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Tips and notes

The following notes will aid you in case you're having trouble with the
lesson, but feel free to skip them and continue with the lesson. Once you
have a broader context, they will help you put everything together.

ROMANIAN ALPHABET
Romanian uses an extended Latin alphabet. Compared to the English
alphabet, it has the following five extra letters.

Letter English name

A-breve

A-circumflex

I-circumflex

S-comma (not to be confused with - Scedilla)

T-comma (not to be confused with - Tcedilla)

PRONUNCIATION
Apart from a few exceptions, Romanian consonants sound virtually
identical to their English counterparts. Vowels, on the other hand, have
slightly different pronunciations using a more relaxed/open mouth.
The following tables will aid you in pronouncing what are most probably
the most unfamiliar sounds to English speakers, yet they are by no means
complete. See Romanian pronunciation for a more exhaustive explanation.

Vowels
Sound IPA phoneme English example
A

father

above

roses

creed

door

loom

Consonants
C and G followed by either E or I change their sounds.

Sound IPA phoneme English example


C

car

Ce
/
Ci

chalk

Ge
/
Gi

general

exposure

sharp

ts

pizza

OR
Although and sound precisely the same, Romanian use of both letters
stems from etymology. So, by using a simple rule to swap between the
two, Romanian has been able to retain some similarity with Latin, where
most etymons use A instead of and I instead of .
The rule between them is that is only used at the start and end of a word.
In the middle, you would use .

ncepe (to begin) - start


hotr (to decide) - end
mnca (to eat) - middle

nenfricat (fearless) - here we use because the word stems from


nfricat with the preposition ne

EU, EA, E, ESTE


Although Romanian has exceptionally few pronunciation exceptions, there
is one which is noticeable from the very beginning. Eu (I/me), el
(he/him),ea (she/her),ei (they/them masc.),ele (they/them fem.), e (is), and
este (is) are all pronounced starting with /ie/ instead of simply /e/.

PERSONAL PRONOUNS
Compared to English, Romanian's personal pronouns lack a precise
translation for it. When having a subject that you would normally use it for,
you can either use demonstrative pronouns (acesta (this masc.), aceea
(that fem.) etc.), or simply refrain from using a pronoun.

English

Romanian

eu

you

tu

English

Romanian

he / she / it

el /
ea /N/A

we

noi

you (pl.)

voi

they (masc. /
fem.)

ei / ele

TO BE
In Romanian, the subject of any setence has to be in agreement with the
verb representing the action it is performing. This agreement is called
conjugation and comes with its own set of rules and exceptions. Below you
will find the conjugation table for a fi(to be).

English

Romanian

I am

Eu sunt

you are

Tu eti

he / she is

El / Ea este

we are

Noi suntem

you are (pl.)

Voi suntei

they are (masc. /


fem.)

Ei / Ele sunt

INFLECTION
Compared to English, Romanian is an inflected language. This means that
the words of the language are comprised of roots, which rarely change,
and inflections, or endings. Although not all words change form, most of
them (nouns, adjectives, pronouns, verbs) do.

CASES
Even though Romanian has five cases, namely nominative, accusative,
dative, genitive, and vocative, nominative and accusative, respectively
dative and genitive have the same form.
Below is an example of how a noun forms differ in Romanian but remain
the same in English.

Case

English

Romanian

nominative

man

brbat

accusative

man

brbat

Case

English

Romanian

dative

man

brbatului

genitive

man's

brbatului

vocative

man

brbatule/
brbate

TO HAVE
Conjugation table for a avea (to have).

English

Romanian

I have

Eu am

you have

Tu ai

he / she has

el / ea are

we have

Noi avem

you have (pl.)

Voi avei

they have (masc. /


fem.)

ei / ele au

SALUT!
Romanian culture puts a great emphasis on politeness. Thus, knowing how
to greet is an essential skill for anyone learning the basics.

Formal greetings
English

Romanian

Good day

Bun ziua

Good
morning

Bun dimineaa

Good evening

Bun seara

Good night

Noapte bun

Good bye

La revedere

Less formal greetings


Apart from salut (hi), most Romanian informal greetings have higher usage
only in particular regions but are understood by virtually everyone.
Also, some ways of greeting can be use when meeting and departing.

English Romanian
Hi

Salut

Hi

Bun

Hi

Ciao

Hi

Servus

Bye

Pa

Bye

Salut

Bye

Ciao

POLITE PRONOUNS
Much like in the case of the French language, Romanian has a special
politeness pronoun. If you want to be explicitly polite, you use the
following forms.

English Usual Polite


you

tu/v
oi

dumneavoast
r

he

el

dumnealui

she

ea

dumneaei

they

ei/el
e

dumnealor

This difference also adds more polite forms of some phrases.

English

Usual

Polite

please

te rog

v rog

thank
you

[i]
mulumesc/mersi

[v]
mulumesc

UNCOUNTABLES
In Romanian, the equivalent of uncountable nouns are the nouns lacking a
plural form. Some exmples would be lapte, miere, zahr etc. Like in
English, these nouns usually denote substances or concepts that cannot be
separated into individual elements.
When talking about food, for example, you should use the singular of
nouns lacking plural form and the plural for all others, as long as the
quantity is not known.

English

Romanian

I never eat sugar.

Eu nu mnnc zahr niciodat.

They eat tomatoes every day.

Ei mnnc roii n fiecare zi.

If the quantity is known, you should use the proper form.

English

Romanian

We are eating two


cucumbers.

Noi mncm doi castravei.

You are eating a cake.

Voi mncai un tort.

MEALS
English

Romanian

breakfast

mic dejun

lunch

prnz

supper

cin

COURSES
English

Romanian

entre/first
course

antreu/felul nti

main course

felul principal/felul
doi

dessert

desert

COMPOUND FOOD NAMES


In order to use more complex names of foods that usually require multiple
nouns, you will have to use a preposition. The two most frequent ones
when it comes to food are de(of) and cu (with).
De is used when in English you would normally use nothing, while cu is
simply translated from the Englishwith. (usually used in the case of dish
names)

English

Romanian

cocoa butter

Unt de cacao

seawater fish

Pete de mare

chicken with soy


sauce

Pui cu sos de soia

There are some exceptions when one language may have a specialized
word, whereas the other will use a compound noun, like carne de
vit (beef), or even miss the preposition de entirely, like lun plin (full
moon).
This will come in handy later, as it applies to most English compound nouns
that are also translated to compound nouns in Romanian.

ANIMAL NAMES FOR MALE, FEMALE, AND BABY


Romanian has specialized names for common animal types. The plural is
formed from either the male or the female form.

English

Male

Female

Baby

Plural

horse

cal

iap

mnz

cai

chicken

coco

gin

pui

gini/pui

sheep

berbec

oaie

miel

oi

goat

ap

capr

ied

capre

cattle

taur

vac

viel

vaci

ANIMAL GROUPS
Like in English, some groups of animals have specialized names.
Herbivores, for example, will get the name turm which is similar to the
word herd.
turm de oi (flock of sheep)
turm de elefani (elephant herd)
turm de vaci (cattle herd)
For birds one would usually use the word stol.
stol de ciori (murder of crows)
stol de porumbei (flock of pigeons)
Some groups, though, have custom names.

English

Romanian

pack of wolves/dogs

hait de lupi

beaver colony

colonie de castori

bee hive/swarm

stup/roi de albine

locust swarm

nor de lcuste

PLURAL FORMS BY GENDER


Compared to English, Romanian plural forms have to be acquired when
learning each noun. Nevertheless, the forms are not completely irregular
as they roughly fall into categories, according to their gender:

Masculine
English

Singular

Plural

Rule

carrot

morcov

morcovi

cons. + i

bear

urs

uri

cons. + i

lion

leu

lei

ui

dog

cine

cini

ei

horse

cal

cai

vowel + l
i

Feminine
English

Singular

Plural

Rule

salad

salat

salate

cabbage

varz

verze

evening

sear

seri

beer

bere

beri

ei

book

carte

cri

ei

coffee

cafea

cafele

ea
ele

kitchen

buctrie

buctrii

ie ii

Neuter
Note: Although Romanian has three genders, the neuter gender usually
acts like a masculine noun when being singular and feminine one when
being plural. If you see rules or tables where neuter is missing (which is
probably most of them), treat neuter nouns as either masculine or
feminine depending on their count.

English

Singular Plural

Rule

dessert

desert

deserturi

cons. + uri

message

mesaj

mesaje

cons. + e

menu

meniu

meniuri

u + ri

English
tea

Singular Plural

Rule

ceai

i + uri

ceaiuri

EXCEPTIONS
Some examples like ou -ou don't fit in any of the rules above and should
simply be remembered. In a similar fashion to English, some uncountable
nouns form plural with the use of compound nouns:

English

Singular

Plural

garlic clove

cel de usturoi

cei de usturoi

pair of glasses

pereche de ochelari

perechi de
ochelari

I/II/III
As mentioned in a previous lesson, Romanian is an inflected language.
Each word has its own stem that is inflected in order to convey meaning,
and one such examples is the plural.
Because some nouns' stems end with an i, you can have plurals that end
with iior with iiiif articulated.

English Singular Plural Plural + article


lion

leu

lei

leii

son

fiu

fii

fiii

DEFINITE ARTICLE - NOMINATIVE-ACCUSATIVE, SINGULAR


One particularity of Romanian is the definite article. Along with a few other
languages like Bulgarian, Macedonian, Norwegian, the definite article gets
attached to the end of the noun. In other words, instead of having it in the
beginning like in the cat, Romanian has a specific ending.
The definite article is used to tell that its noun is particular and identifiable
by person listening. (It's not just a game, it's the game.)
During this lesson we only deal with the nominative-accusative form., with
the dative-genitive form coming in a later lesson.

VERB MOODS
In Romanian, verbs have moods that help a speaker express attitude
towards something. (command, wish, etc.) Two important moods that you
will use and should probably remember are indicative and infinitive.
Indicative is the default mood use for factual statements and is the most
common one. Compared to English, infinitive is less used in Romanian (it
has more specialized moods instead), but it's very useful in recognizing
conjugation groups.

CONJUGATION GROUPS
All Romanian verbs fall into four conjugation groups which help when
conjugating. Unfortunately, these groups are divided into further groups,
but they still help form four rough conjugation sets of rules that work for
all regular verbs with very minor exceptions.
The four groups are identified by the way verbs end when in the infinitive
mood.

Group Ending
I

II

ea

III

IV

i or

Irregular verbs
Irregular verbs have different conjugations that don't fall in the
aforementioned rules, but they are usually learned on the fly as they are
not many.
A few examples are a fi (to be),a avea (to have),a vrea (to want),a da(to
give),a lua(to take),a ti(to know),a mnca(to eat),a face(to do), and a few
more.

Masculine
Masculine nouns fall into the following rules.

No article

Definite
article

Rule

carrot

morcov

morcovul

cons. +
ul

dad

tat

tatl

+l

lion

leu

leul

u+l

claw

clete

cletele

e + le

English

Feminine
While feminine ones fall into these other rules.

English

No
article

Defininte
article

Rule

cheese

brnz

brnza

salt

sare

sarea

cons. + e +
a

tomato

roie

roia

ie ia

coffee

cafea

cafeaua

ea + ua