Explaining Romanian Grammar, After the Birth in the Christmas Story, Matthew 2:11

We have come a lot way talking about Romanian grammar. At one time, I was online and I found where someone said they thought Romanian was the hardest Latin language. However, I actually never found Romanian hard. It is a bit complicated to pull apart and explain at times, but speaking it isn’t that hard, especially if you have already studied Spanish or Italian. Many U. S. citizens have studied Spanish, and if you meet someone in America who speaks a second language, most of the time, it is Spanish. We study Spanish because of our neighbors down south of us. Everyone south of the U. S. except Brazil speaks Spanish. Brazilians speak Portuguese is so close to Spanish they are like just two different accents. There is a good reason the people in the U. S. study Spanish. Spanish is, next to English, as one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. That means, all you guys who have some Spanish knowledge, won’t find Romanian too difficult. Some words are exactly the same. If you are interested in Greek, Romanian is old Latin mixed with old Greek.

Ei au vazut Steaua cand erau in India si au urmat steaua. (They say the star when they were in India, and followed the star.)Photo by Luck Galindo on Pexels.com

We have talked about the birth of Jesus from chapter one of Matthew. After that, we went on and began talking about the wise men from the east and King Herod. Those wise men were looking for Jesus and calling him a king, and it upset King Herod. King Herod called the high priests and scribes and asked them where the new king would be born, and they knew exactly where, in Bethlehem, because the prophets from the Old Testament had written it down. Not only that, but the prophets from the Old Testament had also written about the birth of Jesus many, many years before it every happened. Jesus’ birth was planned from the beginning of time because God loves us and made a plan that early to bring us back to him. This birth was much more important than even King Herod knew. He told the men from India, the wise men, where to look for Jesus and asked them to come back and tell him after they had found Jesus so he could worship him too, but as the story goes, that is not the reason he wanted to know where Jesus was. Now, we are at the point those wise men found Jesus. They were the first people on earth to worship Jesus.

Au vazut Pruncul cu Maria, mama Lui. (they saw the baby with Mary, his mother.)Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

Matei 2:11: Au intrat in casa, au vazut Pruncul cu Maria, mama Lui, s-au aruncat cu fata la pamant si I-sau inchinat, apoi si au deschis vistieriile si I-au dus daruri: aur, tamaie, si smirna.

Au intrat in casa. (They entered the house.)Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy on Pexels.com

Au intrat in casa – “They went in the house.” “Au intrat” comes from “a intra,” which means “to enter.” “Au intrat” is third person plural, past perfect tense, but is used as simple past tense. The difference between past perfect tense and simple past tense is that simple past tense happened at one time in the past, and is finished. Past perfect tense began in the past and continued for a period of time. Both tenses mean it is finished but past perfect tense continues longer than simple past. “Au” tell us it is third person plural, “they,” and “au” coupled with the “t” on the end of “intrat” makes it past perfect tense. If it were simple past tense, they would have said, “intrau,” but often, they use past perfect for simple past tense in Romanian. Past perfect tense in English for this verb would be “had gone.”

“In” is exactly what it is in English, “in.” However, it is pronounced differently in Romanian than in English. In Romanian, it needs an inverted “v”over the “I.” That means that “I” is not a letter that is in English. It is pronounced way down in your throat like grunt.

“Casa” looks like a Spanish word, and it is also a Spanish word. In both languages, it means “house.” However, in Romanian, it can also mean “the house.” In Spanish, to say “the house,” you have to add “la” before “casa,” but “la” in Romanian means “to” or “at,” so it cant’ be added in Romanian. that “a” on the end of “casa” is considered as a feminine “the.” “The” is the definite article which means that there was a particular house, or only one house.

“Au intrat” is a verb. “In casa” is a prepositional phrase with “in” as the preposition and “casa” as the object noun of the preposition.

Au vazut Pruncul cu Maria, mama Lui. (They saw the baby with Mary, his mother.)Photo by JUAN CARLOS LEVA on Pexels.com

Au vazut Pruncul cu Maria – “They saw the baby with Mary.” “Au vazut” comes from “a vedea” which means “to see,” only in the dictionary. “Au vazut” is third person plural, past perfect tense used as simple past tense again. “Au” has “they” (ei) embedded in it, and with “au” before “vazut” being completely changed with a “t” on the end, that is what makes it “past perfect tense.” If you want it to be simple past tense which is how it is used, it should be “vedeau” which means “they saw.” However, “au vazut” is technically “they had seen.”

“Pruncul” means “the baby,” and yes, they capitalized it in the Romanian Bible. There is not a rule that says it must be capitalized, but we do the same in English. If something is really special, we may capitalize it in English too, and this baby was really special. “Prunc” actually means “new born baby” or “baby recently born.” The “ul” on the end tells you that the baby was a boy, and “ul” means “the,” the definite article. “Pruncul” is the direct object. noun. To find the direct object, ask, “What?” “What did they see?” (Ce au vazut ei?) the answer is “the baby” (Prunucul). The direct object receives the direct action of the verb, so “Prucul” (the baby) is the direct object.

“Cu Maria” is a prepositional phrase meaning “with Mary.” If you speak Spanish, you can see that “cu” is like “con,” and “Maria” is exactly the way Spanish speakers would say “Mary.” “Cu” is the prepositional phrase, and “Maria” is the object proper noun of the preposition. It is a proper noun because it must be capitalized.

Mama Lui – “His mother.” “Mama” means “mother” in several languages, so lots of people would find that easy. “Lui” means “his.” “lui” is not always capitalized like it is here. However, the translator seems to have done it because it is referring to Jesus, making Jesus important. “Lui” is pronounced “loo-ee.” There is a comma between “Maria” and “mama Lui.” This means that “mama Lui” is what is called “an apostrophe.” This kind of apostrophe renames whatever was before the comma. It means Mary was Jesus’ mother.

Cand ne rugam lui Dumnezeu, punem capul nostrum asa, dar ei au stat intins pe pamant cu fata ei pe pamant. (When we pray to God, we put our head down like this, but they stretched out on the ground with their face to the ground.)Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

S-au aruncat cu fata la pamant – “They threw themselves with their faces on the ground.” Literally, it says, “They had thrown themselves with face to ground,” but we have to fill in sometimes when we translate to make it make sense in another language. We can’t translate word for word. “S-au” is a contraction, and pulled apart, it is “se” and “au.” “Se” means “themselves,” and can actually mean several other reflexive pronouns like “himself, herself, oneself, or itself,” but in this case, it is “themselves” because we are talking about a group of men. “Au” is pronounced like the “ou” in our English “ouch.” “Au” is the prefix for “aruncat” that has “they” embedded into it. With “au” and the “t” on the end of “aruncat,” it makes “au aruncat” to be past perfect tense, but it is used as simple past tense. If this were in simple past tense, they would say “aruncau” instead of “au aruncat.” However, past perfect tense is used as simple past tense in Romanian. “Au aruncat” comes from “a arunca” which means “to throw.” Past perfect tense, the actual literal translation of “au aruncat” is “had thrown.”

“Cu fata” means “with face.” “Fata” should have a comma attached to the bottom of the “t” which means it is pronounced: “fahtsah.” “Cu” means “with,” and is a preposition, so “fata” is the object noun of the preposition. “Cu fata” is a prepositional phrase.

“La pamant” means “at ground” or “to ground.” Spanish speakers, “la” never means “the” in Romanian. It always means “at” or “to.” “Pamant” means “ground” or “earth.” “Pamant” should have a mark over the first “a” that looks like a smile from a smile face, a sideways parenthesis “).” That means that first “a” should be pronounced “uh.” The second “a” in “pamant” should have an inverted “v” over it. That means we are back to that letter that is not in English. It is like a grunt down in the throat.

I-sau inchinat. (they worshiped him.)Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

si I-sau inchinat – “And they worshiped him.” “Si” needs a comma attached to the bottom of the “s” and is pronounced like “sh.” The “I” in “si” is pronounced “ee.” “Si” means “and,” and is pronounced like the English, “she.” The “I-sau” is a contraction. The first part” “I” comes from “il” which is the direct object pronoun “him” that is used before the verb. “Sau” tells you that this is, again, written in past perfect tense, and the pronoun embedded is “they.” “Inchinat” has a “t” on the end, and the “au” and the “t” together tell you this verb is in past perfect tense, but it is actually used as simple past tense. In simple past tense in Romanian, the verb is “inchinau” which actually means “worshiped,” and techinically, “sau inchinat” means “they had worshiped,” but we use the simple past tense in English, and often they use past perfect tense in Romanian as simple past tense. “A inchina” means “to worship,” and it is the form you find in the dictionary. What did they worship? (Ce au inchinat?) They worshiped “him” (il). This makes that “I” before “sau” the direct object, and it translates as “him.” In English, past perfect tense would be “had worshiped.”

Au avut cadoule pentru Pruncul. (They had presents for the baby.) Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

apoi si au deschis vistieriile – “then they also opened their treasures.” “Apoi” means “then.” “Apoi” is pronounced “ahpoh-ee.” “Si” is pronounced like the English word “she.” “Si” often is translated as “and,” but it can also be translated as “also,” and it is “also” here. “Au deschis” means “they had opened” or “they opened.” “Au” and the “s” on “deschis” tells you that this verb is in past perfect tense, but the Romanians like to use past perfect tense as simple past tense . “Au deschis” comes from “a deschis” which means “to open,” used only in the dictionary. If you wanted to make this verb into simple past tense, you should use “deschideau.” “Had opened” is past perfect tense in English. “Vistieriile” mans “the treasures.” Just “vistier” means “treasure.” One of the “i’s” in that double “I” in visieriile” means “the.” The other “I” is connected to the “le” on the end. The “ile” on the end is the same as an “s” in English. It makes this plural. “Vistieriile” is pronounced “vestee-ehree-eeley.”

Il au dat lui Pruncul darurile. (They gave gifts to the baby.) Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

Si I-au dus daruri – “And they brought him the gifts.” Again “si” is pronounced like the English word “she,” and there should be a comma connected to the bottom of the “s.” “Si” means “and.” “I-au” is a contraction. “I” there is “il” meaning “him,” the object pronoun that comes before the verb in Romanian that is used like an indirect object this time. If you wanted, you could put this pronoun after the verb, and it would come out as “au dus la el.” “La el” would be “to him.” In English, the indirect object is the only thing that can come between the verb and the direct object, and we can take the indirect object out of the sentence and add it onto the end as a prepositional phrase and it would be “they took it to him.” That “to him” is the same as “la el” in Romanian. To see “him” as the direct object instead of as the prepositional phrase, we would say, “they took him gifts.” In this sentence, “him” is the indirect object, and both “they took him the gits, and “they took the gifts to him” mean the same thing. In the same way, “il au dus daruri” and “au dus daruri la el” mean the same thing.

“Au” is connected to “au dus.” “Au dus” literally means “they had brought,” but in English, we translate it as “they brought. “Au dus” is in past perfect tense, and simple past for “au dus” is “duceau.” Past perfect for “to take” in English is “had taken,” and simple past is “took.” This is a really strange verb in Romanian. If you want to say, “I went,” they often say, “m-am dus” which literally means “I have taken myself.” If you want to say, “I am leaving,” they might say, “da duc” which literally means “I take myself.” If you want to tell someone to go or to get out of there, say “te duci” which literally means “take yourself. “

“Daruri” means “the gifts.” This word would probably confuse most people bcause it doesn’t follow the rules. To begin with, “dar” means “gift.” If you say, the gift, say “darul” with that “ul” meaning “the.” If you want to say “the gifts,” say “darele” with that “ele” meaning “s” and “the” together. If you want to just say “gifts” it is “dare” with the “e” meaning “s.” This is either a really old usage of the word, a dialect of the word, an exception, or someone made a mistake. That “uri” on the end should be “ele,” but it isn’t. I have even heard them say, “darurile” to mean “the gifts. ” I think the Romanians find it hard to get their language exactly right because they find it complicated either that, or someone wrote this just the say they say it.

Din inceputl de timpul, aur era intotdeauna scump. (From the beginning of time, gold was always expensive. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

aur, tamaie, si smirna – “gold, incense, and myrrh.” This is just a list of the gifts with “si” (and) written before the last thing on the list like we do in English. “Aur”(gold) is pronounced like the English word “our.” The first “a” in”tamaie” (incense) is pronounced like “uh” and should have a sideways parenthesis over it like a happy face mouth “).” The second “a” should have an inverted “v” over it, and is not pronounced like an English letter at all. It is the sound that is down in your throat and sound like a grunt. The “I’ in “tamaie” is pronounced like “ee,” and the “e” on the end is pronounced like “eh.” If we put it all together, it is “tuhmeuh-ee-eh.” “Smirna” (myrrh) is pronounced like “smeernah.”

Exista o wala la intrare de mult tempule in Japon unde ei pun tamaie, (There is a big pot at the endtrance of a lot of temples inJapan where they burn incense.) Photo by David Besh on Pexels.com

I think everyone knows what gold is. If you lived in the 1960’s and 1970’s in America, you probably know exactly what “incense” is. It is a stick that they burn that smells good. It is used a lot in the east and the middle east. When they worship Buddha, they burn incense. When the Romanian Orthodox priest walk through the congregation, they carry a container with incense in it burning it. It is used in many places as part of worship. “Myrrh” comes from a tree, and it is used to make things soft. When I played in the orchestra, my bow that I ran across the string of the viola to play it, was made of horse hair. I had a sold piece of myrrh they called “rosin” that I ran across the horse hair to keep it soft so it could play better. From what I understand, myrrh was often used in the old world to soften things. These were expensive gifts in the old world. These guys were thoroughly convinced of what they were doing to come so far and give such expensive gifts.

The bow is the thing that is run across the strings to make music. Now a days, we put myrrh on the horse hair part of the bow to make it soft and play better music. We call the myrrh “rosin.” Photo by Méline Waxx on Pexels.com

Let’s put this verse all together:They went in the house, saw the baby with Mary, his mother, threw themselves on their faces on the ground, and they worshiped him, then they also opened their treasures, and brought him gifts: gold, incense, and myrrh.”

Au venit, il a gasit, il a inchinat, si il a dat darule. (They came, they found him, they worshiped him, and they gave him gifts.)Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Okay, that is enough grammar for one day. I hope you are enjoying it. Next time, you are going to learn just how smart these wise men were. Talk to you next time!

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