Romanian Language Conversation Guide

Romanian (limba română) is the official language of Romania.
The name Romania, and its derivatives, come from the Latin word ‘Romanus’ (citizen of Rome),
a legacy of the Roman Empire who took control of ancient Dacia (today Romania) in 106 A.D.
Romanian retains a significant number of features of old Latin and also contains words taken from the surrounding Slavic languages, as well as from French, German, Greek and Turkish.

Romanian is actually easier for English speakers to understand than it is assumed. If you’ve studied other Romance language, such as Italian, Spanish, French or Portuguese, you may feel at home sooner than you think.
Romanian is a phonetic language, so words are pronounced as they are spelled.

Romanian holds the intriguing status of being the only Romance language spoken in Eastern Europe.

A foreigner trying to learn or speak Romanian can expect positive reactions from native speakers.
Most Romanian will certainly appreciate the fact that you are making an effort to speak their language.

Other languages used in Romania

English has quickly overtaken French as the country’s second language, especially with the young people. Communicating in English in large towns in cities should not be a problem.

French and German can also be useful.
In the past, Romania had a sizable German minority population;
nowadays the number of native German speakers is declining
but German is still used by communities in southern Transylvania and in Banat (Western Romania).

Hungarian is widely used in Covasna and Harghita counties, in Eastern Transylvania.
15% to 35% of the population of some larger cities in Central and Western Romania (Târgu-Mureş, Oradea, Cluj-Napoca, Satu-Mare) speaks Hungarian.

Other Romance languages (especially Spanish and Italian) are also studied by most people in schools
and are therefore spoken with a pretty good level of fluency.

Pronunciation Guide

The Romanian alphabet has 31 letters, similar to the ones in the English alphabet,
with the exception of five special letters called ‘diacritics’:
ă (like the ‘a’ in English word ‘musical’),
ș (pronounced as ‘sh’),
ț (pronounced ‘ts’),
â and î (have the same reading, without an English equivalent).

Certain letters (and letter combinations) are pronounced differently than they are in English.

Romanian Letters Pronunciation
ă as in father
î, â No English equivalent
e as in tell
i [e] as in pick
j as in leisure
ş as in shoe
ţ [ts] as in fits
ce as in check
gi [dsi] as in gin
ge [dse] as in gender
chi [ki] as in skill
che [ke] as in chemistry
ghi [gi] as in give
ghe [ge] as in guess

Useful Words / Phrases

ENGLISH ROMÂNĂ PRONUNCIATION
Salutations Formule de salut  
Good morning. Bună dimineaţa. Boo-nuh di-mi-na-tsa
Hello/Good day. Bună ziua. Boo-nuh zee-wa.
Good evening. Bună seara. Boo-nuh sea-ra.
Good-bye. La revedere. La rev-eh-de-ray
Good night. Noapte bună. Nwap-te boo-nuh
My name is . . . Numele meu este … Noo-me-le meu yes-te …
What is your name? Cum vă numiţi? Koom vuh noo-mits?
How are you? Ce mai faceţi? Che may fa-chets
I’m fine, thanks. Bine, mulţumesc. Bee-nay, mool-tsoo-mesk
Do you speak English?
. . .  Romanian?
Vorbiţi englezeşte?
. . .  româneşte?
Vor-bits en-gle-zesh-te
. . .  ro-mi-nesh-te
Yes, a little.
No.
Da, puţin.
Nu.
Da, poo-tsin.
Noo.
Please speak slowly. Vă rog, vorbiţi mai rar. Vuh rog, vor-bits may rar
How do you say . . . ? Cum se spune  . . . ? Koom se spoo-ne . . . ?
Do you understand? Înţelegeţi? In-tse-le-jets
I don’t understand. Nu înţeleg. Noo in-tse-leg
Please repeat it. Vă rog, repetaţi. Vuh rog, re-pe-tats
I’m sorry. Îmi pare rău. Im pa-re rau
Where are you staying? Unde staţi? Oon-de stats?
I’m at the … hotel. Stau la Hotelul … Stau la ho-te-lool …
Good / Very good. Bine / Foarte bine. Boon / Fwar-tay boo-na
Maybe. Poate. Pwa-te
Certainly. Sigur. Si-goor
May I ? Se poate? Se pwa-te? 
Thank you. Mulţumesc. Mool-tsoo-mesk
You’re welcome Cu plăcere Koo pluh-che-re
I don’t know. Nu ştiu. Noo shtee-u
I would like… Aş vrea… Osh vray-a
…and / or…… şi / sau… shee / sow
I have / We have Am / Avem… Ahm / Ah-vum
What are you doing? Ce faceţi? Che fa-chets
I beg your pardon? Poftiţi? Pof-tits
Excuse me… Scuzaţi-mă. . . Skoo-za-tsi ma
Here… Aici… Ah-eech…
There… Acolo… Ah-ko-lo
Toward… Spre… Spreh

 

DAYS OF THE WEEK ZILELE SĂPTĂMÂNII  
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
luni
marţi
miercuri
joi
vineri
sâmbătă  
duminică 
loon
marts
myer-koor’
zho
vi-ner’
sîm-buh-tuh
doo-mi-ni-kuh

 

NUMBERALS NUMERALE  
zero zero ze-ro
one unu oo-noo
two doi doy
three trei trey
four patru pa-troo
five cinci chinch’
six şase sha-se
seven şapte shap-te
eight opt opt
nine nouă no-wuh
ten zece ze-che
eleven unsprezece oon-spre-ze-che
twelve doisprezece doy -spre-ze-che
thirteen treisprezece trey -spre-ze-che
fourteen paisprezece pay-spre-ze-che
fifteen cincisprezece chinch ‘-spre-ze-che
sixteen şaisprezece shay-spre-ze-che
seventeen şaptesprezece shap-te-spre-ze-che
eighteen optsprezece opt-spre-ze-che
nineteen nouăsprezece no-wuh-spre-ze-che
twenty douăzeci do-wuh zech
twenty-one douăzeci şi unu do-wuh-zech‘ shi oo-noo
twenty-two douăzeci şi doi do-wuh-zech’ shi doy
thirty treizeci trey-zech
forty patruzeci pa-troo- zech
fifty cincizeci chinch’- zech
sixty şaizeci shay- zech
seventy şaptezeci shap-te- zech
eighty optzeci oot-zech
ninety nouăzeci no-whu-zech
one hundred o sută o soo-tuh
two hundred două sute do-wuh soo-te

 

MONTHS OF THE YEAR LUNILE ANULUI  
January ianuarie ya-nwa-rye
February februarie fe-brwa-rye
March martie mar-tye
April aprilie a-pri-lye
May mai may
June iunie yu-ny
July iulie yu-lye
August august augoost
September septembrie sep-tem-brye
October octombrie ok-tom-brye
November noiembrie no-yem-bry
December decembrie de-chem-brye

 

TRANSPORTATION TRANSPORT  
Where is the
. . . metro station?
. . . train station
. . . bus stop
. . . ticket office
. . . information desk
. . . exit to the street
Unde e . . . ?
staţia de metrou
. . . gara
. . . staţia de autobuz 
. . . casa de bilete
. . . biroul de informaţii
. . . ieşirea spre stradă
Oon-de ye  . . . ?
. . . sta-tsya de me-troh
. . . ga-ra
. . . sta-tsya de a-oo-to-booz
. . . ka-sa de bi-le-te?
. . . bi-ro-ool de in-for-ma-tsiy
. . . ye-shi-rea spre stra-duh
How much is a
ticket ?
. . . one-way
. . . round-trip
. . . first-class
. . . second-class
Cât costă
un bilet ?

. . . dus
. . . dus – întors  
. . . la clasa întâi
. . . la clasa a doua
Kit kos-tuh
oon bi-let ?
. . . doos
. . . doos shi în-tors
. . . la kla-sa yn-tyi
. . . la kla-sa a do-wa
Is there a special . . . rate?
. . . college students
. . . senior-citizens
Există tarif redus pentru. . .?
. . . studenţi
 . . . pensionari
E-xis-tuh ta-rif re-doos
pen-tru . . .?
. . . stoo-dents
. . . pen-syo-nar
Smoking or
non-smoking?
Fumători sau
   nefumători?
Foo-muh-tor‘ sau
ne-foo-muh-tor‘?

 

IMPORTANT SIGNS SEMNE IMPORTANTE
Men Bărbaţi Buhr-bats
Women Femei Feh-mey
Toilet W.C. Ve-che
Entrance Intrare In-tra-re
Exit Ieşire Ye-shi-re
Emergency Exit Ieşire de incendiu Ye-shi-re de in-chen-dyu
Open Deschis Dehs-kis
Closed Închis Yn-kis
Subway Metrou Me-troh
Caution Atenţie A-ten-tsye
Danger Pericol Pe-ri-kol
Speed Limit Limită de viteză Li-mi-tuh de vi-te-zuh
Reduce Speed Reduceţi viteza Re-doo-chets’ vi-te-za
Parking Parcare Par-ka-re
No Parking Parcare interzisă Par-ka-re in-ter-zi-suh
No Standing Staţionarea interzisă Sta-tsyo-na-rea  in-ter-zi-suh
One Way Street Stradă cu sens unic Stra-duh koo sens oo-nik
Right Turn Curbă la dreapta Koor-buh la dreap-ta
Left Turn Curbă la stânga Koor-buh la stîn-ga
Dangerous Curve Curbă periculoasă Koor-buh pe-ri-koo-lwa-suh
Sharp Turn Viraj brusc Vi-razh broosk
Keep Right Staţi pe dreapta Stats‘ pe dreap-ta
Keep Left Staţi pe stânga Stats‘ pe stîn-ga
Automobiles Prohibited Interzis pentru automobile In-ter-zis pen-troo a-oo-to-mo-bi-le
Vehicles Prohibited Interzis pentru vehicule In-ter-zis pen-troo ve-hi-ko-le
No Entry Intrarea interzisă In-tra-rea in-ter-zi-suh
No Admittance Intrarea oprită In-tra-rea o-pri-tuh
Detour Ocol O-kol
Tunnel Tunel Too-nel
Bridge Pod Pod
Overpass Pasaj superior Pa-sazh soo-pe-ri-or de ni-vel
Underpass Pasaj subteran Pa-sazh in-fe-ri-or de ni-vel
This Way Pe aici Peh a-ich
Railroad Cale ferată Ka-le fe-ra-tuh
Railroad Crossing Trecere peste calea ferată Tre-che-re  pes-te ka-lea fe-ra-tuh
First Aid Station Post de prim ajutor Post de prim a-zhoo-tor
No Smoking Fumatul interzis Foo-ma-tool in-ter-zis

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