Pronunciation and Spelling


Vowels (Vocalele)

Rumanian has 7 vowels: a, ă, â, e, i, î, o, u (note that phonetically â=î), that sounds very similar to their Italian counterpart (except for â/î). According to the manner of articulation the vowels are classified as:

According to their position of articulation the vowels are:
 
  • posterior or velar: o, u, ă, î;
  • central: a;
  • anterior or palatal: i, e.
This represents a clearly triangular pattern (see the graph.)

Rumanian vowels are not reduced in unstressed position.


Diphthongs (Diftongii)
 
 
Diphthong
 
Pronunciation
 
Examples
 
ai
 
[aj] 
  mai adv more
 
ăi
 
[j] 
  răi adj (mpl) bad
 
âi
 
[j] 
  câine m dog
 
ei
 
[ej] 
  vrei v (you) want
 
ii
 
[ij] 
  fii mpl sons
   
[ji] 
  știință f science
 
oi
 
[oj] 
  apoi adv after
 
ui
 
[uj] 
  spui v (you) say
 
ia
 
[ja] 
  piatră f stone
 
ie
 
[je] 
  femeie f woman
 
io
 
[jo] 
  iobăgie m yoke
 
iu
 
[ju] 
  iute adj pricky
   
[iw] 
  fiu m son
 
au
 
[aw] 
  stau v (they) stand
 
ău
 
[w] 
  flăcău m young man
 
âu
 
[w] 
  râu m river
 
eu
 
[ew] 
  leu m lion
 
ou
 
[ow] 
  birou m bureau, desk
 
uu
 
[uw] 
  continuu adj continuous
 
ua
 
[wa] 
  steaua f the star
 
 
[w
  nouă adj (f) new
 
ea
 
[ea] 
  seară f evening.
 
eo
 
[eo] 
  vreodată adv  never
 
oa
 
[oa] 
  poartă f  door, frumoasă adj (f) beautiful

Triphthongs (Triftongii)
 
 
Triphthongs
  Examples
 
[ea] + [j]
  ceai m thea
 
[ea] + [w]
  vreau v (I) want
 
[ja] + [j]
  știai v (you) knew
 
[ja] +[w]
  iau v (I) take
 
[je] + [j]
  miei mpl lambs
 
[oa] + [j]
  englezoaică f English woman
 
[j] +[oa]
  vioară f violin

Consonants (Consoanele)

The voced final consonants do not become voiceless, cf.: Palatalization of the Consonants

After the palatal vowels [e, i] the consonants are palatalized. The alternation of the final non-palatalized / palatalized consonants (in front of mute final i) discerns singular / plural of the nouns and 1st / 2nd person sg. of the present ndicative, cf.:
 
[r] => [r’]
[n] => [n’]

[l] => [l’]
[m] => [m’]
[ts] => [ts’]
[p] => [p’]
[] => [’]
[] => [’]
[v] => [v’]
[b] => [b’]

bulgar m (sg) Bulgarian
prieten m (sg) friend
mașină f (sg) machine
spăl vt (pres. ind. 1p. sg) (I) wash
vamă f (sg) custom house
hoț m (sg) thief
lup m (sg) wolf
grijă f (sg) care
cocoș m (sg) cock
brav adj (m sg) brave
întreb vt (pres. ind. 1p. sg) (I) ask
bulgari m (pl) Bulgarians
prieteni m (pl) friends
mașini f (pl) machines
speli vt (pres. ind. 2p. sg) (you) wash
vami f (pl) custom houses
hoți m (pl) thieves
lupi m (pl) wolves
griji f (pl) cares
cocoși m (pl) cocks
bravi adj (m pl) brave
întrebi vt (pres. ind. 2p. sg) (you) ask

Consonantic Digraphs


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