Learning Romance: Starting Out

Romance isn’t what it used to be.

And to be fair this blog maybe isn’t what it seems to be either. For those expecting lessons in love, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. I’ve decided to try and learn Romanian from scratch and this’ll be where you’ll find my observations and reflections. And just to make it more interesting… I’ll be drawing comparisons as I learn some Italian too!

So, if you’re interested in language learning, communication and wordplay, then following this blog should be of some interest as it develops. Why not join me on the latest adventure?!

This is me genuinely starting from scratch, and my main motivation is that I expect to be working with, and teaching, Romanian students and academics (in English). So I’m going to focus on useful functional language skills and vocabulary, rather than a more comprehensive approach. And no, I’m not setting my sights on teaching anyone in Romanian!

I simply want to communicate with people, to show an interest, explore their culture, to show respect when I meet and visit with Romanian speakers.

Romanian is one of the ‘Romance’ languages, and some would say the closest to its ancestors. Romanian’s origins lie in the language of the Romans, along with principally Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French, but at first glance it seems far removed from these. I guess I’ll be finding out how far these cousins have grown apart.

Already though, I’m seeing similarities hiding in plain sight. Similarities to the Latin, that I studied at school … ehem… a few years ago… and to French and Spanish that I’ve had more recent experience learning.

In this blog, I plan to explore the whole experience from a layperson’s perspective, from resources and approaches to learning the language to hints, tips, problems and hopefully solutions.

I don’t promise to get everything right, but then we do (occasionally) learn from our mistakes.

Starting out, I’m hearing rather than seeing the similarities that I’ve hinted at so far. Things like how gender works, the personal pronouns (I, you, etc) and the verb to be.

Some vocab sounds a little like the English equivalent, even if the two don’t look so alike. Some sounds a little like French. I’m sure the similarities will affect how I learn, with potential for confusion and clarity in equal measure. Learning to listen will be key, I’m sure, so books alone are clearly not the answer.

I can half-remember my Latin lessons at school in the 70s… yes THAT long ago, and although they’ve helped a bit learning Spanish, French and a smidgen of Italian, it’s looking like they might finally be useful.

So let’s get started with lessons in Romance.

Published by John Humphreys

Education and leisure industry professional with over 30 years' experience and a focus on delivering international experiences and employability development.

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