I notice that "bărbat" is in the sentence, ended by "ul". For reference to others, I assume this is a suffix "-ul" defining a specific object, using the English "the". I'm a bit confused on this, but this is my guess. Correct me if I'm wrong.
You're totally correct. In fact this suffix shows up in the famous name "Dracula". This was originally 'Drac-ul', "the dragon", the title of Vlad II of Wallachia. His son, Vlad III - the ruler associated with the Dracula legend - was then called "Dracula", a Slavicized form meaning "(son) of the dragon".
-ul is the definite article used for some masculine and neuter nouns. bărbat > bărbatul (man > the man), băiat > băiatul (boy > the boy), fruct > fructul (fruit > the fruit) etc.
Thank you for your answer, but that leaves me at another confusion. I'm familiar with gender-specific nouns (being partial to German), but how do I determine what nouns are masculine, feminine, and neuter?
Hi, Eric_Allen. If the noun ends in "e", "ă" or "a" you know it is feminine. For the one ending in "i" it is not that simple: zi - day (feminin), ardei - pepper (masculin). The rest are masculin or neuter which behave similar (have the same article "ul").
In my head, I cannot find exceptions to this rule right now.
I'd to add that there exist masculine nouns ending in "e" and "ă" (although there are very few with "ă"):
conte - count
tată - father
The noun "cinema" is neutral and ends in "a" (maybe there's more, but I can't think of it right now).
Actually, there is no clear cut rule. As in German, or French, you have to learn the gender of every noun.
It can be masculine with -e ending too: un păduche, un grăunte, un munte etc.
Just like in Scandinavian languages, e.g. Norwegian
"mann" = man
"Mannen" = The man
That is the mistake I made. I didn't hear the ending in normal speed. I always have to listen to the slow version to get it. Sometimes that voice is so hard to understand even then!
Strictly speaking, the article doesn't come after the word. The article is an enclitic, it attaches to the end of the word.
There are words that end in -ul in their non-articulated form and add another one when articulated (tumul = tumulus, tumulul = the tumulus). But most of the time you can GUESS that a word ending in -ul is masculine/neuter and articulated.