Arman Community in Romania
Fara Armãneascã dit România
The political interests of the Armans living in Romania are represented by the Arman Community from Romania. The Arman Community from Romania (ACR) was founded in 1991, as an association, having the status of a juridical Romanian private person, without patrimony reasons, an NGO, as the wish of the Romanian citizens of Arman origins to join into an association and to be organized in an institutional frame. ACR counts five subsidiaries with juridical competence: Bucharest and Constanţa, Călăraşi, Ialomiţa, Tulcea districts. The Community has been formed in Romania especially by the immigration of 30.000 Armans since 1925. The main goal of the Community is to maintain and develop the Arman language, traditions and the whole Arman cultural and spiritual specific features. Today it is estimated to have around 80.000 -100.000 people of Arman origin in Romania. At the same time, the Community proposes to facilitate the contact and connections with Armans who live in the original territory of the Balkan Peninsula, as well as Arman Communities from other states. To the same effect, one main objective is to get help from the public authorities regarding:
- the training of Arman language teachers and the introduction of the Arman language in schools as a mother tongue;
- the use of the Arman language in the religious service;
- Access at mass media and editing books, journals and newspapers in Arman language.
ACR is a member of FUEN since 2006.
Saving the Arman language and culture was mentioned in the Recommendation no. 1333/1997 of the Council of Europe, and the danger of Arman language disappearance is recorded in the UNESCO Red Book. The Community demands that these documents must be applied. Some aspects of perceiving the Arman language at the scientific, political, official level in Romania in the last century explain the inertness and the lack of receptivity of the Romanian institutions at the requests of ACR regarding the Arman language problems. The traditional definition of Arman language is as a dialect of a preromanic language which existed aproximatively until 10 century. At that time the Arman tore off in South and Dacoromanian in North. This presupposition, by a simplification and diminution of the historical evolution, makes the Arman language to be considered as a dialect of an extinct language. In the 19th and 20th centuries, even now at the beginning of a new century, Arman is named simply as a dialect of the Romanian language. Romanian is the official, literary and national language of Romania. The Arman language speakers wish to bring the Arman culture to a European level, and to offer the Arman language the status of a European language.
There are three main associations in Romania, developing projects for the Arman culture: the Arman Cultural Association („Sutsata Culturalâ Armânească”), the Arman Youth Council (CTARM) and Project Avhela – the Library of the Arman Culture.
The Arman Cultural Association is an non-profit association, without political character, whose purpose is to contribute to the preservation and nurture of the language, specific traditions and culture of Arman, to support interactions and cultural connections of Armans, to maintain their spiritual unity. The Association promotes a good understanding with Balkan nations, other countries, among which Armans live and perform their activities.
Also, the Arman Cultural Association encourages and supports young people to acknowledge and continue the traditions and help include those in the European value system, in an open dialogue with other cultures, in a climate of knowledge and tolerance.
The Association’s main objectives are to: - Contribute to learn about the historical past of Armans -Promote the contribution of Armans to the European and Balkan spiritual heritage- Contribute to achievement of a unitary writing and literary , educated form of expression, common to all Armans - Promote original literature and support its dissemination through books, publications etc- Support the development and dissemination of folklore creations, of all forms of traditional popular culture- Support cultural interactions of Armans.
The National Arman Day (May 23rd) celebrated yearly in the cities of Romania: Bucharest, Constanţa and Tulcea, where most of the community live, represents every time an important moment topointout the directions of action of the ACR in the cultural field.
In Romania, the „Armãn Community from Romania” had requested the mother tongue to be studied in schools, a higher visibility in mass-media and also other cultural-educational and religious rights. From all these demands, almost nothing has been solved. Only optional courses of Arman culture and traditions has been approved on the national level, while the Community requested that Arman language should be learned compulsorily – where the Arman communities are demanding for - as a mother tongue in accordance with the teaching/didactic standards applicable to all the mother tongues.
The communication function of the language is fulfilled only in family, in small groups of relatives, living in the same neighborhood or gathering on special occasions.Due to the low number of Arman pupils in one and the same school, teaching the Arman language is hindered by the legal regulations: the minimum sufficient number of pupils; didactic quota for teachers; teachers have also to be Arman and employee of the school; the daily program, etc. The school, the media, the friend groups, the work team are pressing factors in favor of assimilation, and the linguistic accommodation to the monolingual environment is very high and in progress.
Referring to the year 2005, only the ACR (from Constanţa, Călăraşi, Ialomiţa, Tulcea districts) and the Arman Cultural Society (ACS) (from Bucharest) initiated in Romania courses of Arman language, culture and traditions, in a form accepted by the Ministry of Research and Education (MRE). Still, nowadays, such courses do not continue, except in various regions of the country, such as Tulcea.At present, there are only a few magazines in the Arman language, sel-financed, a radio show in Arman on the RRI (International Romanian Radio Society) and Arman classics are reprinted from self financed projects.
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