"The woman measures our children."
Translation:Femeia ne măsoară copiii.
I see you speak French, so I'll explain it using a similar construction in French.
Rather than saying "I wash my hands," in French you say something like "I wash myself in the hands" (Je me lave les mains). But if I'm washing someone else's hands, I could just as well say "Je te lave les mains" or "Je lui lave les mains." Similarly, maybe somebody stole your wallet. In French, they stole you the wallet: "On m'a volé le portemonnaie." The same thing is going on here. The indirect object of the verb works as the possessor.
I think the "system" would be something like:
Using the un-accented form of the accusative case, the pronoun is used before the verb.
Ex: Te iubesc. The verb is conjugated to "I love," but the pronoun is the un-accented form put before the verb. The pronoun is having something done to it. In English, it's like "them" or "him" or "her." They're having something done to them, instead of "they" or "he" or "she." The something is the verb, in this example being loved. Being loved is done to you. In English you can say "I love you," but you can't say "I love they." It'd be "I love them," because the verb is being done to the object.
It helped me to re-read the lesson at the beginning, which I linked below, as well as the Wikipedia page about the Romanian Accusative case. "The accusative case of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb." (3rd link)
So "The woman measures our children," is "Femeia ne măsoară copiii."
The verb "to measure" is conjugated to "she measures," but the children are the direct object that are having something done to them. Therefore, in the un-accented form of the accusative case, the pronoun is used before the verb. It's as if it's saying "The woman measures them," but them is "our children." Hopefully that makes sense :)
Actually this just adds to the confusion. The unaccented form is "ne", right? But "ne" isn't what's being measured. It's the children, who are behind the verb. Or is it like the woman is measuring us the children as in "for us"? But then how does that mean they are "ours"? I would have expected some genitive form to make them "ours" anyway....?!?
The "ne" indicates that the children are "ours," it's not meant that she measures them "for us." "Ne" doesn't mean "us."
It's just the "system" that the "ne" goes before the verb.
Google translate would phrase this as "femeia măsoară copiii noștri," but while that's grammatically correct, it's just not in the spirit of the Romanian language.
For those who are struggling, the best way I've learnt to understand it is to read it differently. Instead of "The woman measures our children", you have to read it as "The woman measures them; our children" in the same way you learn the conjugations, i.e. "vulturul bea apă" is "the eagle drinks water" which is also "the eagle; [he/she] drinks water".
As such, this sentence becomes "Femeia ne măsoară copiii" (the woman measures our children/the woman measures the children of us), or "Femeia îl măsoară pe copiii noștri" (the woman measures them; our children) if you really wanted to emphasise whose children were being measured.
Please feel free to correct me if my logic is wrong!
This sentence is just way to early here. You will "understand" it once you make it to the chapter "Reflexive: Pronouns and Verbs". This is just some very, very weird romanian grammar. Don't even try to translate it literally. There is no "our" in this sentence. But this reflexive use of the verb means that our children are measured. Other examples are "Eu mă spăl pe păr." = "I wash my hair.", "El își omoară câinele!" = "He kills his dog."