Let’s Learn Romanian!

By Assoc. Prof.Phd Minodora Otilia Simion

Introducere

introducere This course is designed for learners with no previous knowledge of Romanian and it can be used both for self-study and study in class.

Romanian is currently spoken by up to 30 million people with Romania having a population of 20 million people (90 percent); Moldova with a population of 3 million people; and bordering nations having a population of roughly 1 million people (Ukraine, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia and Montenegro, Bulgaria and Greece). Romanian speakers can also be found in nations such as Canada, the United States, Germany, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and Spain. Romanian is the sole Eastern Romance language, and the majority of Romanian terms (about 75% of the lexicon) are of Latin origin. This is why Romanian shares over 70% of its vocabulary with other Romance languages, primarily Italian and French, with Sardinian, Catalan, Portuguese, Romansh, and Spanish following closely behind. Romanian has taken several words from its Slavonic neighbors, as well as German, Hungarian, Turkish, French, and, more recently, English, over the years. Romanian, also known as Daco-Romanian (since its development is linked to the Roman province of Dacia), is a language that is one of four varieties of the Balkan Romance subgroup. Aromanian or Macedo-Romanian, which is spoken in a number of communities in northern Greece and Albania; Megleno-Romanian, which is spoken in a tiny area north of Thessaloniki; and Istro-Romanian, which is spoken in a very limited number of settlements on the Adriatic peninsula. Because Romanian is a Romance language with a Latin background, it is easily recognized by individuals who know French or Italian, for example. Many recognizable words, particularly those communicating more abstract concepts, have spellings that are nearly identical to corresponding words used in English. This makes it quite simple to read non-literary writings in Romanian, particularly newspapers. The Romanian language is divided into several (sub)dialects: Wallachian and Moldavian are the two main dialects, spoken in the former principalities of Muntenia or Wallachia (in the south-east) and Moldavia, respectively (in the north-east). Other dialects can be found in Transylvania's north and center. A confluence of forces in the nineteenth century led to the adoption of Wallachian as the literary norm. The course introduces Romanian in both its spoken and written forms. No prior understanding of grammatical terminology is required. The emphasis is on learning to utilize Romanian in a variety of everyday conversational situations. Good luck with learning Romanian and keep in mind that Romanians are very tolerant of individuals who make an effort to learn their language, and they understand the challenges faced 3 by non-native speakers. So, don't be afraid to use the language for fear of making grammatical mistakes and have fun learning it!