Diminutive form of "father"

I have a question about the slang/diminutive/pet version of tată.

I've seen the equivalent of "daddy" written as both "tati" and "tați". It was written in the sense of the singular nominative/accusative, not the plural, such as "tați e" (which I understand to mean "daddy is") rather than "tați sunt" (which I understand - based on position - to mean "fathers/dads are"). So I'm not sure which is correct (or if both are) or whether I'm seeing sources where the speaker/writer is using the incorrect grammar or just leaving out the diacritics as happens so often on internet sources (very confusing when you see phrases like "fată frumoasă" and you aren't sure if it means "beautiful girl or beautiful face, out of context!),

This also leads me to wonder on the pronunciation. I would assume, like mami, that it would be with the i fully pronounced, but I don't know for sure. If "tați" is used, is it still pronounced "tahtee" or "tahts" or even (though unlikely based on other times I've seen words ending in "ți") "tahtsee"?

I know that very often what would be a "ti" ending becomes "ți" so I would understand if both are used for "daddy" (singular) as well as "fathers/dads" (plural), but I'd appreciate some feedback from native Romanian speakers if possible.

Mulțumesc foarte mult pentru ajutor.

September 27, 2018


"Tați" is plural for "tată", meaning "fathers". It isn't used as a singural form i.e. "Tați, ce faci?". "Tați" is pronounced more like "tahts". "Tații" (articulated form) is pronounced like "tahtsee".

Another diminutive form for "tată" is "tătic": "El este tăticul meu"; "Tăticule, vii să mă iei de la școală?". The plural forms are "tătici", "tăticii".

Same for "mother": "mami", "mămica", "mămică", "mămici", "mămicile" etc.

Regarding diacritics. If the speaker is native and used "tați" as "tati" keep in mind autocorrect, it can mess with you. We don't always use diacritics on the internet so context is paramount. Rarely it can be confusing, but only if the context is not clear.

Random example: You and I are talking about a a girl. "Am vazut-o pe Diana (I saw Diana). Avea o fata frumoasa". You and I both know Diana, and we know she doesn't have a girl. So it's obvious we are talking about her face.

Another example. "M-am intalnit ieri cu Alin" (I met Alin yesterday). Are un par fabulos. (He has fabulous hair).

Here, even if you don't know Alin, it's obvious we are talking about his hair. Why would he have a pole (par)? Or a pear tree (păr). Or even "pâr" (a thunder like sound). It's pretty clear we are talking about hair (păr - yes I know :P).

So, yes, taken out of context a conversation without diacritics can be confusing, but that seldom happens. Even if we are talking about let's say an article. It's easy for a native to deduce the context and not get confused by the fact that there are no diacritics. We even have some news sites which don't use diacritics.

September 28, 2018

Thank you for your feedback. That's pretty much what I understood with the "Tați" as plural, with regard to pronunciation.

I guess autocorrect is probably a good point, thanks for that.

I can see how in the real world it would probably be very much easier to deduce context and therefore meaning without diacritics. It's just something that, as a novice, I rely a lot on right now. Maybe one day I will be more fluent if I keep practising. Mulțumesc mult.

September 28, 2018

I'm with Andrei regarding tați being used only as the plural of tată, but I don't agree when it comes to the diacritics. My feeling is that if you don't use it, you lose it, and with things going more and more digital (case in point Andrei's example of news sites not using diacritics), the possibility of diacritics going the way of the Dodo is quite real and that would be a huge loss for the Romanian language because the diacritics are an important characteristic of the language.

Back to tați being used as an equivalent of tati, barring the existence of a regionalism I may not be aware of or a typo, one possibility I considered was that children usually don't pronounce words correctly when they start learning a language. So it's quite possible that a very young child could say tați instead of tati, in which case I would expect it to sound more like "tahtsee." That habit could be carried through into adulthood, especially if reinforced by the parents' reminiscing.

In conclusion, I wouldn't be shocked if I heard someone calling their father tați especially when asking for some kind of favour where they felt that acting more like a little child would help them get their way (a se alinta = to behave in a childish, spoilt manner).

September 28, 2018

Thank you so much for your opinions and thoughts too. That was also something that I considered - I know for sure that mispronunciations from childhood certainly persist in English in a fond, familiar way. And I agree - I have a friend who emigrated from Romania when she was a youngster and while she can speak and understand Romanian fluently, her grammar is - by her own admission - utterly appalling. She also uses both tati and tați as a "wheedling" "daddy, I have a favour" thing too... much like in my family, we still use the term "moogie" when buttering up my mother (which is stolen from the Ferengi in the Star Trek universe)

I also agree with the diacritics - for me, they are part of what makes limba română so beautiful to both read, listen to and speak. And I love that the pronunciation is so much more consistent than English, too. If I look at a word, on the whole, I'm almost never surprised by how it's pronounced if I simply remember the rules. The only time I sometimes struggle is with diphthongs and triphthongs and other combinations of vowels I'm not familiar with. So I really hope they stay, too. Mulțumesc mult.

September 28, 2018

Cu plăcere! Spor la muncă și mult succes în continuare cu învățarea limbii române!
(I hope you're asking your Romanian friend this type of questions as well, since learning about each other's culture can strengthen a friendship.)

I agree regarding the more straightforward pronunciation in Romanian. I have on occasion expressed my frustration with English regarding what I perceive as inconsistencies in pronunciation. By the way, thanks for your ghoti/fish example on a different post. It was interesting to learn about it.

September 29, 2018

Thank you! I will keep working on it for sure, and hopefully get more fluent in time. I'm already finding I can understand more and more words and general gist in native Romanian speaking online after nearly three months of consistent daily practice.

I do ask my friend questions when I can, yes. She's taught me a lot about the "colour" of Romania and the culture, and it's just increased my love of both the country and the language. I adore the Romanian love of colourful colloquialisms! My favourite so far is either "șapte ani de acasă" or (pardon if this is ruder in Romanian than the translation for it here is) "și-a dat cu tesla-n coaie". Unfortunately, she travels a lot and sometimes isn't around for me to pick her brain, plus, as she says, her grammer is absolutely appalling, and she doesn't get to speak Romanian as often as she'd like for much of the time. I just wish I wasn't stuck at home so I could finally visit Romania. I would love to be able to try authentic versions of various dishes.

Ah! I'm so glad you found that post interesting. It's usually told as a joke or riddle in English but it does demonstrate phenomenally well how inconsistent the language is. The letter combination "ough" can be pronounced as "uff", "oo", "ow" (as in cow), "oh", "off", "up", "ug", "og", "or", "uh", "och" (as in "loch"), "ok" and possibly more, and sometimes there is more than one valid pronunciation for the same spelling depending on context (slough has at least three - to rhyme with cuff, cow and coo). It's just impossible without rules to know without learning by rote.

September 29, 2018

I love the plough, dough, cough, through and enough example of how complex pronunciation of English can be. Guess this is the price to be paid for lack of gender and relatively trivial verb conjugations.

Romanian, on the other hand, is a joy to pronounce and I agree totally with you that it is relatively simplistic. However, it gains its revenge with the words acesta and acela wherein there are forty eight different ways to say this and that!

September 29, 2018

LMAO Oh yes. SO many ways, as I discovered a week or two ago. Right now I'm trying to make my head remember dative pronouns and I keep tripping over them. It'll all click soon enough, I hope. :)

September 30, 2018

You will have to be careful when and in whose presence you use those colourful expressions. The first one can be perceived as an insult if you tell someone that they don't have the "(cei) șapte ani de acasă" (even if you're just joking). It implies that their parents didn't raise them well.

The second one can come off as quite crass. I myself am not even sure of the meaning, but I don't really want to find out as I would never use that expression myself.

Some of my favourite expressions:
"a visa cai verzi pe pereți" or "a umbla după cai verzi pe pereți"
Literal translation: to dream of or to chase green horses on the walls
Meaning: to desire or to seek the unattainable

"a arăta ca moartea în vacanță" (I recently realized that I tend to use this one a lot when talking about myself)
Literal translation: to look like Death on vacation
Possible meaning: to look like Death warmed over

October 10, 2018

Oh, trust me, these are definitely not phrases I would consider using in conversation with someone - especially someone I didn't know. I simply enjoy learning new (especially colourful) slang and so on. I am aware of the meaning implied by them, so absolutely I would be very careful about bringing them up, and certainly not with someone I didn't know.

The second one, while far more colourful, is roughly equivalent of the phrase "shoot yourself in the foot" or to get make yourself angry/infuriated and it is, apparently a fairly old saying (at least according to Dex-Online though that wasn't where I initially saw it mentioned).

I love your two examples and I think I've seen the first mentioned before, but the second is new to me (and definitely applies to me, especially right now mid horrific virus that has left me sounding like a cross between a whispering frog and a squeaky door). I saw another post that gave an expression that meant to vomit, "a dat la rațe", which made me laugh too.

Thanks for your feedback, though, and I will be careful about using slang and colloquialisms when I (rarely) get the chance to practice my Romanian with other people (which is something I really need to find a way to do - and also get over my horrific shyness to actually TALK to a stranger verbally instead of just by text).

October 10, 2018

You're welcome and I'm glad you know to exercise caution with some of these expressions. Thanks also for confirming the hunch I had about the meaning of that second expression you mentioned. Yes, I think that some of these are quite hilarious when translated literally and they would make good candidates for a future bonus Idioms skill. Feel better soon!

October 10, 2018
Learn Romanian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.