English in Romanian Media – Observations

by | May 24, 2023 |

English in Romanian Media is hardly a new topic. The question isn’t whether English is finding its way into Romanian. The question is: How pervasive is the phenomenon? If you’re not paying attention, you might not notice a lot. However, over these past few days, I decided to pay attention, and I’m struck by how much English pervades Romanian.

The title image caught my eye. It’s advertising a kindergarten and an after school program where instruction is in German. The Romanian word for kindergarten is gradiniță. But if you’re teaching în limba germană ‘in the German language’ why not use the German word for kindergarten in your advertising? Which also just happens to be the English word. And because you’re already using the English phrase After School in the sign.

Obviously, my question is irrelevant. The makers of the sign chose the words their target audience would understand. In other words, after school is as much a phrase in Romanian these days as it is in English.

English in Romanian Media: Street Signage

It’s impossible to document the amount of written English the average inhabitant of Bucharest sees on a daily basis.

It’s everywhere. Sometimes signs are all in English.

English in Romanian

Electric Castle is an annual festival held in Cluj-Napoca. This sign is on Bulevardul Magheru, a main drag. It’s not surprising that the organizers of the festival use English in order to reach a wide audience.

I’m not sure why Mr. Blade the Barbershop decided to go all English. But there it is.

English in RomanianSometimes the signs have a mixture of English and Romanian. The one for Strongbow Dark Fruit includes the information: creat din forta naturii ‘created by the force of nature.’ I don’t know what a Romanian is supposed to think about the product name. It doesn’t mean anything to me.

English in Romanian Media: Television Hosts and Guests

Here I’ve been truly astounded by how much English slips into all sorts of television programs. Final four in a discussion of a sports tournament. Cash flow in anything to do with economic matters. In a segment entitled Secretul tenului luminos și sănătos ‘The secret of luminous and healthy complexion,’ the presenter repeatedly used the word glow and made sure that her audience knew it meant strălucire. Fresh skin and fresh face are also in the picture.

Programs have names like Breaking Fake News. A variety show might include a roast of one of the hosts. Feedback-ul is everywhere.

I just watched a program with a person who critiqued the outfits of celebs at a recent event. He identified himself as a member of Poliția Modei ‘the fashion police.’  I don’t know why he went with the Romanian translation here because he dropped all sorts of English words into his critiques. Needless to say he used styling a lot. Eye contact came up in the context of a celeb wearing sunglasses.

Cross-linguistic puns are fun. One talk show host gave a tour of his apartment. He opened the segment by saying, “Come in, come in, please, to my cămin.” Cămin is a word for ‘home or ‘domicile,’ and he made, “Come in, come in” sound like cămin.

English in Romanian Media: On the Screen

English regularly appears in chyrons. Here are two examples:

English in Romanian

City Break in Constanța, in the off season

“Romanian Creative Week” Begins Today

I’m not sure what work English is doing in these captions/concepts. Clearly, something. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be used.

Younger people use English more than older people. Not too difficult to figure out why. And not too difficult to understand that they would incorporate English into their everyday speech. I hear the Romanian-English mash-up Romglish on the street.

Enjoy a conversation in Romglish. I don’t know if it defines the future of the language but it is certainly the now:

See also: Top English words adopted by Romanians


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This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen

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