The 6 Hardest Things about Romanian Grammar
For the benefit of contributors to the Romanian courses, I’d like to list the features of RO grammar that are hardest to learn.
Biggest Challenges posed by Romanian
Many irregular plurals for nouns
Convoluted genitive-case construction
Unpredictable use of clitic pronouns
Unpredictable formation of definite articles (they come at the end of nouns and are fused with them, making them read as a single word)
Unpredictable genders for nouns
Amount of words assimilated from non-Romance languages (Russian, German, Hungarian, etc.)
While studying my second language, Portuguese, I found I could predict how certain nouns would be formed by thinking of an English cognate and, if you will, lusifying it (construction > constuição, medicine > remédio). I find I can do this less often with Romanian.
The same went for the way PT verbs were declined. If I knew the singular first-person present indicative conjugation for “andar” was “eu ando,” I could trust that other regular verbs would be conjugated in a similar way for that tense. Thus I could intuit that a verb like “escrever” would be conjugated “ “eu escrevo” for the corresponding tense and number.
I won’t give contrasting examples for Romanian, because I’m not fluent enough to think of examples that clear cut. But I hope outlining these problem areas will serve as a guide.
I’ve been working on the English for Romanian speakers course for the past four months, and the results have been encouraging. I can now hold a simple conversation in text-based chats. I have yet to test my spoken Romanian in any deep sense—just a few odd words here and there with my friend Iuliana. I hope I can find someone who’s not on Romanian time (7-8 hours ahead of me) so I can really gauge my progress. I’ve got only the last quarter of the tree to finish. Perhaps by then I’ll reach a level that’ll let me speak conversationally with reasonable ease.
Of course, what would really turbocharge my study is the now-incubating Romanian for English speakers course, but I’m not holding my breath. It seems the contributors want to get the grammar tips just right before releasing the beta. Even if they’re working steadily on that, I can see how that would bog it down. So once again, good luck and godspeed to the RO team.
Thank you so much for your feedback!
Indeed your guess is right, we will not launch the RO course without adding the proper tips to the skills. But we also want to have a varied and rich vocabulary, and we try to arrange the words grouped depending on the grammar rules they must follow.
The projected completion date (when last I checked) was some time in 2017. Is that still the case? I hope not.
Another thing I forgot to mention: the way reflexive constructions will often have a pronoun both before the verb and after it.
The only things I don't like in Romanian are prepositions with pronouns (pe care) or double prepositions (de pe). I don't find any explanation about them! And also that you repeat the object with pronouns and prepositions (Îl văd pe Radu). About irregular plurals, if you have already learned German, then you're kinda used to it. And after some time you can get a pattern for them. :)