"i" in English is a completely different beast, isn't it? I believe you mean, Romanian "-ii" is pronounced as English long "e" But, everything else is on the mark.
In English, the long "i" sound is a dipthong, often pronounced as two letters in other languages ("ai" in Romanian, IIRC), and the short "i" sound is possibly unique to English.
In some places where the Romanian and English agree on the sound (that is, both languages use the initial-i sound, as described by IPA), English actually uses a "y," and Romanian omits the "i" altogether: "eu" in Romanian, "yet" in English. Or at least, that's how the initial sound of "eu" and "este" was explained to me, as "ieu" with a hidden, initial "i."
@jdfg2011 good question! :) I would say "limba mea maternă este româna” and I think this might be slightly better than ”limba mea maternă este limba română”, because in Romanian we do not appreciate the redundance ”limba” so much. :) It would not be correct to say ”limba mea maternă este românește”.
I live in Germany. :) If I would speak now Romanian at home, I could indeed say all three variants you suggested. I cannot tell you if one form is recommended. But I can tell you how my sprachgefühl guides me to use these forms. In a very normal :) conversation I would say ”vorbim românește”. If I was a tv host I would probably say ”vorbim limba română”. ”Vorbim româna” is just shorter and implies the word ”limba”. :)
I wish someone else would say his/her opinion...
If you're only using the last couple of letters to tell them apart, the two forms of the verb for singular tu and plural voi can look quite similar. If you look another letter or two back, there are other differences to help with distinguishing them.
As someone who speaks a couple romance languages already, even knowing that I know nothing about Romanian and (especially non Indo-European) languages don't always have the patterns our brains are trained to look for, I'm going to dare to say "the English language" is a better translation for "limba engleza. " That's similar to how I'd translate "lengua castellana/língua portuguesa" vs "castellano, português."
I'm a bit confused about the "a" vs. "ă" vowel change when adding "the".
In this sentence we have "fata" and "engleză". We have already learned that "fată" = "girl" and "fata" = "the girl". But then there's "engleza" = "English" and "limba engleză" = "the English language".
That vowel change seems contradictory to me. Is there a nuance I'm not yet aware of? Are there different rules for different word classes (because I'm not even sure if "engleza/engleză" are feminine nouns, like "fată/fata" - my tentative guess would be no).
A detailed explanation would be very much appreciated. :)
As far as I understand (and feel free to correct me), when writing "fata" it means "the girl", as stated. But when writing "limba engleză", the "the" is theoretically attached the word "limba", not the word "engleză". So you're talking about the language - "limba" not, "the English".
Here, you have to think in Romanian syntax or word order. In English, it makes sense to say "the English language" rather than "the language English", which is what it is in Romanian. Because we're saying "the language English", "engleză" isn't altered because it is not coming after the "the". I'm not sure if I explained that well enough but I hope it makes sense!
So, let's see if I understood the rules correctly:
The "limba engleză" is a noun + adjective combination. And if "limba" is "the language", I can conclude it's a feminine noun and would be "limbă" without the article?
Is "engleza" a feminine noun? And if yes, can I expect all the Romanian words for any other language to behave the same (their nouns ending in "a" and their adjectives ending in "ă")?
Yes, limbă = language, limba = the language (singular, feminin). Language is a noun. engleză = English, feminin singular adjective. In "the English language" = "limba engleză", "English" is an adjective singular feminin following "the language" = "limba", a singular feminin noun with determinate article. Articles only accompany nouns, just like English.
Most Romanian words for languages end in -a/-ă. limba germană -- germana limba franceză -- franceza limba turcă -- turca limba japoneză -- japoneza limba chineză -- chineza limba swahili --? :) limba tagalog --? :)
We also say ”Vorbim româna. Vorbim limba română. Vorbim românește.” From my understanding of the language/grammar, I would say that ”românește” is an adverb, because we also say ”Gîndim românește. with the â: Gândim românește.” (we think as the Romanians... anyone??)
So, there are three ways to say "We speak Romanian" - ”vorbim româna, vorbim limba română, vorbim românește.” I expect that they will all be correctly understood, but is there any difference between them? Would you use one form in preference to the others in certain situations? Which is the most common?
All three are correct and common.
"Vorbim româna" = We speak Romanian. (Româna is the name of the language. Grammatically, it is a noun.)
"Vorbim limba română" = "We speak the Romanian language."
This is a useful construction if, for example, you want to say: "Vorbim limba română nu limba germană." You can also say "Vorbim româna nu germana."
"Vorbim limba română" adds more emphasis and is a bit more formal, but it doesn't contain more information.
"Româneşte" is an adverb. "Vorbim româneşte" still means "We speak Romanian." The verb "vorbim" allows the use of an adverb like "româneşte" but also the use of a noun like "româna" because it is a transitive verb (all transitive verbs allow the subsequent use of a noun without a preposition).
So, the difference is technical (i.e., grammatical).
Vorbim româneşte = Transitive Verb + Adverb
Vorbim româna = Transitive verb + Noun (direct object).
fată = girl
fata = the girl
engleză = English
engleza = the English language
For example, we would say:
Vorbesc în engleză = I am speaking English (now)
Vorbesc limba engleză = I speak English
Both "fată" and "engleză" are feminine nouns and both receive "-a" at the end when articulated with the definite article.
Here's the rule for definite articles (singular nouns):
"The" in Romanian is not an independent word. Definite articles are placed at the end of nouns (or adjectives sometimes), becoming part of that word. They are called enclitic articles. For example:
femeie = woman
femeia = the woman
bărbat = man
bărbatul = the man
--> feminine nouns receive the definite article "-a" at the end (fată = girl / fata = the girl; engleză / engleza)
--> most masculine and neuter nouns receive the definite article "-l" at the end. If they end with a consonant then we add -u as a connecting vowel between the two final consonants (băiat=boy; băiatul = the boy; scaun=chair; scaunul=the chair).
Some masculine nouns that end with "-e" receive "-le" as definite article:
dinte = tooth
dintele = the tooth
A handful of masculine nouns end with "-ă" (about 8 or so in the entire Romanian language). They receive the definite article "-a" at the end. popă=priest (informal)
Here we can have: tata=the father (but only if you're talking about your own father or at most your own father-in-law). So this would be the same as "my father."
OR: tatăl=the father. Tatăl meu = my father. Tatăl tău=your father, etc.
Remember that neuter nouns behave like masculine nouns in the singular and like feminine nouns in the plural.
I hope this helps.
Any time "you" is used as part of the subject, second person (you) conjugation is used. In this case, we are talking about two people (you and the girl), so we have to use plural. If we were only told "you", then without context we wouldn't know if it was singular or plural. The same is true if you use third person (he/she/it): Băiatul și fata vorbesc româna. It is plural here because there are two people in the subject. Same in first person (I/we): Eu și fata vorbim româna. Vorbim is plural because there are two subjects: I and the girl.