Regional Varieties of Romanian Greetings

Greeting represents a micro-univers of two different worlds: yours and mine, that come togheter when we meet. As an universal expression, greeting represents an important part of our social competence and bears the etiquette: social, cultural, and also, the identitary reference. Romanian greeting paradigm is very rich and reflects/comes from the social reality and the speaker’s communicative intention. Starting from the assumption that the selection of greeting and farewell formulae performed by the speakers is determined by extralinguistic factors such as their educational background, professional status, social relationships and the like, this presentation attempts a description of the variation registered by the use of greetings in contemporary Romanian, in formal and informal communication contexts, in relation to three sociolinguistic variables: age, gender and level of education. From the point of view of diatopic differences registered by the greeting formulae, at the standard language level, one may note a series of differences specific to the main historical regions of Romanian: Wallachia, Moldovia, Transylvania, Maramureș, Crișana, Banat and Dobruja. Why do Transylvanians greet each other with servus? Why in Banat, people use ciau/ceau, while people from Bucharest would rather use bună? And why in Moldova the preferred greeting version is the French salut, used alternatively with bună? The methodology used to obtain the data for this study is a combination of traditional methods of guided conversation with a Discourse Completion task, aimed at eliciting greeting structures. The framework of the variational pragmatics represents the setting for exploring Romanian greetings across geographical and social varieties. Combining pragmatics and socio-dialectology through this approach we want to set out what impact the factors taken into account might have on language use. The sociolinguistic survey is based on a questionnaire (recorded in SoRoEs project) which includes 13 open-answer discussion communicative situations. The first item of the questionnaire, related to greetings, aimed at identifying the greeting formulae used by subjects in various situational, formal and informal contexts. In this respect we provided a short description of the situational/communicational context for each respondent, without suggesting any possible answer or expression choice. Our investigations on the field revealed the fact that, out of the three social variables considered in this study, age and the level of education generate the highest number of variation in the selection and use of greetings in contemporary Romanian. On the contrary, gender does not cause significant changes at a structural level, yet it gives use the greeting/farewell formulae distinctive affection markers. Thus, women are more tempted to express their feelings for the interlocutors, and this tendency is reflected in the obvious affective load of the greetings they perform.


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See also: Poster