Romanian is certainly the Romance language that gets the least attention.
Although its very name screams “I evolved from vulgar Latin” many a language-learner will cast this language aside due to the fact it sits low on the usefulness scale: a calculation that (I’ve gathered) analyzes the global influence of the countries that speak the language vis-a-vis the number of actual native speakers of that language.
Romania and its rebellious Soviet-satellite-state little sibling, Moldova, are lacking in both. Ask most people to pinpoint Romania --or if you are evil, Moldova-- on a map, and you’ll be lucky if they point their finger at Eastern Europe. If you’ve heard anything about either country, odds are that it’s been bad and related to communism, immigration or misconceptions about the Roma.
Things are, of course, changing. With the advent of the European Union and Romanian’s proud accession, both the country and the language are enjoying their time in the spotlight. Interest in learning Romanian --at least across Europe-- has skyrocketed, as symbolized by the number of language schools sprouting across Romania.
The language merits this newfound appeal. It has kept some of most amusing (some would say most hated) aspects of Latin, such as declension and five cases (that’s one less!).
The thrill-seeking language learner will also appreciate a very special comeback, brought to you by Romanian: bits and pieces of the masculine and feminine genders are mashed together to create a franken-neuter gender. What is not to love?
As I work through my language learning process with the hopes of adding Romanian as a C, allow me to enlighten you on some resources you might want to peruse if you are contemplating joining me on this adventure.
Given that my first encounter with Romanian took place over a decade ago with the Peace Corps in Moldova, I’ve reactivated the basics by slowly working through old Peace Corps and U.S. Foreign Service language manuals. A lot of them come with accompanying audio, but I opted for hiring a private teacher to walk with me through grammar and oral fluency once a week and help rid me of my Moldovan accent.
Don’t be put off by the look of this website, it might look straight out of 1995 but the content will arm you with a good grasp of the basics. For the intrepid self-learners who crave more, this website comes recommended by a professor in Romania.
Finally, I supplement all of the above with regular online speaking lessons with recently graduated and generally younger teachers. I need to learn the lingo and get in with the cool kids, after all.
I recently started using Verbling to connect with language teachers and improve my fluency. And I truly do love it — I promise I will receive absolutely no benefits if you click on that link and sign up. Nothing. Zilch. Nimic.
And of course, there is absolutely no replacement for actually spending time in the country where your C language is spoken, so at some point an intensive language course and an extended stay will be in order. From my research, and in my order of preference, the intensive courses I would recommend are these in Cluj Napoca, Sibiu and Bucharest.
Hi, I’m Carla McKirdy, conference interpreter, translator, copyeditor and author here at Lingua Boutique.
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