Thursday, October 13, 2011

more language: american dream

Sort of in the same vein as the post about Turkish. This song, actually, to me is really sad. A lot of the Romanian music I like usually is. Just as an aside, for this reason I like good hiphop, I like how it's political, its observations of the state of things, its social commentary. True for this as well.

Anyway, here are some verses and their translations from the song below. (Full lyrics here.)

Acum nu te mai duci la munca, te duci la job
You don't go to work anymore, you go to the job

Nu mai avem cartiere naspa, avem ghetou
Raperii au flow, sunt underground yo
Totul este cool, nimic nu e misto
We don't have crappy neighborhoods anymore, we have the ghetto
Rappers have flow, they're underground, yo
Everything is cool, nothing's misto*

Tre' sa fii in trend, altfel nu e de gluma
"Is this the life" nu suna asa bine-n romana
You gotta be in trend, otherwise (?)
'Is this the life' doesn't sound as good in Romanian

So if you go through both you see that half the song is English (if a little bit Romanianized) and so it is with how people talk. I mean, I suppose it's exaggerated if you're talking about regular conversation with young people. But there are so many borrowed words that you really can talk like this. And is it really Romanian? Some kind of weird hybrid?

I like to watch how languages evolve, I like to think about how English is changing. It's fun, it's interesting. But I'll admit that the Romanian in this song is not pretty the way the language normally is. Whether it's really changing that much, I have no idea. The sixteen-year-old I share a room with doesn't talk like this (although she doesn't know English either). Nor do most people I know.

But then I don't think that's really the entire point of the song. And there's a ton that could be said about it. Maybe I'll write about that soon... Anyway, a large part seems to be summed up here:

I can be what I want to be
Losing my dignity**
Cause I gotta lot of life in me
Let me live my American dream

*from what I understand, misto actually comes from the language Gypsies speak?
**sounds more like they're saying vanity to me, but all the lyrics I read say dignity


  1. The song is about the changes that took place in Romania in the last 20 years... and mostly about some words we borrowed from English (even though we had Romanian versions for them before). Also it's about the Americanization of our culture and way of life. It's not a sad song... it's just Romanian... :-) has the typical Romanian irony (as a Romanian saying says: haz de necaz).
    Misto was a gypsy word but it's part of the Romanian language for 50 years at least. It means cool. Naspa it's another word like misto... naspa means it sucks.

  2. if i'm understanding the phrase correctly (haz de necaz), i really like the idea :)))

    also, any good romanian music recommendations?