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All About, Lesson 14 - Top Five Mistakes You Should Avoid in Romanian
Eric: Hi everyone, and welcome back to RomanianPod101.com. This is All About Lesson 14 - Top Five Mistakes You Should Avoid in Romanian. I’m Eric.
Raluca: Salutări tuturor, şi eu sunt aici. Hi everybody, I’m Raluca!
Eric: In this lesson we’re going to talk about the top five mistakes you should avoid making in Romanian!
Raluca: But don’t let that title scare you, Eric. Do you know that famous proverb that we have in Romania, Din greşeli învăţăm?
Eric: It literally means “in making mistakes we learn.”
Raluca: Exactly! Because we know that ‘practice makes perfect.’ But still, there are some mistakes that can easily be avoided when learning a language.
Eric: So in this lesson you’ll find the top five most common mistakes that Romanian language students make. So let’s get started!
Raluca: Common mistake number one is about....
Eric: Verb agreement!
Raluca: Yep! It’s well known that the biggest challenge in learning Romanian is verbs and their conjugations.
Eric: You must study, study, study because verbs change their endings according to the six different subjects…
Raluca: Eu, tu, el, ea, noi voi, ei, ele.
Eric: And according to tenses like the present tense, the past tense, the future tense, and so on.
Raluca: Present , trecut, viitor
Eric: You know, it’s very easy to make mistakes here!
Raluca: Oh definitely, even for Romanian language speakers, but using the right verb agreement definitely makes you more confident with the language.
Eric: And if we think about a normal conversation in Romanian, it’s also very important to check the politeness level of your sentences.
Raluca: That’s also true. Romanians tend to be formal in some situations and use tu and Dumneavostră, the casual and polite versions of “you”. These require the right verb agreement.
Eric: A common mistake is when you ask a professor “how are you” but use the wrong “you.”
Raluca: Yes, so for example, using cum eşti instead of cum sunteţi is a common mistake that influences the politeness level of your speech.
Eric: Romanians study verbs for years at school, but you don’t have all that time to learn them!
Raluca: So, first of all you might…
Eric: Practice every day, for example, with the vast number of exercises you can find on the web.
Raluca: When talking, first think about the infinitive form of the verb, then the tense you want to change it into, and then which person you need.
Eric: If in doubt, you can check the verb in the dictionary – there are always some pages dedicated to tenses templates.
Raluca: Now let’s move on to common mistake number two. What is it?
Eric: Mistaking the gender and number of Romanian nouns.
Raluca: Yes, there’s masculin , feminin, neutru, singular, and plural.
Eric: For English speakers especially, gender and number agreement errors are very common. We don’t need to think about that when we talk in English!
Raluca: You only need to study and get used to quickly switching the endings. Please remember, adjectives and articles change their endings according to the gender and number of the noun they refer to.
Eric: I recommend that you consult a handy, pocket-size Romanian dictionary, or at least have one on your phone.
Now, let’s go over the next mistake.
Raluca: Okay, mistake number three is about cases.
Eric: First let’s explain what cases are...
Raluca: In Romanian the noun and other nominal parts of speech,
Eric: the article, adjective, pronoun, and numeral...
Raluca: ...change their form. This form changing is called declination and the forms are called cases.
Eric: I knew this would come up! After Romanian verbs every student of the Romanian language probably says that the most challenging part of this language is cases!
Raluca: Cases are important because they show the relationship between the nominal and the other words of the sentence as well as its function in the sentence.
Eric: English has cases too, the nominative and genitive. An example of the nominative is “Ana has a car” and the genitive is “ Ana’s car is red.”
Raluca: Our listeners can hear the difference between “Ana” and “Ana’s.”
Eric: What about Romanian?
Raluca: The cases system is more complex. There are five cases - nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and vocative.
Eric: Let’s hear some examples.
Raluca: Alright.We will use the same noun Ana. So...for nominative we have Ana este în grădină.
Eric: “Ana is in the garden.”
Raluca: Accusative. Văd pe Ana.
Eric: “I can see Ana.”
Raluca: Genitive. Maşina Anei este aici.
Eric: “Ana’s car is here.”
Raluca: Dative. Îi dau maşina Anei!
Eric: “I give the car to Ana.”
Raluca: And vocative, Ano, vino aici! or Ana, vino aici!
Eric: “Ana, come here!”
Raluca: The vocative can have many forms, but we will talk about them in our future lessons. So...we finished talking about the cases. Eric, what do you think?
Eric: I can hear how the noun changes its form according to each case, but cases always seem so difficult.
Raluca: It’s true that the way cases function is often difficult to understand, even for native speakers.
Eric: Are there any kind of tricks to learn them?
Raluca: First of all, the vocative is very easy to use in colloquial Romanian. You can invoke or address a person or a thing by using the dictionary noun's form or a person's name, without changing the ending. For example, I will say "Eric!"
Eric: Yes Raluca!
Raluca: Eric! Where is your mind right now?
Eric: Nowhere. You just called me.
Raluca: (laughs) Of course, I used your name as an example!
Eric: Oops.... Well, all we have to remember is that the vocative has many forms and we will talk about them in our later lessons. For now, it’s enough to know that you can address your friends by their name. And that is a form of the vocative!
Raluca: Also, you should remember that the genitive and the dative are identical in form, and so are the nominative and the accusative – only their functions are different.
Eric: Some general advice is to listen carefully to your Romanian teacher and try to listen to Romanian radio, watch Romanian movies in the original language, and listen to Romanian songs.
Raluca: We will explain more about cases in our further lessons. Now let’s continue with the top five common mistakes.
Eric: Common mistake number four is with the unique signs and sounds.
Raluca: Romanian is a phonetic language, so every word is pronounced the way it is written.
Eric: So from this point of view, Romanian is easy
Raluca: Yes. But you’ll have to learn a few rules about pronunciation.
Eric: Like... where to place the accent, how to pronounce the diphthongs and triphtongs...
Raluca: and the letter combinations... ce, ci, ge, gi, che, chi, ghe, ghi
Eric: I always confuse them...
Raluca: Yes that can happen especially when writing. “H” is often forgotten.
Eric: Yes. And the sound is completely changed, Now let’s hear some examples:
Raluca: cerere
Raluca: cireaşă
Eric: “cherry”
Raluca: geantă
Eric: “bag”
Raluca: a fugi
Eric: “to run”
Raluca: ochelari
Eric: “glasses”
Raluca: ochi
Eric: “eyes”
Raluca: Gheorghe
Eric: The equivalent of the English name “George.”
Raluca: unghie
Eric: “nail”
Eric: That doesn’t seem easy. What should we do?
Raluca: If in doubt, the best way to find out which one to use is to check a good grammar book or a Romanian language dictionary.
Eric: Okay, and now we’ve reached the last common mistake!
Raluca: Yep! Common mistake number five for Romanian language students is...
Eric: The hyphen. In Romanian, the hyphen is the orthographical sign with the most functions.
Raluca: It’s used to mark the boundary between two words for more rapid writing and reading.
Eric: So the hyphen improves the flow of the language. Let’s hear some examples.
Raluca: Spune ce îl vei intreba pe Vlad.
Eric: “Tell me what you will ask Vlad.” This is the sentence without a hyphen.
Raluca: Spune ce-l vei întreba pe Vlad.
Eric : The same sentence with a hyphen. Let’s repeat the difference again for our listeners.
Raluca: ce îl and ce-l.
Eric: I understand why sometimes the hyphen is wrongly used or not used at all.
Raluca: Yes but I know a very old trick that might help.
Eric: What is it?
Raluca: When I was little and first started to learn how to use the hyphen, my teacher told me that it usually replaces a vowel. Since then, it became much easier!
Eric: So, listeners, keep that in mind,!


Eric: And that’s all for this lesson. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.
Raluca: la revedere!