A Quick Lesson in Romanian
If you don’t know exactly to what language family Romanian belongs to, the sentence above provides you with some esssential clues and if that isn’t clear enough, let’s analyse the name of the country: Romania, which contains the word ‘Roman’.
Precisely, Romanian is a Romance language alongside its more famous sisters: Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese, deriving from Latin. Situated on the border between Central Europe and Eastern Europe, Romanian is the most Eastern Romance language and looks rather isolated due to this geographical position.
However, a large part of today’s Romania was ruled by the Romans in the Antiquity and the traces they left in the language are very obvious. Almost 70% of the words in the Romanian vocabulary have Romance roots (either Latin or modern Romance languages, especially French), while less than 15% derive from Slavic languages and the remaining from other cultures that influenced the Romanian history in the past millenia: Turkish, Greek, Hungarian, German etc.
The core of the language, its grammatical structures and the most common words are predominantly Romance. This means that those of you who already speak a Romance language, will understand some written Romanian, recognizing many words. Even if you only speak English, because of the influence that Romance languages have had on English, you might also recognize a few words.
Without further ado, let’s start the Romanian lesson. This will help you get by while in Romania and make friends. Romanian will appreciate your trying to speak the language, but in most cases you will find people who can speak at least one foreign language: English (in most cases), Italian, Spanish, French or even German.
Hello! Salut! /sa’lut/
Good day! Bună ziua! /’bunə ‘zi.wa/
Good evening! Bună seara! /’bu.nə ‘se̯a.ra/
Yes Da (think Russian; it’s the same word) /da/
No Nu /nu/
Thank you Mulțumesc /mul.t͡su’mesk/
Please Te rog /te ‘rog/
Excuse me Scuză-mă /’sku.zə.mə/
Good-bye! La revedere! /la re.ve’de.re/
Bye! Pa! /pa/
I want a beer! Vreau o bere!
I want to meet Dracula! Vreau sa-l intalnesc pe Dracula!
Were is the club! Unde este clubul!
Cheers! (probably the best important word) Noroc! /no’rok/
If all else fails, use this: Te iubesc! /te ju’besk/ or this: Pot să-ți cumpăr ceva de băut? /pot sət͡sʲ ‘kum.pər t͡ʃe’va de bə’ut/
Should you feel the need to go into depth with Romanian and you would like to hear the pronunciation, you can find more words and common phrases with audio snaps here: http://www.learnro.com/common-romanian-words#essential-words