Learning Demonstrative Pronouns
I find this particularly difficult.
Could non-native speakers share how they managed to learn these words?
Also, could native speakers tells us what goes through their minds when they use these pronouns?
Basically, pronouns of proximity and remoteness are a lot of declinations of the "this", "these", "that", "those". To quickly remember them, remember singular and plural masculine and feminine forms. Usually the feminine forms have plenty of "ea" sounds.
Form - masc - fem:
this - acesta - aceasta
that - acela - aceea
these - aceștia - acestea
those - aceia - acelea
In Romanian - neutral gender is when a word is masculine in singular and feminine in plural (there are no words feminine in singular and masculine in plural).
As for the pronoun of differentiation, the easiest way to remember is the combination of word "cel" (the one), letter "l" and word "alt" (the other). Remember the forms for masculine and feminine and combine them properly:
Gender/number - cel - alt - cel+l+alt:
masc. sing. - cel - alt - celălalt (the "ă" in-between appears since in Romanian double consonants are generally avoided and it smooths the sound.
fem. sing. - cea - altă - cealaltă
masc. plur. - cei - alți - ceilalți
fem. plur. - cele - alte - celelalte
Pronoun of identity is the pronoun of remoteness with added "și" termination:
acela - același
aceea - aceeași
aceia - aceiași
acelea - aceleași
As a native speaker, I can't think of any trick to learn them. My advice would be to start by only focusing on the standard form (acesta instead of ăsta); it is "formal", thus acceptable even in the most pretentious contexts and, personally, I think it's easier to learn. Here's a table (sorry if there's a similar one already in the tips & notes section).