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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!

You will find the audio here


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 two 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. Example
auxilliary 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 before you can pronounce it correctly. Listen to the recording as many times as required to get it right. Examples: 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 by sending me an email to limba.chineza@yahoo.com

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