a VirtualTourist member from Chicago asked on Apr 10, 2016
I will be in Chisinau this summer and am curious about local lingual preferences. I do know a few words of Romanian courtesy of a former girlfriend and living in a Balkan neighborhood, but not really enough to manage even simple transactions. Everyone speaks English everywhere of course, and I am fluent, so I know that is always an option, but I worry a bit about the tax on it and that speaking it can sometimes provoke animosity. German I speak well, but I am not sure if it is still widely understood and I have the same concerns about speaking German as English, possibly even stronger. Italian I am OK with but I (and most others) seldom speak it outside of Italy or within my own family. It is similar enough to Romanian that I raise it as a possibility because it allows me to read Romanian and sometimes get the gist of spoken speech. Russian is a language I only have the basics of, learned on the street and can use to get through simple transactions. My concerns are I don't speak it very well, and have found that it is only grudgingly used in other parts of the Balkans.
Which would you use to open a conversation or perform a transaction?
Younger people speak better English, older probably better Russian (Russians are not too popular in Moldavia, only in Tiraspol and surround Russian is preferred), German is only spoken by people who worked or studied there, Molavian is closely related to Romanian but there might be words you think you understand but mean something completely different (I have that problem with German versus Dutch)
Which would you use to open a conversation or perform a transaction? Best is in my opinion witchever language is best spoken by both, besides of German my best language would be Engish but if the opponent speaks both very bad but a little bit of French, which I speak a little but, then French would be best....
In general people do differ between individuals and a probable dislike of their governments, also even without speaking any English they will know from where you are.
While I like to drink whine I don't like tour's, can't help you there.
You will find, as already mentioned, the younger people will know English, whether they will use it is another thing. I was in Chisinau 15 times and all I knew was very basic Russian. I used what little I knew and never had problems, most Modavians speak it as a second language. The Russian speakers don't want to learn Moldovian as, as already said, some Moldavians do not want the Russians there. The "Russians" are mainly "Turks" that were called upon to help Stephan cel Mare fight his battles. Your Romanian will be the best option in my opinion in bars, restaurants shops etc. You will see lots of Russian writing in Gazettes (newspapers) and on the streets generally. I spent time with locals and they spoke mainly Russian but also Moldovan depending on the main language of who they spoke with.
Jeez, sounds like Iashi back in 92. I thought things would have changed by now!
Iasi, Romania, you mean? That is where my girlfriend is from.
Yes, though many many years have gone by since I was there