Introduction to Romanian:
Lesson 5

By Linas

Do you remember that you used to say Romanian differently depending on whether you were talking to a man or a woman. You have to add to make român into românoiacă for example. Well, you also have to do that with a lot of other words but it works in an easier way.

Romanian for good is bun.

You use it with things that are masculine (like year). The thing is, if you want to say a good year, you have to actually switch the order and say a year good. That's how it is in a lot of other European languages as well.

a good year

Answer: un an bun
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Now here is the rule:

To make bun (and many other adjectives) feminine, you add ă to the end.

How would you say:

the good day

Answer: ziua bună
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If it used the traditional word order and became bună ziua it would become a greeting and it would mean good day. That's why ziua bună is not a greeting in itself but bună ziua is. Anyway.

This stuff works for other words too. For example:

Romaniana for white is alb.

You have this in the word albino, for example. What would a white coffee (does that even exist?) be:

a white coffee

Answer: o cafea albă
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What if you want to say the word for well instead of good? Well, you would normally expect to have the word good and add the Romanian version of ly which is eşte so you would get buneşte for good but you don’t say goodly in English either, do you? So Romanians have a separate word too:

Romanian for well is bine.

Or you could say foarte bine because:

Romanian for very is foarte.

To me, it associates with the word forte which means something like strength. You did it strongly well or very well - that just makes sense to me.

Let’s talk about how you would greet somebody now. In Romanian, you literally do not greet but salute them. The simplest greeting is the same as in French:

Romanian for hi is salut!

There are a lot of ways to say bye as well. You could say ciao for example (you could use that for hi as well). But I like pa to say bye. Simply - pa!

Since you said hi, you would want to ask how somebody is doing. You are going to need one more word for that. But first, how would you say (without tu this time):

What are you doing?

Answer: Ce faci?
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You could answer nothing:

Romanian for nothing is nimic.

If you want to say I do nothing you have to say I not do nothing in Romanian (they negate twice). How would you say:

I’m doing nothing.

Answer: Eu nu fac nimic.
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Good. But let’s get back to the word I promised:

Romanian for more is mai.

Sounds like English pronounced by somebody with a strong accent. In Romanian, you can put this mai in front of most words. For example, if you say mai bun or more good then you have the word for better, if you say mai alb - whiter, and so on. It also works for mai bună and mai albă and even mai bine and all the rest of the word you could imagine.

You could use mai to mean not only more but in some cases still, a bit longer and so on. Having that in mind, here’s the way you say how are you in Romanian:

Romanians say what are you still doing or literally what more you do to mean how are you doing?.

Remember to skip the word for tu (although technically you don’t have to) and remember all the words which you will ned (and we have learned them all) to ask:

How are you doing?

Answer: Ce mai faci?
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You could answer very well which we have just learned. Try:

Very well.

Answer: Foarte bine.
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You would also presumably want to thank somebody. Here’s the word for it:

Romanian for thanks as in (he thanks you for your services) is mulțumește.

This is the special case of t turning to c when it’s left alone if you remember it from the last lesson. How would you say:

I thank.

Answer: Mulțumesc.
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Nevermind the s and ș thing, it drops out during that transformation but it’s not very important. The word for I thank is actually used as the word for thanks or thank you in the general sense. How would you answer:

Very well, thanks.

Answer: Foarte bine, mulțumesc.
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Good. Lastly, for sorry, you could say simply pardon. The surprise is:

Romanian for pardon is pardon.

If you are truly sorry and you regret, you could also say I regret which is:

Romanian for I regret is eu regret.

Ah, no learning there. Anyway, I think we are finished with our Romanian course. Let’s just have a short conversation in the end to test out our new knowledge. Imagine you are walking in Romania (and let’s assume you are a woman) when some Romanian woman tries to talk to you. She begins talking:

Hello. How are you?

Answer: Salut. Ce mai faci?
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Hi. Very good, thanks. And you?

Answer: Salut. Foarte bine, mulțumesc. Și tu?
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Good, thanks. Where are you from?

Answer: Bine, mulțumesc. De unde ești?
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I am English. Are you Romanian?

Answer: Eu sunt americancă. Ești româncă?
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Yes. And you’re American? But you understand Romanian?

Answer: Da. Și tu ești americancă? Dar tu înțelegi româneşte?
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Yes, I speak Romanian.

Answer: Da, eu vorbesc româneşte.
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Why are you here? What are you doing here?

Answer: De ce ești aici? Ce faci aici?
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Where? Here? Nothing!

Answer: Unde? Aici? Nimic!
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Phew... you got away and she didn’t find out you came to Romania to learn Romanian. Good job! ;)