English - Romanian phrasebook, chapter 1: coping with the language barrier (depăşind bariera limbajului)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Yesterday I lucked out at another second-hand bookstore, coming across an English-Romanian phrasebook published by the U.S. Department of State in the early 1980s for Romanian immigrants. It's about 100 pages long and is composed mostly of short conversations of two sentences in length. I'm not Romanian so I won't be able to tell if there are any typos in the book. Once all 20 or so chapters are done I plan to combine them into a single post, and in the meantime I hope to type up a chapter or two a day.



Notă: în limba engleză nu se face deosebire între forma familiară şi cea de politeţe. Persoana a doua singular (you) şi plural sînt identice. Pentru motive de simplificare echivalentele în traducerea românească se vor da în forma familiară.

What is your name? -- My name is Mihai.
Cum te numeşti / cum te cheamă? -- Mă numesc Mihai. / Mă cheamă Mihai.

I don't understand.
Nu înţeleg.

I don't speak English (very well).
Nu vorbesc englezeşte (foarte bine).

I don't know very much English.
Nu ştiu prea multă engleză.

Please speak slowly.
Te rog să vorbeşti mai rar.

I still don't understand. Please say that again.
Încă nu înţeleg. Te rog să repeţi.

Do you understand? -- Yes, I understand. / No, I don't understand.
Înţelegi? -- Da, înţeleg. / Nu înţeleg.

(Speaker pointing to a fork):
(Vorbitorul arătînd spre o furculiţă):

What is this in English? (What do you call this?)
Ce esta aceasta în engleză? (Cum se numeşte aceasta în engleză?)

It is a fork.
Este o furculiţă.

I don't understand this. Can you help me?
Nu înţeleg aceasta. Poţi să mă ajuţi?

I understand some of it.
Înţeleg ceva din aceasta.

I understand all of it.
Înţeleg tot.

I don't understand all of it.
Nu înţeleg tot.

I want to learn more English.
Vreau să învăţ mai multă engleză.

Thank you for helping me learn more English.
Mulţumesc pentru că mă ajuţi să învăţ mai multă engleză.

I am studying English at school.
Învăţ engleza la şcoală.

I am studying English at home.
Învăţ engleza acasă.

I am studying English with an American friend.
Învăţ engleza cu un prieten american.

(Pointing to a written word:) How do you say this word?
(Arătînd spre un cuvînt scris:) Cum pronunţi acest cuvînt?

What does this word mean?
Ce înseamnă cuvîntul acesta?

What does this sentence mean?
Ce înseamnă propoziţia aceasta?

Does anybody here speak Romanian?
Vorbeşte cineva româneşte aici?

Is there a Romanian-English dictionary here?
Se găseşte aici un dicţionar englez-român?

How do you say it?
Cum spui aceasta?

That is very difficult.
Aceea este foarte dificilă.

That is easy.
Aceasta este uşor.

I don't know how to say it in English.
Nu ştiu cum se spune aceasta în engleză.

I am learning more English every day.
Învăţ engleză tot mai multă în fiecare zi.

Did I say it right?
Pronunţ aceasta bine?

How do you spell your name? -- It is M-I-H-A-I.
Cum îţi scri numele? -- Se scrie M-I-H-A-I.

I have brought a friend along to help me with my English.
Am adus cu mine un prieten să mă ajute la engleză.

This is Petru Costea, a good friend of mine.
Acesta este Petru Costea, un prieten bun de-al meu.


lyzazel said...

This is not completely related but... you magically pick languages in a way that it matches my interest. First you would write about Lithuanian which is my native language. Then I would start learning a tiny bit of Estonian and I discover articles on this blog about it. I am also deliberating the possibility of going to Germany to learn German and, lo' and behold, I come to this blog and there is stuff written about it. Then I had introducing myself to Romanian in the plans because it is the only "state-powered" Romance language left that I am completely unfamiliar with and here we go.

Or maybe it's just because you write about all of them.

Me said...

Yeah, I think we just have similar linguistic interests. I certainly don't write about every language (pretty much nothing here about Swahili, nothing about Hausa, etc.).

One good thing about Romania/n is that there is very little regional variation, especially compared to something like Italy where every part of the country has a different standard or language.

Maybe you could follow along as I type up the book, and after you familiarize yourself with the language then go to something like Radio D or Deutsch - warum nicht.

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