In English, Please!

It saddens me to see that the children of today, in Romania, are watching all their cartoons dubbed in Romanian. On the surface, this seems to be a reasonable and useful thing, and I’m certain there’s a whole host of people who would take this moment to go to war with me arguing that we should be patriotic, that kids should learn Romanian and whatnot. And, being the patriot that I am, I don’t disagree with this aspect of the argument. However, when I look at the children I come into contact with, and seeing that all the cartoon TV channels are now fully dubbed in Romanian, it makes me realize the following thing:

Today’s children are deprived of one of the best, and most effective, ways of learning English.

When I was their age, Cartoon Network had just been introduced in Romania, and it was still broadcast in English. This happened when I was in primary school, it was a massive hype, and I could not believe that, suddenly, there was an entire TV channel dedicated only to cartoons. I would spend literally every available moment (when I wasn’t in school, or doing homework, or all the other boring, irrelevant things like having dinner, sleeping etc.) glued to the TV screen watching cartoons. In English.

And my knowledge of the English language was still in its incipient phases at that point. So I mostly didn’t understand what Scooby Doo was, desperately, trying to tell Shaggy (I still don’t, but that’s not the point!). I had no idea what Fred Flinstone was yelling about. But I watched. And, gradually, I learned. And eventually, I said to myself: “Hey, guess what? I can speak English now!” And now, looking back, I realize I have Cartoon Network to thank for setting me firmly on the path to becoming the erudite, eloquent English speaker that I am today.

Romanian kids today don’t have this anymore. Watching cartoons in Romanian is kindof like not needing to chew your food anymore before you ingest it. And many-a-time, I find that primary and secondary school kids speak less English than I did, at their age. Yes, it’s important for a Romanian citizen to know, and speak, Romanian first and foremost. But let’s cut this dubbing crap already. If, for no other reason, because Romanian voice actors sound like crap when trying to do cartoon voices. And secondly, because, as a lyricist and musician, it irks me to no end to hear even the theme songs translated into Romanian. With all those extra syllables and forced rhymes they have to add in.

It just doesn’t really cut the mustard for me!


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