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Pronunciation #4 Difficult Romanian Pronunciations
Eric: Hi everyone, I’m Eric, and welcome back to RomanianPod101.com. This is Pronunciation, Lesson 4 - Difficult Romanian Pronunciations.
Mihai: Bună ziua tuturor! Hi, everyone, I’m Mihai! So we’re progressing quickly with our pronunciation lessons, aren’t we?
Eric: Yes, we can almost say anything we want now in Romanian.
Mihai: So let’s keep moving.
Eric: In this lesson you’re going to learn how to pronounce the diphthongs and triphthongs in Romanian, and how we read diphthongs and the hiatus.
Mihai: Let’s start with diphthongs and triphthongs
Eric: A diphthong is a juncture of two vowels within the same syllable and a triphthong is a juncture of three vowels in a syllable. How does this affect pronunciation?
Mihai: The main characteristic of the diphthongs and triphtongs is that we pronounce them in one breath, and together the vowels lose their individual vocal characteristics, making a brand new sound.
Eric: It’s magic!
Mihai: (laughs) No, it’s just simple phonetics. And for people who like to know the phonetics, the first or last sound in the diphthong becomes a semivowel, because it loses a half of its vocal quality.
Eric: And for a triphthong?
Mihai: The first and last sounds become semivowels because they lose half of their vowel quality.
Eric: Anything else we should know?
Mihai: There are two types of diphthongs – descendant and ascendant.
Eric: The ascendant diphthong is when the semivowel comes first, and descendant is when the semivowel is the second sound. Are there any other rules that can help us out?
Mihai: We add - u and -i after each Romanian semivowel, and we get the descendant diphthongs. Only the combination U U is not a diphthong.
Eric: That I can remember!
Mihai: So we have ai, au, ei, eu, ii, iu, ou, ăi, ău, âi, and âu.
Eric: Can we hear some examples?
Mihai: Sure, we’ll start with -a and - i, which make ai like in mai for example.
Eric: This means “may”
Mihai: Next a and - u. These make au, which is in August
Eric: “August”
Mihai: E and I, these make ei as in lei
Eric: “Lions”
Mihai: U and i, making ui as in pui
Eric: “chicken”
Mihai: o and u, ou as in nouraş
Eric: “little cloud.”
Mihai: It seems difficult in theory, but is rather easy in practice right?
Eric: Well yes. I guess the best way to get it down is to practice what you hear from native speakers.
Mihai: Absolutely. Now take a look at the ascendant diphthongs.
Eric: A semivowel plus a vowel right?
Mihai: That’s correct Eric.
Eric: Shall we give our listeners a list?
Mihai: Of course. Here we have e, i, o, and u followed by a vowel. Ea, eo, ia, ie, io, iu, oa, ua, and uă.
Eric: Let’s go through some examples.
Mihai: ea as in dimineaţă
Eric: “morning”
Mihai: ia as in iarnă
Eric: “winter”
Mihai: oa as in oameni
Eric: “humans”
Mihai: And the last one is ua ziua.
Eric: “the day.” So we just learned all the Romanian diphthongs?
Mihai: Yes, these are the diphthongs that exist in Romanian grammar books, but new diphthongs can be found in some loan words.
Eric: : Alright, now let’s talk about triphthongs.
Mihai: A triphthong always comes in this order - semivowel + vowel + semivowel.
Eric: Do you have an example for us?
Mihai: Sure! There are seven Romanian triphthongs. They are Eau, eai, oai, iai, iau, iei, and ioa.
Eric: You just sounded like a theater student. What are some examples, Mihai?
Mihai: Eau as in Vreau
Eric: “I want”
Mihai: eai- as in spuneai
Eric: “you were saying”
Mihai: iai- as in scriai
Eric: “you were writing”
Mihai: iau -
Eric: “I take”
Mihai: iei- as in miei
Eric: “lambs”
Mihai: ioa- as in inimioară
Eric: Which means “little heart.” Great! So we’re done with the triphthongs. Let’s move on to the hiatus. This is when there are two vowels close to each other and they both preserve their vocal quality. In other words, they both keep their original sound, right?
Mihai: Yes, exactly.
Eric: Let’s hear some examples.
Mihai: filosofie , fi-lo-so fi-e
Eric: “philosophy”
Mihai: ştiinţă, şti-in-ţă
Eric: “science”
Mihai: Eroină, e-ro-i-nă
Eric: “heroine”
Mihai: violincel, vi-o-lon-cel
Eric: “cello”
Mihai: As for the pronunciation, please keep your mouth open longer than usual.
Eric: Okay, is there anything else before we go?
Mihai: Yes, one last thing. In some cases, the hiatus can cause difficulties and mistakes in pronunciation.
Eric: For example?
Mihai: In Romanian we say A-us-tria and not Aus-tri-a.
Eric: "Austria."
Mihai: na-ţi-u-ne and not na-ţiu-ne.
Eric: "nation.” So the mistakes consist of merging the sounds of the vowels in hiatus so that a diphthong is formed.
Mihai: Which leads to the words being mispronounced.
Eric: That just about does it for this lesson. Premium members, use the review track to perfect your pronunciation.
Mihai: It’s available in the premium section of the website,
Eric: the learning center,
Mihai: and through iTunes via the premium feed.
Eric: The Review Track gives you vocabulary and phrases followed by a short pause so you can repeat the words aloud.
Mihai: It’s the best way to get good fast!
Eric: Okay. Thanks for listening everyone, bye!
Mihai: La revedere!

14 Comments

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RomanianPod101.comVerified
Thursday at 6:30 pm
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Hi Listeners! What is the most difficult Romanian word to pronounce for you?

RomanianPod101.comVerified
Tuesday at 8:16 pm
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Hi Bernice,


Thank you for your feedback!

While the option to listen to the pronunciations of the diphthongs separately is not available, a recommendation is to check our Resources page (using the link below) where you can find other relevant written materials, that can help with your learning:

https://www.RomanianPod101.com/Romanian-resources/

Also, please feel free to use the pronunciations in the Lesson Audio as a guide.


About your question, the two Romanian words have a similar appearance, but their diacritics are different:

rău= bad

râu= river


Sincerely,

Patricia

Team RomanianPod101.com

Bernice G Dumitru
Tuesday at 3:14 am
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Rau means bad (boy) and Rau means river????

Bernice G Dumitru
Tuesday at 3:11 am
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I wish they had the option to hear each diphtong, etc. and the words following 😳 separately with the little speaker.

RomanianPod101.comVerified
Sunday at 2:43 am
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Hi, Melanie,


Thank you for sharing!

It is normal to find difficult words while studying a new language. The good news is that with practice and time, it will become easier for you to understand and speak even the difficult words. Maybe it can help to separate the words into syllables or to repeat them in a slow manner, paying attention to each letter, until it becomes natural.

Feel free to write us again if you have any questions or comments.

Good luck!


Sincerely,

Patricia

Team RomanianPod101.com


Melanie
Friday at 1:43 am
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Most difficult word for me is câine

RomanianPod101.com
Thursday at 4:13 am
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Hello, Lizzie,


Thank you for your comments 😄. We are glad that you are enjoying learning Romanian with us.

Yes, some words are more difficult than others, but by practicing the speaking and listening of these words, you will see that it will become easier for you to pronounce them.

Let us know if you have any questions.


Sincerely,

Patricia

Team RomanianPod101.com

Lizzie
Monday at 5:51 pm
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More difficult: eu iau, miei, iminiora

Lizzie
Monday at 5:47 pm
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super helpful! now my mouth hurts! 😄

RomanianPod101.comVerified
Monday at 6:01 pm
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Hello James,


Meanwhile you can of course listen to the pronunciation of the diphthongs and triphthongs any time in the main audio of the lesson.


Thank you,

Mihai

Team RomanianPod101.com

RomanianPod101.comVerified
Tuesday at 4:34 pm
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Hello James,


Thank you for using RomanianPod101.com and for taking your time to send us feedback.

I will make sure your request will reach our contents team for consideration and I hope we will be able to deliver it soon.

I'm very glad to hear you are enjoying the lessons!


Thank you,

Mihai

Team RomanianPod101.com