Romanian/Pronunciation and alphabet

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Even though Romanian spelling is very phonetic, a lot of foreigners find the language difficult. The accent and sounds are very similar to Italian (with slight Slavic influences), so remember to sound every letter clearly. Also, sounds very rarely differ between words (i.e. the letter s is always pronounced the same, everytime, unlike in English).

In the pronunciation guide, X-SAMPA will be used to help those people who are familiar with it, or the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), in pronouncing Romanian. For those unfamiliar with it, the IPA is a phonetic alphabet designed to help in the description of foreign sounds, and is used extensively by linguists. A good place to start learning the IPA is here.

X-SAMPA is an ASCII method of transcribing the IPA. A guide to it can be found here.

Vowels[edit]

a (a) 
like 'a' in "father", X-SAMPA /a/.
About this sound Hear the sound for a
e (e) 
like 'a' in "bait,", or 'e' in "exit" X-SAMPA /e/.
About this sound Hear the sound for e
i (i) 
in most cases, like the 'ee' in "beet," X-SAMPA /i/. At the end of a word when following a consonant, however, it palatizes the preceeding consonant, X-SAMPA /_j/.
About this sound Hear the sound for i
o (o) 
like 'o' in "chlorine", X-SAMPA /o/.
About this sound Hear the sound for o
u (u) 
like 'oo' in "broom", X-SAMPA /u/.
About this sound Hear the sound for u
ă 
like 'a' in "about," X-SAMPA /@/ (schwa).
About this sound Hear the sound for ă
â (â) , î (î) 
no English equivalent - it's best to hear it being spoken. â and î are the same sound in Romanian. î is used at the beginning and end of words, â in all other cases. The best way to approximate this sound is to attempt to make the vowel in "ski," then retract your tongue toward the center of your mouth. X-SAMPA /1/.
About this sound Hear the sound for â

Consonants[edit]

b (be) 
like 'b' in "bed," X-SAMPA /b/.
c (ce)
when followed by i or e, like the 'ch' in "cheese" (X-SAMPA /tS/), otherwise like the 'k' in "sky," X-SAMPA /k/.
ch 
only occurs before i or e, and is pronounced like the 'k' in "sky," X-SAMPA /k/.
d (de) 
like 'd' in "dog," X-SAMPA /d/.
f (fe/ef) 
like 'f' in "food," X-SAMPA /f/.
g (ghe/ge) 
when followed by i or e, like the 'j' in "judge" (X-SAMPA /dZ/), otherwise like the 'g' in "good," X-SAMPA /g/.
gh 
only occurs before i or e, and is pronounced like the 'g' in "good," X-SAMPA /g/.
h (ha/haş) 
like 'h' in "help" or the 'ch' in German "ach," X-SAMPA /h/ or /x/.
j (je) 
like the 's' in "measure" or the 'j' in French "bonjour," X-SAMPA /Z/.
k (ka) 
like 'k' in "sky" only found in loanwords from other languages, X-SAMPA /k/.
l (le/el) 
like 'l' in "love," X-SAMPA /l/.
m (me/em) 
like 'm' in "mother," X-SAMPA /m/.
n (ne/en) 
like 'n' in "nice," X-SAMPA /n/.
p (pe) 
like 'p' in "spill," X-SAMPA /p/.
q (ku) 
like 'k' in "sky," only found in loanwords from other languages, X-SAMPA /k/.
r (re/er) 
like the trilled 'r' in Spanish "perro" or Italian "raro," X-SAMPA /r/.
s (se/es)
like 's' in "snake," X-SAMPA /s/.
ş 
like 'sh' in "lush," X-SAMPA /S/.
ţ 
like 'ts' in "bits," X-SAMPA /t_s/.
t (te) 
like 't' in "stop," X-SAMPA /t/.
v (ve) 
like 'v' in "very," X-SAMPA /v/.
w (dublu ve) 
like 'v' in "very," only used in loanwords from other languages, X-SAMPA /v/.
x (ics) 
like 'x' in "box," mostly used in loanwords from other languages, X-SAMPA /ks/.
y (i grec)
like 'ee' in "beet," only found in loanwords from other languages,X-SAMPA /i/.
z (zet) 
like 'z' in "fizz," X-SAMPA /z/.

Diphthongs[edit]

oi 
like 'oy' in "boy," X-SAMPA /oi/.
ea 
like the 'ai' in "bait" followed by the 'a' in "father," X-SAMPA /ea/.
ai 
like the 'i' in "bite," X-SAMPA /ai/.
ei 
like the 'ei' in "vein," X-SAMPA /ei/.
au 
like the 'ou' in "mouth," X-SAMPA /au/.
ău 
like the 'a' in "about" followed by the 'oo' in "boot," X-SAMPA /@u/.
ăi 
like the 'a' in "about" followed by the 'ee' in "beet," X-SAMPA /@i/.
âi 
like the Romanian 'â' or 'î' followed by the 'ee' in "beet," X-SAMPA /1i/.
îi 
like the Romanian 'â' or 'î' followed by the 'ee' in "beet," X-SAMPA /1i/.


Contents[edit]