Explaining Romanian Grammar in Matthew 2:14

In the last blog I sent out from this chapter, Joseph was warned in a dream that Herod was looking for Jesus and wanted to kill him. He was told to get up and take Jesus and his mother to Egypt. Joseph listened, and that is what is in this verse, Matthew 2:14.

Rege Irod a vrut sa omoare pe Pruncul. (The King wanted to kill the baby.) Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

Matei 2:14: Iosif s-a sculat, a luat Pruncul si pe mama Lui, noaptea, si a plecat in Egipt.

Matei = “Matthew.” Pronunciation: “mahtay” with a thick tongue on the “t.”

Iosif s-a sculat noaptea. (Joseph got up at night.)Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Iosif s-a sculat = “Joseph got himself up.” “Iosef” (Yosef) is Joseph. “S-a” is a contraction. The “s” stands for “se” which means in this case, “himself.” The “a” is part of the verb, “a sculat.” “A sculat” is technically “he had gotten up,” but the Romanians like to use past perfect tense where we would use simple past tense. “A sculat” is in past perfect tense, and “he got up” is in simple past tense, but they are used in the same place in both languages. “El” or “he” is one of the pronouns embedded in “a sculat.” Usually, “a scula” is used with a reflexive pronoun: ma scol = I get myself up, se scoala = he gets himself up, she gets herself up, it gets itself up, te scoala = you get yourself up, (scoala te= get up!) ne sculam = we get ourselves up.

A luat Pruncul. (He took the baby.)Photo by Katie E on Pexels.com

A luat Pruncul = “He took the baby.” “A luat” is a strange verb, and I never found it in a dictionary. In simple present tense, it doesn’t even start with “l.” If I want to say, “I take something,” I say, “ieu” (ye-ow) It is supposed to come from the same verb as “a luat,” but they look nothing alike. I can use them, but I can’t find them in a dictionary. “am luat” means “I took.” “Ai luat” means “you took.” “A luat” means “he, she, or it took.” “Noi am luat” means “we took.” “Ati luat” = “you guys took.” “Ei au luat” – “They took.” Many words and conjugations, I learned from listening in Romania, and this is one. I learned it like a child learns, but I was an adult. “A luat” means “he took.” “Prunucul” means “the baby.” The “ul” on the end is a masculine definitive article that means “the.” This means it was a particular baby, not just any baby, but a specific one. In Romanian, the have capitalized “Pruncul,” probably to show the baby was special.

A luat Pruncul si pe mama lui. (He took the baby and his mother.)Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

si pe mama lui = “And his mother.” “Si” is pronounced “shee” and means “and.” “Pe” is pronounced “peh.” It usually means “on,” but not here. Here, it is pointing out that “mama” is a direct object. “Pe” is used before direct objects that are people. This is actually a compound direct object because “Pruncul” is part of it, “Pruncul si pe mama” is the whole direct object. To find the direct object, you was “what?” “What did he take?” He took “Pruncul si pe mama” (the baby and mother). After “mama,” you fine “lui.” “Lui” (loo-ee) means “his.” The possessive pronouns come after the noun instead of before like in English. “Mama lui” means “his mother.”

noaptea = “at night.” Technically, “noaptea” means “the night” because that “a” on the end of the word is the feminine definite article “the” in Romanian. “Noapte” means “night.” It is pronounced “noh-ahptay.” “Noaptea” is pronounced “noh-ahpteh-ya.”

Au plecat in Egipt. (They left to Egypt.) Photo by Murat Şahin on Pexels.com

si a plecat in Egipt = “And he left to Egypt.” Again, “si” is pronounced “shee” and means “and.” “A plecat” comes from “a pleca” which means “to leave.” “A plecat” is in past perfect tense, but in English, we would translate it as simple past tense because in Romanian, they often use past perfect when we would use simple past tense. Past perfect tense in English is “he had left.” Simple past in English is ” he left,” and in Romanian, “el pleca.” This pronoun “el” (he) refers to Joseph. It doesn’t say, “they left,” but “he left and took the baby and his mother.” Next, in Romanian, they use the word “in.” Often, “in” means the same thing it does in English, but not here. Here “in” means “to” or “at,” and “to” makes more sense in English. Although, we might also say, “left for Egypt” would make even more sense, but they used “in,” and “to” is the closest translation to that in English. “In Egipt” is a prepositional phrase because “in” is a preposition, and “Egipt” (Egypt) is the object proper noun of the preposition.

Iesu a locuit in Egipt cand era un copil mic. (Jesus lived in Egypt when he was a small child.)Photo by Roxanne Shewchuk on Pexels.com

Let’s put this verse all together: “Joseph got himself up, he took the baby and his mother, at night, and left to Egypt.”

The verse is a bit short, but I think I am ready for a nap because I have been pretty busy today. I will explain more next time. If you want to speak to me in Romanian when I am tired, no problem, but I really want to rest. When I was in the hospital in Hungary, they promised me an English speaking doctor, but sent a Romanian speaking doctor, but it was fine because, as I said, I learned Romanian like a child learns their first language. I could speak Romanian all day and night and never be bothered about English again if I needed to.

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