Live with your language rights

Languages can be discussed from several perspectives, but in this introduction the CEMO would like to analize it from an everydayness and sociolinguistic aspect, that is getting in touch with my environment, communicating with those living around me. Expressing me in Hungarian in my home, with my friends is not an issue, however, when I step out into public areas from my private space it seems to be different: in official administration, in the tax office, and the examples could continue. I am able to speak the official language of the state, it is not an effort for me to communicate in it, but then where and how am I supposed to use my linguistic rights? In my home or in the tax office? In both places? If there is no other person to use a language with, if during our everyday interactions we change “THE Language” with another, then sooner or later it will disappear from our and from our descendants life.

CEMO believes, as told by Szigeti Enikő: “Language is keystone of culture, and if this collapses, weakens and fails to resist against the pressure it is faced with, it will simply disappear. As tribes disappear daily, so it is not big issue, just we better be aware of it. When we knowingly don’t speak in Hungarian and enter these games, just because on short-term it benefits us, and helps our sense of –otherwise lacking– confort, we better realize: we just constantly undermine our own culture ourselves. Of course, this is an identify problem, but I still believe Culture is based on a key pillar, namely Language. Or else a culture doesn’t exist.  And the way a language is spoken, beside the fact that is has degraged to our private sphere is must not be by accident. Beside putting the blame on the evil “pygmies”, one could also wonder what herself does against such phenomenon.”

Speaking in our mother tongue is not extreme nationalism, is not showing-off. It is simpler, easier and more confortable. Naturally, language or the restricion of its usage is a quite often used weapon. All this must not dissuade us from our language usage. Where several communities live together, their languages are all important, there are no inferior or superior languages. Language rights enable us to live in harmony in a multi-lingual community, and to learn behaviours that show tolerance and mutual respect. We must learn to live with our linguistic rights, we must observe the presence or absence of our language on city streets, our childrens’ school, pre-school, or in the tax-office’s hallway. We can’t send our language into exile, that is to use it only in our homes and churches. We must all use our language in those places where we live, work and breathe. We must stick to this principle, because we are what our language is.

What can I do ?
To use my mother tongue.
Calmly, self-confidently, constantly in all situations in my life. Because it is mine, part of my culture, and I have the right to use it where I live.
The list of laws that regulate and specify my linguistic rights?
1.Constitution of Romania
2.Law no. 215/2001 of Local Administration
3.Educational Law
4.Law no. 304/2004 about the Statute of Judges and Prosecutors, with its amendments
5.European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages is an international document, that Romania has signed, and ratified in 2008. Romania ensures and facilitates, by the means of the Charter, the use of minority or regional languages (in our case that of the Hungarian language) in countless domains in official contacts.

In Public Administration

European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
Article 10 – Administrative authorities and public services
“Within the administrative districts of the State in which the number of residents who are users of regional or minority languages justifies the measures specified below and according to the situation of each language, the Parties undertake, as far as this is reasonably possible:
to ensure that such of their officers as are in contact with the public use the regional or minority languages in their relations with persons applying to them in these languages;”

Constitution of Romania, Article 120, Paragraph 2:
“In those administrative-territorial units in which the number of citizens belonging to national minorities have a significant weight, the use of that national minority language is ensured both in written and in oral relations with the local government authorities and with the decentralized public services; as per the conditions provided by the organic law.”

This Article of the Constitution is reglemented by the Decision nr. 1.206 from 27 November 2001 regarding the Law of Local Public Administration nr. 215/2001, Paragraph 19, Article 2, that states:
“Authorities of public and local administrations, public institutions subordinated to them as well as decentralized public services, ensure the use of mother tongue in their relationships with national minorities, in those administrative-territorial units in which the percentage of citizens belonging to national minorities are over 20%; all according to the Constitution, the present law and the international treaties to which Romania is party.”

Before you, respected reader would hurry to say that Yes, but those countless forms that must be filled and handed down in Romanian makes impossible the use the Hungarian Language I must let you know that from those numberless forms the most used ones are translated to Hungarian and can be found on the address, website of the Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities of Kolozsvár/ Cluj Napoca.

In Education

I have the right to education in Hungarian. Romania undertakes itself to ensure this, based on Article 8 of the  European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
Article 8 – Education
“With regard to education, the Parties undertake, within the territory in which such languages are used, according to the situation of each of these languages, and without prejudice to the teaching of the official language(s) of the State:
– to make available pre-school education in the relevant regional or minority languages;

– to make available primary education in the relevant regional or minority languages;
– to make available secondary education in the relevant regional or minority languages;
– to make available technical and vocational education in the relevant regional or minority languages;
– to make available university and other higher education in regional or minority languages; “

If any of my aforementioned rights is confined (when subjects as physical education/ music/ drawing/ handcrafting/ anything is taught in my school in other language than Hungarian, without my written consent is a case that also belongs here) I may immediately inform the National Council for Combating Discrimination.

In Jurisdiction

Details about these rights can be found in Article 9 of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages,

National Council for Combating Discrimination
Blvd. Nicolae Balcescu nr. 35 Sc. A, Et. 5. Ap. 10. Sect. 1
Bucharest, ROMANIA
Tel: +40-21-312 65 85 Fax: +40-21-312 65 78

Live with your language rights!