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Explaining the Romanian Grammar in the Christmas Story, Part 11.

I have had a long day, but is isn’t time to sleep, so I thought I would send out another blog before I slept. My daughter took her driving lesson today and passed, so she can legally drive now without me sitting next to her in the front seat of the car to instruct her. We are slowly adapting to living in Oklahoma. Since is it later in the evening, but not quite bedtime, I thought I would choose to explain a verse in Romanian since it is the easiest language for me.

Impartul Herod s-a miniat. (King Herod was mad.)Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

The last time I explained Romanian grammar, I only explained one verse, verse 7 of chapter 2 of Matthew, where King Herod was upset that the magi were saying that they followed a star from the east and had come to worship the new born king. Herod was upset and called all the chief priests and scribes together to ask them where the newborn king would be born, and the quoted a scripture from Micah 5:2, from the Old Testament, that was written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth saying the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. After that, King Herod called he wise men secretly wanting to talk to them in verse 7. Now, we are ready for verse 8 where we learn what the conversation was about.

Imparatul Herod a chemat pe magi pe ascuns. (King Herod called the magi secretly.)Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Pexels.com

Verse 8: Apoi i-a trimis la Betleehem si le-a zis: ,,Duceti-va de cercertati cu de-amuntul despre Prunc: si cand il veti gasi, dati mi, si mie de stire, ca sa vin si eu sa ma inchin lui.”

Herod a trimis pe cel magi la Betleehem. (Herod sent the magi to Bethlehem.)Photo by Haley Black on Pexels.com

Apoi i-a trimis la Betleehem – “Then he sent them to Bethlehem.” “Apoi” means “then,” and is pronounced “ahpoh-ee.” Next, “i-a” is a contraction. It is actually “ei a.” The “ei” is an unstressed pronoun direct object that is positioned before the verb. Romanian also has stressed pronouns that come after the verb, but when they do, if the pronoun is a person or people, it need “pe” before it. You can use both a stressed direct object pronoun and an unstressed direct object pronoun in the same sentence, or you can choose to use just one or the other. Here, they used only the unstressed direct object pronoun that comes before the verb. The “i-a” is pronounced “eeya.” The other part of the contraction, the “a” is a prefix of a past tense verb. If a verb has “a” before it and a “t” or an “s” on the end, it is a third person singular past tense verb, so “a trimis” means “He sent.” The infinitive form of “a trimis” is “a trimi.” “A trimi” is the form you find in the dictionary, but not the form you find in the sentence. “To send” in the sentence is “sa trimi.” “La” means “to” or “at,” and here, it means “to.” “Betleehem” is Bethlehem. “Betleehem” is an object proper noun of the preposition. The preposition is “la,” and the prepositional phrase is, “la Betleehem.”

si le-a zis – “and he said to them” or “and he told them.” “Si” should have a comma attached to the bottom of the “s,” and “si” is pronounced like the English word “she” and means “and.” “Le” means “to them.” It is again one of those object unstressed pronouns. It is actually an indirect object this time. If you put “le” after the verb, “a zis,” you would say “la ei” as the stressed indirect object, and it would turn into a prepositional phrase. We do the same thing in English, but instead of putting that indirect object before the verb, we put it after the verb and before the direct object. An indirect object is the only thing that can come between a verb and a direct object in English. We may choose not to use an indirect object in English and instead, make it into a prepositional phrase with “to” as the preposition.

He reads a book to the baby. = He reads the baby a book./ El citeste o carte pe pruncul.=El il citeste o carte pe pruncul. Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Here are some examples in English: “He reads them books” can become “He reads books to them.” In the first sentence, “them” is an indirect object, and “books” is a direct object. We know because we say, “What did he read?” to find the direct object, and the answer is “books,” so that is the direct object. Since the indirect object is the only thing that can come between a verb and a direct object in English, that makes “them” an indirect object, and you can also feel the meaning of “to them” even if you can’t see the “to.” However, if you change the position of “them” and put it after the direct object, you need “to” before it, and you have a prepositional phrase instead of an indirect object. Here is another example, “He told me something” can become “He told something to me.” Those two sentence mean the same thing.

In Romanian, “el le-a zis” or “el a zis pe ei” or mean the same thing. “el le-zis pe ei” aslo means the same thing as the other two sentences. Romanians really don’t like to talk “to” a person. They feel it is impolite. If you use the verb “a vorbi” which means “speak,” they would say “el a vorbit cu ei” meaning “he spoke with them,” but in English, we can say “with” or “to,” and we don’t feel either is impolite or too direct.

“A zis” means “he said” or “he told.” You know the better translation by what else is in the sentence. “A zis” is third person singular past tense because of the “a” before “zis” and the “s” on the end. It comes from “a zice,” the infinitive form you can find in the dictionary.”

M-am dus la magazinul. =”I went to the store.” or “I took myself to the store,”Photo by Alexander Isreb on Pexels.com

Duceti-va – “Take yourselves.” This is an oddity about Romanian. “A duce” (pronounced: ah dochay) means “to take,” but they love to use it as “to go.” If I say “ma duc,” (pronounded: mah dook) it means “I go.” If I say ” m-am dus,” it means “I took myself,” or “I went.” If you say “duceti” (pronounced “doochetsi) it is a second person plural verb meaning “you guys take” or “you guys go,” and the “va” on the end means “yourselves.” this means that “duceti-va” means “take yourselves” or “go,” to a group in the request or command form.

pruncul = the baby//Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

de cercetati cu de-amuntul despre Prunc– “as you guys search with diligence about the baby.” “De” is often used exactly like the Spanish “de” meaning “of” or “from,” but not every time. Here, it means “as.” “Cercetati” (pronounced : chehchertahtsee, barely voicing the final “ee”) means “you guys search.” That “ti” is the same as the “ti” on the dend of “duceti.” It means this is second person plural, so the pronoun is “you guys.” “Cu” means “with” and is pronounced “koo.” “de-amuntul” is such an old word it is not used in the dictionary, and I have never heard it. However, there are some clues to its meaning. “Cu” (with) is a preposition, so needs an object of the preposition. Which means that “de-amnutul” should me a pronoun or a noun. The “ul” on the end means “the,” so “de-amunt” is a noun.” If you know much about the story, I know from reading in other languages that King Herod wanted the magi to “search with diligence,” so “de-amuntul” must mean “diligence.” This is why it helps to study a language using the Bible–because the Bible is translated into several languages, and you can learn a new vocabulary word by knowing the grammar in more than one language and fitting the appropriate word from the other language in the proper place.

“Despre Prunc” means “about.” “Despre” (dehspray) is another preposition. “Prunc” (proonk)means a baby. I find it interesting that it is capitalized in Romanian. The translator was probably putting emphasis on this baby.

Si cand il veti gasi – “And when you find him.” Again, “Si” is pronounced like the English word “she” and means “and.” “Cand” means “when.” The “a” in “cand” should have an inverted “v” over it, so it is that sound that is not in English. You say it way down in your throat, almost like a grunt. “il” is an unstressed direct object pronoun used before the verb meaning “him.” The “i” in “il” should have an inverted “v” over it and is pronounced exactly like the “a” with an inverted “v” over it. When I first learned Romanian, both of these letters would have been written “i” with an inverted “v.” However, the Romanian wanted to distance themselves from Russia, and they thought “i” with the inversed “v” over it was too much like Russian, so they changed “i” with the inverted “v” over it to “a” with an inverted “v” except when the word began with “i” with an inverted “v.” They only changed words that had the letter inside of it.

“veti gasi” is future tense, second person plural and means “you guys will find.” “Veti” is actually the pronoun for second person plural future tense, so you will find it in front of other verbs. The “t” in “veti” should have a comma attached to the bottom of it, and “veti” is actually pronound “vehtsee,” but with that “ee” barely audible. “Gasi” comes from “a gasi” with means “to find” and is the form used in dictionaries.

Da mi o bautura. = Give me a drink.Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

dati mi – “give me.” The “dati” is a form of “a da” which tells you the speaker is speaking to a group of people. If you wanted to say “give me” to only one person, you would say “da mi” which was a joke at our house because if you put more emphasis on the “i” at the end, it came out like the word “dummy” in English. The “a” in “da” or “dati” should have a smiley mouth over it like a side ways parenthesis. It means that “a” is pronounced more like “uh.” Amy time you have an “i” on the end of the word, it is barely audible, so just think of “dummy” and don’t voice that “y” so much, and you have the pronunciation for “da mi.” The “t” in “dati mi” should have a comma attached to the bottom, so is pronounced “ts.”

El citeste ziar sa se afla stire. = He read the newspaper to find out news.Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

si mie de stire- “and to me news.” Again, “si” is pronounced like the English word “she,” but means “and.” “Mie” means “to me” and is pronounced “mee-eh.” “De,” as I have said before is very much like the Spanish “de,” but not always, but here it is. It means “of,” but “of” here in English makes no sense, so I left it out. “Stire” is pronounced “shteerey” and means “news.” The “s” in “stire” should have a comma attached to the bottom. That is why the “s” is pronounced “sh.”

si eu =me too//Photo by Abdul Aziz Sesay on Pexels.com

Ca sa vin si eu – “for me to also come.” “Ca” has a counter part in Romanian. It is “pentruca” which means “because” or “for.” “Ca” is a short version of “pentruca.” “Ca” is pronounced “ka.” “Sa vin” is an infinitive in the sentence. It means “to come.” “Sa vin” is pronounced “sah veen.” “Si,” by this time, you should know. It is pronounced like the English word “she” and means “and.” “Eu” means either “I” or “me.” Here, it is not the subject of the sentence, so it is “me” If you want to say “me too” in Romanian, say “si eu.” “Eu” is pronounced “yeh-oo,” but I have heard some Romanians say it is only pronounced like that in the part of Romania where I lived, and when I open my mouth, they say they know where I am from because of my pronunciation. I learned a lot of Romanian by listening like a child and got a regional accent from it. In other parts of Romania, they may say “eh-oo” instead of “yeh-oo.” It is not two syllables. It is one, and I only put the dash in there so show the “h” only goes with the vowel before it.

El inchina pe Dumnezeu. = He worships God.///Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

sa ma inchin lui – “for me to worship him.” “Sa” is not technically “for,” but it carries that meaning here. It is technically “to.” We sometimes also use “to” in English when it technically means “to,” but in the sentence, we understand “for” or “in order to.” Here is an example in English: “I went to the store to buy bread.” That “to buy” carries the feeling of “for buying” or “in order to buy.” “Ma” means “myself” and is pronounced “Muh.” “Ma” should have that sideways parenthesis over it that looks like a smile on a happy face. That is how I know “ma” is “Muh” and not “mah.”

The “inchin” comes from “a inchina” the infinitive form you will find in the dictionary. “inchin” begins with another “I” that has an inverted “v” over it which makes it pronounced like “uh” way down in your throat. The “ch” in Romanian is pronounced like “k,” so “inchin” is pronounced “uhnkeen.” It means “I worship.”

The “lui” here means “him.” Sometimes it is a possessive, but it is also a masculine object pronoun which it what it is here. You can say “pe el” or “lui,” and they would both be the masculine direct object pronoun meaning “him.” “lui” is pronounced “loo-ee.”

Herod era mincinos. = Herod was a liar.// Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Let’s put this all together: Then he sent them to Bethlehem and said to them: “Go. As you guys search with diligence about the baby, and when you find him, give me news for me to also come in order to worship him.”

Herod a ucis mult oameni. = Herod killed a lot of peope. //Photo by NEOSiAM 2020 on Pexels.com

If you know who King Herod was in history, you will know that he was an extremely wicked man. He killed even family members to get into his kingship. He even paid Mark Antony of Rome so he could have his king ship which is bad, but not as bad as the other things that history recorded about King Herod. I would actually be afraid for him to call me in secret as probably the magi were. The magi don’t know for sure, but King Herod was lying. He didn’t want to see the baby to worship him. As we ready, we will learn his read motive, and as we read, the magi figure him out. Hang in there with me, and we will get there.

Oameni din Romania iubesc vin si florele. (People from Romania love wine and flowers.)Photo by Adonyi Gábor on Pexels.com

I am only sending one verse because it is late, and Romanian grammar can get very complicated. I hope you are keeping up. Sometimes I feel that Romanian grammar is a cross between a Latin language and a language from the orient because of some of the things I see in the grammar. Romanian is a mixture of Dacian and old Latin from the Roman empire. The Dacians were the first people in Europe, so it is an extremely old language. It can give you details no other language can give you because it is so developed. It is also a very poetic language when it is spoken. The Romanians have the temperament we think of Latins having. They have the nature like the Italians to yell at one another and think it is no big deal, and after they yell, they are best friends again.They also have the Latin lover part to them. They are very romantic and are big lovers of flowers and bottle of wine. When Romanian is spoken, it sounds like poetry.

noapte buna, somn usor (Good night. Sleep well.)Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

I am going to sign off because it is late, and one verse is enough for this evening.

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