How hard is it to learn Romanian?
Romanian is no harder to learn than any other natural language on Earth. As long as you have the right motivation and focus, you can learn Romanian and realize your dream of speaking to Romanians in your native language.
On any list of the world’s easiest languages, Romanian is never included.
Due to its somewhat unique grammatical features in comparison to other languages in the same family, it is instead regarded as a curiosity. As opposed to Spanish and Portuguese, it is undoubtedly quite different!
You might be wondering as an English speaker: “Is learning Romanian challenging?”
Even though some aspects of the language may be challenging at first, consider the opportunities that will arise if you do learn it. Some people may find that Romania is more adventurous than the Western European nations that are more frequently traveled to. It’s a fantastic location, and learning Moldovan practically for free opens up a lot of doors.
Let’s examine what the Romanian language might be difficult to learn and what about it is actually simpler than its neighbors’ languages. Depending on what you learn, you might be surprised!
Table of Contents
How Hard Is It To Learn Romanian?
Romanian is less frequently chosen by language learners looking to learn a new language compared to other Romance languages. The fact that it is similar to other widely used languages like Spanish and Italian makes it one of the most widely spoken Romance languages and a fantastic choice for a second language. However, how challenging is learning Romanian?
Due to its Romance or Latin roots, Romanian is not a challenging language to learn. Although its grammar can be difficult, people who speak languages that are similar to it, such as Italian and Portuguese, will find it simple and accessible to learn the vocabulary and pronunciation. See more about How Long Does It Take To Learn Dutch?
What Do Linguists Say About Romanian’s Difficulty?
Romanian is classified as a category 1 language by The Foreign Service Institute, the American government organization in charge of teaching foreign languages to US diplomats. This indicates that Romanian is among the simpler languages for an English speaker to learn, according to FSI. Other languages in the group include Danish, Dutch, Spanish, and French. Or: Languages with which English has a great deal in common.
Even though I don’t think learning Romanian is particularly difficult, I would still classify it as one of the more challenging languages in category one. While it does differ slightly in grammar from the other Romance languages, it does contain a sizable number of Slavic words.
However, if FSI’s projections are roughly accurate, you should be able to learn Romanian to “professional working proficiency” with only 600 hours of classroom time. Even though the self-study methods do not directly correspond to FSI’s methodology, it is safe to assume that 600 hours of study will allow you to progress reasonably with Romanian. That equals one hour per day for less than two years.
Why Is Romanian So Difficult To Learn?
The Grammar Is Challenging
The noun cases in Romanian grammar can make it particularly difficult for the average learner. Verbs in other Romance languages are conjugated according to the requirements of the sentence. However, the nouns also alter when speaking Romanian.
Indirect objects of nouns, for instance, have a different case than direct objects of nouns. The usage of object nouns in this structure differs from that of English and the majority of other Latin-based languages.
Although it’s not a particularly difficult concept, it will take some getting used to this aspect of Romanian.
The idea of two genders for nouns is very familiar to speakers of languages like Spanish or Portuguese. However, it goes a step further in Romanian. There are three distinct genders in the language, each with its own masculine, feminine, and neutral forms.
This is also becoming true for the English language, despite it not being as widely accepted by the general public. The use of “they” or “them” in the singular allows for a gender-neutral expression.
Alphabet And Pronunciation
The Cyrillic alphabet was once used for Romanian, but the Latin alphabet is now used instead. This makes communicating with written Romanian relatively simple for English speakers and those who are familiar with other Romance languages.
The pronunciation of this language is also consistent.
The phonetic structure of the language is very regular, so once you master the proper pronunciation of each letter sound, you will be able to read Romanian with ease.
This could be useful if you hear a word that you don’t recognize and want to look it up. Using the pronunciation, you can quickly write it down so you can later look up the meaning.
Although Romania is surrounded by countries that primarily speak Slavic languages rather than Romance ones, you might notice a distinctly Slavic influence in the pronunciation of Romanian.
Especially when compared to other languages with a similar pronunciation, this geographical peculiarity has given the language a distinctive pronunciation.
The Vocabulary Is Similar To Slavic Countries
The vocabulary of Romanian and other Romance languages, as well as English, has a large number of words in common. Some words in Romanian may sound familiar to monolingual English speakers, but those who also speak French, Spanish, or Italian will notice even more similarities.
Some of the words will sound familiar to even Slavic speakers of Bulgarian. The percentage of words from nearby Slavic nations that are used in Romanian is thought to be around 10%.
The languages you are already familiar with will have a significant impact on how quickly you learn Romanian vocabulary. English and Bulgarian can also be useful, but other Romance languages are a huge advantage.
Lack Of Speaking Opportunities
Romanian is a language that is relatively widely used. It is spoken by 24-26 million people worldwide, making it the 50th most common native language in the world. than Greek, Tagalog, or Dutch, it has a larger native speaker population.
Despite this, there might not be many opportunities to use Romanian outside of Romania. Contrary to Spanish and Italian, few people make an effort to learn Romanian. There aren’t likely to be any meetups or social gatherings for people who speak Romanian.
Additionally, the majority of young Romanians are proficient in English. While this might seem like a good thing, it makes it difficult to practice your Romanian while traveling there.
According to my personal experience, the first six months of learning Romanian were particularly challenging because many Romanians favored using English in our conversations. This occasionally came in handy, but it also hindered my Romanian language development.
Since then, I’ve learned about a ton of resources that make it simpler to find Romanian practice partners. My progress toward Romanian fluency has been facilitated by a particular tool called italki.
You can meet language learners who are eager to learn your native tongue on Italki and other similar websites. After that, you can arrange informal Skype lessons where you and your partner each practice your native tongue for 30 minutes in exchange for each other’s (e.g. Romanian).
Other Challenges To Learning Romanian
Beyond its grammar and vocabulary, learning Romanian presents a few other difficulties.
These result from the fact that learning Romanian as a second language is uncommon. It’s a Romance language, but it’s not as widely used as languages like Spanish, Italian, or French.
There are also fewer resources available because this language has fewer students. Finding quality Romanian learning materials for all levels and a way to practice speaking with a native speaker can be challenging.
Fortunately, the internet makes it relatively simple to find other speakers even if there aren’t any native speakers or language learners nearby. As you learn Romanian, it’s simple to find a partner thanks to websites like iTalki and other language exchange platforms.
Finding a Romanian speaker willing to practice your English for you in exchange for Romanian may also be possible. You could also think about getting a tutor as an alternative.
Whichever you select, these websites offer you the chance to practice with a native or proficient speaker from the convenience of your home.
Why Romanian Is Easy To Learn?
Let’s explore some of the explanations for why learning Romanian is simple now that we’ve discussed some of the difficulties associated with doing so. These three factors make learning Romanian less difficult than learning other languages.
Consistent Phonology (Highly Phonetic)
The Romanian language’s extreme consistency in both writing and pronunciation is one of my favorite aspects of it. In contrast to English or French, Romanian only has one sound for each letter. In other words, you can pronounce every word in Romanian after learning the alphabet.
You won’t have to waste time trying to figure out how to pronounce words, which is a major benefit. It also makes it simple to look up words that you don’t understand. You can immediately determine how a word is written and write it down or look it up in a dictionary just by hearing someone pronounce a word.
Similar to Spanish or Italian, Romanian is very simple to write and read due to its highly phonetic nature.
While Latin is the source of much of our vocabulary, English is actually a Germanic language. Following the Norman Conquest of the British Isles in the 11th century In the British Isles’ judicial and executive institutions, only French was spoken until about 100 AD.
The Norman Conquest caused English to absorb many French and Latin words and incorporate them into its vocabulary. For example, the following are Latin-derived words commonly used in English:
- School (Lt: schola, Ro: școală)
- Pirate (Lt: pirate, Ro: pirat)
- Herb (Lt: herba, Ro: iarbă)
- Flame (Lt: flamma, Ro: Flacără)
- Beast (Lt: bestia, Ro: bestie)
If English is your first language, you probably use many Latin words unknowingly. You will instantly recognize many words used frequently in Romanian because it is a Latin language.
In fact, most English words ending in -ion can be simply translated into Romanian by replacing the -ion ending with -ție. Here are several examples:
Romanian uses the Latin alphabet, in contrast to Russian, Chinese, Arabic, or Greek. This is a significant benefit if you are a native English speaker or if you speak a language that uses the Latin alphabet.
In college, I made the choice to sign up for Russian 101. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the course, I thought that learning Russian’s Cyrillic alphabet was the most challenging aspect of the subject. I am a visual learner, so it was difficult for me to commit new words to memory because I couldn’t picture them in my head.
The difficulty of learning to remember things in a new alphabet still feels like a barrier to me, despite the fact that my comprehension of Russian grammar has improved.
Fortunately, speaking Romanian won’t cause you any issues. The majority of the letters in Romanian will be familiar to you because it uses the Latin alphabet. S still makes an s sound, f still makes an f sound, and so on.
You should be able to pick up the Romanian alphabet and start reading right away, with a few rare exceptions. If you’re interested, here are the new letters you’ll need to learn in Romanian:
- Ă, ă – Pronounced like the “uh” sound in the word “up.”
- Â, â – English doesn’t have this sound. It sounds as though you are receiving a stomach punch.
- Î, î – This letter is used when it is the first letter of a word and has the exact same sound as Â.
- Ș, ș – Pronounced like the “sh” sound in the word “fresh.”
- Ț, ț – Pronounced like the “tz” sound in the word “pizza.”
Why Learn Romanian?
26 Million Speakers Are Available For Conversation
There are 26 million Romanian speakers worldwide. Large Romanian communities can be found in Hungary, Ukraine, and even the United States, despite the fact that they are primarily found in Romania and Moldova. Your ability to communicate with these wonderful people in Romanian will increase your chances of making friends.
With Ease, Go To Romania
Naturally, traveling to Romania will be a breeze if you speak Romanian. If you can communicate in the language, you can read road signs and navigate with ease. One of the main motivations for studying Romanian is travel. Even if you’re only visiting Romania for a short time, it would still be a good idea to learn a few useful words before you go.
Romanian Is A Simple Language To Learn
The perception that learning Romanian is difficult is one of the reasons why people are hesitant to do so. But if you’re a native English speaker, it’s actually quite simple to learn. Romanian is classified as a Category I language by the US Foreign Service Institute (FSI). This indicates that it’s among the simplest languages to learn.
Using Romanian To Advance Your Career
An impressive skill to have on a resume is language proficiency. Because they are a greater asset to the company, employers are constantly looking for bilingual employees. Speaking in their native tongues when communicating with foreign investors and business partners is both professional and respectful. It makes sense that employers even pay bilingual workers more. However, why do you want to learn Romanian?
Well, many people are fluent in French. Spanish is spoken by even more people. But how many of your coworkers are Romanian-speaking? Speaking a language from Eastern Europe can be a distinct advantage. It can be useful to be the only Romanian asset in the business. Not to mention how much more intriguing it appears on a resume.
Romanian Students Abroad
Great universities and colleges can be found in Romania. Romania would be a fantastic location to study abroad in Europe. You’ll get a top-notch education and be in awe of the wonderful Romanian culture. One excellent reason to learn Romanian is to get a better education.
Eat More Romanian To Boost Brain Health
You might not be aware, but learning a foreign language has positive effects on your physical health. Bilingual individuals have been shown to be more resistant to dementia and Alzheimer’s, according to studies. Therefore, learning Romanian will improve the health of your brain and help you avoid forgetting. This lovely language has a large vocabulary to keep you sharp.
No Time Needed To Learn Romanian
It follows logically that Romanian is quick because it’s simple to learn. Romanian proficiency can be attained quickly. FSI estimates only 580 hours, or 23 weeks, of study time. So, that settles the general question of how long it takes to learn Romanian. However, you could do that even quicker.
You can quicken your Romanian studies by employing the appropriate techniques. You can become fluent in Romanian in a short amount of time by engaging in enjoyable activities, games, and immersion. Don’t let the time commitment prevent you from taking advantage of the opportunities that studying Romanian can provide.
Discover Romania’s Wonderful Culture
Both its history and its traditions are colorful and enjoyable. These can be enjoyed like a local if you speak Romanian. You can ask locals for recommendations for places to see and things to do that are off the beaten path for typical tourists when you’re in Romania. Fluency in Romanian opens up more opportunities and helps you find hidden gems.
Other Romance Languages: Study Them
Few individuals are aware that Romanian is a Romance language. This indicates that it shares a family tree with Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and French. Romanian is a fantastic place to start learning foreign languages if you want to. If you are fluent in Romanian, you already have a large vocabulary and solid grammar that will help you with other Romance languages.
Acquaint Yourself With Slavic Languages
Despite being a Romance language, Romanian is heavily influenced by the Slavic languages that surround it. Romanian was influenced by Russian, Serbian, and Croatian. You can learn these Slavic languages more quickly by learning Romanian, which will give you a useful vocabulary. Additionally, Romania is a perfect environment for everyone because it is geographically close to all of these nations.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Romanian?
If you are persistent and committed, it will only take you four months to become conversational in Romanian. Naturally, if Romanian isn’t your first foreign language, you’ll be able to speak it in much less time.
Knowing one of those languages can make learning Romanian significantly simpler because Spanish and Italian, which are close relatives of Romanian, share a lot of vocabulary, pronunciation patterns, and grammatical structures with it.
Romanian can be learned to the point of conversation in as little as two months if you already know a Latin language.
On the other hand, regardless of your prior knowledge of other languages, achieving complete fluency is a continuous process that will probably take at least a year.
When Will I Be Able To Speak Romanian?
A conversational level of Romanian can be attained in as little as 4 months if you are persistent and committed. Of course, if Romanian isn’t your first foreign language, you’ll be able to speak it in much less time.
Knowing one of those languages can make learning Romanian significantly simpler because Romanian and similar languages like Spanish and Italian share a large portion of their vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar.
If you already speak a Latin language, you can learn Romanian at a conversational level in as little as two months.
On the other hand, regardless of your prior knowledge of other languages, achieving complete fluency is a continuous process that will probably take at least a year.
What A Learner Should Look Out For?
How ready you are to use Romanian in everyday situations will also influence how easy or difficult you find the language to be. Here are some things you need to watch out for and keep in mind:
The spelling of Romania has undergone a number of changes over the years, but it is now very simple to read and pronounce. In the last century, the Romanian language suffered only five changes, and four of those changes were about the use of the vowels î and â. The rule for when to write those vowels and when to avoid writing them has been pretty erratic. Because one of those vowels appears in the country’s name, ROMÂNIA, it is extremely significant to Romanians.
Even though knowing another Romance language will give you an advantage, you risk being misled by that language’s orthography when speaking.
You’ll notice that many Romanians have a propensity to shorten or mispronounce words in casual, everyday conversation. Remember that in a professional setting, this is inappropriate.
Another thing to consider is something that is entirely missing from English. But think about the difference between the two N sounds in “can” and “canyon.” The “ny” letter combination in “canyon” represents a softened sound, where the tongue is placed closer to the front of the mouth.
The internet shouldn’t be used by a beginner to learn too much Romanian. It turns out that, unlike French or German, even published articles online in Romanian often come without diacritics, so you don’t know if the “a” you’re seeing is really an ă or an â in disguise. Keep in mind that this is a poor way to write (and publish) an article; a native Romanian will understand the meaning of the words without diacritics (sometimes from the context, sometimes just guessing). So pay close attention to what you’re hearing. You’ll develop a heavy accent if you don’t, and it will be difficult to break yourself of it.
Watch out for the false friends even though there are many cognates and connections you can use to make vocabulary learning easier. Many words weren’t created in English; instead, they were either derived independently from Latin or borrowed from French. As a result, their definitions won’t be identical to those in English.
A gimnaziu in Romanian is a middle school, not a gym. Also, don’t say that you’re mizerabil if you’re down in the dumps, because that means “dirty” instead! As you can see, it’s much better to know the actual definitions of new words than it is to simply guess.
Getting Started With Romanian
You’re in luck if you’re thinking about learning Romanian and need assistance getting started. You can easily start learning Romanian because it is available on many language-learning apps.
Learn Romanian Speak Romanian Language App
If you’re unsure which app to pick, I suggest Learn Romanian Speak Romanian, which was created by ATi Studios and is packed with fantastic features to support your Romanian language learning endeavors.
The app takes pride in offering recordings from real people that have excellent audio quality to aid in language learning. Due to the availability of references from native speakers, this feature will also aid you in improving your intonation and pronunciation.
Conversational Romanian is another area of emphasis for the app. You’ll discover that it is made to support you in achieving your goal if speaking the language with fluency is your goal. Real-world situations will be used as practice for applying your newly learned language skills in preparation for actual conversations.
Romanian is distinct from other Romance languages in a few ways, but overall it is not a particularly challenging language to learn. The vocabulary will be very recognizable if you have experience with other Romance languages.
After some practice with Romanian grammar, you ought to be able to advance quickly and take pleasure in being able to communicate with people in a foreign language.
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