“At the beginning there was the word”. This is how the biblical Book of Creation starts, stating the creative force of words. They can build and they can destroy ideas, concepts and realities. In today’s world, it is the media who says that primary Word that creates and demolishes.
Indeed, the media has the role of presenting the surrounding reality to the large audiences in a comprehensive manner, while being authentic and accurate. Thus, it has to use an adequate language and tone in relation to both the content and the audience. By association, the language the media uses can mirror the language and way of understanding of the large audiences it is addressed to. Therefore, it is important to observe the media language tendencies, as they represent the society’s tendencies in one way or another. This paper’s purpose is to show that the newest trend in Romanian online press and thus, also in the society, is using a colloquial tone, close to the language used in the oral language, displaying violent words and anglicized expressions, while as the formal tone occupies less and less space in the contemporary media.
The first argument is the frequent use of verbal aggression in publications. Whether it is reproducing someone else’s attitude, mocking a politician or expressing one’s contempt, the media is not afraid to be blunt these days. A good example is the “Academia Catavencu”, a publication founded in 1991 by some of the most notorious and cultivated Romanian journalists. The paper aims to caricaturize the autochthonous reality by using explicit illustrations and articles. For example, one of the articles congratulates a person who allegedly spitted at the former Romanian President Traian Basescu. The article describes the former president as a “ticălos”, “dictator”, “tiran” (e.n. “prick”, “dictator”, “tyrant”) and says that “Românii îi vor aplica scuipatul final acestui trădător de neam şi ţară “ (e.n. “all Romanians will apply the final spit on this country traitor”). The article does not present any arguments for this attitude, other than promising a proper journalistic investigation in the near future.
Another example is journalist Liviu Alexa’s editorial on www.ziardecluj.ro, a website with over 76.800 visitors per week, which frequently publishes exposés about local politicians and businessmen. His article is about how Facebook has made everyone express their feelings with pictures of sunsets and couples accompanied by meaningful quotes, just so they can draw attention. Mr. Alexa uses a very “colorful” language, ending his article with the question: “Dragele mele, mai sunt si ceva curve printre voi? Din alea, fete care sa vrea sa faca sex in vagin“(e.n. “My dear girls, there any more whores among you, you know the kind who wants to have sex in the vagina?”)
Secondly, other than the use of explicit aggressive language, the Romanian media exhibits a lot of English words, which may prove harmful for the population. Journalists are a category of writers, word experts, who are supposed to preserve the cultural heritage, which the language is a part of. Moreover, there is a part of the population for whom the press is the only lecture. It represents an effective way to enrich people’s vocabulary, instead of making it poorer by using a limited amount of words in their national language.
Some of the examples are the following: the news website www.voceatimisului.ro uses the verb “a performa” (which does not exist in the Romanian language Dictionary) in the article headline, as a Romanized version of the English verb “to perform”. Also, the word “line-up” (which does not exist in the Romanian Dictionary) is used freely in a realitatea.ro article, as if it was part of the Romanian language. Furthermore, the articles covering the EU Elections use the word “exit-poll” in their headlines, “summitelor”, not even “summituri”, the correct Romanian plural from the English word “summit” and the word “live text” (which does not yet exist in the Romanian Dictionary, other than separately, but as the attribute is placed before the noun, the construction is in English, not in Romanian) describing the news format.
To conclude, if not using your country’s language leads to the loss of national identity and the use of colloquial violent language is inappropriate for news institutions, the Romanian media is heading rapidly towards losing both its prestige and originality, turning into a plagiary Romanian-English communication hybrid, no different from a blogger randomly writing his thoughts in the online space, with the only purpose of appearing different and cool.
by Georgiana Bigea