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The Nature of the Romanian Language

Romanian is a Romance language which has incorporated a large number of Slavic words. Nevertheless its relationship to the other Romance language is obvious even with the differences in spelling. One factor that makes the written words of Romanian look more different than from other Romance language words is the special characters of the Romanian alphabet. The phonetic nature of these characters is not obvious so they create a puzzlement. But phonetically they are not mysterious.

The spelling of Romanian words differs from English speakers expectations because of different phonetic values for the characters or character combinations common to the Romanian and English alphabets.

Some characters which have multiple sounds in English have only one sound in Romanian, such as

Some characters in Romanian are pronounced differently dependent upon the context in which they appear.

Many of the diphthongs (two letter combinations) have the same sound as in English, such as ai, au, ei, ia, oi. Others such as ie, iau and io have the sound which would be expected when one remembers that i of a syllable has an ee sound.

(To be continued.)

Note: Many Romanian family names end in -escu. English speakers tend to pronounce this as es-kyu, whereas the proper pronunciation is more like esh-koo.

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