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Basic Romanian


I've learned basic Romanian mostly without help, and mostly outside of Romanian-speaking territory.

And, yes, I'm proud of that. But I mention it now only because it's an affirmation of this point: I can learn a language.

"Learn a language" is, naturally, a relative term. There's never going to be a language that I speak as well as I speak English. There's nothing like a mother tongue, and I do not aspire to the mastery of any other language.

But I consider that I have learned Romanian. My aquaintance with the language is basic, but there are a few metrics by which I am satisfied. I'm satisfied, first of all, that I know enough Romanian that I will always continue to learn more of it, as long as I remain able to learn anything.

I can read a newspaper article in Romanian, and I can understand what it is about. I have to look up words — or, I should say, I do look up words. I have to, sometimes, too; but I know most of the common vocabulary. My grammar is not strong, but I think that's okay.

I had several conversations, in the summer of 2009, with some Romanians who did not speak any English. In one case, a relative of some acquaintances told me important news about her husband's health. In another, a friend of mine fell asleep at the table and I spoke for a couple of hours with an older gentleman, a friend of my elderly host, as it turned out. We had a laugh, and a drunken conversation.

I'm satisfied that I've learned the basis of Romanian. I don't care who believes me — and I wouldn't waste my time trying to convince anybody (especially the bilingual, those bastards.)

I'm happy enough with my own self-assessment.

I'm proud enough, but that's not important. What's important is that I know that I can learn language.