I love when life surprises me with beauty when I thought it would be another regular day. Like when I suddenly found myself learning Romanian.
When I registered for another Language Jam challenge and was randomly assigned this language I had never learned, dabbled in, or heard before, I had no idea what to expect!
(PS: If you don’t know what the Language Jam is yet and you happen to be a passionate language learner, please make sure to click here! I promise you won’t regret it! It’s the best online challenge for language learners I’ve ever seen and it is 100% free).
Spoiler alert: I fell in love with Romanian immediately (or rather, as soon as I heard my first Disney song in Romanian). Not only does it sound incredibly elegant, but it also incorporates an exciting blend of about 80% Romance and 20% Slavic features. Here are 6 reasons why you’ll love learning Romanian next!
1. Romanian brings you the best of several worlds.
Imagine being an elegant Romance language just chilling in Eastern Europe. That’s badass. And that’s Romanian, a Balkan Romance language (also known as a Daco-Romance language). Apart from the fact that Romanian still retains a number of features of old Latin, it also occasionally hints at some Turkish, German, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Albanian and Serbian, especially in everyday life. With such diversity within one single language, it’s no wonder that it sounds so unique! This also means that…
2. If you already know the basics of other languages, learning Romanian won’t be so difficult after all.
Yes, Romanian can sound a little intimidating at first, but think twice before giving up. The “fabric” behind the Romanian language is so diverse, that you are likely to already know a language that’ll help. For example, if you understand some Spanish, Portuguese, French or Italian, you will recognize many everyday words and verbs. If you can pronounce the Turkish alphabet and get the basics of the language, it’ll also come in handy for Romanian. Got some Latin skills? Even better. German? Yes, it can also serve you to learn Romanian: after all, the word for potato in Romanian is cartof.
Here are some words you might recognize after learning Slavic languages:
- prieten (friend – amic is also used)
- glas (voice)
- nevoie (need)
- da (yes)
Here are some words you might recognize after learning Romance languages:
- casă (home)
- eu (I)
- tu (you)
- mersi (thanks)
- unu, doi, trei (one, two, three)
3. Romanian kicks all of our butts with a culture to die for.
Romania. The landscapes, the mountains, the folklore, the cheerful party music, an epic Dacian past, gorgeous historical treasures. A creative traditional culture kept alive by rural communities. Rich mythology that just keeps on giving, with humanoid dragons (zmei), witches, kings, princesses, tales and poems. I don’t know about you, but I’d be there tomorrow eating one of those delicious national dishes and decadent desserts before departing on a castle adventure!
4. Romanian is pronounced exactly as it is spelled.
This one speaks for itself. The moment you learn the alphabet and the way specific letters work, you’re set for life. Thank you. We love a language that doesn’t change pronunciation every three letters. (I’m looking at you, Portuguese. And don’t act like you’re any better, French).
5. Learning Romanian sayings will reignite your creativity!
Are you “selling doughnuts” (a vinde gogoși)? Then you’re probably trying to trick someone or lying to them. Or perhaps you spent your day “rubbing the mint” (a freca menta)? That’s because you were wasting time or not doing anything special. Are you fooling yourself? Then you’re getting drunk with cold water (te îmbeți cu apă rece). Romanian expressions are so creative! I was also surprised to find that Romanian and my mother tongue, Portuguese, share some expressions. For instance, “to put your hand on the fire for someone” (a băga mâna în foc pentru cineva) means that you trust that person completely.
6. Romanian pop music is guaranteed to turn any rainy day into sunshine.
This one is quite personal, I admit! One of my favorite ways to improve my mood is listening to cheerful, bubbly pop songs. In Romanian pop music, I found a safe place that lifts my spirit instantly. I swear, most of their pop songs could’ve come directly from a rainbow, especially considering how melodic the language is! I’ve been listening to this, this, this and this on repeat. And don’t even tell me you wouldn’t be able to sing “Dragostea din Tei” from beginning to end without smiling at least once. Yeah, that’s right. The 2003 hit is sung in Moldovan Romanian.
Ready to get started? Check out these free resources:
- RomanianHub (the Romanian teacher, Beijing-based Voicu Mihnea Simandan, really cracks me up! He looks like he’s constantly about to punch a wall with excitement and passion for what he’s doing, and his mannerisms are so iconic. Love it!)
- Learn Romanian with Nico (I swear, this channel is just like having Romanian lessons with a version of Snow White from the 1950s…all in a good way! Nico is adorable, explains everything in detail and is super creative with her videos!)
- SimpleRomanian.com (what I love about this platform is that it aims to promote authentic language taken directly from the streets. I will definitely be using it this weekend!)
- Multilinguist Delilah (an Instagram account that provides occasional Romanian tips and curiosities by a native speaker and language enthusiast)
- Romanian with Gia (Gia is very sweet and her Instagram account is also incredibly rich in information!)
- Romanian Words (not only is this Instagram account simple, clean and gorgeous in its design, but it also introduces everyday Romanian words one by one while showcasing Romanian’s castles and landscapes).
Note: I was going to recommend Learn Romanian with RomanianPod101, but saw several comments by native Romanian speakers saying that people do not speak that way every day. For that reason, I decided to use other resources.