Romanian 101

Romanian Peace Corps Course

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

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Romanian (limba română 'limba ro'mɨnə/) is one of the Romance languages that belong to the Indo-European family of languages that descend from Latin along with French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. It is the fifth of the Romance languages in terms of number of speakers. It is spoken as a first language by somewhere around 24 to 26 million people, and enjoys official status in Romania, Moldova and the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (Serbia). The official form of the Moldovan language in the Republic of Moldova is identical to the official form of Romanian save for a minor rule in spelling. Romanian is also an official or administrative language in various communities and organisations (such as the Latin Union and the European Union – the latter as of 2007). It is a melodious language that has basically the same sounds as English with a few exceptions. These entered the language because of the Slavic influence and of many borrowing made from the neighboring languages. It uses the Latin alphabet which makes it easy to spell and read. It is also a synthetic language, connecting the words with prepositions but adding possession, gender and number indicators to the end of the words.

Romanian speakers are also found abroad in many other countries (due to emigration), notably in Italy, Spain, the United States, Canada, France and Germany. Owing to a general lack of consistently-derived data, precise estimates for the total numbers of Romanian-speaking emigrants are not available. Some secondary sources claim for example that more than 3 million Romanian speakers live abroad as immigrants in Europe and North America; however, such census data as is available indicates that these numbers may be overestimates.

We hope you will find the following language lessons helpful and useful for getting a first grasp of what Romanian sounds and looks like. The language lessons contain survival elements that should support your arrival in our country. It is everything you need to get by the first days of orientation until commencing the proper language classes.

Lesson 1 – The Romanian Alphabet

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Consonant Sound As In
B beh board
C cheh car
D deh dear
F ef flower
G dЗeh Greg
H hash hipo
J Зî garage
K Kapa kiosk
L el lamp
M em milk
N en note
P peh Patricia
R recent
S sky
Ş shî should
T Teh try
Ţ tzî nuts
V veh viola
X iks xerox
Z zet wolves

Vowel Sound As In
A Aah car
Ă ă girl
Â,Î mâine  
E eh end
I ee indian
O oh door
U oo wood

Letter Groups Sound As In
CE che chest
CI chi chip
CHE ke Ken
CHI ki mosquito
GE dЗe Roger
GI dЗi register
GHE gue get
GHI gui give

Lesson 2 – Greetings

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Formal Greetings

Romanian Transliteration English
Bună dimineaţa! Boo-nă dee-mee-nea-tza Good morning!
Bună ziua! Boo-nă zee-wah Good afternoon!
Bună seara! Boo-nă se-ah-ra Good evening!
Noapte bună! Noo-ap-the boo-nă Good night!
La revedere! La reh-veh-deh-reh Good bye!

Informal Greetings

Romanian Transliteration English
Bună Boo-nă Hello!
Ciao chiao Ciao
Salut Sah-loot Hi!
’Neaţa Nea-tza ‘Morning!
Pa Pah Bye.

Question Words

Romanian Transliteration English
Unde? oo-ndeeh Where?
Când? Kând When?
Care? Kareh Which?
Ce? Che What?
De ce? Deh che Why?
Cum? Koom How?
Cine? chineh Who?
Pe cine? Peh chineh? Whom?
Cui? Kooy To whom?
Al/a/ai/ale cui? Aal/ah/aay/aaleh kooy Whose?

Lesson 3 – Introducing Yourself

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Romanian Transliteration English
Verbul A Fi Verbool Ah Fee The Verb “To Be”
Eu sunt Eoo soont I am
Tu eşti Too yeshti You are
El este El yesteeh He/it is
Ea este Ea yesteeh She/it is
Noi suntem Noi soon-tem We are
Voi sunteţi Voi soon-te-tzi You (all) are
Ei/ele sunt Ey/ eleeh soont They are


Romanian Transliteration English
Profesiuni Proh-feh-see-ooni Jobs
Contabil Kon-ta-bil accountant
Inginer een-gЗi-ner engineer
Avocat Ah-vo-kat lawyer
Profesor Pro-fe-sor teacher
Arhitect Ar-hi-tekt architect


Romanian Transliteration English
John: Bună ziua. Mă cheamă John. Cum te cheamă? Boonă zi-ooah. Mă cheh-amă John. Koom teh cheh-amă? Good afternoon. My name is John. What is your name ?
Maria: Mă cheamă Maria. Mă cheh-amă Maria. My name is Maria.
J: Îmi pare bine Îmi pareeh bee-neh. Glad to meet you.
M: Îmi pare bine. De unde eşti? Îmi pareeh bee-neh. Deh oon-deh eshti? Glad to meet you too. Where are you from ?
J: Sunt din America. Şi tu? Soont din America. Shi too? I am from America. And you ?
M: Eu sunt din România. Eoo soont din România. I am from Romania.
J: Cu ce te ocupi? Koo cheh the ok-oopi? What do you do ?
M: Eu sunt profesoară. Dar tu? Eoo soont pro-fe-soa- răh. Dar too? I am a teacher. And you ?
J: Eu sunt voluntar la Corpul Păcii. Eoo soont vo-loon-tar lah Kor-pool Păchii. I am a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Lesson 4 – Days of the Week

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Romanian Transliteration English
Luni looni Monday
Marţi Maartzi Tuesday
Miercuri Mier-koo-ri Wednesday
Joi Зoi Thursday
Vineri Vee-neh-ri Friday
Sâmbătă Sâm-bă-tăh Saturday
Duminică Doomee-nee-kă Sunday
Săptămâna Săp-tă-mânaah the week
Sătămâna aceasta Săp-tă-mânaah ach-eas-tah this week
Săptămâna trecută Săp-tă-mânaah tre-koo-tăh last week
Săptămâna viitoare Săp-tă-mânaah vee-ee-toa-reh next week
Astăzi/azi Aahs-tăzi today
Ieri Yeri Yesterday
Mâine Mâi-neh tomorrow
Astăzi este ziua mea! Aahs-tăzi esteh zi-ooah meah Today is my birthday!
La mulţi ani! Lah mooltzi aani Happy birthday!

Lesson 5 – Small Numbers

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Romanian Transliteration English
1 unu Oonoo one
2 doi Doy two
3 trei Trey three
4 patru Pah-troo four
5 cinci chinchi five
6 şase Shaseh six
7 şapte Shapteh seven
8 opt Opt eight
9 nouă No-ooă nine
10 zece Zeh-che ten
11 unsprezece oon-spre-ze-che eleven
12 doisprezece Doi-spre-ze-che twelve
13 treisprezece Trey- spre-ze-che thirteen
14 paisprezece Paay- spre-ze-che fourteen
15 cincisprezece Chin-chi- spre-ze-che fifteen
16 şaisprezece Shay- spre-ze-che sixteen
17 şaptesprezece Shap-teh- spre-ze-che seventeen
18 optsprezece Opt- spre-ze-che eighteen
19 nouăsprezece No-ooă- spre-ze-che nineteen
20 douăzeci Do-ooă zeh-chi twenty
21 douăzeci şi unu Do-ooă zeh-chi shee oo-noo twenty-one
22 douăzeci şi doi Do-ooă zeh-chi shee doy twenty-two
23 douăzeci şi trei Do-ooă zeh-chi shee trey twenty-three
30 treizeci Trey zeh-chi thirty
40 patruzeci Pa-troo zeh-chi fourty
50 cincizeci Chinchi zeh-chi fifty
60 şaizeci Shaay zeh-chi sixty
70 şaptezeci Shapteh zeh-chi seventy
80 optzeci Opt zeh-chi eighty
90 nouăzeci No-ooă zeh-chi ninety
100 o sută O soo-tăh one hundred

Lesson 6 – Big Numbers

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Romanian Transliteration English
101 o sută unu O sootăh oo-noo One hundred and one
102 o sută doi O sootăh doy One hundred and two
103 o sută trei O sootăh trey One hundred and three
104 o sută patru O sootăh pah-troo One hundred and four
105 o sută cinci O sootăh chin-chi One hundred and five
106 o sută şase O sootăh sha-seh One hundred and six
107 o sută şapte O sootăh shap-teh One hundred and seven
108 o sută opt O sootăh opt One hundred and eight
109 o sută nouă O sootăh no-ooă One hundred and nine
110 o sută zece O sootăh ze-cheh One hundred and ten
120 o sută douăzeci O sootăh do-ooă zechi One hundred and twenty
130 o sută treizeci O sootăh trey zechi One hundred and thirty
140 o sută patruzeci O sootăh patroo zechi One hundred and fourty
150 o sută cincizeci O sootăh chin-chi zechi One hundred and fifty
160 o sută şaizeci O sootăh shay zechi One hundred and sixty
170 o sută şaptezeci O sootăh shap-teh zechi One hundred and seventy
180 o sută optzeci O sootăh opt zechi One hundred and eighty
190 o sută nouăzeci O sootăh noh-ooă zechi One hundred and ninety
200 două sute Do-ooă soo-teh Two hundred
300 trei sute Trey soo-teh Three hundred
400 patru sute Pah-troo soo-teh Four hundred
500 cinci sute Chin-chi soo-teh Five hundred
900 nouă sute Noh-ooă soo-teh Nine hundred
1.000 o mie Oh mee-yeh One thousand
1.200 o mie două sute Oh mee-yeh do-ooă soo-teh One thousand two hundred
1.230 o mie două sute treizeci Oh mee-yeh do-ooă soo-teh trey zechi One thousand thwo hundred thirty
1.238 o mie două sute treizeci şi opt Oh mee-yeh do-ooă soo-teh trey zechi shee opt One thousand thwo hundred thirty eight
10.000 zece mii Zeche mee Ten thousand
10.500 zece mii cinci sute Zeche mee chin-chi soo-teh Ten thousand five hundred
10.570 zece mii cinci sute şaptezeci Zeche mee chin-chi soo-teh shapteh zechi Ten thousand five hundred seventy
10.579 zece mii cinci sute şaptezeci şi nouă Zeche mee chin-chi soo-teh shapteh zechi shee no-ooă Ten thousand five hundred seventy nine
100.000 o sută de mii O soo-tă deh mee One hundred thousand
1.000.000 un milion Oon mee-lee-on One million

Lesson 7 – Shopping

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Romanian Transliteration English
Culorile Kooloreeleh Colors
Roşu Roh-shoo Red
Galben Gaal-ben Yellow
Albastru Aal-bastroo Blue
Verde Vehrdeh green
Maro Mahroh brown
Negru Nehgroo black
Alb aalb white
Oranj Oran’ orange
Violet Vee-oh-let purple
Roz Rohz pink
Gri gree grey


Romanian Transliteration English
Tom: Bună ziua. Boonăh zee-ooah. Good afternoon
Vânzătoarea: Bună ziua, spuneţi vă rog,ce doriţi? Boonăh zee-ooah, spoo-neţi, văh rog, cheh doreetzi? Good afternoon, how can I help you?
T: Am nevoie de o jachetă. Aam neh-vo-yeh deh oh ‘aketăh. I need a jacket.
V: Ce mărime? Cheh mă-ree-meh? What size?
T: Mărimea L, cred. Mă-ree-mea L, cred. Size L, I think.
V: Ce culoare? Cheh coo-loa-reh? What color?
T: Albastru deschis, vă rog. Aal-bastroo dehs-kees, văh rog. Light blue, please.
V: Poftiţi. Pof-teetzi. Here you are.
T: Da, îmi place. O cumpăr. Cât costă? Dah, îmi placheh. Oh koompăr. Yes, I like it. I’m buying it. How much is it?
V: 150 de lei. 150 de ley. 150 lei.
T: Hm, e cam scumpă dar am nevoie de ea Hm, eh kahm skoompăh dar ahm nevoyeh deh ya. Hm, it’s kind of expensive but I need it.
V: La revedere. Lah reh-veh-deh-reh. Good bye.
T: La revedere. Lah reh-veh-deh-reh. Good bye.
Am nevoie de o cartelă de telefon/Am nevoie de un telefon celular/Am nevoie de un adaptor de priză. Ahm nevoyeh deh oh kartehlă deh the-leh fon/Ahm nevoyeh deh oon the- leh fon che-loo-lar/Ahm nevoyeh deh oon ah-dap- tohr deh pree-zăh. I need a phone card/I need a cell phone/I need a plug converter.

Lesson 8 – At the Restaurant

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Romanian Transliteration English
Sunt la restaurant. Soont la reh-stah-oorant. I am at the restaurant.
Comand ceva de băut. Komahnd chevah deh băoot. I order something to drink.
Bună ziua. Ce doriţi ? Boonă zee-ooa. Cheh doreetzi? Good afternoon. What would you like to have?
Aş dori apă, vă rog. Ash doree apă, văh rog. I would like water, please
Minerală sau plată ? Mee-neh-rah-lă saoo plah-tă ? Mineral or spring water ?
Apă minerală. Aapă mee-neh-rah-lă. Mineral water.
Poftim. Pofteem. Here you are.
Mulţumesc. Mool-tzoo-mesk Thank you.
Cu plăcere. Koo plăchereh. You are welcome.
Aş dori cafea Ash doree kafea I would like coffee
Aş dori ceai Ash doree cheaay I would like tea
Aş dori bere Ash doree beh-reh Ilwould like beer
Sunt la restaurant. Soont la reh-stah-oorant. I am at the restaurant.
Comand ceva de mâncare. Komahnd chevah deh mânka-reh. I order something to eat
Bună ziua. Ce doriţi ? Boonă zee-ooa. Cheh doreetzi? Good afternoon. What would you like to have?
Aş dori supă de pui, vă rog. Ash doree soopă, văh rog. I would like chicken soup
Ciorbă Chiorbă. sour soup
Friptură de vită Freep-too-ră deh pooy. Beef steak
Pâine Pây-neh bread
Garnitură Gaar-nee-too-răh garnish
Cartofi piure Kartofi pee-ooreh. eshed potatoes
Cartofi prăjiţi Kartofi pră-‘eetz French fries
Orez Oh-rehz Rice.
Un meniu vegetarian. Oon meh-neeoo ve-geh- ta-ree-an A vegetarian menu.

Lesson 9 – Orientation

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Romanian Transliteration English
Unde locuieşti/stai? Oon-deh lo-koo-yeshti/ staai? Where do you live?
Eu locuiesc pe strada… Yeoo lokooyesk peh stradah… I live on …. street
Locuiesc într-un apartament mic. Lokooyesk întroon apartament mik. I live in a small apartment.
Locuiesc într-o casă. Lokooyesk întroh kasă. I live in a house.
Unde este bucătăria? Oondeh yesteh boo- kătăreea? Where is the kitchen?
Unde este baia? Oondeh yesteh bayah? Where is the bathroom?
Unde este camera mea? Oondeh yesteh kamerah meah? Where is my room?
Este frumos/frumoasă. Yesteh froomos/ froomoasă. It is nice.
Este mare. Yesteh maareh. It is big.
Este mic/mică. Yesteh meek/meekă. It is small.
Este apă caldă. Yesteh aapă kaldă. There is hot water.
Este apă rece. Yesteh aapă recheh There is cold water.
Scuzaţi-mă, unde este şcoala? Skoozatzeemă, oondeh yesteh shkoala? Excuse me, where is the school?
Mergeţi drept înainte şi a doua stradă la dreapta/ stânga. merd’etzi drept înaeenteh shee ah do-ooah strah-dă lah dreap-tah/stângah. Go strainght ahead and turn the second to the right/left.
Aici Aeech here
Acolo Akoloh there
Aproape Aproa-peh near
Departe Deh-par.teh far

Lesson 10 – Useful Phrases

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Formal Phrases

Romanian Transliteration English
Ce mai faceţi? Cheh maay fachetzi? How are you?
Sunt bine, mulţumesc. Soont beeneh, mooltzoomesk. I am fine, thank you.
Nu prea bine. Noo preah bee-neh. Not so good.
Vă rog. Vă rog. Please.
Poftiţi. Pofteetzi. Here you are.

Informal Phrases

Romanian Transliteration English
Ce mai faci? Cheh maay fachi? How are you?
Bine, merci. Beeneh, mersee. I am fine, thank you.
Nu prea bine./Aşa şi aşa Noo preah bee-neh. Ashah shee ashah. Not so good. So and so.
Te rog. Teh rog. Please.
Poftim. Pofteem. Here you are.

More Phrases

Romanian Transliteration English
Mulţumesc. Mooltzoomesk Thank you
Cu plăcere. Koo plăchereh You are welcome.
Îmi place. Îmi placheh. I like it.
Nu îmi place. Noo îmi placheh. I don’t like it.
Îmi pare rău. Îmi pareh răoo. I am sorry.
Sunt obosit/obosită. Soont oboseet/oboseetă. I am tired.
Mi-e frig. Myeh freeg. I am cold.
Mi-e cald. Myeh kald. I am hot.
Mi-e somn. Myeh somn. I am sleepy.
Mi-e sete. Myeh she-the. I am thirsty.
Mi-e foame. Myeh foameh. I am hungry.
Nu mi-e foame. Noo myeh foameh. I am not hungry.
M-am săturat. Mam sătoorat. I am full.
Cum se spune…? Koom she spooneh? How do you say…….?
Nu înţeleg Noo întzeh-leg I don’t understand
Vorbiţi mai rar Vorbee-tzi maay rar. Don’t speak so fast
Scuzaţi-mă Skoo-zatzeemă Excuse me!
Pot să vă ajut cu ceva? Pot să vă a’oot koo chevah? May I help you with anything?
Ce înseamnă? Che înseamnă? What does it mean?
Îmi pare rău. Îmi pareh răoo. I am sorry
Îmi pare bine. Îmi pareh bee-neh. Glad to meet you
E clar? Yeh klar? Is it clear?
Aţi înţeles? Atzi întzeles? Did you understand?
Repetaţi, vă rog! Repetatzi vă rog. Repeat, please!
Noroc! Noroc! Norok! Cheers!
Noroc! Norok! Bless you! (when you sneeze).

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