Romanian 101

Romanian (Moldova) Peace Corps Course

Moldovan Peace Corps CourseAlo! This Moldovan course was developed by the U.S. Peace Corps for its volunteers going to Moldova. It can be useful as a primer for learning the basics of the Moldovan language. You can listen and follow along to each lesson or download the whole course directly.

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Introduction

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Up to 30 million people are currently speaking Romanian. 20 million live in Romania (90 percent of the population); 3 million in the Republic of Moldova and about 1 million in neighboring countries (Ukraine, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia and Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece). There are also significant communities of Romanian language speakers in countries like Canada, United States, Germany, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and Spain.

Romanian is the only Eastern Romance language and most words in Romanian vocabulary (about 75 percent) are of Latin origin. This is why Romanian shares approximately 70 percent of its vocabulary with the other Romance languages, mostly Italian and French, followed by Sardinian, Catalan, Portuguese, Romansh, and Spanish. Over the centuries, Romanian has also borrowed many words from its Slavonic neighbors, German, Hungarian, Turkish, French and, more recently, from English.

The Romanian alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet, and has five additional letters (these are not diacriticals, but letters in their own right): ă, î, â, ş, and ţ. The Romanian alphabet is basically phonetic (with one exception: â - used inside the words - and î - used at the beginning or the end - both represent the same sound). The sounds denoted by letters are largely similar to Italian.

Note that a version of the Cyrillic alphabet was used in the Soviet Republic of Moldova until 1989, when they switched back to the Romanian version of the Latin alphabet.

Lesson 1 – Conversational Romanian

Lesson 2 – Basic Expressions


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English Romanian Pronunciation
Hello! Bună! boo – nuh
Hi! Salut! sa – loot
How are you? Ce mai faceţi? cheh my faht – chaits
Fine, thank you. Bine, mulţumesc. bee – nay, mool – tsu – mesk
Excuse me. Scuzaţi-mă. scoo – zah – tsee – muh
I am sorry. Îmi pare rău. oohm pah-reh ruh-oh
It was nothing. Nu-i nimic nooee nee – meec
Nice to meet you! Îmi pare bine! oohm pah-reh bee-neh
Goodbye. La revedere. lah reh-veh-deh-reh
Good. Bine. bee – neh
Please. Vă rog. vuh rohg
Thank you very much! Mulţumesc mult! mool-tsu-mesk moolt
Yes. Da. dah
No. Nu. noo
You are welcome! Cu plăcere! koo pluh-chai-reh
Cheers! Noroc! noh – rok
What is your name? Cum vă numiţi? coom vuh noo-meets
My name is … Numele meu este… noo-meh-leh meh-oo yehsteh
Good morning! Bună dimineaţa! boo-nuh dee-mee-nyah-tsuh
Good afternoon! Bună ziua! boo-nuh zee-wah
Good evening! Bună seara! boo-nuh syah-ruh
Good night! Noapte bună! nwahp-teh boo-nuh
See you later … Pe curînd… peh cur-oohnd
I do not speak Romanian. Nu vorbesc româneşte. noo vor-besk ro-moohn-esh-teh
I do not understand. Eu nu înţeleg. yuh noo oohn-tseh-leg
I understood. Eu am înţeles. yuh ahm oohn-tseh-les
I speak a little Romanian. Eu vorbesc puţin româneşte. yuh vor-besk pooh-tsin ro-moohn-esh-teh
Excellent! Excelent! ex-che-lent
I need some water. Am nevoie de apă. ahm neh-voyeh deh apuh
Unfortunately. Din păcate. deen puh-cah-teh
I am a vegetarian. Sînt vegetarian. soont veh-geh-tah-ree-ahn
I am hungry. Mi-e foame. myeh fwah-meh
I am thirsty. Mi-e sete. myeh seh-teh

Lesson 3 – Introductions


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English Romanian Pronunciation
Hello! Bună ziua. boo-nuh zee-uah
What is your name? Cum te cheamă? koom teh kyah-muh
My name is Mark. Mă cheamă Mark. muh kyah-muh …
Glad to meet you! Îmi pare bine! oohm pah-reh bee-neh
I am glad to meet you too! Şi mie îmi pare bine! shee meeh oohm pah-reh bee-neh
How old are you? Cîţi ani ai? coohts ahn ahee
I am twenty three years old. Eu am douăzeci şi trei de ani. yuh ahm 23 deh ahn
Are you married? Eşti căsătorit? ehsht kuh-suh-toh-reet
Yes. Da. dah
No. Nu. noo
Do you have children? Ai copii? ahee koh-pee
I have a son. Am un fiu. ahm oon fee-oo
I have a daughter. Am o fiică. ahm oh fee-cuh
Where are you from? De unde eşti? deh oon-deh ehshtee
I am from Boston. Eu sînt din Boston. yuh soohnt deen Boston
Do you have any brothers? Sisters? Tu ai fraţi? Surori? too ahee frah-tsee / soo-roh-ree
Do you like Moldova? Îţi place Moldova? oohtsee plah-cheh Moldova
Yes, I like it very much. Da, îmi place foarte mult. dah, oohm plah-cheh fwahr-teh moolt
What did you do in America? Ce ai lucrat în America? cheh ahee loo-kraht oohn America
I was a student / engineer / Eu am fost student / inginer / yuh ahm fohst stoo-dehnt / in- jee-nehr
doctor / farmer / teacher … doctor / fermier / profesor … dohk-tohr / fehr- mee-ehr / proh-feh-sohr
What is the Romanian for …? Cum se spune româneşte …? koom seh spoo-neh ro-moohn- esh-the …?
How do you feel? Cum te simţi? koom teh seem-tsee
I am a little tired. Sînt puţin obosit. soohnt poo-tseen oh-boh-seet
May I go into my room? Pot să merg în camera mea? poht suh mehrg oohn kah-meh-rah myah
Sure Sigur see-goor
Your room is right here. Camera ta este aici. kah-meh-rah tah yes-teh aheech
Thank you. Mulţumesc. mool-tsu-mesk

Lesson 4 – Basic Questions and Answers


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English Romanian Pronunciation
Who? Cine? chee-neh
What? Ce? cheh
Where? Unde? oon-deh
When? Cînd? coohnd
How? Cum? coom
Why? De ce? deh cheh
What is this? Ce este aceasta? cheh yes-teh ah-chahs-tah
What do I need to do? Ce trebuie să fac? cheh treh-boo-yeh suh fahk
Where is the Internet Café? Unde este Internet Cafe? oon-deh yes-teh …
How can I get to the hotel? Cum pot să ajung la hotel? coom poht suh ah-zhoong lah
Go straight. Mergeţi înainte. mehr-jehts oohn-aheen-teh
… to the right. … la dreapta. … lah dryah-ptah
… to the left. … la stînga. … lah stoohn-gah
The hotel is close. Hotelul este aproape. … yes-teh ah-pro-peh
The restaurant is far. Restaurantul este departe. rehs-tah-oo-rahn-tool yes-teh deh-pahr-teh
What does it mean? Ce înseamnă aceasta? cheh oohn-syahm-nuh ah- chahs-tah
Where can I buy coffee? Unde pot să cumpăr cafea? oon-deh poht suh coom-puhr kah-fyah
How much does a coffee cost? Cît costă o cafea? cooht cohs-tuh oh kah-fyah
Give me a juice, please Daţi-mi, vă rog, un suc. dah-tseem, vuh rohg, oon sook
I am lost. M-am rătăcit. mahm ruh-tuh-cheet
I have a small problem. Am o mică problemă. ahm oh mee-cuh proh-bleh-muh
I do not feel well. Nu mă simt bine. noo muh seemt bee-neh
I am sick. Sînt bolnav. soont bohl-nahv
I have a stomach ache. Mă doare stomacul. muh doh-reh stoh-mah-cool
What time is it? Cît este ora? cooht yes-teh oh-rah
It is late. Este tîrziu. yes-teh toohr-zee-uh
Where can I get a taxi? Unde pot să iau un taxi? oon-deh poht suh yah-uh oon
Where can I exchange dollars? Unde pot să schimb dolari? oon-deh poht suh skeemb doh- lahr
Who is this person? Cine este această persoană? chee-neh yes-teh ah-chahs-tah pehr-soh-nuh
I need help. Am nevoie de ajutor. ahm neh-voh-ye deh ah-joo- tohr
Could you help me, please? Puteţi să mă ajutaţi, vă rog? poo-tehts suh muh ah-joo- tahts, vuh rohg
What is the exchange rate? Care este cursul valutar? ka-reh yes-teh coor-sool vah- loo-tahr

Lesson 5 – The Romanian Alphabet


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Letter Sound Similar English sound Example Meaning
A a u sun argument argument
Ă ă er other masă table
 â e label stăpîn owner
B b b bat baie bathroom
C c k cake casă home
D d d dog dans dance
E e e pen elev pupil
F f f fun familie family
G g g gap gard fence
H h h hand hartă map
I i ee bee inimă heart
Î î e label înalt tall/high
J j zh treasure jurnal journal
K k k kit kilogram kilogram
L l l lip lună month/moon
M m m man mamă mother
N n n nut nas nose
O o o top ofertă offer
P p p pin prieten friend
Q q q quick Quebec Quebec
R r r rat robot robot
S s s son sală hall
Ş ş sh ship şansă chance
T t t top tată father
Ţ ţ ts bits ţară country
U u u push uşă door
V v v vat vară summer
W w word wolfram wolfram
X x x box xylofon xylophone
Y y yoga yoga yoga
Z z z zip zîmbet smile
Note: Any Romanian word starting with “e” is pronounced with an English “y” sound at the beginning.

Example: “este” is pronounced as yes-the
Diphthongs

Note: Put the two vowel sounds together to make the diphthong sound.

i (ee) + e (eh) = ie (yeh)

o (oh) + a (ah) = oa (wah)

Lesson 6 – Pronouns


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The English pronouns (I, you, he, she, we, etc.) are the same in Romanian. The only exception is that Romanian has a singular and plural form for “you”. Let’s learn the pronouns:
Romanian English
Eu I
Tu You
El He
Ea She
Noi We
Voi You (plural)
Ei They (masculine)
Ele They (feminine)
Notes:

1. If there is a group of masculine and feminine nouns, then it is always referred to by the pronoun ei.

2. If a person wishes to address someone (or group of people) in a formal tone, the speaker would use the pronoun DUMNEAVOASTRĂ. The verb’s form for this pronoun is the same as for voi.

Lesson 7 – To Be and To Have


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Two of the most basic verbs in Romanian are “a fi” (to be) and “a avea” (to have). Let’s us learn the present tense conjugation of these verbs.

a fi

Romanian English
Eu sînt I am
Tu eşti You are
El, ea este He, she, it is
Noi sîntem We are
Voi sînteţi You are (pl.)
Ei, ele sînt They are
Examples:

· Eu sînt student. (I am a student.)

· El nu e voluntar. (He is not a volunteer.)

· Mircea este inteligent. (Mircea is intelligent.)

a vea

Romanian English
Eu am I have
Tu ai You have
El, ea are He, she, it has
Noi avem We have
Voi aveţi You have (pl.)
Ei, ele au They have
Examples:

· Radu are un apartament. (Radu has an apartment.)

· Noi avem mulţi prieteni. (We have many friends.)

· Tu nu ai bilet. (You don’t have a ticket.)
Notes:

1. From the examples above you can notice that the conjugation este can be shortened to e, and it is done quite often in spoken Romanian. It has the same meaning.

2. The negation of a verb is done by preceding it with nu. You can observe it in the examples above.

Lesson 8 – Articles


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As in English, in Romanian the indefinite articles (a, an, some) precede the noun to which they refer.

Expressions

Romanian English
un “a, an” for masculine singular nouns
o “a, an” for feminine singular nouns
nişte some
Examples:
· Adrian este un om bun. (Adrian is a good man.)
· Cristina are o carte. (Cristina has a book.)
· Nişte copii sunt in faţa şcolii. (Some kids are in front of the school.)

Definite Articles

The definite articles in Romanian come after the noun, as a suffix.

If the word ends in a consonant, add –ul:
Romanian English
Indefinite (sng.) om man
Definite (pl.) omul the man
Indefinite (sng.) oameni men
Definite (pl.) oamenii the men
If the word ends in –ă, substitute –a:
Romanian English
Indefinite (sng.) casă house
Definite (pl.) casa the house
Indefinite (sng.) case houses
Definite (pl.) casele the houses
If ending in –ea, add –ua:
Romanian English
Indefinite (sng.) cafea coffee
Definite (pl.) cafeaua the coffee
Indefinite (sng.) cafele cups of coffee
Definite (pl.) cafelele the cups of coffee
If ending in –u, add –l:
Romanian English
Indefinite (sng.) erou hero
Definite (pl.) eroul the hero
Indefinite (sng.) eroi heroes
Definite (pl.) eroii the heroes
Examples:

· Copacul este foarte înalt. (The tree is very tall.)

· Maşina va veni peste o oră. (The car will come in an hour.)

· Tricoul este murdar. (The t-shirt is dirty.)

Notes: In some instances the Romanian definite articles must be used, though they will not be used in English.

1. When we speak about something in general:

· Viaţa este foarte diferită. (Life is very different.)

· Îmi place cafeaua foarte mult.(I like coffee very much.)

2. When showing possession:

· Fratele meu este doctor. (My brother is a doctor.)

· Trenul tău pleacă mîine. (Your train leaves tomorrow.)

Lesson Vocabulary

carte – book (f.)
copil – child (m.)
în faţă – in front (adv.)
şcoală – school (f.)
copac – tree (m.)
înalt – tall (adj.)
maşină – car (f.)
oră – hour (f.)
tricou – t-shirt (m.)
murdar – dirty (adj.)
viaţă – life (f.)
diferit – different (adj.)
soră – sister
doctor – doctor (m.)
tren – train (m.)
mîine – tomorrow

Lesson 9 – Numbers


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As in other numerical systems, the Romanian number names use a limited set of words and combining rules, which can be applied to generate the name of any number within sufficiently large limits.
Number English Romanian
1 One Unu
2 Two Doi
3 Three Trei
4 Four Patru
5 Five Cinci
6 Six Şase
7 Seven Şapte
8 Eight Opt
9 Nine Nouă
10 Ten Zece
11 Eleven Unsprezece
12 Twelve Doisprezece
13 Thirteen Treisprezece
14 Fourteen Paisprezece
15 Fifteen Cincisprezece
16 Sixteen Şaisprezece
17 Seventeen Şaptesprezece
18 Eighteen Optsprezece
19 Nineteen Nouăsprezece
20 Twenty Douăzeci
21 Twenty one Douăzeci şi unu
30 Thirty Treizeci
40 Forty Patruzeci
50 Fifty Cincizeci
60 Sixty Şaizeci
100 One hundred O sută
1000 One thousand O mie
10000 Ten thousand Zece mii
1235 One thousand two hundred thirty five O mie două sute treizeci şi cinci

Lesson 10 – Days


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English Romanian
Week Săptămînă
Monday Luni
Tuesday Marţi
Wednesday Miercuri
Thursday Joi
Friday Vineri
Saturday Sîmbătă
Sunday Duminică
Today Astăzi
Yesterday Ieri
Tomorrow Mîine
This week Săptămîna aceasta
Last week Săptămîna trecută
Next week Săptămîna viitoare

Lesson 11 – Months


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English Romanian
January Ianuarie
February Februarie
March Martie
April Aprilie
May Mai
June Iunie
July Iulie
August August
September Septembrie
October Octombrie
November Noiembrie
December Decembrie
Note: The first day of the month is called întîi (oon-tooee) not one. For example the first of August is întîi August.

Lesson 12 – Basic Words


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English Romanian Pronunciation
Yes Da dah
No Nu noo
Thanks Mulţumesc mool-tsu-mesk
Please Vă rog vuh rohg
Hello Buna boo – nuh
Goodbye La revedere lah reh-veh-deh-reh
Ok / Fine Bine bee-neh

Lesson 13 – Basic Adverbs and Adjectives


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Adverbs

English Romanian Pronunciation
again din nou deen no
also de asemenea deh-ahseh-meh-nyah
always întotdeauna oohn-toht-dyah-oonah
here aici aheech
maybe poate poh-teh
much mult moolt
never niciodată neech-oh-dahtuh
now acum ah-coom
sometimes uneori oo-neh-ohr
there acolo ah-coh-loh
usually de obicei deh oh-bee-chai
very foarte fwahr-teh

Adjectives

English Romanian Pronunciation
available disponibil dees-poh-nee-beel
bad rău ruh-oo
beautiful frumos froo-mohs
big mare mah-reh
clean curat coo-raht
cold rece reh-cheh
different diferit dee-feh-reet
difficult dificil dee-fee-cheel
dirty murdar moor-dahr
easy uşor oo-shohr
funny amuzant ah-moo-zahnt
good bun boon
happy fericit feh-ree-cheet
healthy sănătos suh-nuh-tohs
little puţin poo-tseen
many mulţi moolts
new nou no
nice drăguţ druh-goots
old bătrîn buh-troohn
open deschis dehs-kiss
same identic ee-dehn-teek
satisfied satisfăcut sah-tees-fuh-koot
strange ciudat chew-daht
tasty gustos goos-tohs
warm cald cahld
weak slab slahb
wonderful minunat mee-noo-naht

Lesson 14 – Food and Drinks


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English Romanian Pronunciation
beef carne de vită cahr-neh deh vee-tuh
beer bere beh-reh
bread pîine pooh-neh
cheese brînză broohn-zuh
chicken pui pooee
food mîncare coohn-cah-reh
fish peşte pehsh-teh
fruit fruct frooct
meat carne cahr-neh
milk lapte lahp-teh
pork carne de porc cahr-neh deh pork
potatoes cartofi cahr-tohf
pepper piper pee-pehr
tea ceai chy
tomatoes roşii roh-shee
vegetables legume leh-goo-meh
water apă ah-puh
wine vin veen

Lesson 15 – Around the House


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English Romanian Pronunciation
house casă cah-suh
bedroom dormitor dohr-mee-tohr
bathroom baie bah-yeh
kitchen bucătărie boo-cuh-tuh-ree-yeh
room cameră cah-meh-ruh
toilet toaletă twah-leh-tuh
window fereastră feh-ryas-truh
Where is the bathroom? Unde este baia? oon-deh yes-teh bah-yah
cold water apă rece ah-puh reh-cheh
hot water apă caldă ah-puh cahl-duh

Lesson 16 – Introducing Yourself


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Dialogue 1

Romanian English
Bună ziua! Good afternoon!
Mă numesc Ben. My name is Ben.
Sînt din America, din California. I am from America, from California
Sînt consultant în agrobusiness. I am an agribusiness consultant.
Sînt voluntar în Corpul Păcii. I am a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Dialogue 2

Romanian English
Bună seara! Good evening!
Mă numesc Jessica. My name is Jessica.
Sînt din America, din New York. I am from America, from New York.
Sînt profesoară I am a teacher.
Sînt voluntară în Corpul Păcii. I am a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Dialogue 3

Romanian English
Salut! Hi!
Eu sînt Matt. I am Matt.
Sînt din S.U.A., din Las Vegas. I am from U.S.A., from Las Vegas.
Sînt fermier. I am a farmer.
Acum, sînt voluntar în Corpul Păcii. Now, I am a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Lesson 17 – Daily Conversation


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Dialogue 1

Romanian English
A: Bună dimineaţa! Good morning!
B: Bună dimineaţa! Good Morning!
A: Cum te simţi? How do you feel?
B: Sînt bine, mulţumesc. Şi dumneavoastră? I am fine, thank you. And you?
A: Bine, mulţumesc. Fine, thank you.
B: Eu trebuie să plec astăzi la Chişinău. I have to go to Chisinau today.
A: La ce oră? At what time?
B: La ora 9. At 9 o’clock.
A: La ce oră vei veni acasă? At what time will you come back home?
B: Nu sînt sigur, probabil pe la 7 seara. I am not sure, probably by 7 in the evening.
A: Drum bun. Have a safe trip.
B: Mulţumesc. Thank you.

Dialogue 2

Romanian English
A: Bună! Hello!
B: Bună seara! Good evening!
A: Cum a fost ziua? How was your day?
B: A fost bine. It was fine.
A: Peste jumătate de oră vom lua cina. In half an hour we’ll have dinner.
B: Minunat. Ce avem astăzi la cină? Wonderful. What do we have for dinner?
A: Vom avea salată de legume şi friptură. We’ll have vegetable salad and steak.
B: Foarte gustos. Very tasty.
A: Şi vom bea vin de casă. And we will drink some home made wine.
B: Foarte bine. Very good.

Lesson 18 – Questions and Answers


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Dialogues

Romanian English
A: Doreşti cafea? Do you want some coffee?
B: Nu, mulţumesc. Aş dori un ceai. No, thank you. I would like a tea.
A: Da, desigur. Yes, sure.
B: Mulţumesc mult. Thank you very much.
A: Spuneţi-mi, vă rog, unde este toaleta? Could you tell me, please, where is the toilet?
B: Toaleta este acolo. The toilet is over there.
A: Spuneţi-mi, vă rog, unde este baia? Could you tell me, please, where is the bathroom?
B: Baia este acolo. The bathroom is over there.
A: Îţi place cafeaua? Do you like coffee?
B: Da, foarte mult. Yes, very much.
A: Îţi place vinul? Do you like the wine?
B: Da, îmi place. Yes, I like it.
A: Îţi place brînza? Do you like cheese?
B: Nu, nu-mi place. No, I do not like it.
A: Îţi place laptele? Do you like milk?
B: Nu, nu-mi place. No, I do not like it.
A: Pot să servesc apă minerală? Can I have mineral water?
B: Da, poftim. Yes, here it is.
A: Pot să servesc nişte friptură? Can I have some steak?
B: Da, poftim. Yes, here it is.

Lesson 19 – English Cognates


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The Romanian language has also many words that sound similar in English and have the same meaning. Let us listen:
academie grup solid
activ imposibil teatru
agendă inginer telefon
alfabet influenţă telegramă
artist informaţie teribil
aparent instituţie umbrelă
argument lac urgent
bar listă universitate
balon jachetă vulgar
bancă jurnalist volum
biscuit medicină vacanţă
certificat moment zebră
ciocolată monument zero
cinema mesaj a accepta
calendar muzeu a afecta
conferinţă muzică a consuma
creativ nervos a corecta
criminal natură a crea
doctor onest a decide
director opinie a demonstra
dicţionar problemă a examina
document parc a exista
dată profesor a exporta
dans progres a include
examen restaurant a iniţia
elefant rezistenţă a oferi
energie secret a participa
film serios a produce
furios student a studia

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