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Monday, August 22, 2011

Beginner Romanian - Cat este ceasul? (What time is it?)


Ce oră este?

Dialogul 1

A: Îmi spuneţi, vă rog, cît e ceasul?
B: O clipă. Este ora unsprezece şi trei minute.

Dialogul 2

A: Îmi spui te rog cît este ora?
B: Da, desigur. Este şapte fără un sfert.

Dialogul 3

A: Ce oră este acum?
B: Este ora patru fix.

Dialogul 4

A: Ştii cumva cît e ceasul?
B: Nu am ceas, dar cred că este trecut de ora două.

Dialogul 5

A: Cît e ora?
B: E şi douăşcinci.

Dialogul 6

A: La ce oră pleci acasă?
B: La ora şase jumate.

Dialogul 7

A: Cînd trebuie să te întîlneşti cu Pavel?
B: La şi douăzeci.

English Translation

Dialogue 1

A: Could you tell me the time, please?
B: Just a moment. It’s three minutes past eleven.

Dialogue 2

A: Could you, please, tell me the time?
B: Yeah, sure. It’s a quarter to seven.

Dialogue 3

A: What time is it now?
B: It’s four o’clock sharp.

Dialogue 4

A: Do you happen to know what time it is?
B: I don’t have a watch, but I think it’s already two o’clock.

Dialogue 5

A: What’s the time?
B: It’s twenty five minutes past the hour.

Dialogue 6

A: What time are you going home?
B: At half past six.

Dialogue 7

A: When do you have to meet Pavel?
B: At twenty past.

The first dialogue is typical for a formal situation. When we ask the time, the polite way is by saying: Îmi spuneţi, vă rog, cît e ceasul? Could you please tell me what time it is? In this question, „ceasul” (hour), a word of Slavic origin, is interchangeable with „ora” (hour), a word of Latin origin.[1] The rest of the dialogues are all in informal Romanian.
When we tell the time in Romanian, the following basic pattern is used: Este ora ... .
Here are some examples:
Este ora unu. It’s one o’clock.
Este ora două. It’s two o’clock.
Este ora cinci. It’s five o’clock.
Is it is past the hour, in Romanian we say:
Este ora ... şi ... minute. In Romanian we say the hour first, then the minutes. Literally, it sounds like: It’s ... o’clock and ... minutes. Here are some examples:
Este ora trei şi cinci minute. It’s 5 past 3.
Este ora şapte şi un sfert. It’s a quarter past seven.
Este ora opt şi douăzeci şi două de minute. It’s 22 minutes past 8.
„Ora” can be omitted. „Minute” can also be omitted if the minutes are dividable by 5 (as in dialogue 5 and 7), thus we have:
Este ora ... şi ... .
Here are some examples:
Este patru şi zece. It’s ten past four.
Este şapte şi douăzeci. It’s twenty past seven.
A further contraction is also possible:
Este opt douăşcinci. Just like in English: It’s 08:25.
If the time is 30 minutes +, such as in 08:35, in Romanian we say Este ora nouă fără douăşcinci, which can be translated literally as: It’s nine o’clock without 25 minutes. In standard English: It’s 25 minutes to 9.





[1] The two words are interchangeable in the question only, not in the answer.

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