Now is the time to learn a few useful Romanian phrases. Romanians are truly impressed by this kind of effort and the best part is that Romanian words aren’t that hard to pronounce as most of them are spelled exactly how they are written. But there are some letters and sounds you are probably not familiar to, so, here is a small pronunciation guide:
ș - will be pronounced as sh from ash
ț - like double z in pizza
ă – like the preposition a
ce – like ce from pancetta
ci - like chi from chimpanzee.
There is also â or î which are pronounced exactly the same but the sound has not any correspondence in English. The phonetic writing is /ɨ/ and for learning the sound try listening on the internet the word România so, this way, you will be able to pronounce correctly both the name of the country and the naughty â.
Even if in the cities you will easily find people speaking different languages, in the countryside this might be a problem and knowing some basic words will come in handy.
Good morning – Bună dimineața
Good day/afternoon – Bună ziua
Good evening – Bună seara
If you are among friends or youths you may use all day long the short version Bună or the friendly Salut which is similar to Hello or Hi.
Good night – Noapte bună
Good Bye - La revedere, but less formal is Pa, often used twice like to common English bye-bye.
Thank you - Mulțumesc, but the French merci will do just fine.
You’re welcome – Cu plăcere
Please – Vă rog.
I am John – Eu sunt John
I am from California – Eu sunt din California
Eu sunt - can be used for different things just by adding at the end of the verb whatever you want to express, like:
I am happy - Eu sunt fericit, trist (sad), uimit (amazed), obosit (tired), supărat (upset), satisfăcut (satisfied), flămând (hungry), mulțumit (pleased) and the list may go on.
I want – Eu vreau - and then just add the word describing your wish like:
I want water – Eu vreau apă or suveniruri (souvenirs), să plec (to go), să mănânc (to eat) or să dansez (to dance).
1 – unu, 2 – doi, 3 – trei, 4 – patru, 5 – cinci, 6 - șase, 7 - șapte, 8 – opt, 9 – nouă, 10 – zece, 100 – o sută, 1000 – o mie.
First – Primul (masc.), prima (fem.)
Second – Al doilea (masc), a doua (fem.)
Third – Al treilea (masc.), a treia (fem.)
Right - dreapta
Left - stânga [stɨn.ga]
First right/left – Prima la dreapta/stânga
Straight ahead – Tot înainte
Turn back - Înapoi
Where is – Unde este
Where is the cathedral? - Unde este catedrala? or cetatea (the citadel), castelul (the castle), toaleta (the toilet), un magazin (a shop), hotelul X (the X hotel), un PECO (a gas station), un spital (an hospital) or o bancă (a bank).
Money - bani
Local currency - Leu (sg.), lei (pl.)
How much is this? - Cât costă?
Yes – Da
No – Nu
I don’t know – Nu știu
Cheers - Noroc
I don’t speak Romanian – Nu vorbesc româna
Do you speak English? – Vorbiți engleza?
Or maybe you'd like to find out how to say I love you in Romanian? - Te iubesc
Remember that regardless of your Romanian language level you can always use gestures and mimics to make yourself understood as you will see that Romanians also like to gesticulate while speaking. A sheet of paper and a pen will be quite useful in case of missing the route and needing precise guiding.