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How to Learn Romanian

Romanian is a fascinating and complex language, and not one of the easiest to teach yourself by any means.


  1. Image titled Learn Romanian Step 1
    Find a Romanian teacher with a fluent level of English or of your native language. The other way round (someone who speaks your native language as a mother tongue and has a high level of Romanian) is pretty unlikely (unless you are Hungarian, maybe), as Romanian is not spoken worldwide; besides, a teacher is a must, because Romanian grammar is very difficult to grasp, even for native speakers.
  2. Image titled Learn Romanian Step 2
    Get accustomed to the Romanian alphabet and pronunciation. In Romanian, words are spelled just like they're written. Check the table at Wikipedia for more info.
    • Careful how you place the stress on syllables. It's quite tricky. Getting a English-to-Romanian dictionary and looking up some words just to see how the stress falls on syllables is very helpful.
  3. Image titled Learn Romanian Step 3
    Get accustomed to the Romanian specific characters: "ă"; "î" or "â" (both sound the same), "ş", and "ţ". Practice reading them properly in texts.
    • "ă" is pronounced /ə/, like the ending of flower, pronounced with a British accent;
    • "î" or "â" both correspond to the sound /ɨ/. There is no equivalent sound in English phonetics;
    • "ş" is pronounced "sh" in "sheep" (sound /ʃ/);
    • "ţ" is pronounced /ʦ/
  4. Image titled Learn Romanian Step 4
    Buy a Romanian course-book, that provides you with some texts and lists of words and their translation. Also buy an English-to-Romanian and a Romanian-to-English dictionary, since there are a lot of words you will not know.
  5. Image titled Learn Romanian Step 5
    Learn some basic words and sentences in Romanian. They're useful even if you don't want to study the language and are just going on a trip to Romania.
    • "Da"="Yes"
    • "Nu"="No"
    • "Bună!"="Hello!"
    • "Bună ziua!"="Good afternoon!"
    • "Bună seara!"="Good evening!"
    • "La revedere!"="Goodbye!"
    • "Mulţumesc!"="Thank You!"
    • "Vă rog/Te rog"="Please"; note that "Vă rog" is the plural form, more polite and formal, while "Te rog" is informal.
    • "Îmi pare rău!"="I'm sorry"
  6. Image titled Learn Romanian Step 6
    Move on to simple sentences, like saying your name, age, and nationality. Learn a few basic verbs, like "a fi" ("to be"), "a avea" ("to have"), "a merge" ("to go"), "a face" ("to do") etc. Also learn the numbers from 0 to 100, as you have to know them to tell your age. Here are a few examples:
    • "Mă numesc John"="My name is John"
    • "Am douăzeci de ani"="I'm twenty years old"- Careful! The verb used in Romanian to express age is "a avea" ("to have"), not "a fi" ("to be").
    • "Sunt american"="I'm American"
  7. Image titled Learn Romanian Step 7
    Using the dictionaries, learn 20 new Romanian words a week. Write them in a list in your notebook and say them aloud until you memorize them. This will help expanding your vocabulary.
  8. Image titled Learn Romanian Step 8
    Learn Romanian grammar. That's the most difficult part. It is very difficult even for native speakers to learn all the rules (and the hundreds of exceptions), but it's not impossible. Here are a few basic rules:
    • The indefinite articles are "un" (masculine, singular), "o" (feminine, singular) and "nişte" (both genders, plural); definite articles are formed by adding certain endings to words (such as -(u)l, -a, -ua, -le), according to certain rules.
    • There are 3 genders in Romanian grammar: masculine, feminine and neuter. Neuter nouns are those that act as masculine nouns in the singular, and as feminine nouns in the plural.
    • There are 5 cases in Romanian: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and vocative. Nouns have different forms for each case (they inflect), according to the gender and number of the noun. The genitive and dative form are identical, and so are the nominative and accusative form. The vocative case is used when calling someone/addressing someone directly (for example calling somebody's name to catch their attention).
    • There are 3 voices in Romanian: the active voice, the passive voice and the reflexive voice. The reflexive voice is used when the subject and the direct object of the verb are one and the same; Example: "Mă îmbrac"="I'm getting dressed". The passive voice is used only when the subject becomes the object of the action and the subject of the verb is someone else. Example: "Hoţul a fost arestat de către poliţie"="The thief was arrested by the police".
    • There are 9 verbal moods in Romanian: infinitive, indicative, subjunctive, conditional, presumptive, imperative, supine, participle, and gerund. The indicative, subjunctive, conditional, presumptive, and imperative moods are "personal", in the sense that they can inflect (to express time, person) and act as a predicative verb in a sentence, while the other four moods, called non-personal (infinitive, supine, participle, and gerund), are used as adjectives or adverbs.
      • The indicative mood has 8 tenses: present, imperfect, perfect simple, compound perfect, pluperfect, future, popular future, and future in the past. Present corresponds to both present simple and present continuous; imperfect corresponds to past continuous; the simple perfect tense, corresponding to the past simple, is old-fashioned and used only in some regions of Romania; it has been largely replaced with the compound perfect tense, which also corresponds to past simple and present perfect; and pluperfect corresponds to past perfect.
      • The subjunctive mood has 2 tenses: past and present. It corresponds to a certain use of infinitive in English (for example, "Vreau să plec" meaning "I want to leave").
      • The conditional mood also has 2 tenses (past and present). It is used under the same circumstances as in English.
      • The presumptive mood has 3 tenses- past, present and present progressive (the correspondent to the continuous tense in English); it is used to express a possible action (the usage of the modal "might" in English).
      • The imperative mood has only 1 tense -present- and it is used under the same circumstances as in English.


  • Some people who have successfully taught Romanian have found it to be extremely useful to get some Romanian music. Listening to it can help you get the feel of the way it sounds, reading the lyrics can help you learn the pronunciation, reading a translation can increase your vocabulary, and trying to translate it yourself can be helpful.
  • See if you can make a friend online who speaks Romanian who could help you with your studies. Even someone who is also studying it can help a bit. And whether or not they help you at all, they can still help motivate you, and you might get a true friendship out of this.
  • It will be easier for you to learn Romanian if you already know other Romance languages, such as Spanish, French, Portuguese or Italian. However, as Romanian is the only Romance language in Eastern Europe, Romanian evolved separated from the languages mentioned above, thus a non-skilled Romanian speaker might not notice the similarities between Romanian and other Romance languages, due to the Slavic influence Romanian was under shortly after its formation.
  • Though this article is about how to learn it, not how to speak it, this seems like a place to point out one of the things that confuses a lot of people: the words "e" and "este" actually mean the same thing. However, "este" is more formal.
  • It definitely is a good language to learn, not only will it help you understand languages like Spanish, French among other things (it is a Romance language) but knowing more than one language can prove to be rather useful at times.

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Categories: World Languages