Nov 07

Step 1 of learning yet another crazy language: How to start?

Okay, let’s admit – the decision to learn Romanian was not sensible at all. Why should I learn Romanian? I’m a German ex-translator of Japanese, living in England teaching French. I’ve never been in Romania, I don’t know anyone from Romania, and to be honest I don’t really know a lot about Romania either – not the politics, not the tourist attractions (dracula’s castle being an exception – even I have heard of that), not about the countryside, and not much else either.

So how to start?

When I learned Spanish twenty years ago, sources were rare. Even than I felt that the best way of learning a good pronunciation and real-speed listening understanding was to be exposed to a language as much as possible and without other resources at hand I went to the shops and tried to find movies in Spanish. One thing helped me: The DVDs were out – I didn’t have to look for video cassettes – and some DVDs had a Spanish synchronisation in addition to the mandatory German and English.To be honest, „some“ is a little exaggerated – actually I found two. Two DVDs with a Spanish audio track, and I watched them daily until they made me sick.

Today so many things have changed and finding resources really isn’t hard anymore.

These are the resources I’m going to use:

  • Itunes
  • Youtube
  • Facebook
  • Free online dictionaries found by google
  • The public library
  • An empty exercise book, a pen and a marker
  • This blog as a motivation tool!

So let’s get started!!!!!

STEP 1: How the heck do I start?

The first thing I did to start was to find out what „Romanian“ is called in Romanian. Google Translate helped me out there. It’s „Romanesc“. So I typed Romanesc in Youtube and looked what I got. I did get quite a lot of movies in Romanian which I started and then stopped again. I was missing the basics. But it sounded nice and how are you supposed to learn a language if you don’t know what it sounds like.

But I needed some vocabulary and I wanted to try „learning like a child“. So I asked Google Translate to help me with the word „child“: „copil“

The search for „romanesc“ and „copil“ on youtube gave me quite some nice videos to learn the Romanian alphabet and quite a couple of words, most even with subtitles so I could compare the pronunciation to the written words. It’s so much more fun than opening a grammar book and learning pronunciation rules! The best videos had the title „Cantece pentru copii“ which I suppose means „songs for children“ (the Spanish word „cantar“ means „to sing“), or „Educativ copii“ which obviously means educational videos for children. A great way to learn the alphabet, the animal names and the numbers!

Have a look yourself:

Quite nice at the beginning, but of course a little annoying for long term learning… so go to something more „watchable“: Disney!

The good thing about Disney is that you know the songs anyway. You listen to a Disney song in Romanian without knowing a single vocabulary word and yet you understand it all and might even remember one word or another. Learning languages can be so much fun!


Go to Step 2: Getting used to the sound!