I assume that anyone reading this is currently, or thinking about studying Romanian. If you've ever tried looking for books or resources for learning Romanian in your local bookshop - I'm sure you'll have noticed that generally, there is very little choice.
I'd like to provide a list of *good* resources, and descriptions of each to help you learn.
General Courses for Beginners
Teach Yourself Romanian
The Teach Yourself language series of books are probably the best, and most-respected of language course books available in English.
Teach Yourself Romanian provides a course in the form of fun and interesting units which feed you vocabulary, grammar notes, end-of-unit tests, games and verb tables as well as background & cultural information on Romania. By the end of the course, you will have gained a good foundation knowledge of Romanian grammar and vocabulary.
It's available in 3 different editions: Paperback book, Audio CD or a pack containing both.
The ISBN for the book+CD pack is: 978-0340906293
Like the Teach Yourself release, Routledge's Colloquial Romanian provides good foundations for learning Romanian through dialogues, vocabulary, grammar notes and end-of-unit tests as well as verb conjugation tables at the end of the book.
The Colloquial series provides a more serious, textbook-style course and uses more linguistic/grammatical syntax than the Teach Yourself series.
Colloquial Romanian is available in paperback book, CD and Book+CD formats but is considerably more expensive than Teach Yourself for the pack. The ISBN for the book+CD pack is: 978-0415237857
Google can provide many commercial and free courses for learning Romanian online; too many to evaluate and list here. I recommend browsing Wikipedia, which is generally a sound source for such information:
Romanian: An Essential Grammar
This title, published by Routledge and written by the same author as Colloquial Romanian (Ramona Gonczol-Davies) is an essential guide to Romanian grammar. It would make an excellent guide & reference for using during or after one of the initial courses.
Duke University's Slavic and East European Language Research Center
is an excellent site for East-European, Slavic, Balkan etc language study. They have a good list of Romanian language resources here
as well as a Grammar Reference
by Dana Cojocaru, University of Bucharest and includes the Romanian Verb Handbook, by Professor Ronald Feldstein of Indiana University.
Wikipedia also have a guide on Romanian grammar which is available here
Romanian verbs can be difficult for native English speakers, especially for people who haven't studied languages other than English. Although classical Latin and Romanian are completely different langauges - many aspects have survived in modern Romanian. A knowledge of Latin can be both complimentary and confusing when learning Romanian.
Romanian dictionaries will generally only list the infinitive form of a verb, it is up to you to construct the final form of the verb with the help of conjugation tables.
A classic example of conjugation can be shown through the verb a fi
). Below is a comparison of the English and Romanian forms:
Verb Conjugation Resources
- Code: Select all
Infinitive: be fi
1st Singular: (I) am sunt
2nd Singular: (thou/you) art/are ești
3rd Singular:(He/She/It) is este
1st Plural: (we) are suntem
2nd Plural: (you) are sunteți
3rd Plural: (they) are sunt
Verbix has a few different resources on Verb conjugation in the form of a written guide
, online conjugator
as well as software for windows: FreeVerbix
and Windows Verbix
. A word of warning though, some conjugations may not be 100% accurate, when in doubt - double-check.
Now that you know how to conjugate verbs, make conversation and structure your own sentences - it's essential that you build up your vocabulary. Here are some good resources which I have used.
Teora, a Romanian publishing house, publish many excellent books for Romanians learning English, and the reference books are excellent for English-speakers learning Romanian. The problem is that you won't find them on the shelves at Borders, Waterstones or even Blackwell's bookshops. Teora.ro do appear to allow online-ordering, but I haven't tried ordering yet and am unsure if they will ship outside of Romania.
The primary dictionary which I use was compiled by Andrei Bantaș, has 75,000 words and cost around 58 RON (12 GBP) new from a stall near Obar Market, Bucharest. The ISBN number is: 973-601-791-5
is one of the most popular online dictionaries for English natives learning Romanian. As well as being a dictionary, the site also has an online verb conjugator and can also provide the declinations of vowels.
Another good online set of dictionaries are available at:
These are much more like searching through a traditional dictionary - and an excellent addition to your studies.
I hope some people will find this short guide to learning Romanian and resources available quite helpful.