Romanian language: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Romanian language

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Romanian, Daco-Romanian
română, limba română
Pronunciation [roˈmɨnə]
Spoken in By a majority:

 Republic of Moldova
Minority speakers in:
 Republic of Macedonia
Migrant speakers in:
North and South America
Western and Southern Europe

Region Southeastern, Central and Eastern Europe
Total speakers First language: 24 million
Second language: 4 million [1]
Ranking 34 (native)[2], 41 (ranking by SIL estimate)
Language family Indo-European
Official status
Official language in  Romania
 Moldova [3]
 Vojvodina (Serbia)

 European Union
Latin Union

Recognised minority language in  Ukraine
Regulated by Academia Română
Language codes
ISO 639-1 ro
ISO 639-2 rum (B)  ron (T)
ISO 639-3 ron
Map Roumanophone World.png

Map of the Romanian-speaking territories

Romanian (obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: limba română [ˈlimba roˈmɨnə]  ( listen)) or Daco-Romanian is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people,[1][2] primarily in Romania and Moldova. It has official status in Romania, Republic of Moldova, and the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in Serbia. In the Republic of Moldova, the language is officially called limba moldovenească ("Moldovan") for political reasons.

Romanian speakers are scattered across many other countries, notably Italy, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Portugal, United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, and Germany.



Map of Balkans with regions inhabited by Romanians/Vlachs highlighted

The Dacians, an Indo-European people, were the ancient inhabitants of Romanian territory. They were defeated by the Romans in 106, and part of Dacia (Oltenia, Banat, and Transylvania) became a Roman province. This province, which was rich in ores, especially silver and gold,[4] was colonized by the Romans,[5] who brought with them Vulgar Latin as the language of administration and commerce, and who started a period of intense romanization, which gave birth to the proto-Romanian language.[6][7] But in the 3rd century AD, under the pressure of Free Dacians and from invasions of migratory populations such as Goths, the Roman Empire was forced to withdraw from Dacia, in 271 AD, leaving it to the Goths.[8][9]. It is a matter of debate whether modern-day Romanians are descendants of the people that abandoned the area and settled south of the Danube or of the romanized people that remained in Dacia.

Owing to its people's geographical isolation, Romanian was probably among the first of the Romance languages to split from Latin.[citation needed] It received little influence from other Romance languages until the modern period (the middle of the 19th century), and is therefore one of the most uniform languages in Europe. It is the most important of the remaining Eastern Romance languages and is more conservative than other Romance languages in nominal morphology. Romanian has preserved a part of the Latin declension, but whereas Latin had six cases, Romanian has three: the nominative-accusative, the genitive-dative, and marginally the vocative. Romanian nouns also preserve the neuter gender. However, the verb morphology of Romanian has shown the same move towards a compound perfect and future tense as the other Romance languages. Compared to the other Romance languages, during its evolution, Romanian simplified the original Latin tense system in extreme ways,[10] in particular the original Latin absence of sequence of tenses[11].

All the dialects of Romanian are believed to have been unified in a Proto-Romanian language up to sometime between the 7th and 10th centuries, when the area came under the influence of the Byzantine Empire. It was then that Romanian became influenced by the Slavic languages[12] and to some degree the Greek. For example, Aromanian, one of the closest relatives of Romanian, has very few Slavic words.[citation needed] Also, the variations in the "Daco-Romanian" dialect (spoken throughout Romania and Moldova) are very small. The use of this uniform "Daco-Romanian" dialect extends well beyond the borders of the Romanian state: a Romanian-speaker from Moldova speaks the same language as a Romanian-speaker from the Serbian Banat. Romanian was influenced by Slavic, Greek (Byzantine, then Phanariote), Turkish, and Hungarian, while the other Romance languages were influenced by Germanic, Celtic and Arabic.

Geographic distribution

Romanian speaking countries and territories
Country Speakers
Romania 91% 19,736,517 21,698,181
Moldova ² 76.4% 2,588,355 3,388,071
Transnistria (Eastern Moldova)³ 31.9% 177,050 555,500
Vojvodina (Serbia) 1.5% 29,512 2,031,992
not official:
Timočka Krajina (Serbia) 4 8.2% 58,221 712,050
Spain 1.7% 796,576[13] 46,661,950
Italy 1.06% 640,000[14] 60,345,000
Ukraine 5 0.8% 327,703 48,457,000
Hungary 0.1% 8,480[15] 10,198,315
not official:
Israel 3.7% 250,000 6,800,000
Kazakhstan 1 0.1% 20,054 14,953,126
Russia 1 0.12% 169,698 [16] 145,537,200
The Americas
not official:
Canada 0.20% 60,520 32,207,113
United States 6 0.11% 340,000 281,421,906

1 Many are Moldovans who were deported
² Data only for the districts on the right bank of Dniester (without Transnistria and the city of Tighina). In Moldova, it is sometimes referred to as the "Moldovan language"
³ In Transnistria, it is officially called "Moldovan language" and is written in Cyrillic alphabet
4 Officially divided into Vlachs and Romanians
5 Most in Northern Bukovina and Southern Bessarabia; according to a Moldova Noastră study (based on the latest Ukrainian census). [7]

Romanian is spoken mostly in Southeastern, Central and Eastern Europe, although speakers of the language can be found all over the world, mostly due to emigration of Romanian nationals and the return of immigrants to Romania back to their original countries. Romanian speakers account for 0.5% of the world's population,[17] and 4% of the Romance-speaking population of the world.[18]

Romanian is the single official and national language in Romania and Moldova, although it shares the official status at regional level with other languages in the Moldovan autonomies of Gagauzia and Transnistria. Romanian is also an official language of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in Serbia along with five other languages. Romanian minorities are encountered in Serbia (Timok Valley), Ukraine (Chernivtsi and Odessa oblasts), Hungary (Gyula) and Bulgaria (Vidin). Large immigrant communities are found in Italy, Spain, France, and Portugal.

As of 1995, the largest Romanian-speaking community in Asia is found in Israel, where Romanian is spoken by 5% of the population.[19][20] Romanian is also spoken as a second language by people from Arabic-speaking countries who have studied in Romania. It is estimated that almost half a million Middle Eastern Arabs studied in Romania during the 1980s.[21] Small Romanian-speaking communities are to be found in Kazakhstan and Russia. Romanian is also spoken within communities of Romanian and Moldovan immigrants in the United States, Canada and Australia, although they don't make up a large homogeneous community state-wide.

Legal status in Romania

According to the Constitution of Romania of 1991, as revised in 2003, Romanian is the official language of the Republic.[22]

Romania mandates the use of Romanian in official government publications, public education and legal contracts; advertisements must bear a translation of foreign words.

The Romanian Language Institute (Institutul Limbii Române), established by the Ministry of Education of Romania, promotes Romanian and supports people willing to study the language, working together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department for Romanians Abroad.[23]

Legal status in Moldova

The Constitution of Moldova names the state language of the country "Moldovan." However, linguists consider it to be largely identical to Romanian. It has been the sole official language since the adoption of the Law on State Language of the Moldavian SSR in 1989.[24] This law mandates the use of Moldovan in all the political, economical, cultural and social spheres, as well as asserting the existence of a "linguistic Moldo-Romanian identity".[25] It is also used in schools, mass media, education and in the colloquial speech and writing. Outside the political arena the language is most often called "Romanian". In the breakaway territory of Transnistria, it is co-official with Ukrainian and Russian.

In the 2004 census, out of the 3,383,332 people living in Moldova, 16.5% (558,508) stated Romanian as their mother tongue, whereas 60% stated Moldovan. While 40% of all urban Romanian/Moldovan speakers identified their native tongue as Romanian, in the countryside under 12% of Romanian/Moldovan speakers indicated Romanian as their mother tongue.[26] However, the group of experts from the international census observation Mission to the Republic of Moldova concluded that the items in the questionnaire dealing with nationality and language proved to be the most sensitive ones, particularly with reference to the recording of responses to these questions as being "Moldovan" or "Romanian", and therefore it concluded that special care would need to be taken in interpreting them.[27]

Legal status in Vojvodina

Official usage of Romanian language in Vojvodina, Serbia
Romanian language in entire Serbia (see also Romanians of Serbia), census 2002
     1-5%      5-10%      10-15%      15-25%      25-35%      over 35%

The Constitution of the Republic of Serbia [28] determines that in the regions of the Republic of Serbia inhabited by national minorities, their own languages and scripts shall be officially used as well, in the manner established by law.

The Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina [29] determines that, together with the Serbo-Croat language and the Cyrillic script, and the Latin script as stipulated by the law, the Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian and Rusyn languages and their scripts, as well as languages and scripts of other nationalities, shall simultaneously be officially used in the work of the bodies of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, in the manner established by the law. The bodies of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina are: the Assembly, the Executive Council and the Provincial administrative bodies.[30]

The Romanian language and script are officially used in eight municipalities: Alibunar, Biserica Albă (Serbian: Bela Crkva), Zitişte (Žitište), Zrenianin (Zrenjanin), Kovăciţa (Kovačica), Cuvin (Kovin), Plandişte (Plandište) and Sečanj. In the municipality of Vârşeţ (Vršac), Romanian is official only in the villages of Voivodinţ (Vojvodinci), Marcovăţ (Markovac), Straja (Straža), Jamu Mic (Mali Žam), Srediştea Mică (Malo Središte), Mesici (Mesić), Jablanka, Sălciţa (Salčica), Râtişor (Ritiševo), Oreşaţ (Orašac) and Coştei (Kuštilj).[31]

In the 2002 Census, the last carried out in Serbia, 1.5% of Vojvodinians chose Romanian as their mother tongue.

Legal status in other countries and organisations

In parts of Ukraine where Romanians constitute a significant share of the local population (districts in Chernivtsi, Odessa and Zakarpattia oblasts) Romanian is being taught in schools as a primary language and there are newspapers, TV, and radio broadcasting in Romanian.[32][33] The University of Chernivtsi trains teachers for Romanian schools in the fields of Romanian philology, mathematics and physics.[34]

Romanian is an official or administrative language in various communities and organisations, such as the Latin Union and the European Union. Romanian is also one of the five languages in which religious services are performed in the autonomous monastic state of Mount Athos, spoken in the monk communities of Prodromos and Lacu.

Distribution of first-language native Romanian speakers by country

Romanian as a second and foreign language

Romanian is taught in some areas that have Romanian minority communities, such as Vojvodina in Serbia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Hungary. The Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR) has since 1992 organised summer training courses in Romanian for language teachers in these countries.[35] In some of the schools, there are non-Romanian nationals who study Romanian as a foreign language (for example the Nicolae Bălcescu High-school in Gyula, Hungary).

Romanian is taught as a foreign language in various tertiary institutions, mostly in European countries such as Germany, France and Italy, as well as the Netherlands, and elsewhere, like the USA. Overall, it is taught as a foreign language in 38 countries around the world.[36]

Popular culture

Romanian has become popular in other countries through movies and songs performed in the Romanian language. Examples of recent Romanian acts that had a great success in non-Romanophone countries are the bands O-Zone (which had great success with their #1 single Dragostea din tei/Numa Numa across the world), Akcent (popular in the Netherlands, Poland and other European countries), Activ (successful in some Eastern European countries) as well as high-rated movies like 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, 12:08 East of Bucharest or California Dreamin' (all of them with awards at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival).

On the other hand, some artists wrote songs dedicated to the Romanian language. The multiplatinum pop trio O-Zone (originally from Moldova) released a song called "Nu mă las de limba noastră" ('I won't forsake our language'). The final verse of this song, Eu nu mă las de limba noastră, de limba noastră cea română is translated in English as I won't forsake our language, our Romanian language. Also, the Moldovan musicians Doina and Ion Aldea Teodorovici performed a song entitled "The Romanian language".


The term "Romanian" is sometimes[37] (although not often) used also in a more general sense, which envelops four hardly mutually intelligible languages: Romanian, Istro-Romanian, Aromanian, and Megleno-Romanian. The four languages are the offspring of the Romance varieties spoken both to the north and to south of Danube, before the settlement of the Slavonian tribes south of the river - Romanian in the North, the latter two in the south, while Istro-Romanian is believed to be the offspring of a 11th century migration from Romania. These four are also known as the Eastern Romance languages. When the term "Romanian" is used in this larger sense, the term "Daco-Romanian" is used for Romanian itself. The origin of the term "Daco-Romanian" can be traced back to the first printed book of Romanian grammar in 1780,[38] by Samuil Micu and Gheorghe Şincai. There, the Romanian dialect spoken north of the Danube is called lingua Daco-Romana to emphasize its origin and its area of use, which includes the former Roman province of Dacia (though it is spoken also south of the Danube, in Dobrudja, Central Serbia and northern Bulgaria).

This article deals with Romanian language, and thus only its regional variations are discussed here. The differences between these varieties are usually very small, usually consisting in a few dozen regional words and some phonetic changes. Standard literary Romanian language is identical when it comes to writing, regardless of the region or country.

Romanian (specifically Daco-Romanian) varieties (graiuri).
Blue: Southern varieties
Red: Northern varieties

Like most natural languages, Romanian can be regarded as a dialect continuum. The dialects of Romanian are distinguished by minor differences in pronunciation. Romanians themselves speak of the differences as accents or "speeches" (in Romanian: accent or grai). Several regional accents are usually distinguished:

  • Muntenian accent (Graiul muntenesc), spoken mainly in Wallachia and southern parts of Dobruja.
  • Oltenian accent (Graiul oltenesc), spoken mainly in Oltenia and by the Romanian minority in Timok region of Serbia. In Oltenia a notable dialectal feature is the preferred usage of the simple perfect tense rather than the compound perfect which is preferred elsewhere.
  • Moldavian accent (Graiul moldovenesc), spoken mainly in Moldavia, northern parts of Dobruja and Moldova. Written <p> is at times realised as /k/, written <c> before front vowels is sometimes realised as /ʃ/, written <ă>, in final position, is sometimes palatalized, written <e> is rarely also pronounced /i/.
  • Maramureşian accent (Graiul maramureşean), spoken mainly in Maramureş.
  • Transylvanian accent (Graiul ardelenesc), spoken mainly in Transylvania.
  • Banatian accent (Graiul bănăţean), spoken mainly in Banat. Written <t> before front vowels is sometimes realised as /t͡ʃ/ and <d> as /d͡ʒ/.

Over the last century, however, regional accents have been weakened due to mass communication and greater mobility.


Romanian language in the Romance language family

Romanian is a Romance language, belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family, having much in common with languages such as French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

However, the languages closest to Romanian are the other Eastern Romance languages, spoken south of Danube: Aromanian/Macedo-Romanian, Megleno-Romanian and Istro-Romanian, which are sometimes classified as dialects of Romanian. An alternative name for Romanian used by linguists to disambiguate with the other Eastern Romance languages is "Daco-Romanian", referring to the area where it is spoken (which corresponds roughly to the onetime Roman province of Dacia).

Compared with the other Romance languages, the closest relative of Romanian is Italian; the two languages show a limited degree of asymmetrical mutual intelligibility, especially in their cultivated forms: speakers of Romanian seem to understand Italian more easily than the other way around.[citation needed] Even though Romanian has obvious grammatical and lexical similarities with French, Catalan, Spanish or Portuguese, it is not mutually intelligible with them to a practical extent; Romanian speakers will usually need some formal study of basic grammar and vocabulary before being able to understand even the simplest sentences in those languages (and vice-versa).

In the following sample sentence (meaning "She always closes the window before having dinner.") cognates are written in bold:

Illa semper fenestram claudit antequam cenat. (Latin)
Ea închide totdeauna fereastra înainte de a cina. (Romanian)
Lei chiude sempre la finestra prima di cenare. (Italian)
Elle ferme toujours la fenêtre avant de dîner. (French)
Ella siempre cierra la ventana antes de cenar. (Spanish)
Ela fecha sempre a janela antes de jantar (cear). (Portuguese)
Eilla pecha siempre la ventana enantes de cenare. (Leonese)
Idda sempri chiudi la finestra àntica cina. (Sicilian)
Ella sempre tanca la finestra abans de sopar. (Catalan)
Ela pecha sempre a xanela denantes de cear. (Galician)
Essa nzerra sempe 'a fenesta primme de cenà. (Neapolitan)
Ea sempre sera 'a fenestra prima de cenà. (Venetian)[citation needed]

A study done by Italian-American linguist Mario Pei in 1949, which analyzed the evolutionary degree of languages in comparison to their inheritance language (in the case of Romance languages to Latin comparing phonology, inflection, discourse, syntax, vocabulary, and intonation) revealed the following percentages:[39]

The lexical similarity with Italian is estimated at 77%, followed by French at 75%, Sardinian 74%, Catalan 73%, Spanish 71%, Portuguese, and Rhaeto-Romance at 72%.

In modern times Romanian vocabulary has been strongly influenced by French, Italian and other international words.

Contacts with other languages

Dacian language

The Dacian language was an Indo-European language spoken by the ancient Dacians. It may have been the first language to influence the Latin spoken in Dacia, but little is known about it. About 300 words found only in Romanian or with a cognate in the Albanian language may be inherited from Dacian, many of them being related to pastoral life (for example: balaur "dragon", brânză "cheese", mal "shore"). Some linguists have asserted that Albanians are Dacians who were not romanized and migrated southward.[40]

A different view is that these non-Latin words (many with Albanian cognates) are not necessarily Dacian, but rather were brought into the territory that is modern Romania by Romance-speaking shepherds migrating north from Albania, Serbia, and northern Greece who became the Romanian people. However, the Eastern Romance substratum appears to have been a satem language, while the Paleo-Balkan languages spoken in northern Greece (Ancient Macedonian) was most likely centum languages. The general opinion is that Dacian was a satem language, as was Thracian, which, however, was indeed spoken in the south.[40]

Balkan linguistic union

While most of Romanian grammar and morphology are based on Latin, there are some features that are shared only with other languages of the Balkans and not found in other Romance languages. The languages of the Balkan linguistic union belong to individual branches of the Indo-European language family: Bulgarian and Albanian, and in some cases Greek and Serbian. The shared features include a suffixed definite article, the syncretism of genitive and dative case, the formation of the future and perfect tenses, and the lack of infinitives.

Slavic languages

The Slavic influences on Romanian are especially noticeable and can be observed at all linguistic levels: lexis, phonetics, morphology and syntax. This situation is due to the migration of Slavic tribes who traversed the territory of present-day Romania during the early evolution of the language. This process of the introduction of Slavic in Dacia was similar to the appearance of various Germanic dialects in the Western Roman Empire, where Gallic Latin and Northern Italian dialects became strongly germanized.[citation needed] However, due to lower Romance-speaking populace in the East, Slavic remained spoken for much longer and did not die out immediately.

Other influences

Even before the 19th century, Romanian came in contact with several other languages. Some notable examples include:

  • Greek: folos < ófelos "use", buzunar < buzunára "pocket", proaspăt < prósfatos "fresh", cutie < cution "box"
  • Hungarian: oraş < város "town", a cheltui < költeni "to spend", a făgădui < fogadni "to promise", a mântui < menteni "to save"
  • Turkish: cafea < kahve "coffee", papuc < papuç "slipper", ciorbă < çorba "wholemeal soup, sour soup"
  • German: cartof < Kartoffel "potato", bere < Bier "beer", şurub < Schraube "screw", turn < Turm "tower", ramă < Rahmen "frame", muştiuc < Mundstück "mouth piece", bormaşină < Bohrmaschine "drilling machine", cremşnit < Kremschnitte "cream slice", şvaiţer < Schweizer "Swiss cheese", şlep < Schleppkahn "barge", şpriţ < Spritzer "wine with soda water", abţibild < Abziehbild "decal picture", şniţel < Schnitzel "cutlet", şuncă < dialectal Schunke (Schinken) "ham", punct < Punkt "point", maistru < Meister "master"
  • Romany, the Romanian Roma have provided several words to Romanian slang: mișto "cool", gagică < gadji "girl"

French, Italian and other international words

Since the 19th century, many modern words were borrowed from the other Romance languages, especially from French and Italian (for example: birou "desk, office", avion "airplane", exploata "exploit"). It was estimated that about 38% of the number of words in Romanian are of French and/or Italian origin (in many cases both languages); and adding this to the words that were inherited from Latin, about 75%-85% of Romanian words can be traced to Latin. The use of these Romanianized French and Italian loanwords has tended to increase at the expense of Slavic loanwords, many of which have become rare or fallen out of use. As second or third languages, French and Italian themselves are better known in Romania than in Romania's neighbors. Along with the switch to the Latin alphabet in Moldova, the re-latinization of the vocabulary has tended to reinforce the Latin character of the language.

In the process of lexical modernization, many of the words already existing as Latin direct heritage, as a part of its core or popular vocabulary, have been doubled by words borrowed from other Romance languages, thus forming a further and more modern and literary lexical layer. Typically, the popular word is a noun and the borrowed word an adjective. Some examples:

Latin Romanian
direct Latin heritage
agilis (quick) ager (astute) agil (it.<agile, fr.<agile)
aqua (water) apă (water) acvatic (it. <acquatico, fr.<aquatique)
dens, dentem (tooth) dinte (tooth) dentist (it.<dentista, fr.<dentiste)
directus (straight) drept (straight, right) direct (it.<diretto, fr.<direct)
frigus (cold) frig (cold - noun) frigid (it.<frigido, fr.<frigide)

In the 20th century, an increasing number of English words have been borrowed (such as: gem < jam; interviu < interview; meci < match; manager < manager; fotbal < football; sandviş < sandwich; bişniţă < business; ciungă < chewing gum; chec < cake). These words are assigned grammatical gender in Romanian and handled according to Romanian rules; thus "the manager" is managerul. Some of these English words are in turn Latin lexical constructions - calqued, borrowed or constructed from Latin or other Romance languages, like "management" and "interview" (from the French "entrevue").


Romanian nouns are characterized by gender (feminine, masculine, and neuter), and declined by number (singular and plural) and case (nominative/accusative, dative/genitive and vocative). The articles, as well as most adjectives and pronouns, agree in gender, number and case with the noun they reference.

Romanian is the only Romance language where definite articles are enclitic: that is, attached to the end of the noun (as in North Germanic languages), instead of in front (proclitic). They were formed, as in other Romance languages, from the Latin demonstrative pronouns.

As in all Romance languages, Romanian verbs are highly inflected for person, number, tense, mood, voice. The usual word order in sentences is SVO (Subject - Verb - Object). Romanian has four verbal conjugations which further split into ten conjugation patterns. Verbs can be put in five moods that are inflected for the person (indicative, conditional/optative, imperative, subjunctive, and presumptive) and four impersonal moods (infinitive, gerund, supine, and participle).


Romanian has nine vowels; the more "exotic" ones are /ɨ/, /ə/ (also in stressed positions), and the diphthongs /e̯a/ and /o̯a/. Additionally, /ø/ and /y/ may appear in some borrowed words. There are also twenty-two consonants. The two approximants /j/ and /w/ can appear before or after any vowel, creating a large number of glide-vowel sequences which are, strictly speaking, not diphthongs.

In final positions after consonants, a short /i/ can be deleted, surfacing only as the palatalization of the preceding consonant (e.g. [mʲ]). Similarly, a deleted /u/ may prompt labialization of a preceding consonant, though this has ceased to carry any morphological meaning.

Phonetic changes

Due to its isolation from the other Romance languages, the phonetic evolution of Romanian was quite different, but does share a few changes with Italian, such as [kl] > [kj] (Lat. clarus > Rom. chiar, Ital. chiaro) and also a few with Dalmatian, such as /ɡn/ (probably phonetically [ŋn]) > [mn] (Lat. cognatus > Rom. cumnat, Dalm. comnut).

Among the notable phonetic changes are:

  • diphthongization of e and o
  • Lat. cera → Rom. ceară (wax)
  • Lat. sole → Rom. soare (sun)
  • iotacism [e][ie] in the beginning of the word
  • Lat. herba → Rom. iarbă (grass, herb)
  • velar [k ɡ] → labial [p b m] before alveolar consonants and [w] (eg. ngumb):
  • Lat. octo → Rom. opt (eight)
  • Lat. lingua → Rom. limbă (tongue, language)
  • Lat. signum → Rom. semn (sign)
  • Lat. coxa → Rom. coapsă (thigh)
  • Lat. caelum → Rom. cer (sky)
  • Alveolars [d t] palatalized to [(d)z] [ts] when before short [e] or long [iː]
  • Lat. deus → Rom. zeu (god)
  • Lat. tenem → Rom. ţine (hold)

On the other hand, it (along with French) has lost /kw/ (qu) sound before /a/ from original Latin, turning it either into /p/ (Lat. quattuor → Rom.patru, "four"; cf. It. quattro) or /k/ (Lat. quando → Rom.când, "when"; Lat. qualitas → Rom.calitate, "quality").

Writing system

Neacşu's Letter is the oldest surviving document written in Romanian

The first written record of a Romance language spoken in the Middle Ages in the Balkans was written by the Byzantine chronicler Theophanes Confessor in the 6th century about a military expedition against the Avars from 587, when a Vlach muleteer accompanying the Byzantine army noticed that the load was falling from one of the animals and shouted to a companion Torna, torna fratre (meaning "Return, return brother!").

A sample of Romanian written in the Romanian Cyrillic alphabet, which was still in use in the early 19th century

The oldest written text in Romanian is a letter from late June 1521, in which Neacşu of Câmpulung wrote to the mayor of Braşov about an imminent attack of the Turks. It was written using the Cyrillic alphabet, like most early Romanian writings. The earliest writing in Latin script was a late 16th century Transylvanian text which was written with the Hungarian alphabet conventions.

In the late 1700s, Transylvanian scholars noted the Latin origin of Romanian and adapted the Latin alphabet to the Romanian language, using some rules from Italian, recognized as Romanian's closest relative. The Cyrillic alphabet remained in (gradually decreasing) use until 1860, when Romanian writing was first officially regulated.

In the Soviet Republic of Moldova, a special version of the Cyrillic alphabet derived from the Russian version was used, until 1989, when it returned to the Romanian Latin alphabet.

Romanian alphabet

The Romanian alphabet is as follows:

A, a (a); Ă, ă (ă); Â, â (â din a); B, b (be), C, c (ce); D, d (de), E, e (e); F, f (fe / ef); G, g (ghe / ge); H, h (ha / haş); I, i (i); Î, î (î din i); J, j (je), K, k (ka / kapa), L, l (le / el); M, m (me / em); N, n (ne / en); O, o (o); P, p (pe); Q (chiu); R, r, (re / er); S, s (se / es); Ș , ş (şe); T, t (te); Ţ, ţ (ţe); U, u (u); V, v (ve); W (dublu ve); X, x (ics); Y (i grec); Z, z (ze / zet).

K, Q, W and Y are not part of the native alphabet, were officially introduced in the Romanian alphabet in 1982 and are mostly used to write loanwords like kilogram, quasar, watt, and yoga.

The Romanian alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet with five additional letters Ă, Â, Î, Ș , Ţ. Formerly, there were as many as 12 additional letters, but some of them were abolished in subsequent reforms. Also, until the early 20th century, a short vowel marker was used.

Today the Romanian alphabet is largely phonemic. However, the letters â and î both represent the same close central unrounded vowel /ɨ/. Â is used only inside words; î is used at the beginning or the end of single words and in the middle of compound words). Another exception from a completely phonetic writing system is the fact that vowels and their respective semivowels are not distinguished in writing. In dictionaries the distinction is marked by separating the entry word into syllables for words containing a hiatus.

Stressed vowels also are not marked in writing, except very rarely in cases where by misplacing the stress a word might change its meaning and if the meaning is not obvious from the context. For example trei copíi means "three children" while trei cópii means "three copies".


  • h is not silent like in other Romance languages such as Spanish and French, but represents the phoneme /h/, except in the digraphs ch /k/ and gh /g/ (see below)
  • j represents /ʒ/, as in French or Portuguese (the sound spelled with s in the English words 'vision, pleasure, treasure').
  • There are two letters with a comma below, Ș and Ț, which represent the sounds /ʃ/ and /t͡s/. However, the allographs with a cedilla instead of a comma, Ş and Ţ, became widespread when pre-Unicode and early Unicode character sets did not include the standard form.
  • A final orthographical i after a consonant often represents the palatalization of the consonant (e. g. lup /lup/ "wolf" vs. lupi /lupʲ/ "wolves") -- it is not pronounced like Italian lupi (which also means "wolves"), and is indeed an example of the Slavic influence on Romanian.
  • ă represents the schwa, /ə/.
  • î and â both represent the sound /ɨ/. In rapid speech (for example in the name of the country) the â sound may sound similar to a casual listener to a short schwa sound but careful speakers will distinguish the sound. The nearest equivalent is found in some English regional accents (it is the first part of the diphthong in reed in the English accent of Birmingham in the West Midlands of England (rî-eed).
  • The letter e is generally pronounced as ie /je/ (/j/ sounds like 'y' as in 'you') when it is the first sound of a form of the verb a fi 'to be', e. g. este /jeste/ "is". (Recall what was given above, that the Romanian alphabet does not have distinct letters for semivowels like [j, w]) This rule also applies to personal pronouns beginning with e, e. g. el /jel/ 'he'. This is another instance of the Slavic influences on the language. However, in certain loan words and "classical" Latin and Greek words (and derivatives) such as era (era), electric (electric) etc. this addition of the semivowel /j/ does not occur. Some words (such as iepure - hare, formerly epure) are now spelt with the i to indicate the semivowel.
  • x represents either the phoneme /ks/ as in expresie = expression, or /ɡz/ as in exemplu = example, as in English.
  • As in Italian, the letters c and g represent the affricates /t͡ʃ/ and /d͡ʒ/ before i and e, and /k/ and /ɡ/ elsewhere. When /k/ and /ɡ/ are followed by vowels /e/ and /i/ (or their corresponding semivowels or the final /ʲ/) the digraphs ch and gh are used instead of c and g, as shown in the table below.
Group Phoneme Pronunciation Examples
ce, ci /tʃ/ ch in chest, cheek cerc (circle), cine (who)
che, chi /k/ k in kettle, kiss chem (I call), chimie (chemistry)
ge, gi /dʒ/ j in jelly, jigsaw ger (frost), gimnast (gymnast)
ghe, ghi /ɡ/ g in get, give gheţar (glacier), ghid (guide)

Punctuation and capitalization

Uses of punctuation peculiar to Romanian are:

  • The quotation marks use the Polish format in the format „quote «inside» quote”, that is, „. . .” for a normal quotation, and double angle symbols for a quotation inside a quotation.
  • Proper quotations which span multiple paragraphs don't start each paragraph with the quotation marks; one single pair of quotation marks is always used, regardless of how many paragraphs are quoted;
  • Dialogues are identified with quotation dashes;
  • The Oxford comma before "and" is considered incorrect ("red, yellow and blue" is the proper format);
  • Punctuation signs which follow a text in parentheses always follow the final bracket;
  • In titles, only the first letter of the first word is capitalized, the rest of the title using sentence capitalization (with all its rules: proper names are capitalized as usual, etc.).
  • Names of months and days are not capitalized (ianuarie "January", joi "Thursday")
  • Adjectives derived from proper names are not capitalized (Germania "Germany", but german "German")

Spelling issues between Romania's and Moldova's usage

Until 2000, there used to be minor spelling differences between official forms of Romanian language used in Romania and the variant (also called Moldovan) used in the Republic of Moldova— Moldova hadn't switched yet to the new spelling rules introduced by the Romanian Academy in 1993. These differences were abolished officially in 2000; in practice, however, many Moldovans persist in using the older spellings.[41] Romanian is also an official or administrative language in various communities and organisations (such as the Latin Union and the European Union).

Language sample

English text:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Contemporary Romanian - highlighted words are French or Italian loanwords:

Toate fiinţele umane se nasc libere şi egale în demnitate şi în drepturi. Ele sunt înzestrate cu raţiune şi conştiinţă şi trebuie să se comporte unele faţă de altele în spiritul fraternităţii.

Romanian, excluding French and Italian loanwords - highlighted words are Slavic loanwords:

Toate fiinţele omeneşti se nasc slobode şi deopotrivă în destoinicie şi în drepturi. Ele sunt înzestrate cu înţelegere şi cuget şi trebuie să se poarte unele faţă de altele în duh de frăţietate.

Romanian, excluding loanwords:

Toate fiinţele omeneşti se nasc nesupuse şi asemenea în preţuire şi în drepturi. Ele sunt înzestrate cu înţelegere şi cuget şi se cuvine să se poarte unele faţă de altele după firea frăţiei.

See also


  1. ^ a b The Latin Union reports 28 million speakers for Romanian, out of whom 24 million are native speakers of the language: Latin Union - The odyssey of languages: ro, es, fr, it, pt; see also Ethnologue report for Romanian
  2. ^ a b "Languages Spoken by More Than 10 Million People". Microsoft Encarta 2006. 
  3. ^ The constitution of the Republic of Moldova refers to the country's language as Moldovan rather than Romanian, though in practice it is often called "Romanian". The introduction of the law concerning the functioning of the languages (September 1989), still effective in the Republic of Moldova according to the Constitution [1], asserts the linguistic identity between the Romanian language and the Moldovan language. [2].
  4. ^ "Dacia-Province of the Roman Empire". United Nations of Roma Victor. 
  5. ^ Deletant, Dennis (1995). Colloquial Romanian. New York: Routledge. pp. 1. 
  6. ^ Matley, Ian (1970). Romania; a Profile. Praeger. pp. 85. 
  7. ^ Giurescu, Constantin C. (1972). The Making of the Romanian People and Language. Bucharest: Meridiane Publishing House. pp. 43, 98–101,141. 
  8. ^ Eutropius; Justin, Cornelius Nepos (1886). Eutropius, Abridgment of Roman History. London: George Bell and Sons. 
  9. ^ Watkins, Thayer. "The Economic History of the Western Roman Empire". 
  10. ^ Yves D’hulst, Martine Coene, Larisa Avram, “Syncretic and analytic tenses in Romanian”, in “Balkan Syntax ans Semantics”, pag. 366: "In its evolution, Romanian simplified the original Latin tense system in extreme ways."
  11. ^ Yves D’hulst et al., “Syncretic and analytic tenses in Romanian”, in “Balkan Syntax ans Semantics”, p.355: "general absence of consecutio temporum."
  12. ^ Graham Mallinson, “Rumanian”, in “The Romance Languages”, Taylor & Francis, 1997, p. 413: "Much more substantial than the Germanic adstrate in the Western Romance Languages is the Slavic adstrate in Balkan Romance."
  13. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estadística: Avance del Padrón municipal a 1 de enero de 2009. Datos provisionales. [3].
  14. ^
  15. ^ Number of speakers of Romanian in Hungarry in 1995 according to Ethnologue
  16. ^ [4] Perepis 2002
  17. ^ Latin Union - Languages and cultures online 2005
  18. ^ MSN Encarta - Languages Spoken by More Than 10 Million People
  19. ^ According to the 1993 Statistical Abstract of Israel there were 250,000 Romanian speakers in Israel, at a population of 5,548,523 (census 1995).
  20. ^ Reports of about 300,000 Jews that left the country after WW2
  21. ^ Evenimentul Zilei
  22. ^ Constitution of Romania
  23. ^ Ministry of Education of Romania
  24. ^ Dalby, Andrew. Dictionary of Languages. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 518. ISBN 0-7475-3117-X. 
  25. ^ Legea cu privire la functionarea limbilor vorbite pe teritoriul RSS Moldovenesti Nr.3465-XI din 01.09.89 Vestile nr.9/217, 1989 (Law regarding the usage of languages spoken on the territory of the Republic of Moldova): "Moldavian RSS supports the desire of the Moldovans that live across the borders of the Republic, and - considering the existing Moldo-Romanian linguistic identity - of the Romanians that live on the territory of the USSR, of doing their studies and satisfying their cultural needs in their maternal language."
  26. ^ National Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Moldova: Census 2004
  27. ^ Experts Offering to Consult the National Statistics Bureau in Evaluation of the Census Data, Moldova Azi, May 19, 2005, story attributed to AP Flux. Retrieved October 11, 2005.
  28. ^ Official Gazette of Republic of Serbia, No. 1/90
  29. ^ Official Gazette of Autonomous Province of Vojvodina
  30. ^ Official use of languages and scripts in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina published by the Provincial Secretariat for Regulations, Administration and National Minorities
  31. ^ Provincial Secretariat for Regulations, Administration and National Minorities: Official use of the Romanian language in the APV
  32. ^ Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research: [5], [6]
  33. ^ Slovak Academy of Sciences in Kosice
  34. ^ University of Chernivtsi
  35. ^ Cursuri de perfecţionare, published in Ziua on August 19, 2005
  36. ^ Romanian Language Institute: Data concerning the teaching of the Romanian language abroad
  37. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica article on "Romanian"
  38. ^ Samuil Micu, Gheorghe Şincai, Elementa linguae daco-romanae sive valachicae, Vienna, 1780.
  39. ^ >Pei, Mario (1949). Story of Language. ISBN 0397004001. 
  40. ^ a b Vladimir Georgiev (Gheorghiev), (Romanian) Raporturile dintre limbile dacă, tracă şi frigiană, "Studii Clasice" Journal, II, 1960, 39-58
  41. ^ The new edition of "Dicţionarul ortografic al limbii române (ortoepic, morfologic, cu norme de punctuaţie)" – introduced by the Academy of Sciences of Moldova and recommended for publishing following a conference on 15 November 2000 – applies the decision of the General Meeting of the Romanian Academy from 17 February 1993, regarding the return to "â" and "sunt" in the orthography of the Romanian language. (Introduction, Institute of Linguistics of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova) The decision is mandatory in schools and other official use of the language.


  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Uwe, Hinrichs (ed.), Handbuch der Südosteuropa-Linguistik, Wiesbaden, 1999.
  • Rosetti, Alexandru, Istoria limbii române, 2 vols., Bucharest, 1965-1969.

External links

Romanian language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Learning Romanian




Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Romanian phrasebook article)

From Wikitravel

Romanian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Romania and Moldova, as well as in some parts of Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Ukraine. It is useful to know the language if travelling in Romania, especially in rural areas.

Romanian is a fairly difficult language to learn and speak for English speakers, due to its complicated grammar. It is, however, very similar to Italian, and, to a similiar extent, other Romance languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, etc.), so speakers of these languages are more at an advantage.

Note that in Romanian, there is a formal and informal form when addressing people. The informal is tu (you, singular) or voi (you, plural) and the formal is dumneavoastra. There is also a formal way of speaking about other people, not just when addressing them. When referring to she use dumneaei; for he use dumnealui; and for them use dumnealor. Note that the formal form should be used with the plural form of the verb, at the appropriate person. This is similar to the construction in most other Romance languages, and, to an extent, German, although Germans usually make less use of the informal forms. Use tu when addressing friends or people you know well. When addressing strangers or speaking about strangers, use the formal forms.


Romanian should not be confused with Romani or Romany, which is the language of the European Gypsies, or Roma. The similarity is coincidental; the English word for the European Gypsy stems from an Indian/Sanskrit root. The name Romania or Rumania and its derivatives come from the Latin word 'Romanus', and are etymologically related to Rome, the capital city of the Roman empire and now the capital city of Italy.

In the past, Romania had a sizable German minority population, although nowadays the number of native German speakers is dwindling. However, the German language is still widely studied in Romania as a foreign language, and, due to the residual German cultural influence, it is used as a second (or third) official language in many parts of Transylvania.

Romanian tends to be easy for speakers of Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan to learn, since all these languages share a common root and influences and are all written as they are pronouned. Romanian is sometimes challenging because of the influx of loanwords, mostly Slavic words as well as a few Hungarian, German and Turkish ones, even though most of these have fallen out of use for a very long time. Neologisms have been imported en masse from French, Italian, German, and recently English. The slang has either French, German or Gypsy origin. The language uses the Latin alphabet, and the Latinate roots can help tourists to understand some signs, such as Alimentara (a place where you can buy aliments, food) Farmacie (Pharmacy, Drugstore), and Poliţie (Police). Some signs, however, are false cognates or 'false friends' (at least to those from the US) - for example Librărie means a bookstore rather than a lending library (as it does in French); Teatru means a stage theatre rather than a cinema (as it does in UK English); and so on, although if you have a decent conversation guide you can avoid such funny confusions. Coincidentally, these "false friends" also apply in all its sister languages.

Hungarian is used in Eastern Transylvania and in some cities like Miercurea-Ciuc, Targu-Mures, Oradea, Cluj-Napoca, Satu-Mare; if you know it, then you are at an advantage. Hungarian is widely used as a second language in counties such as Covasna and Harghita.

The Romanian language is generally seen as a language with somewhat complicated grammar, but far simpler for speakers of Germanic languages than any of its Slavic neighbours or even Hungarian. It is an easy language to pronounce, being a very phonetic language (easy, that is, for people who speak a native phonetic language like Italian; English people may be less comfortable with this phonetic system as English depends on learning the correct spelling for each word. This is not needed in Romanian since the spelling and the pronunciation are the same). Romanian is abundant in vowels, and it can have series of diphthongs and even triphthongs, that gives the language a melodious sound and makes it very musical.

A foreigner trying to learn or speak Romanian can expect mostly positive reactions from native speakers. Most Romanian people will certainly love you for it and will strongly appreciate the fact that you are making an effort to speak their language. Others, however, may sneer at you for not properly being able to speak what they see as a very easy phonetic language. The Romanian alphabet is nearly exactly the same as the English alphabet, except for five additional accented letters, or 'diacriticals': ă (like the 'a' in English word 'musical'), ş (pronounced as 'sh'), ţ (pronounced 'ts'), â, î (have the same reading, like a short ă).

English has effectively become a requirement for getting a somewhat better job, and it is usually the second most popular non-Romance language spoken (on par with German). Consequently, it is usually good to ask before starting to speak English, but more often than not it will be safe to go ahead. Other Romance languages (especially French, Spanish and Italian) are also learnt by most people in schools and are therefore spoken with a pretty good level of fluency by many people, but make sure you ask before you start speaking to people in foreign tongues. In general, Romanians prefer speaking other Romance languages than the others. Globalization and the fact that Romania joined the Latin Union (Uniunea Latină), a linguistic association created in 1954, has made these closely-related languages more attractive.

Some people feel that Romanian is an extremely easy language to learn if you already speak a Latin-based language such as Spanish, French, Portuguese, Catalan or Italian. This is especially so in contrast to Romania's Slavic and Hungarian neighbors.

Pronunciation Guide

Even though Romanian pronunciation is very phonetic, a lot of foreigners find it hard to speak it, especially English speakers. The accent and sounds are almost identical to Italian and other Romance languages (with very few, if any, Slavic influences), so remember to sound every letter clearly. Also, sounds very rarely differ between words (i.e. the letter i is always pronounced the same, every time, unlike in English or even French).

Like English, Romanian has secondary stresses in words. We have not attempted to represent those here. Stress usually falls on the second-last syllable if it ends in a vowel, and last if it ends in a consonant. If you know another Romance language, you shouldn't worry as the stress partterns are usually the same in similar-sounding words.

Questions in Romanian that end with a verb often use a rising tone on the last syllable or two.

like 'a' in "father"
Hear the sound for a
like 'e' in "ten". When the word begins with an 'e' and it is a form of "a fi" (to be) or a pronoun it is like 'ye' in "yell"
Hear the sound for e
like 'ee' in "beep" when in the middle or start of a word. When at the end, it is barely sounded - for example, in the word Bucureşti, it is pronounced Boo-KOO-resht with a very short and slight i - never pronounce it as Boo-KOO-reshtee. The terminal "i" causes a slight "softening" of the preceding consonant. The few Romanian words with a very strong terminal "i" sound are spelled with a double "i" ("ii").
Hear the sound for i
like 'o' in "chlorine", rounded, fairly short sound
Hear the sound for o
like 'oo' in "broom", but much shorter
Hear the sound for u
like 'a' in "digital". This sound is usually mispronounced (people tend to pronounce it like 'u' in 'cup', but in fact, this sound is frequently found in English.) When seeing ă always think of the sound in the rather than in bra. Similar to French 'e' in word 'je'.
Hear the sound for ă
â, î 
no precise English equivalent - it's best to hear it being spoken. â and î are the same sound in Romanian. î is used at the beginning and at the end of words, â in all other cases. The closest American English sound is the ""oo"" in "book", but it's a bit shifted toward a "soft 'i'", as in "it". Similar to French 'u' in word 'rue'.
Hear the sound for â, î
like 'b' in "bed"
like 'ch' in "cheese" (like Italian 'c') when followed by 'e' or 'i', otherwise like 'k'
like 'd' in "dog"
like 'f' in "federation"
like 'g' in "gym" when followed by 'e' or 'i', otherwise like 'g' in "gear"
like 'h' in "help" (never silent in Romanian)
like the French 'j' in "Bonjour" - closest English equivalent is the "s" in "pleasure"
Hear the sound for j
like 'c' in "cat"
like 'l' in "love"
like 'm' in "mother"
like 'n' in "nice"
like 'p' in "pig"
like 'k' in "king" (this letter is rarely used in Romanian)
like 'r' in "row", but slightly harsher (similar to the Italian r)
Hear the word 'Reşiţa' in Romanian, note the 'r' sound
like 's' in "snake"
like 'sh' in "lush"
like 'zz' in "pizza"
like 't' in "knit"
like 'v' in "very"
like 'v' in "very" or "w" in english loadwords
like 'cks' in "picks", sometimes 'gs' in "pigs"
like 'i' in "dip"
like 'z' in "fizz"
like 'oy' in "boy"
usually dipthongized, like the "a" in the East-coast American English "cat" or "sat". However, this letter pair is not always a diphthong.
like 'c' in "collar" (hard sound)
like 'g' in "giving"

Phrase list

NOTE: The pronunciation guides in brackets beside each word only act as guides, due to the fact that they will make the Romanian word have a strong English accent. To get a better pronunciation, it is generally better to look at the Pronunciation Guide above and learn the right pronunciation for each letter (this is easier than it sounds). Throughout the following, "ooh" is pronounced roughly as in "oo" in "book"; "oo" without the "h" is as in "boot".

"Salut." (sah-LOOT)
How are you?
"Ce faci?" (cheh FAHTCH)
Fine, thank you.
"Mulţumesc, bine." (mool-tzu-MESK BEE-nay).
What is your name? (formal)
"Cum vă numiţi? (coom vuh noo-MEETZ)
What's your name? (informal)
"Cum te cheamă? (coom teh KYAHM-uh)
What are you up to? (informal)
"Ce mai faci?" (cheh my FAHTCH)
My name is ______.
"Numele meu e ______." (NOO-meh-leh MEH-oo yeh ______.)
Nice to meet you.
"Încântat" (oohn-koohn-taht) or "Îmi pare bine" (OOHM pah-reh BEE-neh)
"Vă rog" (vuh ROHG; usually follows the request.)
Thank you
"Mulţumesc" (mool-tzoo-MESK). "Mersi" and "graţie" (GRAH-tsye) are also popularly used.
Thank you very much
"Mulţumesc mult." (mool-tzoo-MESK moolt)
You're welcome
"Cu plăcere" (koo pluh-CHAIR-eh)
"Da" (DAH)
"Nu" (NOO)
Excuse me. (Getting attention)
"Pardon" (pahr-DOHN) or "Vă rog" (vuh ROHG)
Excuse me. (begging pardon, moving through crowd)
"Pardon" (pahr-DOHN)
I'm sorry
"Îmi pare rău" (oohm pah-reh RUH-OH)
"La revedere" (lah reh-veh-DEH-reh)
"Pa" (PAH); in informal occasions in Transylvania - "Servus" [sehr-VOOS])
See you soon
"Pe curând" ("peh cur-OOHND")
I can't speak Romanian [well].
"Nu vorbesc [bine] româneşte." (NOO vor-BESC [BEE-nay] Roh-moohn-ESH-teh)
Do you speak English?
"Vorbiţi engleză?" (vor-BEETZ eng-LEH-zuh)
Is there someone here who speaks English?
"Vorbeşte cineva aici engleză?" (vor-BESH-teh CHEEH-neh-vah AY-eetch eng-LEH-zuh)
"Ajutor!" (ah-zhoo-TOR)
Look out!
"Atenţie" (ah-TEN-tzee-eh)
Good morning
"Bună dimineaţa" (BOO-nuh dee-mee-NYAH-tzuh)
Good day
"Bună ziua" (BOO-nuh zee-wah)
Good evening
"Bună seara" (BOO-nuh syah-ruh)
Good night (to sleep)
"Noapte bună" (NWAHP-teh BOO-nuh)
I'm Hungry
"Mi-e foame" (Me-ae fo-ah-may)
I'm Thirsty
"Mi-e sete" (Me-ae set-te)
I'm Tired
"Mi-e somn" (Me-ae sohm)
I'm Scared
"Mi-e frică" (Me-ae fri-cah)
I Took A Shower
"A-m Facut Duş " (AHM fah-COOT DOOSH )
I don't understand
"Nu înţeleg" (NOO oohn-tzeh-LEG)
Where's the bathroom?
"Unde e toaleta?" (OON-deh yeh twah-LEH-tah)
The check, please
"Nota de plată, vă rog" (NO-tah deh PLAT-tuh, vuh ROHG)
Romanian (person, male)
"român" (ro-MUHN)
Romanian (person, female)
"româncă" (ro-MUHN-cuh)
I'm sorry about last Wednesday  
"Îmi pare rău în legătură cu miercurea trecută"
That happens sometimes, but I wasn't upset with you, OK? 
"Se mai întâmplă uneori, dar nu m-am supărat pe tine, bine?"
I Love you 
"Te iubesc" (teh yoo-besk)
Leave me alone. 
"Lasă-mă în pace" (LAH-suh muh oohn PAH-cheh)
I'll call the police. 
"Chem poliţia." (kem poh-LEE-tzee-ah)
"Poliţia!" (po-LEE-tzee-ah!)
Stop! Thief! 
"Stai! Opriţi hoţul!" (STAAY! Oh-preetz hoh-tzul!)
I need your help (formal "your"). 
"Am nevoie de ajutorul dumneavoastra" (AHM neh-VOY-eh deh ah-ZHOO-tohr-ool doom-nyah-VWAH-strah)
I need your help (informal "your"). 
"Am nevoie de ajutorul tău" (AHM neh-VOY-eh deh ah-ZHOO-tor-ool tuh-oo)
It's an emergency. 
"E o urgenţă" (YEH oh oor-JEHN-tzuh)
I'm lost. 
"M-am rătăcit" (mahm ruh-tuh-CHEET)
I lost my bag. 
"Mi-am pierdut valiza" (mee-AHM pee-ehr-DOOT vah-LEE-zah)
I lost my wallet. 
"Mi-am pierdut portmoneul/portofelul." (mee-AHM pee-ehr-DOOT POHRT-mohn-eh-ool/POHRT-o-FEH-Loo)
I'm sick. 
"Sunt bolnav." (SOONT bohl-NAHV)
I'm injured. 
"M-am accidentat." (Mahm ahk-chee-dehn-TAHT)
I need a doctor. 
"Am nevoie de un doctor" (AHM neh-VOY-eh deh dohk-TOHR)
Can I use your phone? (formal "your")
"Pot să utilizez telefonul dumneavoastra?" (poht suh ohh-tee-LEE-zehz teh-leh-FOHN-ool doom-nyah-VWAH-strah)/ Alternative: "Pot utiliza telefonul dumnevoastră"
Can I use your phone? (informal "your")
"Pot să utilizez telefonul tău?" (poht suh ohh-tee-LEE-zehz teh-leh-FOHN-ool TUH-oo) Alternative: "Pot utiliza telefonul tău" (in both formal and informal phrases are correct and do not create misunderstandings, albeit the first one is more common. The same applies to the formal one)
unu (OO-noo)
doi (doy)
trei (tray)
patru (PAH-troo)
cinci (cheench)
şase (SHAH-seh)
şapte (SHAHP-teh)
opt (ohpt)
nouă (NOH-uh)
zece (ZEH-cheh)
unsprezece (OON-spreh-zeh-cheh, usually shortened to just unşpe, OON-shpeh even in formal speech; similarly, for all numbers up to 19)
doisprezece (DOY-spreh-zeh-cheh)
treisprezece (TRAY-spreh-zeh-cheh)
paisprezece (PIE-spreh-zeh-cheh)
cincisprezece (CHEENCH-spreh-zeh-cheh)
şaisprezece (SHY-spreh-zeh-cheh)
şaptesprezece (SHAHP-teh-spreh-zeh-cheh)
optsprezece (OPT-spreh-zeh-cheh)
nouăsprezece (NO-uh-spreh-zeh-cheh)
douăzeci (DOH-uh ZETCH)
douăzeci şi unu (DOH-uh ZETCH shee OO-nu)
douăzeci şi doi (DOH-uh ZETCH shee DOY)
douăzeci şi trei (DOH-uh ZETCH shee TRAY)
treizeci (TRAY ZETCH)
patruzeci (PAH-troo ZETCH)
cincizeci (CHEENCH ZETCH, but often more like CHEEN-zetch)
şaizeci (SHAH-ee ZETCH)
şaptezeci (SHAHP-teh ZETCH)
optzeci (OHPT zetch)
nouăzeci (NO-uh ZETCH)
o sută (OH SOO-tuh)
o sută cinci (OH SOO-teh CHEENCH)
două sute (DOH-uh SOO-teh)
trei sute (TRAY SOO-teh)
patru sute (PAH-troo SOO-teh)
cinci sute (CHEENCH SOO-teh)
şase sute (SHAH-seh SOO-teh)
şapte sute (SHAHP-teh SOO-teh)
opt sute (OHP SOO-teh)
nouă sute (NOH-uh SOO-teh)
o mie (oh MEE-eh)
două mii (DOH-uh MEE)
un milion (OON mee-LEE-ohn)
number _____ (train, bus, etc.
numărul _____ (nu-MUH-rool)
jumătate (joo-muh-TAH-teh, often shortened to joo-MAH-teh)
mai puţin (MY poo-TZEEN)
mai mult (my moolt)
acum (ah-COOM)
mai târziu (muy toohr-ZEE-oo)
înainte de (oohn-I-een-teh deh)
dimineaţă (dee-mee-NYAH-tzuh)
după amiază (DOO-puh ah-MYA-zuh)
seară (SYAH-ruh)
noapte (NWAHP-teh)

Clock time

Although 12-hour clocks are common in Romania, time is almost always stated according to the 24-hour clock.

one o'clock AM 
ora unu (OHR-ah OO-noo)
two o'clock AM 
ora două (OHR-ah DOH-wuh)
prânz (proohnz)
one o'clock PM 
treisprezece/treişpe ore (TRAY-spreh-zeh-cheh OHR-eh; TRAY-shpeh)
two o'clock PM 
patrusprezece/paişpe ore (...)
miezul nopţii (mee-EHZ-ool NOHP-tzee)

Normally, to say "at" a time, one precedes the same form given above with "la", thus:

at noon 
la prânz (lah PROOHNZ)
one o'clock PM 
la treisprezece/treişpe ore (....) - still, you'll find used more often "la unu după amiază" (lah OO-noo DOO-puh ah-mee-AH-zuh)
at midnight 
la miezul nopţii (lah mee-EZ-ool NOHP-tzee)


one minute 
un minut (oon meen-OOT)
_____ minutes 
_____ minute (_____ meen-OOT-eh)
one hour 
o oră (OH OHR-uh)
_____ hours 
_____ ore (OHR-eh)
one day 
o zi (OH ZEE)
_____ days 
_____ zile (_____ ZEE-leh)
one week 
o săptămână (OH suhp-tuh-MOOHN-uh)
_____ weeks 
_____ săptămâni (_____ suhp-tuh-MOOHN)
one month 
o lună (OH LOO-nuh)
_____ months 
_____ luni (LOON; the last syllable almost vanishes)
one year 
un an (oon AHN)
_____ years 
_____ ani (AHN; the last syllable almost vanishes)

Note: For all of the above, the correct, literary way to express duration is by saying una oră, una ziuă, una săptămână... instead of o oră, o ziuă, o săptămână, but this is never really used in speech, even if the context is very formal. Therefore, it is much easier to learn that o is used to express one or a in the case of minute, hour, month, etc, not una. This is because all of these nouns are feminine. With year, which is masculine, un is used (as in, un an - one year).


ieri (yehr)
mâine (MUY-neh)
this week 
săptămâna asta (suhp-tuh-MOOHN-ah AH-stah)
last week 
săptămâna trecută (suhp-tueh-MOOHN-ah treh-COOT-uh)
next week 
săptămâna viitoare (suhp-tuh-MOOHN-ah vee-TWAH-reh)
duminică (doo-MEEN-ee-kuh)
luni (loohn)
marţi (mahrtz)
miercuri (mee-EHR-coor)
joi (zhoy)
vineri (vee-NEHR)
sâmbătă (SUHM-bah-tah)


ianuarie (ya-NWAH-ree-eh)
februarie (FEB-RWAH-ree-eh)
martie (MAR-tee-eh)
aprilie (ah-PREEL-ee-eh)
mai (my)
iunie (YOO-nee-eh)
iulie (YOO-lee-eh)
august (ow-GOOST)
septembrie (sehp-TEHM-bree-eh)
octombrie (ohk-TOHM-bree-eh)
noiembrie (noy-EHM-bree-eh); alt. novembrie (no-VEHM-bryeh)
decembrie (deh-CHEHM-bree-eh)

Writing time and date

  • 16 Jan 2004 3:30 or 16 (şaisprezece/şaişpe) ianuarie 2004 3:30).
    • date may also be written 16/01/04 or 16-01-04.
  • 1 Aug 2004 20:00 (or 1 august 2004 20:00).
    • date may also be written 01/08/04 or 01-08-04.

Note: The first day of the month is called întâi (oon-tooee) not one nor first. For example the first of August is întâi August (lit. "the beginning of August").


NOTE: ah in English represents the sound 'a' as in "father"

negru (NEH-groo)
alb (ahlb)
gri (gree)
roşu (ROH-shoo)
albastru (ahl-BAH-stroo)
galben (GAHL-behn)
verde (VEHR-deh)
portocaliu (pohr-toh-KAH-lee-oo); oranj (oh-RANZH)
mov (mohv) or purpurie (poor-POOH-ryeh)
maro (mah-ROH); also brun (broohn) or cafeniu (kah-feh-NEE-ooh)
roz (roh-zz)
lila (lee-LAH)
violet (vee-oh-LEHT)


Bus and Train

How much is a ticket to _____? 
Cât costa un bilet până la _____? (COOHT KOHS-tah OOHN bee-LEHT POOHN-uh LAH _____?)
One ticket to _____, please. 
Un bilet până la _____, vă rog. (OON bee-LEHT POOHN-uh LAH _____, vuh ROHG)
Where does this train/bus go? 
Unde merge trenul/autobuzul ăsta? (OON-deh MEHR-jeh TREHN-ool/OW-toh-BOOZ-ool UH-stah?)
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
Unde este trenul/autobuzul pentru _____? (OON-deh YES-teh TREHN-ool/OW-toh-BOOZ-ool PEHN-troo _____?)
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
Trenul/autobuzul ăsta opreşte la _____? (TREHN-ool/OW-toh-BOOZ-ool UH-stah OH-presh-teh lah _____?)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
Când pleacă trenul/autobuzul spre _____ ? (COOHND PLYAH-kuh TREHN-ool/OW-toh-BOOZ-ool SPREH _____)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
Când ajunge trenul/autobuzul ăsta la _____? (COOHND ah-ZHOON-jeh TREHN-ool/OW-toh-BOOZ-ool UH-stah lah _____?)

At the Airport

International airport 
Aeroportul Internaţional


How do I get to _____ ? 
Cum ajung la _____ ? (COOM ah-ZHOONG lah _____ ?)
...the train station? 
... gară? (GAH-ruh)
...the bus station? 
...staţia de autobuz? (STAH-tzee-ah deh OW-toe-booz)
...the airport? 
...aeroport? (AH-yeh-roh-pohrt)
centrul oraşului...? (CHEHN-trool oh-RAHSH-oo-loo-wee)
...the youth hostel? 
caminul de tineret? (kah-mee-nool deh TEE-nehr-eht)
...the _____ hotel? 
...hotelul _____ ? (hoh-TEHL-ool _____)
...the American/Canadian/Australian/British consulate? 
...consulatul american/canadian/australian/britanic? (COHN-soo-LAH-tool ah-meh-ree-KAHN/kah-nah-dee-AHN/OW-strah-lee-AHN/bree-TAH-nik)
Where are there a lot of _____ 
Unde sunt multe _____ (OON-deh SOONT MOOLT-eh) 
...hoteluri? (ho-TEHL-oor)
restaurante? (reh-stow-RAHN-teh)
...baruri? (BAHR-oor)
...sites to see? 
locuri turistice? (loh-koor too-REE-stee-cheh)
Can you show me on the map? (formal/polite) 
Puteţi să-mi arătaţi/arătare-me pe hartă? (poo-TEHTZ suhm ah-RUH-tahtz/ah-ruh-TAH-rah me peh HAHR-tuh?)
stradă (STRAH-duh)
Turn left. (formal/polite) 
Îluaţi-o la stânga. (loo-ah-tzee-oh lah stoohn-gah);
Turn right. 
(formal/polite) : Îluaţi-o la dreapta. (loo-ah-tzee-oh lah DRYAP-tah)
stânga (STOOHN-gah)
dreapta (DRYAP-tah)
straight ahead 
drept înainte (DREHPT oohn-ay-EEN-teh)
towards the _____ 
spre _____ (spreh _____)
past the _____ 
după _____ (doo-puh)
before the _____ 
înainte de_____ (oohn-ay-EEN-teh deh)
Watch for the _____. 
(formal/polite) Aşteptaţi _____. (ahsh-tehp-TAHTZ _____.) informally, "Aşteaptă _____." (ahsh-TYAHP-tuh)
intersecţie (EEN-tehr-sehk-tzee-eh)
nord (NOHRD)
sud (SOOD)
est (EHST)
vest (VEHST)
sus (SOOS)
jos (ZHOHS)


Taxi! (TAH-ksee)
Take me to _____, please. 
Conduceţi-mă la _____, vă rog. (CON-doo-cheh-tzee-muh lah _____, vuh ROHG)
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
Cât costă pentru a ajunge la _____? (COOHT COH-stah PEHN-troo ah ah-ZHOON-jeh lah _____?)
Take me there, please. 
Conduceţi-mă acolo, vă rog.. (CON-doo-cheh-tzee-muh ah-KOH-loh, vuh ROHG)
Do you have any rooms available? 
Aveţi camere libere? (ah-VEHTZ KAH-meh-reh LEE-beh-reh)
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
Cât costa o cameră pentru o persoană / pentru doua persoane? (COOHT KOH-stah oh KAH-meh-ruh pehn-troo OH pehr-SWAH-nuh... / pehn-troo DOH-wuh pehr-SWAH-neh)
Does the room come with... 
Exista in camere... (ex-EES-tuh oon come-ereh...)
...aşternuturi? (ahsh-tehr-NOO-toor)
...another blanket? 
...încă o patură (OOHN-cuh oh PAH-too-ruh)
...a bathroom? 
...baie? (BAY-yeh)
...a telephone? 
...telefon? (teh-leh-FOHN)
...a TV? 
...televizor? (teh-leh-vee-ZOHR)
May I see the room first? 
Pot să văd camera întâi? (poht suh VUHD CAH-meh-rah oohn-TOOH-ee)
Do you have anything quieter? 
Aveţi ceva mai liniştit? (ah-VEHTZ CHEH-vah MAY LEE-nee-SHTEET)
...mai mare? (MAY MAH-reh)
...mai curat? (MAY koo-RAHT)
...mai ieftin? (MAY yef-TEEN)
OK, I'll take the room. 
Bine. Vreau camera. (BEEN-eh. VRYOW KAH-meh-rah)
I will stay for one night. 
Eu rămân pentru o noapte. (Yeh-oo ruh-MOOHN PEHN-troo oh NWAHP-teh)
I will stay for _____ nights. 
Eu rămân ______ nopţi. (YEH-oo ruh-MOOHN _____ NOHPTZ
Can you suggest another hotel? 
Puteţi recomanda alt hotel? (poo-TEHTZ reh-coh-MAHN-dah AHLT hoh-TEHL)
Do you have a safe? 
Aveţi seif? (ah-VETZ SEYF)
...cuiere? (KOO-yeh-reh)
Is breakfast/supper included? 
Preţul include micul dejun / cină? (PREH-tzool een-KLOO-deh MEE-kool deh-ZHOON / CHEE-nuh)
What time is breakfast/supper? 
La ce oră este micul dejun / cina? (lah CHEH OH-ruh ye-steh MEE-kool deh-ZHOON / CHEE-nah')
Please clean my room. 
Curăţaţi camera mea, vă rog. (koo-ruh-TZAHTZ CAH-meh-rah MYAH, vuh ROHG)
Can you wake me at _____? 
Puteţi să mă treziţi la _____? (poo-TEHTZ suh muh treh-ZEETZ lah _____?)
I want to check out. 
Aş vrea să achit nota şi să plec de la hotel. (ahsh VRYAH suh ah-KEET NOH-tuh shee suh PLEHK deh lah ho-TEHL; the vowel sound in “vrea” is like the “a” in the English “cat”.)
Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
Acceptaţi dolari americani/canadieni/australieni? (ock-chep-TAHTS DOH-lah-ree ah-meh-ree-KAHN/kah-nah-dee-EHN/ah-oo-strah-lee-EHN? (...)
Do you accept British pounds? 
Acceptaţi lire sterline? (ock-chep-TAHTS LEE-reh stehr-LEE-neh?)
Do you accept credit cards? 
Acceptaţi cărţi de credit? (ock-chep-TAHTS KUHRTZ deh CREH-deet?)
Can you change money for me? 
Puteţi să schimbaţi bani pentru mine? (poo-TEHTS suh skim-BAHTZ BAHN PEHN-troo MEE-nay?) or Puteţi să schimbaţi valută pentru mine? (poo-TEHTS suh skim-BAHTZ vah-LOO-tah PEHN-troo MEE-nay?)
Where can I get money changed? 
Unde pot să schimb bani? (OON-deh POHT suh SKIMB BAHN?) or Unde pot să schimb valuta? (OON-deh POHT suh SKIMB vah-LOO-tah?)
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
Puteţi să schimbaţi un cec de calatorie pentru mine? (poo-TEHTS suh skim-BAHTZ oon CHECK deh cah-lah-TOH-ree-eh PEHN-troo MEE-nay?)
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
Unde pot să schimb cecul de calatorie? (OON-deh POHT suh SKIMB CHE-cool deh cah-lah-TOH-ree-eh )
What is the exchange rate? 
Cât este rata de schimb? (COOHT YES-teh RAH-tah deh SKIMB?)
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
Unde este un bancomat? (OON-deh YES-teh OON BAHN-co-MAHT)
A table for one person/two people, please. 
O masă pentru o persoană / pentru doua persoane, vă rog. (OH MAHSS-uh pehn-troo OH pehrss-WAH-nuh... / pehn-troo DOH-ah pehrss-WAH-neh, vuh ROHG)
Can I look at the menu, please? 
Pot să văd meniul, vă rog? (POHT suh voohd MEH-nyool, vuh ROHG)
Can I look in the kitchen? 
Pot să mă uit în bucătărie? (POHT suh muh OOYT oohn BOO-kah-teh-ree-eh)
Is there a house specialty? 
Aveţi o specialitate a casei? (ah-VETZ oh speh-chee-ah-lee-TAH-teh ah KAH-sey)
Is there a local specialty? 
Aveţi o specialitate locală? (ah-VETZ oh speh-chee-ah-lee-TAH-teh loh-KAH-luh)
I'm a vegetarian. 
Sunt vegetarian. (SOONT veh-jeh-tah-ree-AHN)
I don't eat pork. 
Nu mănânc carne de porc. (NOO muh-NUHNK CAR-neh deh POHRK)
I don't eat beef. 
Nu mănânc carne de vită. (NOO muh-NUHNK CAR-neh deh VEE-tah)
I only eat kosher food. 
Mănânc numai hrană cuşer. (muh-NUHNK NOO-MY H'RAHUN-uh KOOH-sher)
Can you make it "lite", please? (i.e. less oil/butter/lard
Puteţi să o faceţi mai puţin grasă, vă rog? (poo-TETS suh oh FAH-chetz my poo-TZIN GRAH-suh, vuh ROHG?)
fixed-price meal 
meniu fix (MEN-ee-oo FIX)
à la carte 
a la carte (a la KART)
micul dejun (MEE-kool deh-ZHOON)
dejun (deh-ZHOON)
cină (CHEE-nuh)
I want _____. 
Vreau _____. (VROW)
More politely, comparable to "I would like" 
Aş vrea (AHSH VRAA; this last vowel sound is like the "a" in the English word "cat")
I want a dish containing _____. 
Vreau o mâncare care conţine _____. (.VROW oh muhn-KAH-reh KAH-reh con-TZEEN-eh _____)
pui (POOY)
raţă (RAH-tzuh)
carne de vită (CAR-neh deh VEE-tah)
peşte (PESHT-teh)
jambon or şuncă (zhahm-BOHN, SHOON-kuh)
cârnaţi (kuhr-NATZ)
brânză (BROOHN-zah)
ouă (O-uh)
salată (sa-LAH-tah)
(fresh) vegetables 
legume (proaspăte) (leh-GOO-meh (proh-ah-SPUH-teh))
roşii or tomate (ROH-shee, to-MA-teh)
ciuperci (choo-PEHRCH)
(fresh) fruit 
fructe (proaspete) (FROOK-teh (proh-ah-SPEH-teh))
pâine (pooh-EEN-eh)
pâine prăjită (pooh-EEN-eh pruh-JEE-tuh)
tăiţei (tuh-EE-tsay)
orez (ohr-EZZ)
fasole (fah-SOH-leh)
May I have a glass of _____? 
(literally: I would like...): Aş dori un pahar de _____. ( AHsh doh-REE oohn puh-HAR deh)
May I have a cup of _____? 
(literally: I would like...)Aş dori o ceaşcă de _____. (AHsh doh-REE o CHEE-ah-shkuh deh)
May I have a bottle of _____? 
(literally: I would like...)Aş dori o sticlă de _____. (AHsh doh-REE o STIK-lah deh)
cafea (kaf-AA)
tea (drink
ceai (CHY)
suc (SOOK)
(bubbly) water 
apă minerală (AH-puh mee-neh-RAH-lah)
(still) water 
apă plată (AH-puh PLAH-tah)
apă (AH-puh )
bere (BEH-reh)
red/white wine 
vin roşu/alb (VEEN ROH-shoo / AHLB)
May I have some _____? 
(literally: I would like...) Aş dori nişte _____? (AHsh doh-REE nish-TEH ____?)
sare (SAH-reh)
black pepper 
piper (PEE-pehr)
unt (OONT)
Eat well 
Poftă bună ("PAUF-tuh BOO-nuh")
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of waiter)
Ospătar! (os-puh-TAHR)
I'm finished. 
Sunt gata. (SOONT gah-tah)
It was delicious. 
A fost delicios. (ah fohst deh-lee-CHOHSS)
Please clear the plates. 
Puteţi să strangeti farfuriile. (POOH-tehtz suh STRUHN-getzi far-FOOH-ree-leh)
The check, please
"Nota (de plată), vă rog" (NO-tah day PLAT-tuh, vuh ROHG)
Do you serve alcohol? 
Serviţi alcool? (ser-VEETZ al-KOHL)
Is there table service? 
Este serviciu la masă? (YEHS-teh seer-VEE-choo lah MAH-suh?)
A beer/two beers, please. 
O bere / două beri, vă rog. (oh BEH-reh / DOH-uh BEHR, vuh ROHG)
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
Un pahar de vin roşu/alb, vă rog (oohn pah-HAHR deh VEEN ROH-shoo / AHLB, vuh ROHG)
A pint, please. 
Romania doesn't use pints, but you'll get 0.88 pint if you order: Jumătate de litru, vă rog. (JOO-muh-TAH-teh de LEE-troo, vuh ROHG)
A bottle, please. 
O sticlă, vă rog. (oh STIK-luh, vuh ROHG)
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please. 
_____ şi _____, vă rog. (vuh ROHG')
whisky (WHEESS-kee)
vodka (VOHD-kah)
rom (ROHM)
apă (AH-puh)
club soda 
sifon (see-FOHN)
tonic water 
apă tonică (AH-puh TOH-nee-kuh)
orange juice 
suc de portocale (SOOK deh POHR-to-KAHL-eh)
Coke (soda
cola (KOH-lah)
Do you have any bar snacks? 
Aveţi ceva gustări? (ah-VEHTS CHEH-vah goo-STUHR?)
One more, please. 
Încă unu, vă rog (OOHN-kah OOHN-oo vuh ROHG); also "Încă una, vă rog" (depends on the gender, this would be feminine) (OOHN-kah OOHN-ah vuh ROHG)
Another round, please. 
Încă o serie, vă rog. (OOHN-kah oh SEH-ree-eh, vuh ROHG)
When is closing time? (literally, "When does this bar close?")
Când se închide barul ăsta? (COOHND seh uhn-KEE-deh BAH-rool AHS-ta)
Do you have this in my size? 
Aveţi asta în măsura mea? (ah-VEHTS AHS-tah oohn MUH-soo-ruh MEH-uh?)
How much is this? 
Cât costă asta? (COOHT KOHS-tah AHS-tah?)
That's too expensive. 
Este prea scump. (YES-teh PRAA SCOOMP)
Would you take _____? 
Aţi accepta _____? (ahtz ahk-chehp-TAH _____?)
scump (SCOOMP)
ieftin (yef-TEEN)
I can't afford it. 
Nu-mi permit. (NOO MEE pehr-MEET)
I don't want it. 
Nu vreau aceasta. (noo VREH-ow ah-CHA-stuh)
You're cheating me. 
Mă înşelaţi. (muh uhn-sheh-LUH-tze)
I'm not interested. 
Nu sunt interesat. (noo soont een-teh-reh-SAHT)
OK, I'll take it. 
Bine, îl iau. (bee-neh, uhl YA-oo.); also "Bine, o iau" (depends on the gender, this would be feminine)
Can I have a bag? 
Îmi puteţi da o pungă ? (UH-me poo-TEH-tzee duh oh POON-guh ?)
Do you ship (overseas)? 
Trimiteţi (în străinătate)? (tree-ME-teh-tzee(oohn strah-ee-nuh-TAH-teh)?)
I need... 
Am nevoie de ... (AHM neh-VOY-eh deh...)
...pastă de dinţi. (PAH-stuh deh DEENTS)
...a toothbrush. 
...periuţă de dinţi . (peh-ree-OO-tsuh deh DEENTS)
...tampoane. (tum-POAH-neh)
...săpun. (suh-POON)
...şampon. (shahm-POHN)
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
anti-inflamator/calmant/analgezic (ahnt-eehn-FLAH-mah-tohr/kahl-MAHNT/ahn-ahl-JEH-zzeek)
...cold medicine. 
...medicamente de răceală. (meh-dee-cah-MEN-teh deh ruh-CHA-luh)
...stomach medicine. 
...medicamente de stomac. (meh-dee-cah-MEN-teh deh stoe-MACK)
...a razor. 
o lamă de ras. (oh lah-MUH deh RAHS) umbrella. 
...o umbrelă. (oh oom-BREH-luh)
...sunblock lotion. 
...cremă solară/cremă pentru protecţie solară (CREH-muh soh-LAH-ruh/ CREH-muh PEHN- trooh proh-tehc-tzee-eh soh-LAH-ruh)
...a postcard. 
...o carte poştală/vedere (oh Car-TEH poe-SHTA-luh/ veh-DEH-reh)
...postage stamps. 
...timbre (TEAM-breh)
...baterii (baah-TEH-ree)
...writing paper. 
...hârtie de scris. (hoohr-TEE-eh deh SCREESS)
...a pen. 
un stilou / un pix (OOHN stee-LOW / OOHN PEEKS)
...English-language books. 
...cărţi în limba engleză. (KAHR-tzee oohn LEEM-bah een-GLEHZ-ah)
...English-language magazines. 
...reviste în limba engleză. (reh-VEES-teh oohn LEEM-bah een-GLEHZ-ah) English-language newspaper. 
...un ziar în limba engleză. (uhn zee-AHR oohn LEEM-bah een-GLEHZ-ah)
...a Romanian-English dictionary. 
...un dicţionar român-englez. (OOHN deek-tsee-oh-NAHR ro-MOOHN ehn-GLEHZ)
I want to rent a car. 
Aş dori să închiriez o maşină. (AH-sh doh-REE sah uhn-KEE-ree-ehz o mah-SHEE-nah...)
Can I get insurance? 
Pot obţine asigurare? (pot ohb-tseen-eh ah-see-goo-RAH-reh?)
stop (on a street sign
one way 
sens unic (SEHNS oo-NEEK)
cedează trecerea (cheh-DAA-zah treh-CHER-aa)
no parking 
Nu parcaţi (noo pahr-KATS)
speed limit 
viteza maximă (vee-TEH-zah MAH-ksee-mah)
gas (petrol) station 
staţie de benzină (STAHTS-see-eh deh ben-ZEE-nuh)
benzină (ben-ZEE-nuh)
motorină (moh-toh-REE-nah)
ocolire (oh-mike-LEE-reh)
I haven't done anything wrong. 
N-am facut nimic rău/greşit. (NAHM fah-COOT nee-MEEC RUH-oh/GREH-sheet)
It was a misunderstanding. 
A fost o neînţelegere. (AH fohst oh neh-uhn-tzeh-leh-geh-reh)
Where are you taking me? 
Unde mă duceţi? (OON-deh muh DOOH-chets)
Am I under arrest? 
Sunt arestat? (SOONT ah-rest-AHT ?)
I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen. 
Sunt cetăţean american/canadian/australian/britanic. (SOONT cheh-tuh-tseh-AHN ah-meh-ree-KAHN/kah-nah-dee-AHN/ah-oo-strah-lee-AHN/bree-TAH-nik)
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian consulate. 
Vreau să vorbesc cu consulatul american/canadian/australian/britanic. (VROW suh vohr-BESK/vor-BEE koo COHN-soo-LAH-tool ah-meh-ree-KAHN/kah-nah-dee-AHN/ah-oo-strah-lee-AHN/bree-TAH-nik)
I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy. 
Vreau să vorbesc cu ambasada americană/canadiană/australiană/britanică. (VROW suh vohr-BESK/vor-BEE koo AHM-bah-SAH-dah ah-meh-ree-KAHN-uh/kah-nah-dee-AHN-uh/ah-oo-strah-lee-AHN-uh/bree-TAH-nik-uh)
I want to talk to a lawyer. 
Vreau să vorbesc cu un avocat. (VROW suh vohr-BESK/vor-BEE koo oohn ah-voh-CAHT)
Can I just pay a fine now? 
Aş putea să plătesc/plati doar o amendă acum ? (AH-sh poo-TEAH sah plah-TEH-sk/pla-TEE DOO-arr oh ah-MEN-duh ah-COOM ?)


Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to Wiktionary:Romanian language article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


What is the Romanian language ?

Romanian (Română, ISO 639 codes: rum, ron, ro) is an Eastern Romance language, spoken by about 30 million people, most of them in Romania, Moldova (where it is the official language) and neighbouring countries (Hungary, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Greece), but there are also Romanian language speakers in countries like Canada, United States, Germany, Israel, Australia and New Zealand.


Romanian has four dialects:

It is thought that the Romanian language appeared north and south of the Danube. All the four dialects are offsprings of the Romance language spoken both in the North and South Danube, before the settlement of the Slavonian tribes south of the river - Daco-Romanian in North, and the other three dialects in the South.

Linguistic Origins

Most words in the Romanian vocabulary (about 75%) are of Latin origin. Romanian also contains many words borrowed from its Slavonic neighbours as well as German, Hungarian, Turkish, French and English.

There are some Slavonic influences, at both phonetic and lexical levels - for example, since Latin does not include a word for yes, Romanian took the Slavonic da. Romanian is also the only major Romance language to retain the phoneme /h/. (Although in most dialects of Spanish, <j> is pronounced as [h], but the original, Castilian phoneme is /x/. Certain Oïl languages also retained it.)


Main article: Romanian grammar


As in Italian, pronouns are generally omitted in Romanian unless required to disambiguate the meaning of a sentence. Usually, the verb ending provides information about the subject.

Singular Plural
1st Person eu - I noi - we
2nd Person


tu - you

voi - you


dumneavoastră - you

dumneavoastră - you

3rd Person


ea - she
el - he

ele - they (f)
ei - they (m)


dumneaei - she
dumnealui - he

dumnealor - they


Unlike the other Romance languages, Romanian has three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter, keeping the neuter gender from Latin. Nouns of this gender use the masculine form for the singular and the feminine form for the plural.

Another peculiarity of Romanian is that it is the only Romance language that has the definite article attached to the end of the noun (as in Swedish) instead of being a separate word in front.

Gender Noun Definite article Noun with article
Feminine carte = book -a cartea = the book
Masculine drum = road -ul drumul = the road


Romanian has the same four groups of verbs as Latin and unlike English, it has no sequence of tenses nor strict rules regarding their use, but it does have many alternatives (for example, it has six different types of future tense).

Written Romanian

The oldest written text in Romanian is a letter from 1521 ("Neacşu of Câmpulung's letter"). It is written using the Cyrillic alphabet, like all early Romanian writings (because the usual language for religious services was old Slavonian).

In the late 1700s, Transylvanian scholars started using the Latin alphabet to write Romanian. The Cyrillic alphabet remained in (gradually decreasing) use until 1860, when Romanian writing was first officially regulated.

The Romanian alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet, and has five additional letters (these are not diacriticals, but letters in their own right). Initially, there were as many as 12 additional letters, but some of them disappeared in subsequent reforms. Also, until the early 20th century, a short vowel marker was used.

Today, the Romanian alphabet is largely phonetic, with one exception: the "â" (used inside the words) and "î" (used at the beginning or the end), both representing the same sound. Long and short vowels are not distinguished in writing. Usually, the sounds denoted by letters are similar to Italian.

Here are the letters of the Romanian alphabet, and their pronunciation.

Letter Phoneme Pronunciation
A a /a/ Like in 'Mars'
Ă ă; (a with breve) /ə/, Schwa first sound of above
 â (a with circumflex) /ɨ/, no English equivalent Ы ы in Russian
B b /b/  
C c /k/ Like in 'cat'
D d /d/  
E e /e/ Like in 'merry'
F f /f/  
G g /g/ Like in 'goat'
H h /h/ Like in 'house'
I i /i/ Like in 'machine'
Î î (i with circumflex) the same as â  
J j /ʒ/ Like French 'j': 'jour'
K k /k/  
L l /l/ Like in 'lamp'
M m /m/  
N n /n/  
O o /o/ Like the Spanish 'nombre'
P p /p/  
R r /r/ Trilled - like Italian, Spanish 'r'
S s /s/  
Ş ş (s with comma)

(also with cedilla: Ş ş)

/ʃ/ like in sheep
T t /t/  
Ț ț (t with comma)

(also with cedilla: Ţ ţ)

/ʦ/ like in nuts
U u /u/ Like in 'group'
V v /v/  
X x /ks/  
Z z /z/  

Q, W and Y are not part of the core Romanian alphabet; they are used mainly to write imported words, such as: quasar, watt, etc.

Writing letters /S/ and /ts/ with a cedilla instead of a comma is incorrect, but widespread, especially in computer environments. The preferred form is with comma below. (Note that not all computer systems can properly render these "comma-below" characters. However, they are included as special Romanian Unicode characters in the Unicode standard.)

There are seven vowels in Romanian:

a e i o u ă î â

The last two letters both represent exactly the same sound, and since they are also not interchangeable in writing this article counts them as a single vowel.

The reason for using both î and â is historical, denoting the language's Latin origin. During Nicolae Ceausescu's regime, the use of  and â was abandoned leaving only the î in use, except in the name of the country which was still România. After his regime ended, the Romanian Academy reintroduced â, but by then most of the population had forgotten how to properly use â, so the Academy proposed an artificial set of rules for the usage of this letter. For instance, the Latin angelus (angel) naturally became the Romanian ânger, but today it is spelled înger.

Group of letters

These groups of letters are identical to those in Italian:

Group Sound Example
ge ʤe like 'ge' in gentle
gi ʤi like 'jee' in jeep
ghe ge

like 'ge' in get

ghi gi like gui in guitar
ce ʧe like tche in hatchet
ci ʧi like tchi in sketching
che ke

like ke in kerosen

chi ki like ki in kimono

Common words and phrases in Romanian

The Romanian alphabet is phonetic, so the words are read just nearly as in Italian/Latin (with the exception of the diacrical).

See also

External Links

Simple English

File:Map Roumanophone
Where Romainian is spoken around the world.

The Romanian language is a Romance language, meaning it comes from Latin like French, Spanish and Italian. It has 66% Latin based words, 20% Slavic based words, the rest are newer and come from Dacian, Turkish, Greek or English. There are about 28 million speakers: 24 million who speak it as their mother tongue and 4 million who have learned it as their second language.

Romanian is also the most spoken language in Moldova, which is located North East of Romania. In Moldova, they refer to Romanian as Moldavian. However, there are certain differences, such as the dialect and a Moldavian accent.

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address