Explaining Romanian Grammar in the Christmas Story, Part 9

We are getting pretty far into the story of the birth of Jesus. In chapter 1, Jesus was born. We have begun chapter 2, beyond the birth. We have talked about the wise men from the orient, from India, seeing a star, knowing that something wonderful had happened, and following the star. We have also talked about King Herod, a very wicked man according to history, and all of Jerusalem being upset by the wise men asking where the king of the Jews had been born. After that, King Herod gathered all the chief priests and scribes and wanted them to tell him where the Messiah would be born. Now, we are ready for verse 5 of Matthew chapter 2.

Prorocul a zis ca Iesu va fi nascut in Beteelem. (The prophet said that Jesus would be borm in Bethlehem.)Photo by Haley Black on Pexels.com

Matei 2:4: ,,In Beteleemul din Iudea,” i-au raspuns ei, ,,caci iata ce a fost scris prin prorocul:

Matei = Matthew, and is pronounced “mah-tay” with your tongue kind of thick on the back of your teeth and gums for the “t.”

,,In Beteleemul din Iudea,” = “In Bethlehem of Judea.” “In” should have an inverted “v” over the “I,” and should be pronounced “uh,” down in your throat in a place no English sound comes from. It mans the same as the English, “in.” That means this is a prepositional phrase. In Romanian, the quotation marks are different from English. In English, both are at the top ( ” “). In Romanian, the first are at the bottom, and the second at the top (,, “). “Beteleemul” is “the Bethlehem.” The “ul” on the end means “the.” It is pronounced “beh-teh-leh-ehm-ool) with the “t” being rather thick tongued with your tongue being on the back of your top teeth and gums. “Din” is pronounced “deen” and means “from,” another preposition. “Iudea” is “Judea” and is pronounced “yoodeh-ah.” Both “Beteleem” and “Iudea” are proper nouns and the object of a preposition. This means that “in Beteleem” and “din Iudea” are both prepositional phrases.

i-au raspuns ei – “They responded to him.” “Au” and the “s” on the end of “raspuns” tells you that “au raspuns” is past tense, third person plural, and it carries the pronoun “they.” “I-au” is a contraction. The “i” part is not all there, and we know they were talking to Herod, so “i” comes from “il,” the object pronoun, “him.” Since it is place before the verb, it is an indirect object pronoun, and in English, it would mean “to him.” “Raspuns” is similar to English, and you can tell it means “responded.” “ei” is the subject pronoun “they.” It is the subject, and it comes after the verb, so in Romanian, it means that the translator of this sentence considers the verb more important than the subject here. All of this is pronounced, “ee-ou (as in “ouch”) rahspoons (with a trilled “r”) yay.”

,,caci iata ce a fost scris prin proroncul: = “Because look what was written through the prophet: ” To begin with, the quotation marks are at the bottom again, so this is the beginning of another quotation, but the end quotation marks are not there, so what they say will be continued in the next verse. “Caci”* should have a mark that looks like a smile over it. It changes the pronunciation to more of a short “u” sound. The “i” on the end of the word makes that last “c” have a “ch” sound. “Caci” means “because.”

“iata” is pronounced “yahtah.” “iata” is an interjection that means, “look!” “ce” should be pronounced “chay.” Again, if there is an “i” or an “e” after a “c,” that “c” needs to be pronounced as “ch.” “Ce” means “what,” and is a relative pronoun here.

“a fost” means “was.” “a fost” comes from “a fi” which means “to be.” It is pronounced “ah fost.” The “a” coupled with the “t” on the end of “fost” makes it singular, past tense, and third person. This “a fost” has “scris” after it. “Scris” comes from “a scrie” which means “to write.” “Scris” is the past participle which is “written”, so “a fost scris” means “it was written.” “Scris” is pronounced “screes.”

“prin prorocul” means “through the prophet.” “Prin” means “through” and is pronounced “preen” with a trilled “r.” “Prorocul” means “the prophet.” The “ul” on the end is the masuculine “the.” “ul” is pronounced “ool.” “The,” (ul) is a definite article which means they are talking about a specific prophet. “Proroc” means “prophet” and is pronounced “prohrohk” with a trilled “r.”

This part of the quotation ends with a colon (:). This means that this is a preface to what will be said next. What is before the colon (:) must be a complete sentence, but what comes after it doesn’t particularly have to be.

In timpul acea, ei au avut Vechul Testamentul. (In that time, they had the Old Temtament.)Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. on Pexels.com

Let’s put this verse all together: “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they responded to him, “Because look what was written through the prophet:

Now we are ready for what the prophet said:

Verse 6: ,,Si tu, Beteelem, tara lui Iuda, nu esti nicidecum cea mai insemnata dintre Capeteniile lui Iuda; caci din tine va iesi o Capatenie, care va fi Pastorul poporul meu, Israel.”

Again, this is a quote, so in Romanian, the first quotation marks are on the line, and the second ones that end the quote are above. This is what the prophet actually said. The chief priests and scribes are quoting from Micah 5:2, from the Old Testament, which was written between 750-680 B. C. As you read and study, remember that Matthew was written 60-70 A. D., and that Jesus was born in 30 A. D., and this is one of the many prophecies from the Old Testament about Jesus.

Pamantul Iuda lui. (the land of Juda).Photo by Haley Black on Pexels.com

“,,Si tu, Beteelem, tara lui Iuda, ” = “And you, Bethlehem, country of Juda.” “Si” should have a comma attached to the bottom of it, so it is pronounced “sh.” The “i” is pronounced like “ee.” “Si” means “and.” “Tu” is pronounced “too” with the “t” having your tongue being flat up against the roof of your mouth and the back of your top teeth at the same time, and it means “you.” I have already told you how to pronounce “Beteelem” and that it means “Bethlehem.”

“Tara” should have a comma attached to the bottom of the “t.” That comma means that this “t” is pronounced “ts.” The “a’s” are pronounced “ah,” and the “r” is trilled. “Tara” means “country.” “Lui” is pronounced “loo-ee.” In this case “lui” means “of.” “Iuda” is pronounced “you-dah.” “lui Iuda” is a prepositional phrase with “lui” as the preposition and “Iuda” as the proper noun used as the object of the preposition.

The commas around “Beteelem” means that the speaker is renaming “tu.” The comma after “tara lui Iuda” means that the prophet is addressing “Beteelem, tara lui Iuda.”

tu esti nicidecum cea mai insemnata – “you aren’t in any way the most insignificant.” “Tu,” as I have explained means “you.” “Esti” should have a comma below the “s,” so that “s” should be pronounced “sh.” The whole word is actually pronounced, “yesh.” That “i” on the end is barely voiced, and sometimes you can’t hear it at all. “Esti” means “you are. It the second person singular simple present tense of “a fi” which means “to be.” “Tu” is the subject, and “esti” is the verb of this sentence.

“Nici” should be pronounced “neech.” It is a negative word that really has no meaning in English alone except maybe “not even” or “not one.” However, here is it part of an idiom phrase that means something all together, “esti nici de cum.” “De” alone means “of,” and “cum” alone means “how.” “esti nicidecum” means “you are not in any way not.”

“Cea mai” is a phrase. “Ce” alone means “what,” but not here. “Mai” alone means “more,” but not here. Together “cea mai” means “the most.” The “a” on the end of “ce” means “the.” “Insemnata” means “important” or “significant.”

dintre Capateniile lui Iuda; – “Among the Principalities of Juda.” “Dintre” is pronounced “deentrey” with the “r” trilled. “Dintre” means “among” and is a preposition. “Capateniile” means “Principalities.” “Capateniile” can’t be found in the Romanian dictionaries. “Capat” (+) means “the top.” This is the part that means “Principal.” There are two “i’s” together in “capateniile,” one of them means “s,” and the other is part of “capateni,” and the “le” on the end is a plural “the.” “capatena” means “the head” of something. Just “cap” means “head.” A “principality” is a “city.” The pronoun here is “dintre,” and the sentence is addressed to “Beteelem” (Bethlehem), so we know that “Capateniile” means “cities,” and “Principalities” means “cities.” The “t” in “capateniile” should have a comma attached to the bottom and pronouned “ts.” “Capateniile” should be pronounced “kahpahtsehnee-eeley.”

“lui Iuda” is a prepositional phrase meaning “of Juda.” “Lui” means means “of,” a preposition. “Iuda” means “juda,” a proper noun that is the object of the preposition. This part of the sentence ends with a semi colon (;). This means that what comes next is so close to what has already been said that the writer of the sentence is temped to put it in the same sentence. What is on either side of the semi colon (;) should be a complete sentence.

Capitanul e seful. (The captian is the boss.)Photo by Daniel Xavier on Pexels.com

Caci din tine va iesi o capatenia – “Because from you will come out a ruler.” I have already explained “caci” means “because.” Don’t mispronounce “caci” because mispronounced it can be a bad word. Look at the pronunciation* above again. I usually use “pentruca” or “ca” for “because,” and then you don’t have to worry about pronouncing anything wrong and insulting someone. “Din” means “from” and is pronounced “deen.” “Tine” is the object pronoun form of “you.” “Tine” is pronounced “teenay.” “Din tine” is a prepositional phrase with “din” as the preposition, and “tine” as the object of the preposition.

“Va iesi” means “will come out.” “Iesi” is pronounced “yesh” with a slight voiced “ee” at the end, but barely audible. The “s” should have a comma on the bottom that makes it an “sh” sound. The infinitive form that you could find in the dictionary of “iesi” is “a iesi.” If you take the “a” away and put “va,” you make it future tense, third person singular. The pronoun embedded could be “el” (he or it) or “ea” (she or it.).

“o” means “a,” the indefinite article that means there is one, but it is not a specific one. “Capatenia” is also not in the Romanian dictionary. However, I have already told you that “cap” (+) means “head.” In essence, “capatenia” this tine means “ruler,” and “capat” means “the top.” You already know what “Captain” means in English, and this word is related. This “capatenia” is the boss, the ruler.

El va fi pastoral poporul lui. (He will be the shepherd of people)Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

Care va fi Pastorul – “Which will be the shepherd.” “Care” is pronounced “kahrey” and is the relative pronoun “which.” This means we are beginning a relative clause that describes the “capatenia.” “Va fi” is future tense of “a fi” which means “to be.” “Va” tells you it is future tense, third person singular, and the pronoun is “el” because it is referring to “capatenia,” the captain, the boss, the ruler.”Pastorul” means “the shepherd.” The “ul” on the end means “the.” “Pastor” means “shepherd.”

Poporul biserica lui sunt Israelul spiritual. (The people of the church are the spiritual Isreal.) Photo by Xiaoyu Chen on Pexels.com

poporul meu, Israel. – “My people, Israel.” “Poporul” means “people.” “Poporul” is a masculine word. Often in Latin languages, the masculine form is used when it is supposed to incorporate both masculine and feminine. “Meu” means “my,” and is a masculine “my” to match “poporul.” Notice it comes after the noun instead of before in English. Next, there is a comma (,). this comma sets off an apostrophe. An apostrophe is when something is renamed, so what comes next renames “poporul.” “Israel” comes next. It is pronounced “eesrah-ehl.” This doesn’t mean that Jesus came to help only the physical Israel. The church is the spiritual Israel. The church is called many things in the Bible.

Let’s put this verse all together:And you, Bethlehem, you aren’t in any way the most insignificant among the principalities of Judah; because from you will come a ruler which will be the shepherd of my people, Israel.”

Noul Testatmentul era scris en la limba Grecea premera. (The New Tematment was written in Greek first.) Noi tot avem o traducere. (We all have a translation.) Poporul pe care a scris Noul Testamentul au folosit logica din Aristotle, un barbat din Grecia.. (The people who wrote the New Testament used logic from Aristotle, a Grecian.)Photo by Josiah Lewis on Pexels.com

Okay, this is another very important prophecy about Jesus. Remember that the western logic propagated by Aristotle says that you need at least three reasons to support a premise you want to prove for people to accept it as true. We have thee reason in what I have given you: 1) Jesus was born of a virgin (prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 in 740 B. C.) 2) The wise men came from the east because they say a big star, brighter than any of the others. 3) Jesus was born in Bethlehem. (This was prophesied in Micah 5:2 from sometimes between 750-680 B. C.) The prophet actually knew which city to look in to find the Messiah! There are other reasons, but we haven’t run across any of them in this reading yet. Matthew is proving his point that Jesus is the Messiah. There are over on hundred prophecies, and Matthew gives us other reasons too for us to believe what he is saying.

Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

Here is a little Romanian grammar I can leave you with:

a fi – to be. If it is inside of a sentence, it will be “sa fi.” “a fi” is the form you will find in the dictionary.

Remember that I am including the pronoun, but you can use them all without the pronoun.

Simple present tense: eu sunt = I am, tu esti= you are, el este = he or it is, ea este = she or it is. “este” can be shortened to just “e.” noi suntem = we are, voi sunteti = you guys are, au sunt = they are.

Simple past tense: eu am fost = I was, tu ai fost = you were, el a fost = he was or it was, ea a fost = she was or it was. Noi am fost = we were. Voi ati fost = you guys were, ei au fost = they were.

Future tense: eu voi fi = I will be, tu vei fi- you will be, el va fi = he or it will be, ea va fi = she or it will be. Noi vom fi= we will be, voi veti fi = you guys will be, ei vom fi = they will be.

Here are the subject pronouns, You can use them or leave them out: eu= I, tu= you, el= he or it, ea = she or it. Noi = we, voi= you guys, vom = they. I didn’t include “dumneavoastra” above. “Dumneavoastra” is a formal “you,” and it is singular, but is used with the plural “you” form of the verb.

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