"Breakfast is a meal."
Translation:Micul dejun este o masă.
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It's not clear to me what "micul" means. I'm assuming it's similar to "băiat" => "băiatul", but breakfast was taught as "mic dejun" (as if the both words need to be used). According to my Romanian friend, "mic" just means little (which makes sense). So "micul" would mean the little (which also makes sense). But I have no idea why little is used in the context for breakfast (cultural?).
Bottom line: Is "mic dejun este o masă" also correct? Is the article the just understood here?
No mic dejun would be incorrect because if you speak about breakfast in romanian you have to use it with an article (-ul=the) but in english you would not specialize breakfast ( as in: The breakfast is a meal) because you speak about breakfast in general and not one special. This is a gramma issue that does not really have a rule but its the way its used in this context.
Hope this was helpful :)
I would disagree, because the sentence as written does not speak about a specific breakfast, but breakfast in general, which is 'mic dejun'. I would submit that either translation should be considered acceptable, because perhaps it would make sense to a native speaker, however my wife who speaks several languages along with her native Romanian also maintains that 'mic dejun' would be more correct in this case than 'micul dejun'.
I'm not a native, only talked with natives about stuff like this and as far as I understood, there is hardly a case where the subject wouldn't get articulated some way. If there's no indefinite article, there has to be a definite one. In this example, it's no surprise for me because in Hungarian, it would be the same. "A reggeli (egy) étkezés" not "Reggeli egy étkezés", just like general terms like "life" make more sense to me with an article, "viaţa este frumoasă" and surely not "viaţă este frumoasă"
Yes, I think this is something determined by context.
Masa is the definite version, the change in the ending could be called a definite article. So, basically, it changes "table" to "the table". Mandatory disclaimer: article usage isn't always the same as in English, with prepositions, you mostly won't see definite endings and when talking about something in general (life, men, cars, whatever), you will mostly see the definite form.
I thought Reverso Context might know it better: https://context.reverso.net/translation/romanian-english/tu+ai+masa Judging by this, perhaps it isn't a very common thing to say, so we are free to assume it means literally what it means, so "Do you have the table/meal/mass?" By the way, "mass" hasn't been mentioned as a meaning so far. That's actually a slightly different word that comes from French. "tables" or "meals" is "mese" while "masses" is "mase" so they just happen to share singular nominative forms.
In Romanian you use the definite article for the subject of the sentence. "Micul dejun, masa de prânz, gustarea de după-amiază sunt mesele zilei"
The confusion comes from the word order inversion "mic dejun" instead of "dejun mic" which is nailed down for this meal, so the adjective gets the definite article instead of the noun.