Introduction to Romanian: Lesson 2

We have learned the words for I (eu), he (el) and she (ea). We also know the word for him (îl) and her (o) both of which are in their own right the words for it. Let’s carry on and start by learning the word for you:

Romanian for you is tu.

This is the informal word for you and it is very common in Indoeuropean languages. I will soon get to a point where I won’t be able to count languages which I know of that use this word on fingers anymore: French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Catalan, Latin, Lithuanian, Latvian, now Romanian... that’s 9 already. I am sure there are more.

Romanian for have in you have is ai.

Thus we have eu am, tu ai, el/ea are so far. If you want to ask questions, you just say it as a statement and raise your intonation to indicate it’s a question. How would you ask do you have time? which is then you have time?:

1 translation: You have time?

How would you say:

2 translation: You don’t have the time.

Right. I’m a bit tired of talking about time so let’s have a word for coffee (not that I promote drinking it - it has caffeine and stuff):

Romanian for coffee is cafea.

Remembering that the masculine article for the that we learned was ul and the feminine one was ua, how would you say:

3 translation: the coffee

How would you say:

4 translation: I have the coffee.

I will let you in on a small secret... Depending on the word, there are a couple of version of the feminine word for the rather than just one ua. (This is also true for the masculine ul.) We will not cover these now though, and I just thought it would be fine to let you know that in case you were wondering. If you want a small example, we have another feminine the which is a. We also have the word for love which is dragoste. The word for the love is dragostea (perhaps you know it from a famous Romanian song called Dragostea din tei).

Anyway, getting back to talking about coffee, how would you say:

5 translation: I have it.

The same word o has one more function:

The word o is also the feminine word for a.

This allows you to say:

6 translation: I have a coffee.

Or if you remember this:

7 translation: I have a day.

Referring to the day, say:

8 translation: I have it.

Right. We also have to learn the masculine word for a:

The masculine word for a is un.

We had the word for time which was timp but we don’t really count time this way so let’s learn another masculine word:

Romanian for year is an.

The same root as in anniversary which meant returning yearly from the Latin annus - year and versus - turn.

How would you say:

9 translation: the year

10 translation: She has a year.

Let’s learn the word for me and you (you will also soon find out why we needed to learn them now). First, so that we have something to work with:

Romanian for knows (meaning knowing people by being acquainted to them and not facts) is cunoaște.

This is nothing new... you have it in, for example, Portuguese conhecer or French connaître and so on. Maybe the new thing is the letter ș but it is simply the sh sound in the English word shoe.

Romanian for me is .

This letter ă is a very Romanian sound which is similar to that er in the English word over although it is best you check out the pronunciation separately if you are interested in pronouncing it. I want you try to have a guess at how you would say:

11 translation: She knows me.

Right. If the word cunoaste were something like unoaște (in other words, if it started with a vowel), you could contract to m- just like you can contract îl to l- but now there is no need to do that.

How would you say:

12 translation: He doesn’t know me.

As you see, in English, you have at least two versions of the word I. You can say I see her OR you can say she sees me thus you have the normal I and me. For some reason this doesn’t happen with you, though. You say you see her AND she sees you although these are clearly different. The second is the me kind of you so we will call it like that.

The Romanian me kind of the word for you is te.

How would you say:

13 translation: She knows you.

That’s right, you can’t say ea tu cunoaște because that would be thinking English and you have to think Romanian.

Finally, we shouldn’t probably be doing this but let’s learn one last thing which is very interesting and very Romanian:

You can have the stressed forms of the word , te, îl, o. The stressed forms of and te are mine, tine, and the ones for îl, o are just like their normal forms: el and ea.

How do you use the stressed form? Well, you use it whenever you want to stress or emphasize something (duh). For example, you want to say that she knows ME (and not some other people from the crowd), you use the stressed form. Here is the rule for using the stressed form, though:

If you want to use the stressed form, you use the unstressed form like you normally would in the phrase and then you add pe + stressed form in the end!

Let’s have an example. Try to write it yourself. How would you say:

14 translation: She knows ME.

You used the stressed form but using only it is unacceptable so you also had to use the non-stressed form and that resulted in using me twice. Well, that’s how it works in Romanian (and you do use this fairly often). I think this is a cool feature.

Let’s end this lesson by saying:

15 translation: She doesn’t knows YOU!

Answers to Lesson 2

1 answer: Tu ai timp?
2 answer: Tu nu ai timpul.
3 answer: cafeaua
4 answer: Eu am cafeaua.
5 answer: Eu o am.
6 answer: Eu am o cafea.
7 answer: Eu am o zi.
8 answer: Eu o am.
9 answer: anul
10 answer: Ea are un anu.
11 answer: Ea mă cunoaște.
12 answer: El nu mă cunoaște.
13 answer: Ea te cunoaște.
14 answer: Ea mă cunoaște pe mine.
15 answer: Ea nu te cunoaște pe tine!