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Basic words for travelers in Romania

When I prepare for a trip, there are two things I always do: I learn some words in the local language and I try to get some information about the local cuisine.

This time I have a slight advantage: Romanian is a Romance language, which means it has the same roots as Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan.  According to what I have researched, 38% of Romanian vocabulary is of Italian or French origin.  That is a good start, as my mother tongue is Italian.

But that is as far as the good news goes ….

First of all, it seems that Romanians understand Italian more easily than the other way around.   I wonder why, but I am sure it is true.  I have some Romanian friends and I have to admit I understand next to nothing when they speak their language.  But they seem to understand a fairly amount of what I say when I speak Italian.

Secondly, Romanian has 31 letters, and I am pretty sure some are unpronounceable to me.

Finally, many words originate from ancient Slavic or are coming from Bulgarian, Serbian, Polish, Russian and even Turkish … since I do not speak any of these languages, I am not sure anymore if I have an advantage or not.

Anyway, this is the list of words that I am currently learning:

Yes:          Da

No:           Nu

And:         Și

I:               Eu

You:         Tu

Hi, hallo:   Salut

Goodbye:     La revedere

Thanks:        Mersi

Thank you: Mulțumesc

Thank you very much:   Mulțumesc frumos

No, thanks:   Nu, mulțumesc

You’re welcome (with pleasure):       Cu plăcere

You’re welcome (literally: for little):  Pentru puțin

Excuse me:  Scuzați-mă

I’m sorry:     Îmi pare rău

My name is: Mă cheamă

I’m Italian:   Sunt Italiancă

If you want to know how to pronounce these words, or if you want to learn more, click here:

For all those interested in languages, here are some interesting fact about the Romanian:

– it is the only Romance language where definite articles are attached to the end of the noun (as in Scandinavian, Bulgarian and Albanian).

-contrary to other Romance languages, Romanian kept three cases:  nominative, genitive and vocative.

-the longest word in Romanian, at 44 letters, is “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcaniconioză” (it is the name of a disease)

I am not sure my efforts of mastering a few Romanian words will be appreciated, I know that lots of Romanians speak other languages, therefore I will most probably end up speaking English or German or perhaps even Italian.   But I think it is a form of respect to learn a few words of the local lingo and my terrible pronunciation will surely make the locals smile.

Interested in our trip to Romania?  Here is our itinerary.

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