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All About, Lesson 1 - The Top Five Reasons to Study Romanian
Eric: Hi everyone, and welcome to RomanianPod101.com. This is All About Romanian, Lesson 1 - The Top Five Reasons to Study Romanian. Eric here. I’ll be your friendly neighborhood non-Romanian guide to everything Romanian...
Raluca: Buna ziua! And I’m Raluca! I’m here as the Romanian native speaker to help along the way.
Eric: That’s right, this lesson is all about your home and native language, Raluca!
Raluca: I’m always happy and proud to talk about my language and my country, especially with people like you or our listeners. It seems to me that you all love Romania, so thank you! Mulțumesc mult!!
Eric: And in my case, I had a friend who lived there for six months. And she got me interested in learning Romanian!
Raluca: Oh, you should – you can never get tired of learning, I think!
Eric: Especially when you’re learning a beautiful language like Romanian!
Raluca: Yes, Romanian is a beautiful language, and there are a lot of interesting things to learn about Romania, so we should get started.
Eric: Okay. I think some of our listeners out there may know some Romanians already.
Raluca: Yes. My foreign friends all told me how astonished they were by the language and culture when they first visited Romania.
Eric: What was so surprising?
Raluca: Most of them didn’t expect to see what they saw and hear what they heard. There are a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions about Romania, mostly because of its communist past, and few people know how unique Romanian culture and language are.
Eric: They don’t expect to hear about centuries of history, to see wild nature, or to learn about Romania’s very old traditions. So what language family does Romanian belong to?
Raluca: Romanian belongs to the so-called Romance language family. The languages in this family have their roots in the Thraco- Dacian Language, spoken by a Thracian tribe called the Dacians. They are the ancestors of modern Romanians.
Eric: There are many theories about how the Romanian language evolved.
Raluca: The first one is the one that I learned in school, which says that the Thraco - Dacian language passed through a romanianzation process when it was part of the Roman Empire.
Eric: The second one has been adopted recently because of much more advanced archaeological discoveries. It says that the Thraco-Dacian language didn’t change. Raluca, does this mean that the language stayed the same?
Raluca: Of course not. As a people who lived inside the European continent, the population there was always in contact with other cultures.... Latin, Slavic, Hungarian, Turkish, Greek, German, French cultures.
Eric: Ah, so the language was influenced by elements of other cultures. That’s really interesting. So it’s a language with a rich vocabulary borrowed from a lot of different languages.
Raluca: That’s right, Eric. Every language is in a continuous state of flux but the basics are always difficult to change.
Eric: So what theory do you think our listeners should believe?
Raluca: I agree with the second theory that says the language stayed the same, and just borrowed other elements, because people can’t change their language in a such a small amount of time. Still, everyone has the right to form their own opinions by reading more about Thracian history.
Eric: What about the Romanian writing system? Can you tell us more about that?
Raluca: Sure. Basically, Romanian is based on the Latin alphabet.
Eric: Which is, let’s remember, the most widely used alphabet writing system on the planet.
Raluca: Exactly. The Romanian alphabet still differs a bit from the Latin alphabet, and it has a total of 31 letters, 5 of which are letters with diacritics.
Eric: Right. But what about the vowels and their pronunciation?
Raluca: Oh, that will be pretty reassuring for our audience. Romanian vowels are easy! There are no tones, like in Chinese, or different ways to say them, like in English.
Eric: Yeah, in Romanian, there’s only one pronunciation. You just say it as you see it. It’s more or less the same with Italian and some other Asian languages, like Japanese, for example.
Raluca: How interesting!
Eric: And what about dialects?
Raluca: There are dialects spoken north and south of the Danube by a small population. I’ve personally only heard someone speaking in a dialect once on TV.
Eric: Interesting! So the whole population speaks in the same way?
Raluca: That’s the interesting part! We do have accents, or what we call graiuri. There’s basically no difference between the words but the pronunciation is different.
Eric: Like British and American English?
Raluca: That’s a good comparison. In my case I’m from Moldova, and at home I spoke with a Moldavian accent. When I moved to Transylvania, people could tell I was from Moldova by my accent. After living there for seven years my accent changed and now it’s pretty difficult to guess to which Romanian region my accent belongs.
Eric: That’s pretty interesting. Is it hard to guess?
Raluca: Yes, the accents are very similar.
Eric: Okay, now let’s go over a bit more about Romania itself. Romania as a country is pretty young, but historically speaking, that isn’t so, right?
Raluca: Yes, we have to think about Dacia! We could say that Romania has almost three thousand years of history.
Eric: And molecular archeology and excavations in Romania reveal a modern human presence dating back to the Palaeolithic period.
Raluca: Definitely. A lot of archaeologists, historians, and scientists consider Thracia to be the oldest European culture. Discovering the remains of the ancient culture was difficult, especially during the Communist Period, when people were less concerned about the history and had no interest in antiquity.
Eric: That makes sense. Okay, it’s time for our top five list!
Raluca: Oh yeah, the top five reasons to learn this great language!
Eric: Let’s start with number 5. Romanian people...
Raluca: The society, the music…
Eric: And obviously Romanian cuisine. Learning Romanian will help you better appreciate Romanian society and communicate with Romanian people, who are usually friendly and open!
Raluca: Number 4. It’s easy to pronounce and it has a beautiful sound!
Eric: Romanian pronunciation really is easy! You can start speaking right away and appreciate all the musicality within it.
Raluca: I think musicality is the right word – you can hear the melody of the language as well.
Eric: Number 3. Knowing Romanian helps you learn more than just one language. It’s a way to understand all the romance languages, since Romanian is similar to Italian and others too.
Raluca: Number 2. Romania is a country where a lot of investors are developing major projects. Employers are looking for candidates who can competently communicate with the Romanian employees.
Eric: Learning Romanian could improve your results in relations with any business in Balkan countries!
Raluca: And…the number 1 reason you should learn Romanian is...
Eric: Romanian culture and art!
Raluca: Yes, Romanian culture and art. Romania is the country with the largest number of Orthodox monasteries. Romania has a culture that can be discovered by visiting the traditional villages of the Carpathian mountains, medieval citadels, and castles.
Romanian art and culture is full of famous geniuses and great names, and being able to understand them in their own language is priceless.
Eric: Yes, that’s right! Okay everybody, are you ready? Get out your pen and notebook, grab your iPod, fire up your computer, or whatever you use to study – and get ready for some Romanian lessons from RomanianPod101.com!