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Romanian Profile

 Language Learning Forum : Collaborative writing Post Reply
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Speaks: French*, EnglishC2, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian
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 Message 1 of 17
11 March 2005 at 7:38am | IP Logged 
Here is an empty template for the future profile of the Romanian language on this website. Anybody whith a knowledge about this language, who speaks this language or is learning it is welcome to help!

The scope of each heading can be seen in the
French or Italian language profiles. Please use the scope of the existing headings ('Usefulness', 'Economic importance', etc...) for your input as I can't add new headings.

Try to write concise, informative, easy-to-read and if possible entertaining paragraphs.

You are welcome to post proposed changes to each paragraph or to write a new paragraph yourself. If you wish to insert comments, please use Italics. If you have studied the language and used it for some time, your input will be immensely valuable to prospective learners.

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1 person has voted this message useful

Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2011
Senior Member
Joined 5876 days ago

2150 posts - 3229 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Croatian, Greek, French, Spanish, Russian, Swedish, Portuguese, Turkish, Italian
Studies: Catalan, Persian, Mandarin, Japanese, Romanian, Ukrainian

 Message 2 of 17
05 April 2009 at 7:47pm | IP Logged 
Are you still looking for information on Romanian, FX? (Four years after you posted your message...)

Edited by ellasevia on 05 April 2009 at 7:48pm

2 persons have voted this message useful

miss v
United States
Joined 5386 days ago

4 posts - 4 votes
Speaks: Romanian*, English
Studies: Spanish

 Message 3 of 17
08 June 2009 at 12:12am | IP Logged 
I will try to come up with some things to put about Romanian...
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Senior Member
Joined 6890 days ago

4228 posts - 8259 votes 
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Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 Message 4 of 17
06 August 2009 at 9:06pm | IP Logged 
*** I thank Lindsey Bryant and Cristiana for their comments and corrections for this profile ***

Romanian (limba română) is the official language of Romania and Moldova and is also the mother tongue of people of Romanian ancestry living in neighboring countries (e.g. Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine). Because of immigration, native speakers of Romanian also live in Western Europe, North America, Australia and Israel. The total number of native speakers is approximately 25 million.

Linguists classify Romanian as a Romance language and linguistic relatives include French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Romance languages in turn are classified as belonging to the larger Indo-European language family. Romanian shows the most similarity to Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian and Istro-Romanian and there is some mutual intelligibility among them.

Most modern Romanians are physically indistinguishable from their Balkan neighbours but their origins are a matter of some controversy. One theory is that modern Romanians are primarily the descendents of Dacian tribes who were living in what is now western and southwestern Romania. These tribes became Romanized and remained in the region even after the Romans withdrew from the area in the 3rd century AD. Another theory is that modern Romanians are primarily descendants of Romanized Wallachian tribes who were living in what is now northern Bulgaria and eastern Serbia and began migrating north into what is now modern Romania during the 11th or 12th centuries AD. Christianity likely made its first inroads into what is now Romania with the conquest of Dacia by the Romans in the 2nd century AD. However the Great Schism of 1054 AD meant that the eastern Balkans (including much of modern-day Romania) fell under the influence of Orthodox Christianity.

It is the official language of Romania and for practical purposes, that of Moldova*. As Romanian is rarely heard outside the Balkans, many Romanians younger than 30 years of age speak at least some English or another foreign language. Kindred Romance languages such as French and Italian are popular; some Romanians also speak German not only because of its perceived usefulness within the EU but also because of their ties to the colonization of Transylvania by settlers from what is now western Germany (Rhineland-Westphalia) starting in the 13th century AD.

Knowledge of Romanian would acquaint the learner with some features and vocabulary that are characteristic of Romance languages. In particular, knowledge of Romanian would provide a definite advantage in learning other eastern Romance languages (a subgroup of the Romance family) such as Aromanian or Megleno-Romanian. It also provides a noticeable “discount” to someone who is learning Italian. However, a prospective learner of Romanian should realize that learning for example Spanish with a background in Romanian is not as easy as learning Spanish with a background in Italian for example.

(*There is some controversy over the relationship of Moldovan (i.e. the official language of Moldova) with Romanian. In general, Romanian and Moldovan in their current prescribed forms are highly mutually intelligible to the point where it is debatable whether they are separate languages instead of separate variants of the same language. The debate also has a political edge as Moldovan authorities insist on calling their standardized language “Moldovan” in line with emphasizing distinctiveness from Romanians and Romania. The situation is somewhat reminiscent of the debate over the relationship of Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian and justification in treating these forms as distinct variants of one language or distinct languages altogether.)
The popularity of the “larger” Romance languages of French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish means that Romanian is relegated far down on the “chic” list. Romanian’s relative rarity and fairly small reach for a Romance language also contribute to this relegation. As a result native speakers of Romanian are often pleased when foreigners make the effort to use at least a little of their language. It can sometimes act as an effective conversational icebreaker with native speakers (assuming that one knows enough Romanian!)

Knowledge of Romanian would most be useful for economic purposes if one were working in Romania or Moldova. Romania’s economic situation according to the CIA is as follows:
“Romania, which joined the European Union on 1 January 2007, began the transition from Communism in 1989 with a largely obsolete industrial base and a pattern of output unsuited to the country's needs. The country emerged in 2000 from a punishing three-year recession thanks to strong demand in EU export markets. Domestic consumption and investment have fueled strong GDP growth in recent years, but have led to large current account imbalances. Romania's macroeconomic gains have only recently started to spur creation of a middle class and address Romania's widespread poverty. Corruption and red tape continue to handicap its business environment. Inflation rose in 2007-08, driven in part by strong consumer demand and high wage growth, rising energy costs, a nation-wide drought affecting food prices, and a relaxation of fiscal discipline. Romania's strong GDP growth moderated markedly in the last quarter of 2008 as the country began to feel the effects of a global downturn in financial markets and trade, and growth is expected to be much weaker in 2009. Romania hopes to adopt the euro by 2014”. (retrieved on Aug. 4, 2009 from Romania's profile in the CIA World Factbook)

- Bucharest (Bucureşti): Romania’s capital and largest city. It is sometimes referred to as “Little Paris of the East” because of its diverse architectural style and the cultural tastes of its elite.
- Transylvania: this region was historically inhabited by Hungarians and Germans and its cities reflect a more central or western European air than otherwise would be the case. It is also dotted with towns and castles dating from the Middle Ages and in the Western imagination has become associated with vampires thanks to Bram Stoker. Noteworthy locations in the region include Braşov, Cluj, Sibiu and Sighişoara.
- Black Sea: The shores of the Black Sea are known in Romania for their beaches and are a favourite destination for Romanians on vacation.
- Timişoara: This city in western Romania is considered by Romanians as the most cosmopolitan and “westernized” city of the country because of its links with the Austro-Hungarian Empire and its role in starting the overthrow of Romanian communism in 1989.
- Maramureş and Bucovina: These regions in northern Romania are known as very rustic areas where horse-drawn carriages are the norm and farmers live off the land much as their medieval counterparts did. These areas are dotted with wooden churches (the painted monasteries in Bucovina are on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites) and villages within the valleys.

- Romania, Moldova (official languages)
- Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Serbia, Spain, UK, Ukraine, USA

- approximately 25 million

The modern standard language is based on standardization efforts that started around the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. Nevertheless, Romanian dialects still exist but are classified differently depending on the source. The “traditional” division is the following: 1) Eastern, 2) Western, 3) Southern, 4) Aromanian (spoken in Albania, Greece and Kosovo), 5) Megleno-Romanian (spoken in Greece) and 6) Istro-Romanian (spoken in far western Croatia). Modern Standard Romanian is classified as belonging to the Southern group.

The standard language is taught today in all schools and colleges and this teaching has limited the problem of mutual unintelligibility among Romanians.

Romania’s location in southeastern Europe has exposed it to the influence of several cultures. Dacians, Romans, Huns, Avars, Bulgars, Hungarians, Franconians and Turks have settled in the area and the modern Romanian is an amalgam of these elements among others. Romanians feel a certain pull toward Western Europe because of their Romance language and their association with Transylvania and the Hungarians and Germans who lived there and further west. On the other hand, Wallachia and Moldavia were under the sphere of influence of Constantinople as mentioned previously by lying on the Orthodox side of the Great Schism between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. In addition, Romanians have lived for several centuries alongside Slavs and this has also contributed to the distinctiveness of a people who speak a Romance language but are Orthodox and surrounded by speakers of Slavonic languages or Hungarian. Romanian cuisine is also indicative of the cultural mixing with dishes bearing some similarity with those of Roman, Turkish, Greek, Austrian, Hungarian or Balkan Slavonic provenance. Most Romanian holidays today follow Christian (either Orthodox or non-Orthodox) traditions as well as secular ones (e.g. Labour Day, Constitution Day).

Relatively high-profile people associated with Romania include:
- Vlad Ţepeş (Vlad the Impaler / “Dracula” was a Prince of Wallachia who is best remembered for his extreme use of capital punishment and his ability to maintain independence for Wallachia from the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. The vampire in Bram Stoker’s novel is named after Vlad the Impaler).
- Gheorghe Enescu (Romanian’s most well-known composer of classical music)
- Henri Coandă (engineer who designed a jet-powered aircraft in 1910. Unfortunately he was unable to maintain sustained, controllable flight with his design and the thermojet engine of his aircraft turned out to be a technological dead-end. Despite some Romanian claims that Coandă is the father of the jet aircraft, it wasn’t until the 1930s with the development of aircraft using a different kind of jet engine, the turbojet, did jet-propelled flight become something feasible and applicable.)
- Nadia Comăneci (the teenaged gymnast whose heyday was in the late 1970s and early 1980s)
- Béla and Márta Károlyi (ethnic Hungarians who were born in Romania and were coaches of the Romanian gymnastic teams at the Olympics which included Nadia Comăneci. After defecting to the USA the Károlyis became coaches of the American gymnastics teams in the 1980s.)
- Gheorghe Hagi and Gheorghe Popescu (talented footballers of the 1980s and 1990s)

Romanian folk music also provided an important inspiration for the Hungarian composer, Béla Bartók. Many of his compositions have elements that are traceable to folksongs that he recorded when doing field research with Romanian peasants in the first two decades of the 20th century. Some pieces even have direct quotations from these folksongs.

In general, the greatest difficulty for any non-Romanian learner is the relative lack of native speakers outside the Balkans (unlike more popular languages such as English, French and German which have native speakers beyond the borders of England, France and Germany respectively). This could hinder learning for those who wish to gain regular exposure to colloquial Romanian outside the Balkans.

For native speakers of an Indo-European language such as me, these are features that I found which caused the most difficulty at the beginning:

1) It has a relatively more elaborate inflectional pattern compared to other Romance languages. While much of the original declension of Vulgar Latin is largely absent in modern Romance languages, Romanian maintains a certain distinction which is divided between nominative/accusative and genitive/dative. The vocative is also used but its current form is likely attributable to Slavonic influence rather than inheritance from Vulgar Latin. For someone who is accustomed to French or Italian, Romanian declension may take some time to absorb.

2) Verbal conjugation is elaborate and conjugational endings of verbs are traditionally classified into at least 4 groups.

In order to determine the conjugational ending for a verb, the first step is to consider the ending vowel in the infinitive (it is similar to learning how to conjugate French verbs by classifying them as ending with “-er”, “-ir” and “-re”). The Romanian endings are often taught as:

a) –a (ex. a observa “to notice”)
b) –ea (ex. a apărea “to appear”)
c) –e (ex. a merge “to go”)
d) –i or –î (ex. a fugi “to run”)

However conjugational patterns within each group can be classified further as subgroups. A complete classification of regular verbs that accounts for all sound changes and ending patterns could comprise approximately 70 groups.

For example consider two regular verbs ending in “-a”

a observa “to notice”

eu observ “I notice”
tu observi “you notice”
el/ea observă “he/she notices”
noi observăm “we notice”
voi observaţi “you notice”
ei/ele observă “they notice”

a lucra “to work” (notice infix of –ez– or –eaz–)

eu lucrez “I work”
tu lucrezi “you work”
el/ea lucrează “he/she works”
noi lucrăm “we work”
voi lucraţi “you work”
ei/ele lucrează “they work”

Romanian has two moods (personal and non-personal) which are divided into 9 “sub-moods” (personal mood has five: indicative, subjunctive, conditional, presumptive and imperative; non-personal mood has four: infinitive, participle, gerund and supine). Between the two moods there are 21 tenses. There are two voices (active and passive) and two numbers (singular and plural). It also has grammatical gender with masculine, feminine and neuter. However in many cases neuter singular patterns are similar to those for masculine singular, while neuter plural patterns are similar to those for feminine plural (because of this behaviour, linguists are unsure whether the Latin neuter is the main predecessor of the Romanian neuter).

Romanian is also part of the Balkan language-union (“Balkan Sprachbund”) and shares certain innovations of this area in the use of articles which are attached as suffixes and the avoidance of the infinitive when a verb is used in the infinitive after a modal verb. The Balkan language-union includes Albanian, Bulgarian, Greek, Macedonian and Serbian. Two characteristics of this language union are:

1) Tendency to replace the infinitive with a conjugated verb after the modal verb

“I want to write.”
“Vreau să scriu.” (Romanian – literally “I want that I should write”. The alternative construction “Vreau a scriere” has the infinitive (i.e. “a scriere”) instead and matches the English construction literally. Using the infinitive in this way is still deemed to be correct but has been largely supplanted by the construction with the subjunctive present)
“Želim da pišem.” (Serbian – literally “I want that I write”. As with Romanian, the alternative construction “Želim pisati” has the infinitive (i.e. “pisati”) instead and matches the English construction literally. Using the infinitive in this way is still deemed to be correct but has been largely supplanted by the construction with the indicative present)

2) Merging of genitive and dative in the modern language

“I gave the book to Maria” (“Maria” is in dative but is unmarked in English); “It is Maria’s book” (“Maria” is in genitive)
“I-am dat cartea Mariei” (“Mariei” here is dative form of “Maria”); “Este cartea Mariei.” (“Mariei” here is genitive form of “Maria”) (Romanian)
“Ja dhashë librin Marisë” (“Marisë here is dative form of “Maria”); “Është libri i Marisë.” (“Marisë” here is genitive form of “Maria”) (Albanian)

See 'Difficulties' for other comments on grammar

Stress appears initially to be unpredictable and placeable on any syllable. However its placement is governed by the interaction of morphological and lexical principles. Unfortunately this interaction is rather complex and usually more accessible and interesting to linguists rather than learners of Romanian. It has seven vowels, two (or four) semivowels and twenty consonants and the sound of the language may remind one somewhat of Italian.

In addition to words passed on from Vulgar Latin, Romanian has a sizeable stock of Slavonic loanwords and ones borrowed after the 18th century from Romance languages (especially French) in order to emphasize the connection between Romanian and its kindred Romance languages. In fact this extra push to “Latinize” or “Romanize” Romanian further was driven by nationalism in the 19th century as intellectuals then felt that the number of Slavonic loanwords in common use was too high and should be supplanted by those of Latin origin.

Some words inherited from Latin include:

day || diem (Latin) | zi (Romanian)
finger || digitum (Latin) | deget (Romanian)
straight || directus (Latin) | drept (Romanian)
water || aqua (Latin) | apă (Romanian)
white || album (Latin) | alb (Romanian)
tooth || dens (Latin) | dinte (Romanian)

A few Slavonic loanwords include:

friend || prieten (Romanian) Cf. Slovak: priateľ
market || târg (Romanian) Cf. Polish: targ
necessary || trebuie (Romanian) Cf. Slovak: treba
to read || a citi (Romanian) Cf. BCS/Serbo-Croatian: čitati

A few words borrowed from French include:

advantage || avantaj Cf. avantage
already || deja Cf. déjà
airplane || avion
office || birou Cf. bureau

Romanian also has approximately 300 words of unknown origin, some of which have cognates only in Albanian. The origins of these words are unknown as they may be linguistic remnants of the Dacian tribes (whose language would be thus deduced as being akin to modern Albanian) or may be linguistic remnants of people who began migrating north from the southern Balkans during the Dark Ages. A couple of these words of possible Dacian origin include mal “shore” and brânză “cheese”.

There are also loanwords from English, German, Greek, Hungarian and Turkish.

I estimate its transparency to be 1.5 out of 3 (3 being most 'transparent' and 1 being least 'transparent')

Spelling is relatively phonetic, but final –i in words is nearly silent in many instances. The exceptions are when “-i” follows consonant + “l” or “r” (when it replaces “-u”) for plural forms and when the “-i” is a conjugational ending attached to the verb's infinitive form. The alphabet is a modified Latin one but had been a modified Cyrillic one until the 19th century because of the influence of the Orthodox church. The modern language still shows signs of a dispute over spelling reforms that were made in the 20th century. The letters â and î are pronounced identically but the latter was then decreed to replace the former (with very few exceptions) during the communist regime. The â was restored in 1993 in part because of the association of this blanket imposition of î over â with the previous communist government. The general rule which dictates the use of â and î is that â can appear anywhere other than as the first or last letter of a word. In those cases, one should use î. However many people continue to use the “simplified communist” reform of î in most positions even though the latest prescriptions state that â is to be used again in the positions where î had been. One can still find Romanian dictionaries and other pedagogical material published after 1993 which ignore the spelling reform of 1993.

According to FSI, it takes approximately 600 class hours to achieve professional speaking and reading proficiency in Romanian. It follows from FSI’s scale that the degree of difficulty in learning Romanian for a monolingual speaker of English is roughly the same as that of other Romance languages, Dutch, and North Germanic languages. Naturally, the time needed will vary on each person's motivation level, access to material and environment. Given such factors, the time needed to achieve professional speaking and reading proficiency in Romanian can take as little as six months to as much as infinity. ;-)

1) Teach Yourself Romanian (Dennis Deletant and Yvonne Alexandrescu)
- It comes with two CDs and a textbook and costs about $25 US on Amazon.
- It follows the pattern of other books in the Teach Yourself series with each chapter containing a dialogue, some notes on grammar and exercises. Answers and word lists come at the end of the book.
- The Romanian-English glossary at the back of the book is helpful as it gives some inflectional information for most entries
- The most frustrating aspect of the course is that its audio is lacking (each CD contains about 40 minutes worth of audio). As such the amount of audio consecrated for the target language is even smaller than usual. I was also unimpressed with the author’s decision to record speakers reading word lists. It would have been better if the author had recorded an extra dialogue for each chapter and avoided using the CDs’ space for speakers who are merely reading the word lists.
- Another frustration is that it does not present much in the way of exercises to learn the grammatical material. On the other hand its grammatical explanations are fairly helpful.

2) Discover Romanian (Rodica Boţoman)
- For the serious student of Romanian this is a much better option than “Teach Yourself Romanian” and “Colloquial Romanian”. It is designed for English-speaking university students and comes with a textbook, workbook and 10 CDs. As of the time of writing, the total package costs approximately $100 US on Amazon, but each part can be bought separately. The textbook and audio each cost roughly $40 US while the workbook costs roughly $20 US.
- What I enjoy most about this course is that it contains many exercises and dialogues and much historical and cultural information. Romanian grammar is introduced gradually and Boţoman’s inclusion of many exercises to reinforce grammatical topics is most welcome. I have made much more progress learning Romanian with “Discover Romanian” than I did with “Teach Yourself Romanian” which introduced a lot of grammar but provided an insufficient amount of exercises for me to get a decent grasp of what was being taught.
- The Romanian-English glossary at the back of the book is as helpful as that of “Teach Yourself Romanian” in that it also gives some inflectional information for most entries.
- A couple of drawbacks of “Discover Romanian” are that there are no answer keys in the books and some of the conversational exercises require a fellow student to work best. One way to alleviate the lack of answer keys is to seek help from an educated native speaker of Romanian who can provide feedback on your answers to the exercises.
- Another drawback (albeit rather minor) is that it largely follows the “communist” spelling of î for â despite being published in 1995 (i.e. after the reversal of the “communist” spelling reform in 1993)
- Incidentally Rodica Boţoman is a professor emeritus at Ohio State University and the high quality of “Discover Romanian” seems corroborated by the fact that she has a teaching award named after her at that university and seems to have earned positive reviews of her teaching abilities from her students.

3) Îmi place limba română (Rodica Boţoman et al.)
- This is a graded reader designed in part by the same author as “Discover Romanian”. It costs approximately $20 US on Amazon.
- It is designed as a supplement for novices in Romanian and presents texts of progressively higher difficulty with comprehension questions at the end of each selection.

4) Romanian Textbook (Alexandra Roceric and Anca M. Hassing)
- This is a textbook that is mean to be used in a classroom and costs approximately $50 US on Amazon or the website of Dunwoody Press.
- It is broadly similar to “Discover Romanian” with each chapter containing a few dialogues, notes on grammar and Romanian culture and exercises. As far as I can tell it does not have corresponding audio recordings, unfortunately.

5) Romanian: An Essential Grammar (Ramona Gönczöl-Davies)
- This is a handy and user-friendly reference guide to Romanian grammar. It costs approximately $30 US on Amazon.
- It is part of Routledge’s series of descriptive grammars.
- Notwithstanding its quality, its purchase might not be necessary since there exists another manual of Romanian grammar in online form. See section for “Links” at the end of this profile.

6) Romanian Reference Grammar (Christina Hoffmann)
- This is a concise reference guide to Romanian grammar.
- It was originally prepared by Hoffmann when she was part of the US Foreign Service Institute but Hippocrene Books sells a published version of the book. The cost varies from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars depending on the reseller. Because of this book’s original association with the Foreign Service Institute, Hoffmann's original work is held to likely be in the public domain in the USA.
- It covers basic Romanian grammar and provides helpful tables and appendices which would be suitable for a beginner in Romanian.

7) Modern Romanian / Limba română (James Augerot and Florin Popescu)
- This is textbook dating from the 1970s that is meant for classroom instruction. The original textbook is out of print and exists only in second-hand. A newer reprint of the book is titled “Romanian/Limba română: A Course in Modern Romanian” and published by the Center for Romanian Studies. Its price varies from seller to seller. The textbook is however available as a .pdf on ERIC. See “Links”.
- Each chapter in the first half of the textbook consists of a list of fixed expressions followed by brief notes on grammar and some exercises. The units in the second half of the book each include an extract of Romanian text (include literary excerpts) followed again by brief notes on grammar and some exercises.
- It is not highly suitable for self-instruction as there is no answer key and the grammatical notes do not fully or clearly explain the mechanics of the fixed expressions. A teacher or educated native speaker would be required to make this an even half-usable resource from start to finish.
- Perhaps the only value of the book lies in the second half where its literary excerpts can provide supplementary reading material.
- The accompanying audio for the first half of the textbook (i.e. recording of all of the stock phrases) is available as a set of .mp3 files at the audio archives of Indiana University. See section for “Links” at the end of this profile.

8) Limba care ne uneşte (Ion Bărbuţă et al.)
- This is a course in three levels from Moldova whose creation was sponsored in part by the United Nations Development Programme.
- Each level consists of a textbook, workbook and audio. The courses are meant for foreigners learning Romanian in a classroom. The set of materials for the first level is designed for a class of 120 instructional hours while that of the second level is designed for a class of 80 instructional hours. No information is given in the preface of the third level textbook concerning the suitability to a class with a defined number of instructional hours. The course uses a communicative-functional approach and its sets of exercises are not overly reliant on drills.
- As the course came out starting in 2003, it incorporates the orthographical changes made during the 1990s.
- As mentioned above the course was designed for use in a classroom, and thus a few of the exercises require a fellow student to work best. In addition, the textbooks do not have answer keys, while the workbooks have only partial answer keys. With the exception of the vocabulary lists at the end of the textbooks (the lists come with Russian and English translations of the vocabulary), the rest of the course (including the notes on grammar) is in Romanian. Therefore those who wish to use these courses for independent study would do best to seek help from an educated native speaker of Romanian who can provide feedback on answers to the exercises or translate the notes on grammar to a language that the learner understands.
- This course is offered as a series of downloadable .pdf and .wma files from “Centrul Naţional de Terminologie” in Moldova. See section for “Links” at the end of this profile.

9) Teora English-Romanian/Romanian-English Dictionary (Andrei Bantaş)
- If students of Romanian insist on owning a printed dictionary between English and Romanian or vice versa, then dictionaries compiled by Andrei Bantaş are likely for them to be the least mediocre out of a poor pool.
- The entries provide inadequate or even incorrect translations and virtually no useful inflectional information about the headword.
- Dictionaries compiled by him have been published by Teora and NTC but the mediocre quality is unfortunately all the same. It is fortunate that there are some better online dictionaries for a student of Romanian. See section for “Links” at the end of this profile.

*As with other languages, AVOID getting the Romanian dictionaries that are published by Hippocrene Books. Hippocrene's Romanian dictionaries are just as mediocre if not worse than what Andrei Bantaş compiled and one would be better off using the free online Romanian-English dictionaries and databases that I have listed under the section "Links".

There are courses for foreigners who want to learn Romanian in Romania, including summer schools. Outside Romania, UCLA, Indiana University, Ohio State University and the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies offer courses in Romanian. Romanian cultural centers or Romanian Orthodox churches occasionally offer courses in Romanian for adults and children on evenings or Saturdays.


Discussions, posts or logs on HTLAL dealing with Romanian
- Advancing in Romanian
- Dative and personal pronouns in Romanian
- For Romanian learners - 4 luni, 3 saptaman
- Free Romanian course with audio
- Le Roumain sans peine book?
- My messy Romanian 2009 diary
- Romance language learning sequence
- Romanian
- Romanian music suggestions
- Romanian question
- Romanian websites
- Standard Romanian and Moldovan
- The 500 most common words in Romanian?
- Understand Romanian?
- Why learn Romanian?

Other forums
- Unilang's Romanian forum
- WordReference's Romanian forum

General treatment and descriptions of Romanian's learning difficulty
- Wikipedia's article on Romanian
- A website on language difficulty for native speakers of English

Dictionaries and other databases
- The online version of the explanatory dictionary of Romanian (this is very helpful for providing basic etymological information, the stress pattern of a headword and clues to inflectional patterns for words)
- A site of online Romanian dictionaries and databases. This is an EXCELLENT site. In addition to the standard English-Romanian/Romanian-English databases, there is also a database of verbs where entering the verb will then reveal its conjugational patterns in several tenses. There is also a database on this site that is linked to the explanatory dictionary of Romanian mentioned above.

Online courses / textbooks / instructional videos or list of titles of available courses
- An online reference manual of Romanian grammar in .pdf format
- A short online course of Romanian
- UCLA’s page on Romanian as part of the Language Materials Project (contains database of learning material for Romanian as well as links to portals and websites related to Romania)
- DLI Romanian Basic Course hosted at ERIC (textbook only)
- DLI Romanian Special Course (12 weeks) hosted at ERIC (textbook only)
- Modern Romanian / Limba română hosted at ERIC (online version of the textbook)
- Audio of the first half of “Modern Romanian / Limba română” courtesy Indiana University in .mp3 format
- English-Romanian phrasebook for Romanian newcomers in the USA hosted at ERIC
- Peace Corps’ Volunteers’ textbook “First Steps in Romanian” hosted at ERIC
- Peace Corps’ Volunteers’ Romanian Grammar Workbook hosted at ERIC
- Text and audio of Peace Corps’ training material for volunteers in Romania hosted at ERIC
- Text and audio of Peace Corps’ training material for volunteers in Moldova hosted at ERIC (uses “Moldovan” which is almost identical to Romanian)
- Pre-Service Language Training Manual for the Peace Corps’ volunteers in Moldova hosted at ERIC (again uses “Moldovan” which is almost identical to Romanian)
- Romanian in Romania from LangMedia at Five Colleges Center for the Study of World Languages
Texts and audio of the course “Limba care ne uneşte” (3 levels):
- Level 1
- Level 2
- Level 3

Literature and authentic texts
- A website with recordings of readings of Romanian poetry
- Collection of online texts from Romanian literature

Institutions offering classes in Romanian
- Extensive list of links to Romanian language or culture in North America including classes and cultural centers.

Shops carrying Romanian inventory or material of interest to learners of Romanian:
- Bay Foreign Language Books Ltd.
- Byblos
- Cărtureşti
- The European Bookshop
- Made in Romania
- Schoenhof's

Edited by Chung on 05 March 2012 at 8:52pm

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 Message 5 of 17
06 August 2009 at 9:07pm | IP Logged 
I welcome corrections and comments from native speakers of Romanian. I'm still learning this language and my knowledge is still rather limited. I haven't had much luck in finding many worthy up-to-date learning materials in Romanian and am interested in learning more about what else is available.

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 Message 6 of 17
07 August 2009 at 12:25am | IP Logged 
Excellent work, Chung! This is amazing. I did consider doing a description (or partial description) myself, but I had no idea how to go about it and I couldn't summon up much enthusiasm either. Knowing that someone is this enthusiastic about Romanian makes me happy :-)
There are indeed not that many resources for studying Romanian. I know some Russian-based textbooks that you can find online, but they're old, have no audio and are generally lacking. There's also an Italian-based Assimil course (I skimmed it and found some mistakes though). Other than that there's nothing I can offer, except maybe this site, which is the Romanian version of urbandictionary. :-) Maybe someone will find it useful:

Hm, I noticed a few very small spelling mistakes in your description:
voi observăţi “you notice” - voi observaţi
voi lucrăţi “you work” - voi lucraţi
ei/ele lucreăza “they work” - ei/ele lucrează

Also, regarding the final "-i": I can't find a rule stating when it's pronounced as [-i] (vowel) or as [-j] (semi-vowel). However, I doubt the letter "r" plays a role here, since I can think of words like flori "flowers", păsări "birds", beri "beers", mori "(you) die", nori "clouds" in which the "i" is hardly pronounced and the "-ri" is not a separate syllable.
A friend and I tried to come up with a rule ourselves, and this is what we thought of:

"-i" at the end of a word is fully pronounced in:
- Plurals (masc. gender only), when the singular ends in "-consonant+u"
sobru - sobri "austere"
acru - acri "sour"
metru - metri "meter"
aspru - aspri "rough"
codru - codri "forest"
amplu - ampli "ample"

- Verbs, in the following tenses:
infinitive - a vorbi "to speak"
future 1 - (eu) voi vorbi "(I) will speak"
simple perfect - (el) vorbi "(he) spoke"

I can't think of any exceptions or other cases. I'll ask around. Maybe someone here actually knows the rule and could inform us.

Edited by Cristiana on 07 August 2009 at 12:30am

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 Message 7 of 17
07 August 2009 at 2:01am | IP Logged 
If you need more details:
wikipedia wrote:
    * Daco-Romanians (Romanians proper), speaking the Romanian language (Daco-Romanian), known by that name due to their location in the territory of ancient Dacia, who live in:
               o Romania - 20 million
               o Moldova - 2.8 million
               o Ukraine - 400,000; in southern Bessarabia and northern Bukovina
               o Serbia - 30,000 in Vojvodina and 40,000 in Central Serbia
               o Hungary - 15,000
               o Bulgaria - 11,500 (1,000 persons counted as "rumuni" and 10,500 persons counted als "vlasi")

Also, I must protest against the sentence

"Most modern Romanians are physically indistinguishable from their Balkan neighbors but their origins are a matter of some controversy."

It implies there is a typical Balkan look, which is not the case. The turbulent history of the Balkans, and the fact most nations were of mixed origins from the very beginning, have resulted in a very diverse gene pool so people come in all shapes and sizes.

I suggest you make no reference to looks because it can be a sensitive topic. Furthermore, you use the expression "of what is now" far too often ^_^.

Apart form these minor defects, the profile is very comprehensive and interesting to read. Congratz, good job.

Edited by Sennin on 07 August 2009 at 2:10am

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 Message 8 of 17
07 August 2009 at 3:35am | IP Logged 
Sennin wrote:

Also, I must protest against the sentence

"Most modern Romanians are physically indistinguishable from their Balkan neighbors but their origins are a matter of some controversy."

It implies there is a typical Balkan look, which is not the case. The turbulent history of the Balkans, and the fact most nations were of mixed origins from the very beginning, have resulted in a very diverse gene pool so people come in all shapes and sizes.

I suggest you make no reference to looks because it can be a sensitive topic. Furthermore, you use the expression "of what is now" far too often ^_^.

Apart form these minor defects, the profile is very comprehensive and interesting to read. Congratz, good job.

I'm using "Balkan" here as a locational qualifier. It is precisely because of the mixing that's gone on that it is virtually impossible to consistently or reliably distinguish Romanians from Hungarians, Serbs, Bulgarians and other people living in the Balkans using physical appearance alone. It doesn't mean at all that there is a typical Balkan ethnicity. How could there be? One way to express myself similarly whereby I would lengthen the sentence but avoid using "Balkan" as an adjective would be:

"Romanians are physically indistinguishable from their neighbours who live in the Balkans."

On the origins, humans are essentially mutts, but we also know that nation-states still include some sort of narrative concerning the origins of their constituent population. Humans are in greater or lesser degrees fascinated by their origins and this fascination is institutionalized in narratives of ethnogenesis that are put forth by ministries of education.

I also use the "what is now" qualifier quite a bit because certain geographical or ethnic aspects related to today's Romania (and in some cases modern Romanian) were quite different in the past. For me it seems to be especially tricky in the Balkans because of the shifting borders and different stages of national consciousness. (think of the fracas that can turn up if we get a bunch of modern Bulgarians, Macedonians and Greeks today to talk about "Macedonia", hahaha)

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