No. It's like the English "bow", but with the middle vowel being an /o/ (as in "or").
No the sound is not right, hehe, we assume that someone „repaired” the TTS bot to say „beau” (i drink) correctly... (before it was saying „bo” as in French) and now ”bou” is ”be-ou” :P
In Romanian we read/pronounce all letters (like in German), and each letter makes a sound, always the same sound, with very few exceptions. That is why there is no concept of "spelling" in Romanian, we read/pronounce as we write. So, you have to say "be" as in English "bet" (and not as in "to be") and "a" and then "u" as in "auto". Then put all in a single syllable, without pronouncing any "o", there is no "o" written there. B-e-a-u. Beau. You can go to ivona.com, select carmen (romanian tts) and type "tu bei, el bea, noi bem, eu beau", etc., click on Play (you will need Adobe Flash running in your browser, but if you are anti-flash, there are few tts around that do not need it). There the pronunciation is almost right (a little bit too fast, tho).
Thanks! I'm an Italian native speaker, so now it's perfectly clear how to pronunce it.
Is one of those exceptions in words which end in i? That's a pattern I've noticed, but the recordings might be wrong
Well.. not really.. In Romanian we tend to pronounce a "soft vowel" at the end of the syllables, if that vowel is not accentuated (stressed) in speech (and it is most of the time the one-before-last syllable which is stressed, therefore most of the words which end in "i" will have this "soft i" at the end). Russian for examples, has a special letter for it, the "soft i" (it looks like a small "b" with a pony-tail to the left in their writing). This has the effect that is palatalizing the previous consonant. But the "i" (or any vowel) is still pronounced, however in a "soft" way. In Romanian there are strict rules to split words in syllables, which splits the vowels in convenient (easy to pronounce) ways, therefore the phenomenon appears only/mostly at the end of the words. When it appears after a consonant, at the end of the words, as in plurals of nouns and adjectives, it has the effect that the former consonant is palatalized.
For example: bă-iat, bă-ieți, cas-tra-ve-te, cas-tra-veți, i-de-o-lo-gic, i-de-o-lo-gici (grrrr... I was searching for this, looking for a 'gici' termination which is not profane, haha), vul-pe, vulpi (single syllable).
Where the phenomenon does NOT appear, is for example the infinitives of verbs, and future tense. Same as in Spanish and other romance languages, Romanian stresses the ending of the verbs as a mark of future tense. Here the 'i' became full vowel, due to the stress on it, and it is entitled to its own syllable. Example: voi vor-biți acum dar nu veți vor-bi mâine (you speak now but will not speak tomorrow, remark there is no hyphen, I use a dash to show how they split in syllables) - note the vor-biți, veți (single syllable), but vor-bi. The verb is „a vorbi” too (vor-bi). All verbs in this category behave the same, they have stand-alone, stressed syllable ending in sound, full vocalic 'i'.
This is kinda "layman" explanation, I know, but the case is long discussed on Doulingo, there are some discussion threads about it. Unfortunately they are difficult to search for, here this site still has to learn...
If you need it in more "linguistic" terms, see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanian_phonology#Palatalized_consonants
This word is also a popular insult ("blockhead" according to Google Translate).
I agree, this particular audio sounded almost like bitalul which makes no sense at all. I'm assuming from the comments above it's more like bow probably still not right, but I'd wager closer than what I'm hearing.
Le mâle castré est le bœuf, le jeune mâle est un taurillon. Sa femelle est la vache et leur petit est le veau. :-)
Haha, this reminds me of my colleague and friend, let's call him Ahmed, he was a black guy from some African country doing a PhD in mathematics in Iași (north-east Romanian university center) in the '90s, he was in Ro for few months and started speaking the local language, he was speaking English well and a bit of Italian and French, but we used to make fun teaching him 'funny' vernaculars (read 'profanities', of which our language in fact, is full...) around a chess board (he was also a good chess player) and few beers. Once we were a bunch of students in a tram car going to classes, we were standing, because all the seats were taken and the car was quite full, and of course, you had to hold tight on the bars, because the rails were not serviced since the communism went down, and the drivers were always in hurry to keep the schedules, etc., and the trip was quite bumpy. We were talking in English, mainly about math. Close to us, two fat ladies also standing, were gossiping about their workmates, not in very good terms, and I was happy that Ahmed could not understand all the idiocies coming out of their mouths... Then baa-bamm, left-right the tram goes, my friend Ahmed lost his balance and bumped into one of the fat ladies. He mumbled some excuses which sounded more Italian than Romanian, and was somehow ashamed, but the fat lady, probably assuming we were foreigners (of which the city was full at the time, mostly students), or because she didn't give a damn, whatever, she made a crossed sour face so sharp that it could cut through iron and said to her gossip partner, loud and angry: "Bou!" and added something about monkeys staying in Africa. We continued our math talk for a while then baa-bamm-bamm, left-right-left-right the tram goes, worse than before. Who traveled with Romanian trams knows what I am talking about, it is an adventure comparable only with a roller coaster... This time the fat lady completely lost her balance and tumbled over us, and my Ahmed did a visible effort to support her, otherwise, if not for him, we would have to swap her remains from the floor of the car... After she turned to her discussion partner without even saying sorry, nor thanks, and without at least a smile on her ugly sour face, our Ahmed raised the shoulders and told us, smile on his face, but loud enough that other people could hear: "Bou!". First we didn't know what he wanted, because the little incident was already forgotten (I was for a second afraid that he is calling me that, hehe), we cared more about our nerdy stuff, derivatives and integrals, at the time, and we looked puzzled to him. He saw the big question marks on our faces, he didn't know the word for "cow", but he realized however that something is wrong, so he put the hands cups in front of his lungs and added quickly, with an even larger smile on his innocent face: ”cu țâțe!”.... (”with tits”, we don't really say this in public, we use softer words, like chest, or breast, etc., and he could pronounce perfect the Romanian ț and â, which is quite rare for foreigners).
Somebody in the back of the car said ”vacă”, and Ahmed repeated raising a finger, with an innocent smiling face: ”Da, da, vaca, vaca” (this time he didn't say the ă, sounding again more like Italian).
Few seconds there was silence in the tram car, then a general laugh wave went front to back, again and again, people retelling the story to each-other, gesticulating with the hands in front of their chests... We stepped down from the car at our station, but people were still laughing in the tram.
Next day all the dorm knew, of course, and for months after that, every time a colleague (all male students) did some silly thing, or when we were playing pranks on each-other (you know, like between friends in the dorm, hehe), we were invariably calling each-other ”bou cu țâțe”.
Actually, you are completely wrong, which is a shame for a French speaker... :P
It is the French ”boeuf”, from Latin ”bovi”, which was pronounced like ”bowie” or ”bobie” in Classic Latin, where the V was pronounced with the lips, and not with the lower teeth touching the upper lips, so it sounded more like a W or B - in fact, today Spanish still has this V pronounced as a B, and Spanish speakers have difficulties to pronounce the English V - they have to learn how to pronounce it. In Russian you have to write a B to pronounce a V, and in other languages like Greek you may need to write a MP to get it pronounced as a B - here I also have a funny story with a colleague called Bantal who used to work in Greece for a while and he had to change his name temporarily because, in spite of the fact that he was a nice, soft and calm guy, a pleasure to talk to, and he was proud of it, all his colleagues and friends were calling him ”vandal”. :P