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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Romanian Beginner 001

Romanian dialogue

Mircea: Salut, Marius! Ce mai faci?

Marius: Ceau, Mircea! Sunt (sînt) bine! Tu cum eşti?

Mircea: Bine, mersi! Nu te-am văzut de un car de ani! Pe unde lucrezi?

Marius: Tot acolo la firmă. Tu?

Mircea: Şi eu! Bine, mai vorbim! Acum trebuie să merg. Am o întâlnire. Pa!

Marius: Salut!


Mircea: Greetings, Marius! How are you?

Marius: Hi, Mircea! I’m fine! And how are you?

Mircea: Fine, thanks! I haven’t seen you for donkey’s years! What do you do?

Marius: Still there at the firm! You?

Mircea: Me too! OK, we’ll talk again some other time. I have to go now. Bye!

Marius: See ya!


salut hello

ce what

mai month of May; even more....; still

a face to do, to make

ceau hi (greeting)

a fi to be

bine good; well

tu you

cum how

mersi thanks

nu no

a vedea see

de un car de ani for donkey’s years

pe unde whereabouts

a lucra work

tot all; still: tot acolo – still there

acolo there

firmă firm, company

şi and

eu I

a vorbi to talk

trebuie must

a merge to walk

întîlnire meeting

Cultural notes and grammar

This is an informal dialogue between two friends, Marius and Mircea. There are two ways of informal greeting used in this dialogue. The first one is „Salut”. It’s the exact equivalent of the French greeting. „Ceau”, on the other hand, was borrowed from Italian. The pronunciation is slightlty different in both cases from the original languages.

The personal pronoun can sometimes be omitted from the sentence as is „Sunt bine”. One might as well add the personal pronoun „eu” (I), but not in this situation. The personal pronoun „tu” is used in the following sentence: „Tu cum eşti”. It is meant to lay an extra emphasis that in return, Mircea is curious to find out about Marius well-being: „And how are YOU?”

The verb trebuie is always used in the following pattern:

trebuie + să + verb (conjunctive mode). Example: trebuie să merg

The verb a avea (have) has to basic uses. It is used on the one hand as an auxilliary verb like in English. Secondly, it can be used as a lexical verb to indicate possession. Exemple

auxilliar verb am văzut I have seen

lexical verb am o întâlnire I have a meeting

Tips on pronunciation:


c followed by e or i is pronounced like the English ch. Examples: ce, faci, ceau

When c is followed by other letters, it is normally pronounced k. Examples: car, lucrezi, acolo


The unstressed i at the end of a word requires plenty of practice to be able to pronounce it correctly. Listen to the recording as many times as required to get it right. Exemple: faci, eşti, ani.


In Transylvania, e has a different, more open pronunciation than in other parts of Romania. This is mainly due to the influence of the Hungarian language.

At the beginning of a word (except for scientific ones), e is usually pronounced as the English word yeah. Exemple: eşti, eu. This was caused by the influence of the Slavic languages in the region. Romanian is a neo-Latin language spoken in a country surrounded by peoples of Slavic tongue. The Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia and Moldova. A large portion of the Moldovan population is either russophile or Russian proper.


In spoken Romanian sunt and sînt are both variants of the same word. In writing, however, only the former is correct. That is because the orthographic reform of recent years that meant to emphasize the Latin origin of the Romanian language and it’s vocabulary. More to the issue in the lessons to come.

If I have stirred your appetite for online Romanian lessons, let me know. I can teach

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