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Polish vs. Romanian

jkchrisman 1 | -  
11 Aug 2009 /  #1
I am 54 and live in the US. My family and I spent two years in Poland, so I speak a bit of the language (it has been 5 years since we lived there). I was getting to where I could order pizza over the phone, etc:)

I hope to go back to Europe someday to visit and perhaps live for a bit once the kids are grown. Would learning Romanian be significantly easier than Polish, or does it have other complexities that make up for not have so many consonants in each word?
Sasha 2 | 1,083  
11 Aug 2009 /  #2
Romanian doesn't belong to the same language group as Polish does. Even though it has obvious features of Slavic languages (for instance "yes" is "da" as in Serbian, Russian and "no" is "nu") due to being surrounded historically by Slavic lands, it has more in common with Italian.

P.S. Knowing any Slavic language will certainly simplify studying Romanian. Good luck! :)
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
11 Aug 2009 /  #3
Romanian have very strong influences from latin (like italian etc).
Poland is typicial slavic language.

Some similarities, but many differences.
11 Aug 2009 /  #4

Forgive me a couple of "minor" English-language corrections to your otherwise excellent post:

Romanian HAS a very strong influence from Latin (AS DOES Italian etc.)
PolISH is A typical Slavic language,

The rest is fine-:) LOL

Oh, and as a Scandinavian-language speaker yourself, don't forget that the Romance Romanian, along with the South Slavic Bulgarian by the way, have in common with Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Faeroese and Icelandic the charactaristic of an enclitic definite article, cf. Romanian 'musea' = museum vs. 'museul' = the musem and Swedish 'museum' vs. 'museet', 'hus' vs. 'huset' etc....

Furthermore, both Rumanian and Bulgarian are the only know extant members of their respective language families to both share this unusual charactaristic.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
22 Aug 2009 /  #5
Does Romanian have both a definite and indefinite enclytic article?
Is it true that Romanian, despite Slavonic vocbaulary influence, is grammatically closer to Latin than even Italian?
22 Aug 2009 /  #6
Yes it does, in fact-:) Romanian is quite simply a 'vulgar', i.e. common, Latin language with a heavy Slavonic overlay from years of exposure to it's Eastern Slavic-speaking neighbors.

It's certainly an intriguing-sounding language, on the surface reminiscent of Helvetian dialects of Rhaeto-Romansch or Friulian spoken in present day Switzerland, around the Canton of Grisons (Graubuenden). On the other hand, like Brazilian Portuguese, it can also remind one a bit of Russian with its drawling vowels, while other times, of Italian with it's phrases such as 'Buna ziua!' (Dzień dobry), 'La rivadere!' (Do widzenia), 'Vorbim romaneste' (Mówimy po rumunsku) etc....

Tak = Da (exactly like Russian)
Nie = Nu
Dziękuję = Multamesc (with a slash through the letter 't', giving the word a 'ts' pronunciation)

It is clearly the most 'case-heavy' and grammatically challenging of all the extant Romance languages, so indeed, it is structurally closer to Latin with it's five cases, than modern Italian.
mafketis 35 | 11,215  
22 Aug 2009 /  #7
despite Slavonic vocbaulary influence, is grammatically closer to Latin than even Italian?

No. There's no real basis for declaring any modern Romance language as being 'closer to Latin' than any other. Each has features that make it closer or more distant from Latin. But most imporantly, it's not really a quantifiable distinction. For linguists it's a meaningless question.

(And the Romanian case system is completely different from that of Latin, knowing Latin won't help you with Romanian cases).

That said, for a westerner who knows something of a modern Romance language (any Romance language) Romanian is far easier than a Slavic language.
I've only been a couple of days in Romania but by the afternoon of the first day I could understand numbers when buying things and could ask a lot and understand a lot. My attempts at speaking were truly awful, but I was understood and Romanians were very helpful and kind with a foreigner willing to try to speak their language.

Short story - if you know any French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese then Romanian is a walk in the park compared to a Slavic language. If you don't know a Romance language but know a Slavic language already then Polish isn't so hard. If you know both a Romance and Slavic language then Romanian will still be easier.
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
22 Aug 2009 /  #8
if you know any French, Italian, Spanish

So its so much easier for an English speaker to learn then? Since the above langs are easier on the tongue?
mafketis 35 | 11,215  
22 Aug 2009 /  #9
Not so much easier on the tongue but more shared vocabulary, especially after learning a few simple conversion rules.
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
22 Aug 2009 /  #10
I "tried" learning Polish and found it quite difficult (spitting stones), yet Spanish and French role off the tongue..that was my point.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
23 Aug 2009 /  #11
(And the Romanian case system is completely different from that of Latin, knowing Latin won't help you with Romanian cases).

How is the case system compeltely different from Latin? Are there cases other than the typical nom, gen, dat, accus, instr, etc. or are the endings simply diffrerent? Can you give an example using a cognate common to Romanian ann Latin, for instance the word father, mother, etc.?
24 Aug 2009 /  #12
Without a Romaniankeyboard, it's not easy to describe. Suffice to say however, that Romanian is MANY times more inflected than any modern Romance language, and probably is almost as complicated as Polish in its flexion endings, depending as well on what gender the noun carries:-)

Different from Latin? Yes, surely. But no less difficult for the beginner, particularly coming from English asfirst language with zero knowledge of say, German, but only a superficial knowledge of highschool Spanish, Italian or even French!
mafketis 35 | 11,215  
24 Aug 2009 /  #13
How is the case system compeltely different from Latin? Are there cases other than the typical nom, gen, dat, accus, instr, etc. or are the endings simply diffrerent?

I'll just mention a quick thing or two.

Nouns have (in practical terms) just two cases (nominative-accusative and genetive-date, theoretically there's a vocative but it seems to be used even less than in Polish). And the case is indicated by the article not the noun form itself. For example:

băiat - boy (dictionary form)

un băiat (a boy nominative/accusative)

unui băiat (a boy genetive/dative)

băiatul (the boy, nominative/accusative) - masculine article -ul (the final -l is often dropped in pronunciation)

băiatului (the boy, genetive/dative) - masculine article -ului

Adjectives agree in number and gender but not in case (though sometimes an adjective will the case-bearing article instead of the noun).

There are also free standing articles that can help indicate case too but they're a little hard to explain here.

Here's a wiki link though the writing could be (a lot) clearer.
26 Aug 2009 /  #14
Add to the list of languages Albanian and Macedonian that have enclitic endings which function as articles for the definite English article 'the'-:)
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
29 Aug 2009 /  #15
It's intersting that tată is the Romanian word for father. Did it come from the Polish endearing form?
Sasha 2 | 1,083  
29 Aug 2009 /  #16
It's intersting that tată is the Romanian word for father

It might have come from Serbian where it's commonly used word for rather (to the best of my memory).
Darun 1 | 55  
30 Oct 2009 /  #17
No, it actually came from the Latin "tata". :)
31 Oct 2009 /  #18
Romanian sounds like Italian with a Russian accent. Come to think of it though, so does Brazilian Portuguese lol
Darun 1 | 55  
2 Nov 2009 /  #19
Russian acccent? not even by a long shot, except that bloody DA which is the same, but even that one is pronounced very differently. Slavic words, yes, a lot. Very strange combination of latin + slavic: so, if you don't like the Romanian language, then you'll be aware to not mix any latin language with slavic one, because that would the result sound like.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
3 Nov 2009 /  #20
Since most everyone knows the Lord's Prayer, it is a good way to compare different langauges. The Romanian is interesting in that one can detect elements of different languages. Instead of some Latin sanct- root for 'hallowed (be Thy name)', we have a word defintiely borrowed from Slavdom: sfinţească-se. 'greşelile' is clearly taken from 'grzech' or its Russo-Bulgarian equivalent. And, I may be wrong, but in 'For thine is the power...' we have 'Că a Ta' which reminds me of French 'car a Toi...'

If I only knew how to pronounce this text! I wonder if someone might care to phonetically transcribe it into Polish?

Tatăl nostru care eşti în ceruri,
sfinţească-se numele Tău,
vie împărăţia Ta,
facă-se voia Ta, precum în cer aşa şi pe pământ.
Pâinea noastră cea de toate zilele
dă-ne-o nouă astăzi
şi ne iartă nouă greşelile noastre
precum şi noi iertăm greşiţilor noştri.
Şi nu ne duce pe noi în ispită,
ci ne izbǎveşte de cel rău.
[Că a Ta este împărăţia şi puterea şi mărirea,
acum şi pururea şi în vecii vecilor. Amin.
4 Nov 2009 /  #21
Oh, I never intimated that I don't "like" Romanian:-) I merely sensed a Slavic overlay to both its pronunciation as well as its word stock, the former of which reminded me of a Russian drawl.

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