Home Romanian Being Romanian gets knees up and tongues wagging

Being Romanian gets knees up and tongues wagging

by Bernard O'Shea

Being Romanian means you have to look good in tights and enjoy a good knees-up from time to time. And your whites have to come out spotless in the wash, judging by the photo above. I think most people with a good knowledge of history would know that Romanians had to endure a lot of suffering under Nicolae Ceausescu‘s regime, but what are Romanians like nowadays? According to my Romanian/English Dictionary & Phrasebook, written by Mihai Miroiu (Hippocrene Books, 2009 edition) Romanians are frank and open, gregarious and receptive, with a mild temperament. Optimism, humor, healthy laughter and zestful irony are among their characteristic features, as well as friendliness and hospitality.

It continues: “Romanians are sensitive to beauty and incline towards lyricism… Romanians can be described as individualists. One facet of this individualism is their tendency to call almost everything into question. This leads to original and creative thought, but it can also be a source of conflict. Conversation among friends may sound brusque and aggressive to foreigners, as if participants were trying to assert their viewpoint for the pure please of it. As a population, Romanians enjoy discussion immensely, spending hours – usually round a table – debating everything…”

So, Romanians are gregarious and garrulous, and if you want to talk the talk with them (preferably round a table) you will have to learn the lingo. Here is a fi, the verb to be:

eu sunt                      (I am)
tu eşti                        (you are)
el / ea este                (he / she is)
noi suntem               (we are)
voi sunteţi                (you are, plural)
ei / ele sunt              (they are, masc / fem)

As one of my Romanian followers has pointed out in replies to some of my previous posts (Being Spanish and Hey you! Which ‘you’ should you use?”), you can see the all forms and times of the verb to be in Romanian here:

Note also this: “In Romanian we have the informal Tu and the formal Dumneavoastră which is a short form of now disappeared Domnia Voastră (Your Excellency). In Romanian, Domn means Mister or gentleman but in the old language the meaning was Prince or Lord, the word originating from the Latin Dominus (Lord).”

I have found a link to a YouTube posting that covers the verbs to be and to have (a avea) in Romanian, which will be useful as in the next couple of posts we will revise the subject pronouns and the verbs “to be” in all five languages, then look at “to have” in all five languages. This is from Mona Moldoveanu Pologea, founder of the Rolang School. Little did I know when I first wrote this post that I would meet Mona in person at Rolang school’s summer language course in Sibiu.

(Note how the “e” in Romanian seems to have more of a “y” sound than in the other languages.)

Enjoy being Romanian 🙂

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trishwhytock 10/01/2013 - 1:12 am

think I have a massive affinity to the Romanian folk & way of life. I have a wonderful Eastern European cook book with some amazing Romanian recipes. Love the food & the people! Also love this piece!

bernardoshea 10/01/2013 - 1:20 am

Hi again, thanks so much for your feedback. How was your Christmas and New Year? I think you will have to get out that cook book in preparation for a posting on Romanian cooking. Unfortunately we don’t have not even one Romanian restaurant in Sydney…. I have no idea what their food is like. cheers

The haves and have nots in French, Italian and Romanian | My Five Romances 25/01/2013 - 11:58 pm

[…] For explanations of the formal and informal forms of address in these languages, see my posting from December 21, 2012 – Hey you! Which ‘you’ should you use? and you can hear the pronunciation of the Romanian verbs a fi and  a avea on the YouTube link in the my posting on “Being Romanian” from January 10, 2013. http://myfiveromances.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/being-romanian-gets-the-knees-up-and-tongues-wagging/ […]


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