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Pronunciation #2 – The Pronunciation of Vowels in Romanian
Eric: Eric here! Hello, and welcome back to RomanianPOD101.com. This is Pronunciation, Lesson 2 - The Pronunciation of Vowels in Romanian.
Mihai: Bună ziua tuturor! I’m Mihai.
Eric: Thanks for being here with us for this lesson. In this lesson, our focus will be on the pronunciation of Romanian vowels.
Mihai: These are A, Ă, Â/Î, E, I, O, U.
Eric: We’ll help all of you listeners out there master your Romanian vowels.
Mihai: We’ll help you pronounce sounds properly in Romanian.
Eric: Yes, because a single vowel can modify the meaning of a word.
Mihai: For example, bere and bare.
Eric: The difference is in the vowels “e” and “a.”
Mihai: The first word means “beer” and the second means “bar,” but the kind used for gymnastics, nothing to do with beer.
Eric: Mihai, you made me want to get a beer.
Mihai: Ok, but first let’s finish this lesson...
Eric: Now in this lesson, we won’t work on ALL the sounds in Romanian, only the vowels. Some are tricky, but some are easy.
Mihai: Listeners, before we move on, please note that in this lesson we are going to refer to sounds as vowels. So whenever we say "vowel," think "sound" – don't think "letter."
Eric: Now let's get started.
Mihai: Să începem! First of all, pronouncing Romanian is only hard if you refuse to relax your mouth and let it open.
Eric: Yes, that’s something you might want to keep in mind.
Mihai: It really makes it easier for you if you make your mouth work.
Eric: Don't hesitate to open your mouth, but keep it relaxed.
Mihai: Like this - AAAAAAAA.
Eric: Now you might be in the line at the bakery, or driving your convertible right now. But we don't care. Repeat after Mihai-
Mihai: AAAAAA – ĂĂĂĂĂĂ- - EEEEEEE - IIIIIIII - OOOOO - UUUUUU. These should be easy to pronounce. And now that your mouth is stretched...
Eric: By the way, how many vowels are there in Romanian?
Mihai: Seven. Most of them are easy for pretty much everyone to pronounce.
Eric: Today we’ll look at each of them separately.
Mihai: That’s right.
Eric: Are there a lot of similarities between English and Romanian vowels?
Mihai: Well in English there’s no equivalent for . But I’m sure there are English words that have at least a similar sound.
Eric: There is one. You know, in English when you want to express disgust, you say “eugh!” It’s very similar. Mihai, do you have any tips for mastering this sound?
Mihai: Pronounce it with your lips and jaw relaxed. The mouth is almost closed. Place your tongue in the center of your mouth and don’t move or flex the tongue. And then say U in English. . Okay, everyone, I'm going to say a series of words that use the sound
Eric: Your job is to repeat each word after Mihai.
Mihai: Ready? Go! Încet (silence)
Eric: Which is “slow.”
Mihai: Început (silence)
Eric: which is “beginning.”
Mihai: Înot (silence)
Eric: which is “swimming.”
Mihai: and adânc,
Eric: Which is “deep.” Okay, now let’s try the easy ones.
Mihai: Of course! A, Ă, E, I, O, and U are easy to pronounce. They all have an English equivalent.
Eric: Let’s start with A.
Mihai: Okay, everyone open your mouth for the A. And say with me, AAAAAAAAA. Now repeat this example after me. Acasă (silence) Acasă.
Eric: This means “At home.” What’s the next sound?
Mihai: It’s Ă (silence ) ĂĂĂĂĂ.
Eric: Pronounce it with your lips and jaw relaxed. Place your tongue in the center of your mouth and don’t move it. It sounds like the English “about.” “a,” or “father.” Let’s move on with the E.
Mihai: First, keep your mouth half open just like when you start smiling. Articulate it with the tongue in an anterior position without touching the palate and say EEEEEEE.
Eric: Let’s hear an example.
Mihai: Efect.
Eric: Which means “effect.”
Mihai: Our listeners must know that in the case of some personal pronouns and forms of the verb a fi meaning “to be,” the vowel E is pronounced as ye,
Eric: like in the English “yes.”
Mihai: Exactly. Eu, El, Ea,
Eric: These mean “I,” “he,” “she.” respectively.
Mihai: And el este
Eric: Means “he is.” That sounds like a combination between i and e.
Mihai: That’s correct Eric.
Eric: Alright, now let’s move on to the I.
Mihai: IIII.. Repeat after me. Inimă (silence) Inimă
Eric: “heart.” There are two Is and one A in this word.
Mihai: Now let’s see our next vowel. O, OOOOOO
Eric: Sounds very poetic indeed.
Mihai: Repeat after me, Oraş (silence)
Eric: “Town.”
Mihai: Alright! Now let’s see our last vowel for this lesson. UUU. Again, repeat after me. I'll leave a pause after each word. Let's go. Lup (silence)
Eric: Which is “wolf.” Which also goes... UUUUUUU...
Mihai: That was a really good wolf impression. You sounded quite Romanian.
Eric: That was a howl...Okay, so what happens if there are one or more vowels in a row? How do we pronounce those?
Mihai: Don’t worry about those yet. We’ll have a closer look at diphthongs and triphthongs in one of the future lessons. But here’s one you can start practicing with. O zi bună.
Eric: That means “a good day!” Sounds good to me. We’ll have enough to practice for this lesson anyway.
Mihai: Yes, by the end of this lesson, you will have seven vowels to practice in your language bank.
Eric: Okay. To wrap up, let’s recap all the sounds we heard in this lesson. Mihai?
Mihai: Okay, here we go...A, Ă, Â/Î, E, I, O, U...
Eric And now some examples.
Mihai: vampir
Eric: “vampire.”
Mihai: Now Ă. frumoasă
Eric: Meaning “beautiful.” That’s less scary.
Mihai: Î. întuneric.
Eric: “Dark.”
Mihai: E. vedere.
Eric: “view.”
Mihai: I. izvor
Eric: “source”
Mihai: O, obscur
Eric: “Obscure.”
Mihai: And U, umbra.
Eric: “Shadow”. Well, that just about does it for this lesson.
Eric: Before we go, we want to tell you about a way to drastically improve your pronunciation.
Mihai: The voice recording tool.
Eric: Yes, the voice recording tool in the premium learning center!
Mihai: Record your voice with a click of a button,
Eric: and then play it back just as easily.
Mihai: So you record your voice, and then listen to it.
Eric: Compare it to the native speakers.
Mihai: And adjust your pronunciation!
Eric: This will help you improve your pronunciation fast! Thank you for listening!
Mihai: Mulţumim! La revedere!