?

The attempt to restructure a pension system, which is, by the way, neither the greatest nor the most generous in Europe, successfully stokes our patience and hurts our expectations, marking the beginning of another epoch for common people: that of indifference and lack of interest towards work. There is nothing left to persuade us, there is no bright perspective. We are genuinely pessimistic and totally disgusted.

The most stupid argument I ever heard was: “a rise in the retirement age is inevitable as people live longer and save less”. Do we really live longer than our great-grand-parents lived? I remember that my great-grand-father died at 90 and my great-grand-mother at 94, my grand-mother is now 81 and she’s quite in good health. They are probably making a comparison with the middle ages when millions of people used to die under 60 from incurable diseases such as the plague or cholera, or were devastated by frequent and violent wars.

In UK the retirement age is progressively increasing to 68-70 years, in France to 63, in Germany to 67… How sad is that?
Our generation is currently intimidated by the prospect of saving for a pension, which seems to be so faraway.

I don’t believe in predictions of increased life expectancy. Our politicians are callously and self-destructively feeding this idea to make excuses for their lame decisions.
We work all our life and sometimes even neglect our health in the scramble to find tranquility and security after retirement.
That small cottage in the countryside was my balm, my idea of redemption, after a debilitating life dedicated to work.

Negotiating the controversial rise in the legal retirement age, while the economy remains deep in the dumps, is the government’s opportunity for global grandstanding and our opportunity for rethinking our values and hopes.
Bereft of our “small cottages”, give us something in return, something worthy and motivating enough to make us want to still get up every day and go to work…

Friday, May 28, 2010

Apropo de soarta monedei Euro

Apropo de conspiratia impotriva monedei europene despre care vorbeam intr-un post anterior si despre riscul disparitiei ei in urmatoarea perioada, am gasit o parere interesanta si reliable a unui expert in domeniul financiar, exprimata recent in editia din 15 mai 2010 a ziarului Jurnal de Chisinau:

"Nu cred în dispariţia euro de pe piaţa valutară" a spus directorul Agenţiei de rating şi estimare “Estimator-VM” Natan Garstea. “Speculaţiile pe marginea scoaterii din circulaţie a monedei europene sunt mai mult o chestiune politică decât una economică. Moneda europeană va merge bine în continuare."

Opinia sa vine ca un raspuns la afirmatia ingrijoratoare expusa de Jacques Attali, former chief of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development:

“If there’s no extremely strong and immediate action, next year the euro won’t exist anymore. It’s best to prepare for the worst.”

Pachetul financiar pregatit de catre UE si FMI pentru a salva Grecia in schimbul unor masuri de austeritate foarte severe nu a avut efectul scontat asupra speculatorilor care se pare ca nu urmaresc decat deprecierea monedei euro. Dar stau si ma intreb, daca dupa atata efort de dragul Greciei, alte tari, precum Italia, Spania, Portugalia, chiar si Romania vor urma aceeaasi soarta, care va fi solutia petru ele, fiind deja toate resursele epuizate?

Prea multe sunt diferentele dintre cele 27 tari membre la nivel de economie, masuri sociale, abordare, mentalitate. Din cauza acestor neomogenitati s-a ajuns la situatia de disperare in care ne aflam acum. Poate ca inainte sa ne fi bucurat atat de mult ca intram in UE trebuia sa ne fi gandit daca meritam sa ne aliniem anumitor standarde, daca suntem capabili sa tinem pasul cu niste piete care se bazeaza pe principii liberale de secole. Unde varsta de pensionare este demult 60 ani sau peste. Pentru noi toate aceste schimbari sunt ca niste lovituri sub centura, foarte greu de digerat, suportat, acceptat. Facem sacrificii ca sa ramanem in Europa, sa ramanem pe linia de plutire si sa salvam unitatea, care si asa este fragila.

Hommage à Arthur Rimbaud

Dans mon adolescence j’avais l’habitude de beaucoup lire, surtout poésie, philosophie, littérature. Mon poète préféré français était alors le symboliste Arthur Rimbaud. Je suis encore fascinée par l’histoire de sa vie, assez dramatique. En fait, je trouve une petite ressemblance entre moi et Rimbaud, sauf qu’il a été plus génial que moi!

Il a écrit tout son œuvre poétique entre l’âge de 16 ans et 21 ans. Moi, j’ai écrit mes meilleurs vers entre l’âge de 16 et 21 ans! Coïncidence ou destin?

A présent je n’ai plus d’inspiration, plus de temps, tandis qu’à cette époque-là, l’inspiration me venait naturellement. J’étais étudiante, jeune, libre, rêveuse, amoureuse parfois… Malheureusement, ça ne marche plus comme avant.

Sinon, la vie de Rimbaud est passionnante. Il a quitté sa mère à 16 ans pour rejoindre son ami Verlaine à Paris ; il était tout à fait non-conformiste, ensemble, ils ont voyagé en Angleterre et vécu une histoire d’amour troublante, car Verlaine était marié. Deux génies fous et malentendus par la société et leurs familles… Rimbaud n’était qu’un enfant éternel, toujours curieux et décidé à conquérir le monde entier. Il a abandonné la poésie pour se lancer dans le commerce en Afrique, ayant marché des milliers de km dans sa vie pour mourir à 36 ans d’une gangrène de la jambe.

Sans doute, il y a une relation spéciale entre moi et Rimbaud. En même temps, nous sommes différents; je manque le courage de renoncer à tout et fuir sans avoir les moyens nécessaires pour une stabilité quelconque.

Un monde tragique

Rien n’a changé depuis les guerres de religion du 16ème siècle, on lutte encore et on tue pour imposer son point de vue, que ce soit religion, orientation sexuelle ou avis politique. Un monde tragique qui n’évolue pas...

Some thoughts about EU's financial weakness

All 27 EU members are in danger if money from this amazing €60 billion pot is disbursed and finally not paid back, because all members would have to pay extra into the budget to top it up... This great plan, is it going to work?...

For a while, I thought there is an international conspiracy to destroy the euro... and I am still considering this idea. USA would have reasons to do that and Asian markets too.

The United States of Europe sounds awesome. It's like dreaming about re-uniting Moldova with Romania. Futuristic but not impossible.

Some weak countries depending upon others to save them, isn't this quite the beginning of this dream coming true? Not quite exactly as we expected. Mutual aid, bailouts, support are welcomed and encouraged, but is it quite the right thing to do? An attack on one member is perceived as an attack on all. That's a good thing, though the means are risky for all countries in the long-term.

Though necessary, steep tax increases and deep spending cuts are likely to plunge us into a deeper recession this year, because there is no country in Europe able to counterbalance the high-deficit countries' financial situation by an aggressive economic stimulus of its own; not even Germany.