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Explaining Romanian Grammar Using the Christmas Story, Part 4

A lot of people seem to be interested in all things Romanian. I am glad. This is a wonderful time of the year in many countries, and especially in Romania. It is usually really cold, and there is snow, so if people like to go skiing, you would enjoy skiing in Romania. In fact, in the mountains in Romania, there was snow even in summer. We used to go to a ski resort in the mountains up over Sibiu that was built for the big wigs of the Communist party, so it was nicer than the others. They have skiing lessons up there. I had four kids at the time, and one was a baby, so I didn’t actually have a chance to ski myself. My kids got to enjoy the winter sports like skiing, ice skating, and sledding. I stayed at the hotel and took care of the baby while my husband took the older kids skiing. Sibiu is at the foot of the Carpathian mountains, and the Carpathians are absolutely beautiful!! People are always talking about the Alps in Switzerland. I have never actually been to the Alps, but from pictures I have seen, they have nothing on the Carpathians. As long as I was there, there was always lots of snow at Christmas time, so if someone is looking for a white Christmas, Romania is the place to go.

If you are looking for snowy mountains, the Carpathians in Romania is a great place to go.//Photo by julie aagaard on Pexels.com

Let’s talk about the Christmas story now. We have talked about the grammar of Matthew chapter one, verses 18-20. Mary and Joseph were engaged, and Mary came up pregnant, and Joseph knew the baby wasn’t his, so he thought long and hard about just breaking up with her in secret. The Romanian translation talks about the shame. However, there was more than that to it. Even in the middle East today, there are people stones in some of the countries. That means they throw rocks at them until they die when they think they have done something wrong, and that could have happened to Mary because the Jews used to do it too. Regardless, Joseph was a really good guy and didn’t want anything bad to happen to Mary even if he felt betrayed. However, and angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife because the baby in her was from the Holy Spirit.

Maria era insarcinta. (Mary was pregnant.)Photo by Gustavo Almeida on Pexels.com

We learned some good Romanian words here: insarcinata= pregnant, nasteria = birth, asa= “like this,” inainte = before, impreuna = together, s-a aflat = found, and se afla = to find, Duhul Sfant = Holy Spirit, barbatul = man, rusine = shame, pe ascuns = in secret or hidden, gand= a thought, lumii= the people, locuiasca = live, voia = someone’s will, de aceea = because of that, a fost = was, inger = angel, tine = you (object pronoun), Domnul = the Lord, nevasta = wife, sotia= wife, sotul = husband, neprihanit = righteous, a pus = put ( past tense), era = was, sa faca = to do or to make. I can’t actually reteach everything, but this is a good place to start. Now, let’s go on to verse 21.

Un inger a vorbit cu Iosefu in un vis. (An angel spoke to Joseph in a dream.) Photo by Szabolcs Toth on Pexels.com

Verse 21: Ea va naste un fiu, si-I vei pune numele Isus, pentru ca El va mantui pe poporul lui de pacatele sale.

Maria va naste un fiu. (Mary will bear a son.)Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Ea va naste un fiu – “She will bear a son.” Ea = She, the subject pronoun. “Va naste” means “will bear” meaning “will give birth to.” That “va” is the sign of future tense. To make future tense in Romanian, you have to have a verb that means “will,” and you have to conjugate it by person, and then you put the basic form of the verb at the end. “Voy naste” = I will bear, “vei naste”= you will bear, “va naste” = he or she will bear, “vom naste”= we will bear, “veti naste” = you guys will bear, “van naste” = they will bear. You need those words beginning with “v” before each person and the basic verb after it to make future tense of any verb. “Un fiu” = a son. “Un” is the masculine “a.” “O” is the feminine “a.” Often, you will see “fiul.” “Fiul” means “the son.”

si-l vei pune numele Isus– And you will put on him the name “Jesus.” “Si” means “and.” If I was writing this by hand, I would put a comma below the “s” in “si” and it would sound like “sh.” The hyphen is after “si” and before “l” because it is a contraction. “Si” ends with an “I,” and the word that “l” represents is “il.” You don’t have to put two “i’s” together here. The word “il” means “him.” It is a direct object pronoun that comes before the verb. “Vei pune” = “you will put.” “Vei pune” is the future tense form of “a pune” which means “to put.” As I explained before, you need these forms that begin with “v” before the basic form of the verb to make it future tense. If you look above, you will fine “vei naste” means “you will bear,” and the same rules follow here: “vei pune” means “you will put.” “Numele” means “the name.” This is a bit of a strange noun because usually, you need “a” or “ul” after a word to mean “the.” However, this word uses “le.” The basic word “name” is “nume.” “Le” is usually a plural form of “the,” but with this word, they use “le” as both singular and plural. After that, they put the name “Isus” which is one way to say “Jesus” in Romanian.

Pentru ca – “because.” If these words were separated, just “pentru” means “for.” If you use them together, or you can use just “ca” by itself, and you will have “because.”

El ne va mantui de pacatele nostrum. (He will save us from our sins.)Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

El va mantui – “He will save.” “El” means “he,” but it isn’t pronounced exactly like the Spanish “El.” It is pronounced “yel.” “Va mantui” is second person singular future tense form of a verb that means “to save spiritually,” “a mantui.” The “a” in “mantui” should have an inverted “v” over it, and that means it is not pronounced like “a” in father like many Romanian “a’s.” The “a” in “mantui” is pronounced like “euh,” like a grunt way down in your throat, not like an English letter at all. The “ui” at the end of “mantui” is pronounced “oo-ee.” If you just want to say “save,” but not emphasize the spiritual aspect, you use the word “a salva.”

pe poporul lui – “his people.” “Pe” technically means “on,” but we don’t translate into English because we don’t have this grammatic concept in English. If the direct object is a person or people, in Romanian, you must put “pe” before it. If you speak Spanish, they do the same thing with “a” before the direct object that is a person or people. Just “popor” means “people” in English, but where we don’t put “the” before people in English, they put “ul” on the end of “popor” that means “the.” “lui” on the end of a noun is a masculine possessive meaning “his.”

de pacatele sale – “from its sins.” “De” means exactly the same in Spanish and Romanian, either “of” or “from” Here, it means “from.” “Pacat” means “sin.” If you say “pacate” it means “sins.” If you go ahead and put the “le” on the end, it is “the” again, a plural “the.” We don’t bother with that “the” in English. “Sale” is not pronounced like the English word “sale” at all, and has no connection to it. Every letter in “sale” is pronounced. “Sale” means “her” or “its.” You see, this “its” is connected referring to “poporul” which means “people.” In English, we think of “people” slightly differently than they do in Romanian. If we were saying it only in English, because we think of “people” as plural, we would say “their sins” because we think of as “people” being many. However, in Romanian, the word “popor” translates as “people,” but they think of “popor” as one unit, and so they treat it grammatically as one unit, singular, and give it the possessive pronoun “its” (sale), and “sale” must be feminine because “pacat” (sin) is a feminine noun in Romanian because of the “a” toward the end of the world. When I was teaching English to the Romanians, many of them struggled with the different thought processes between “people” and “popor.”

Let’s put this all together: “She will bear a son, and you will put on him the name Jesus because he will spiritually save his people from their sins.

It is important to point out the in front of “pentru ca” in Romanian, there was a comma. However, in English, we don’t put a comma in front of “because.”

Prorocul a vorsit aproape sapte suta ani inainte de Isus. (The prophet spoke about seven hundered years before Jesus.).Photo by Harshi Rateria on Pexels.com

Verse 22: Toate aceste lucruri s-au intamplat ca sa se implineasca ce vestise Domunul prin prorocul care zice:

Toate aceste lucruri – “All these things.” “Toate” means “all,” and because it has the “e” at the end, it means it is in the plural form, and the “a” inside of it means it is feminine. There are many forms of “toate” that mean “all” or “everybody.” Here, it only means “all,” not “everybody.” “Aceste” means “these.” If it was “this,” it would be either “acest” or “aceasta.” The one with the “a” on the end is feminine, and “acest” is masculine. “Aceste” is masculine and plural. It must be masculine and plural because it is connected to “lucuri,” and “lucuri” is masculine and plural. If I were only to say “thing,” I would say “lucru.” If I were to say “the thing,” I would say “lucrul.” If you want to say “the things,” you would say “lucrurile.” However, just “things” is “lucuri.”

s-au intamplat – “happened.” “Sa intampla” means “to happen.” That “s-au” is a contraction of “sa” and “au.” The “au” and the “t” on the end of “intampla” is what makes it past tense. Both the “I” at the beginning of the word “intampla” and the first “a” in the word are pronounced the same. Both the letters should have an inverted “v” over them and be pronounced “euh” like a grunt down in your throat.

ca sa se implineasca – “in order to fulfill.” “Ca” comes from “pentru ca” which means “because.” However, in English, we don’t use the expression “because” here, but “in order to.” In Romanian, they have the “to” from the expression in English when they use that “sa.” “Se” is a reflexive pronoun meaning “themselves.” “a implini” is the basic form of “fulfill.” If you want to use it as an infinitive in the sentence, you must say “sa imply.” However, here, it is “sa impleasca.” That ending goes along with “ca” to make it “in order to fulfill.”

Cand citim profetiele din Biblia, ei sunt profetiele adevaratele. Ei, intru adevarul, intampla. (when we read prophecies from the Bible, they are truly prophecies. They actually come true.) Tot oameni pe pamant pe care ne zice ca ei sunt prorocii, nu sunt intru adevar, prorocii daca facem un examin de ce ei au spus, dar putem sa uitam adanc in prorocii din Biblia, si ei intru adevarul a devenit adevarat. ( All people on the earth who say they are prophets are not really prophets if we make an examination of what they said, but we can look deep at the propheceys of the bible, and they actually came true.)Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Ce vestise Domnul – “What the Lord said.” “Ce” means “what” and a relative pronoun that is the beginning of the relative clause.” “Vestise” actually doesn’t mean exactly “said,” but we really don’t have a good meaning for this in English in one word. It means “to tell news.” The word “veste” is a noun for “news,” and “vestise” means “he told news.” “Domnul” means “the Lord.” The “ul” on the end means “the.” “Domn” means “lord.” “Domn” can also mean “gentleman.” In English, “the Lord” would have been right after “what,” but not necessarily in Romanian even though it could. Romanian arrange their words according to which one the feel is more important where as in English, we arrange our words according the parts of speech. The translator of this verse must have felt that the fact that the news was told was more important than who told it. Often, the name comes last in clauses in Romanian where we would put it first in English.

prin prorocul – “through the prophet.” This is a prepositional phrase. “Prin” is the preposition that means “through.” “Prorocul” is the object of the preposition and means “the prophet.” The “ul” on the end is a masculine singular “the.”

care zice – “that says,” or “who says.” This is a relative clause, and “care” is the relative pronoun. “Zice” means “says.” If you are translating and want to say, “he says” or “she says,” say “zice.” That “c” is not pronounced like an “s” here like it would be in English. It is pronounced like a “ch” because it has the “e” after it. Any time an “e” or an “I” come after “c” in Romanian, the “c” is pronounced as a “ch” and you have to pronounce every letter, so in English, “zice” would be pronounced “zeechay.”

Putting verse 22 altogether:All these things happened in order to fulfill what the Lord said through the prophet which says:”

Acum, eu trebuie sa dorm. (Now, I must sleep.)Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

The next verse will tell you what the prophet said. The prophet Matthew is referring to in verse 22 is the prophet Isaiah who wrote around 700 years before Christ was born. I am going to have to leave you with a cliff hanger until next time because I am not going to tell you what that prophet said in this verse until my next Romanian grammar blog. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and many people are on vacation, but my daughter isn’t. That means that I have to get up at 5:30 in the morning to drive her to work, and that means I need to wind my day up and go to bed. I enjoy talking to you about Romanian. When I began this blog, I wasn’t feeling very well, but writing this blog relaxed me and made me feel better. I hope you enjoy reading my blogs as much as I enjoy writing them.

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