British national moving to Romania...
Would be lovely to know how many of you have actually lived in Romania for any period of time? I'm almost certainly on the brink of being relocated there for my employer and I've been trying to fast-track a self-education into the language for the last few months, taking as much resource as I can find on the internet (surprisingly scarce!) and even creating my own learning tools.
So my question is: how many of you have actually lived there and what's it really like out there? I think I'll be in Cluj for the best part of 2-3 years which is exciting, but also slightly unnerving! Any tips or pieces of advice for this overwhelmed Brit? :-)
Cu respect, dige
I also haven't been to Romania yet, but I highly recommend trying to meet Romanians on Italki. I've been able to find a few language partners, and the ones I've kept in touch with have been really awesome, and I can definitely see us becoming life-long friends. The thing about a lot of Romanians is that they're usually really delighted that a foreigner has taken an interest in their language and culture, so they're really happy to tell you all about it. So, by proxy, I've been able to learn a lot about the country despite never having been there myself.
I also learned a lot about life in Romania from a blog called kingofromania.com, but after meeting more Romanians and reading his posts more closely, he's definitely biased, and you may find that you disagree with some of his observations.
I think that you will notice a few things upon arrival: The people are very warm, in cities there are a lot of people who speak English (it's still nice to continue studying Romanian, but don't worry about having to be fluent upon arrival), there's a lot of bureaucracy and government corruption (more than in the US or UK), and there are still a lot of vestiges from communism that range from little things like certain procedures like how you pay apartment bills and more noticeable things, like the architecture in certain areas. I am by no means an expert, however, so feel free to correct me or add to my response.
Yes, I definitely agree with the bias on kingofromania but it's nice to get different viewpoints which is good. I'm slightly nervous about things like italki, tandem, conversationexchange etc. because I really want to speak in Romanian but I also don't know enough conversationally yet to feel like I'm good enough to do it! I really should just take the plunge! Thanks for your observations though, I will definitely keep them in mind; I am there all week next week for my first experience
When I started contacting language partners on Italki, I hardly spoke a word of Romanian, it's ok! People will be happy to practice English with you, and when you feel comfortable, toss in a few words/phrases here and there. Trust me, it's totally worth it.
Just a little mention @Rowlena-L, you are saying you learned a lot about life in Romania from that blog. That blog is about a serious part of Moldavia (an old Romanian territory) that was after 1812 under Russian administration. Now this part is independent and functions as a republic. They feel Romanian and are our brothers. But we cannot visit each other without crossing a state border. Maybe the blog is not biased but about another country (I did not read the blog, but for a Romanian eye it is obvious that they speak about Basarabia). https://ro.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basarabia
Hey, no fair, my Romanian isn't good enough to read a Wikipedia page! No, even if he is living in Basarabia, some of the stuff he says is very biased, but there are certain posts (like one where he goes on and on about how much better life is in Romania than in England and how he doesn't understand why his Romanian neighbors complain about some aspects of Romanian life. There's also another where he writes about being perfectly fluent in Romanian, so much so that natives mistake him for being Romanian; it's stuff like that). Still, usually when he says things like that, his Romanian readers will be quick to correct him in the comments. One of them even said, "No, you're not fluent. I've watched videos of you on youtube between your accent and grammatical mistakes, no one would ever mistake you for being a native." Ah, Romanians, they're so passionate :)
@Rowlena-R, you seems to really understand the Romanian spirit, you are so close! Escuse me for providing the romanian link to Basarabia, this is the English one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basarabia For Basarabian people the Romanian part of Moldova is European, and maybe they feel now just like we Romanians before 1989, when Europe was an unattainable dream. Thank you for litening our hearts.
Hi, I am married to a Romanian woman and our kids are raised bilingually (I thus learned Romanian in order to understand what they are talking about and do speak it now enough for everyday conversation - many times without knowing the right spelling, so learned it like a kid myself). Cluj is a major university city and you will have bascially no problem there in academia (if you seek academic fellowship) because all of them speak English. And you will definitely be able to set up a Tandem to teach English and receive Romanian in return. I haven't lived there for a prolonged period of time (only family visits), but I do love the country. Fabulous countryside, nice warm Black Sea, excellent food and very hospitable people. By the way, they are NOT used to foreigners trying to learn their language! So when I am ordering food in a restaurant or starting any conversation some might look bewildered (my experience) because of your minor (or major) mistakes - once a waiter in a restaurant even tried to make fun of it (to the dislike of my wife being present).
@Rorro105732 You can not judge a nation according to the quality of a few people without education that can be unfortunately encountered anywhere in the world. I met in London waiters more uneducated. You may be right, however, some people may be tempted to believe that you are Romanian and speak the wrong way, Romanians love their language and make fun of their compatriots who are mistaken. When you see such a waiter tell him in another language your opinion about him :)
I am not judging a nation, don't worry! I was even asked by some of my wife's friends (all academics) why I bother studying Romanian. but not at all in an aggressive manner, just surprised. So nothing to worry about. And you're right, they love their language. And I am impressed how many know poems by heart by folks (or national heroes) like Eminescu.
Yeah, I've definitely heard mixed reviews about the Romanian people and foreigners learning their language. The general vibe I get is that they love it initially, when you're just trying to know some basic phrases to get by, but yet they criticise your grammar/speech when you're trying to be conversational. Bizarre, but we'll see. I don't know how long it'll be before I'll get to explore the rest of the country but I'm very excited just to see Cluj for now (and hopefully the weather won't be so harsh soon!)
They are generally beginners in terms of multiculturalism, hopefully the city you're going is not.
You will love Romania, I think. It also depends on how you can adapt. Cluj is one of the most European cities, so you have no reason to worry. It also depends on the field in which you work, as well as on your personal fears. If you are cheerful and open you have nothing to worry about, everyone will help you. You can ask us more specifically about things that worry you and we will answer you. We are also some Romanians here.
That's really reassuring to hear actually. I would say I'm highly adaptable and I'm glad it has some classic European element to it because I think that'll help me settle in really quickly. I'm definitely looking forward to experiencing proper Romanian culture as well but the first few months will be an exciting yet very testing time. I think my language learning will be strong enough for the everyday basics though; knowing what food/drink items are in supermarkets, asking directions, general greetings, etc. Worst case scenario, I can just say something like "nu vorbesc românește foarte bine, dar...” or even straight up ”să nu vă deranjați, dar vorbiți engleză?” and hope for the best! :-)
Then you have to deal with this single problem: you really look like an Romanian. And I see you have a good solution. Good luck !
I'm also working on Romanian (& really struggling with it). I haven't been there yet. The free site clozemaster.com offers Romanian. You learn the language/vocabulary by being presented with fill-in-the-blank sentences. Are you studying using a tablet or phone? The free app 6,000 words in Romanian is good for boosting vocabulary. It has themed lessons. The beginning level gives you 1,000 words, the intermediate, 2,000, & the advanced 3,000. The higher levels blend in new vocabulary words with ones from the previous level for review. The cheap app Pocket Polyglot Romanian teaches you useful, basic sentences & vocabulary (it is aimed more at travelers than serious learners). I like both platforms a lot & use them with various languages together with Duolingo. Good luck.
I am using phone/tablet and laptop, and books that I've bought. Learning the grammar is very difficult but at least it's a phonetic language which is very useful! I will definitely check out those suggestions, thank you (and good luck to you too!)
I'm having trouble clearly distinguishing the 3 letter a's - especially if they are spoken quickly or by DL's artificial voice. And a lot of the vocabulary is just so odd: many words don't appear to be from Latin (I expected it to be A LOT more like French/Italian/Spanish than it actually is) or German or Slavic tongues or Greek. I do on occasion find cognates/borrowings from all over those sources (& oddly one or two words from Finnish) But I really like Romanian & love the sound of the language. I plan on devoting more time & energy to it once I bring another 2-3 languages up to level 25...
The simple a in Romanian is pronounced exactly as in cat. The ă in Romanian is pronounced like the e in French and is basically a short "uh" sound. The â in Romanian is probably the hardest and I am not even overly sure how to describe it. Hope this helps a little.
It may be more of a spelling thing with me. I get it on the intellectual, theoretical level. But I don't always hear it when DL & the 6,000 words app make me transcribe what I hear. And as a native (American) English speaker, I want to pronounce all unstressed a's as a schwa - especially at the ends of words. That means I seem to overuse the a with the short marking over it.
The pronunciation of â and î are the same. The Romanian Academia splitted only the mode of writing for these letters, and you don't have to care about the right pronunciation, but to the correct writing of these sounds, according to academic rules.
a's as a schwa
Thanks to you I found this video that is real gold for Romanian learners to understand pronunciation in American English. As a sign of gratitude I have been looking for you and found this resource very useful for learning the correct pronunciation of the Romanian language.
I find that the a in "art," "part", or even "architecture" is closer to the simple a in Romanian. To me the a in "cat" seems closer to the "ea" sound in "a bea" = "to drink" (if you can ignore the contribution of the c).
A few months back someone provided a great guide to the Ă and Â sounds: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/28165273
well, actually not Finnish, but Hungarian - I heard they are close. Lots of words from Greek - it seems they made us Christian, Russian, Hungarian, Turkish and Polish - our neighbors and from time to time even enemies, some of them worse, some of them having good influences. Also German, as Germans are still living in Romania in small communities on the territory that was once under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
Also from other languages spoken by communities still living in Romania - Ukrainian, especially on the Danube Delta area and on the northern border, Czech in some communities in Banat (south-west, to the border with Serbia), Serbian of course, also in Banat
Lots of French words - not as having the same Latin root, but borrowed in the 19th century, as many Romanians studied and lived in France, that being the top of the education for those times - having studied in Paris.
I usually recognize the French borrowings (almost always spelled according to Romanian rules & pronunciation). The Finnish cognate/borrowing I can remember is toveri~tovarash (I don't know how to make the proper accent marks in this setting). Though possibly this is a borrowing from Russian (comrade) into both or Yiddish (pal, buddy). English also borrows words from French & then from Latin directly: 'frail~fragile', 'chamber~camera', etc.
hi, I am form Romania, recently moved in Sweden. I lived in Timisoara, but Cluj is one of my favorite cities from Romania. I think it the most innovate city. And yes, Romanians are warm people, and the young ones know English. Hope you will travel a lot, there are a lot of places to visit and is not expensive. And the food is good. Salut :)
I have heard good things about the food in Romania! I will be there for the whole week next week so looking forward to finding somewhere nice to eat! Mulțumesc/Tack! :-)
The food is excellent. Romania is very traditional and people still have close ties to the land. Hence the produce is fantastic and boy do they know how to cook. You can eat like a king there.
most people are nice, life is beautiful, plenty of views, especially on the countryside, lots of history, some traditions still resist.
poor government, guess it is the same as in other countries, or maybe worse. Hint - do not try to speak Romanian as our prime minister, you'll get lots of laugh ...
Trust me, I already lived there for over 40 years :)
Hi! I am from a Hungarian-speaking part of Romania. In my opinion, Cluj is the best city in Romania. Far better than Bucharest. Loads of history, multiculturalism, the best university in the country etc. Romanian is not a hard language. For a Spanish, Italian etc. speaker it's much easier, because the grammar is basicly the same and there's a lot of shared vocabulary, but anyone can learn it.
Unfortunately I was not very good at languages when I was younger, so I only really know English, but I am dedicating a lot of time to studying Romanian and I'm remembering a lot more than I thought I would remember. Although sometimes, when I think I have spotted a pattern, the next one completely changes again, haha! I'm getting there! :-)