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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Beginner Romanian - acesta, acela (this, that)

Acesta este biroul şefului. Bărbatul acela de lîngă uşă este şeful meu. Aceasta este prietena mea. Ea lucrează în şcoala din spatele primăriei. Aceea este maşina lui George. Cărţile acestea sînt ale mele. Acelea sînt cărţile tale.

In Romanian, very much as it is the case in English, one uses demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative pronominal adjectives to refer to objects that are either close or further away form the speaker:
Acesta este biroul şefului. This is the boss’s office.
Acelea sînt cărţile mele. Those are my books.
The form of the demonstrative pronouns is almost identical with that of the demonstrative pronominal adjectives. With a slight twist.
In order to refer to objects that are either close or further away form the speaker, in Romanian one uses two types of demonstrative pronominal adjectives just like the English, this, these, that, those, thus indicating proximity and remoteness. The demonstrative pronominal adjectives have a singular and a plural form, as well as a masculine and a feminine form. Note that the neuter singular form coincides with that of the masculine singular form, whereas the neuter plural form is identical with the feminine plural form:
Cine este acest bărbat? Bărbatul acesta este tatăl meu. Who is this man? This man is my father.
Cine este această femeie? Femeia aceasta este mama mea. Who is that woman? That woman is my mother.
Cine sînt aceşti bărbaţi? Bărbaţii aceştia sînt colegii mei de serviciu. Who are these men? They are my work-mates.
Cine sînt aceste femei? Femeile acestea sînt profesoarele de la liceu din cartier. Who are these women. These women are teachers in the neighbourhood school.

In Romanian the demonstrative pronominal adjectives can be pre- and post-positioned, with slightlty varying forms. Notice the difference? In the questions above, the demonstrative pronominal adjectives are pre-positioned, whereas in the answers they are post-positioned:
pre-position – post-positioned
acest/acel domn – domnul acesta/ acelathis/that gentleman
această/acea doamnă – doamna aceasta/ aceeathis/that lady
aceşti/acei bărbaţi – bărbaţii aceştia/ aceiathese/those gentlemen
aceste/acele femei – femeile acestea/ aceleathese/those ladies

In colloquial Romanian and in fact in most conversational situations the above forms of the demonstrative pronominal adjectives are replaced by shorter semantically neutral forms:
acesta = ăsta, acela = ăla
aceasta = asta, aceea = aia
aceştia = ăştia, aceia = ăia
acestea = astea, acelea = alea

Some further examples:
Acesta este fratele meu. Acela este prietenul meu George.
This is my brother. That is my friend George.
Aceasta este sora mea. Aceea este prietena mea Alina.
That is my sister. That is my friend Alina.
Aceştia sînt colegii tăi. Aceştia sînt prietenii mei.
Those are your friends. These are my friends.
Acestea sînt profesoare de liceu. Acestea sînt colegele tale.
Those are high-school teachers. Those are your work-mates.

I have deliberately left certain aspects of this lessons in abeyance. They are available to my online students..

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