Romanian = Hardest Latin language

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Levike
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Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Levike » 2013-04-23, 14:59

Hardest grammar amongst Latin languages
From a grammatical point of view Romanian is the most difficult Romance language.
Let's compare it to Spanish and find out why:

1. Plurals
Spanish - adding "s"
Romanian - adding "i", "e" or "uri" pretty randomly

2. Genders
Spanish - 2 genders: o=masculine and a=feminine
Romanian - 3 genders: very few rules so good luck

3. Conjugation
Spanish - 3 verb conjugations and very regular
Romanian - 4 verb conjugations and highly irrrrrregular

4. Grammatical cases
Spanish - no cases
Romanian - 5 cases: Nominativ, Acusativ, Dativ, Genitiv and Vocativ

5. Spelling
Spanish - totally phonetic
Romanian - totally phonetic + the letter "i" like in the word "copiii" ( 3 times :hmm: )

Do you know other reasons why Romanian is a bit more complicated ? ? ?
Or what's your opinion about the complexity of this language ? ? ?
Last edited by Levike on 2013-05-30, 19:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby daniel201088 » 2013-05-30, 0:47

I am totally agree with you :)
I am Mexican so my first language is spanish

For me the romanian language is really interesting (thats why i am studying it) :D

I've found also really complicated the indefinite and definite article in romanian

For example

câine (dog) / câinele (the dog) M
apă (water) / apa (the water) F

So with this examples somebody would asume that the word canapeă (couch) in "definite form" must be =canapea but the correct answer is canapeaUA (the couch)
This kind of irregularities are really complicated for a spanish speaker in my opinion cause spanish has more specific and simple rules.
the romanian plurals are also difficult, and the inflexion of the dative/genitive , in spanish we simply use the articles.

I've seen a lot of people who learn romanian with doubts about the definite and indefinite article, also with the plurals.

I love the romanian language, even with all this irregularities is fascinating and that makes it a very singular romance language

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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby linguoboy » 2013-05-30, 1:44

Levente.Maier wrote:3. Conjugation
Spanish - 3 verb conjugations and very regular
Romanian - 4 verb conjugations and highly irrrrrregular

But what about the number of forms in each conjugation? A regular Spanish verb typically has about 60 finite forms, plus three non-finite forms (infinitivo, gerundio, participio). Used in conjunction with auxiliary verbs, these last three yield ten simple TAM combinations plus their perfect and progressive forms. Anything in Rumanian comparable to Spanish Yo habría hablado si me hubieran dado la oportunidad ("I would've spoken if they'd given me the opportunity")?

Near as I can tell, a typical Rumanian verb has only 24 finite forms with the simple perfect being almost exclusively literary. There are only about ten compound tenses total, several of which are formed simply by prefix a particle (e.g. , oi) to another finite or non-finite form. That's a lot simpler.
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Levike » 2013-05-30, 11:20

The Spanish ones are very regular where the Romanian conjugation seems to be random.

1.the "-a" verbs split into two groups: the simple ones and the "-ez" ones.

For example if you learn a new verb like "a cânta"
then you can NOT know if it's "eu cânt" or "eu cântez",
it's random and you have to learn them.

While in the Spanish you don't have to guess if it's "yo canto" or "yo cantezo".

2.the same situation with the "-e" verbs
where you have the simple ones and the "-esc" ones and even this one is irregular.

So even if Spanish has a lot of rules at least the verbs respect them.
I find Romanian harder because every verb seems to follow its own set of rules.


And about the finite forms we have four : infinitiv, participiu, gerunziu and supin
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby linguoboy » 2013-05-30, 14:49

Levente.Maier wrote:The Spanish ones are very regular where the Romanian conjugation seems to be random.

I guess it all depends on what you consider "very regular". The Spanish simple past in particular has a lot of peculiarities to it.

Levente.Maier wrote:For example if you learn a new verb like "a cânta"
then you can NOT know if it's "eu cânt" or "eu cântez",
it's random and you have to learn them.

While in the Spanish you don't have to guess if it's "yo canto" or "yo cantezo".

No, but with a verb like tender, you have to guess whether it's yo tiendo or *yo tendo.

Levente.Maier wrote:And about the finite forms we have four : infinitiv, participiu, gerunziu and supin

What verbs have a distinct supine form which isn't identical to de + the participial form?
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Levike » 2013-05-30, 16:48

I guess it all depends on what you consider "very regular". The Spanish simple past in particular has a lot of peculiarities to it.

No, but with a verb like tender, you have to guess whether it's yo tiendo or *yo tendo.

What verbs have a distinct supine form which isn't identical to de + the participial form?


"tiendo" or "tendo" these are transformations within the verb which Romanian also has
the Spanish verb "morir" becomes muero, mueres, muere so o->ue
the Romanian ver "muri" becomes mor, mori, moare so u->o and oa

but the Spanish "e" verbs always end in o, es, e
and the Romanian "e" verbs can end in -, i, e or esc, esti, este

About the supin you're right, but doesn't also Spanish also have that or something similar.

About the verbs my point was that the Spanish ones seem to follow
o, es, e, emos, eis, en
but the Romanian endings are or with esc, esti, etc or without it
it's 50% 50% and it has no rules so a lot of memorisation.
Last edited by Levike on 2013-05-30, 16:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby linguoboy » 2013-05-30, 16:54

Levente.Maier wrote:but the Spanish "e" verbs always end in o, es, e
and the Romanian "e" verbs can end in -, i, e or esc, esti, este

These are called "inchoative verbs". Spanish has regularised their conjugations, but other Romance languages (e.g. Catalan, Italian) haven't.

I'm not sure why you're narrowly focusing on Rumanian vs Spanish when the question is ostensibly what is the "most difficult Romance language", but I guess it's because Spanish is the only other Romance language you've studied?

Levente.Maier wrote:About the supin you're right, but doesn't also Spanish also have that or something similar.

I can't tell what you're asking. Either way, both languages have only three non-finite verbal forms. But from what I can see, the Spanish forms entre into more verbal constructions, making for a more complicated system semantically.
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Levike » 2013-05-30, 16:58

The only Romance languages I know are Spanish and Portuguese.

I never studied the other ones so my knowledge about them is close to nothing.

Spanish is a easier language because it follows its own rules, the Romanian conjugation is random.
The Spanish were smarter to regularise it.

In your opinion which is the hardest Latin language?
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby linguoboy » 2013-05-30, 17:20

Levente.Maier wrote:Spanish is a easier language because it follows its own rules, the Romanian conjugation is random.

It's not "random". It just shows the folly of classing verbs solely according to the forms their infinitives take instead of choosing something else as the principle part. This article discusses alternative classifications which do not derive from the four etymological classes inherited from Latin.

Dictionaries of Romance languages typically provide model conjugations whose numbers are referenced in the entries for the individual verbs. Cassell's Spanish dictionary, for instance, gives 37 of these (not counting those for which the adjustments are merely orthographic).
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Levike » 2013-05-30, 17:26

Very interesting.

Yes it would be better.

But 11 groups instead of 4, if I were a foreigner that would scare me.
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby linguoboy » 2013-05-30, 17:41

Levente.Maier wrote:But 11 groups instead of 4, that seems scary.

"Scary" how? That doesn't seem at all unusual to me, at least not for an Indo-European language. There are, for instance, seven classes of Germanic strong verbs, plus four classes of weak verbs and one class of "present-preterite" verbs for a grand total of twelve conjugational classes. Most of these are represented in some form in the modern Germanic languages, including English, although some classes are small enough now that their members are best treated as miscellaneous irregular verbs.

Korean, by contrast, only has six common classes of morphologically-irregular stems, but being an agglutinating language, its morphology is more regular in general than is the case with fusional languages. On the other hand, there are a total of at least 400 distinct finite final endings, and that's before we begin to consider the many non-final endings and aspectual constructions (which are often prone to contraction). This is why the question of relative complexity is such a vexed one: there are many axes to consider.
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Luís » 2013-05-30, 17:56

Levente.Maier wrote:From a grammatical point of view Romanian is the most difficult Romance language


Most difficult for whom?

Levente.Maier wrote:Let's compare it to Spanish and find out why


Spanish is not "all Romance languages" (see this)


Levente.Maier wrote:1. Plurals
Spanish - adding "s"
Romanian - adding "i", "e" or "uri" pretty randomly


Portuguese: - adding -s, -es, replacing -l by -is, -eis or -s, replacing -ão by -ãos, -ões or -ães, no change
French: adding -s, adding -x, replacing -al by -aux, no change


Levente.Maier wrote:2. Genders
Spanish - 2 genders: o=masculine and a=feminine


Yes, because as everyone knows all words in Spanish end in -o or -a... :roll:


Levente.Maier wrote:5. Spelling
Spanish - totally phonetic
Romanian - totally phonetic + the letter "i" like in the word "copiii" ( 3 times :hmm: )


Ever looked at French spelling?
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Levike » 2013-05-30, 18:12

From my point of view.

I compared it with Spanish because it's the most known.

At the gender part I wanted to show that the Spanish ones are predictable and only 2.

The majority of Portuguese plurals are predictable and regular.
But the Romanian nouns are highly irregular, there are very few rules.
Even native speakers have problems with guessing the plurals.

Yes, the French is the hardest at spelling.

Which is the hardest then?
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Luís » 2013-05-30, 18:21

Levente.Maier wrote:The majority of Portuguese plurals are predictable and regular.


Ok then. Can you tell me the plural of "mão" (hand), "pão" (bread) and "verão" (summer)? In fact, can you tell me the rule for the plural of words ending in -ão?

Also, without looking it up, can you tell me the gender of the following common words: nariz, dor, mar, dia, coração, viagem, relação, tribo? Is it any less "unpredictable" than in Romanian? Can you tell me the regular rules you used?

IMO, from the perspective of an English speaker, all Romance languages are of similar difficulty (some might be harder than others in certain aspects, but overall they aren't that different from each other)
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Levike » 2013-05-30, 18:28

mao = maos
pao =paes
verao = veroes ?

o nariz
a dor
o mar,
o dia
o coração
a viagem,
a relação,
a tribo

Mas nesta lingua somente estes substantivos ("ao") sao problematicos.
The majority still ends in o, a, e where you just put a "s".

In the case of Romanian the predictable plurals are a minority ( like 10% )
The other 90% is just guessing.
There is no useful general rule.

The another problem that we have is guessing if a noun is masculine or neutre.
For example I have no idea what's the rule.
Last edited by Levike on 2013-05-30, 18:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Luís » 2013-05-30, 18:34

How did you get there? What were the regular predictable rules you used?
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Levike » 2013-05-30, 18:41

Luís wrote:How did you get there? What were the regular predictable rules you used?


For some I knew and for like two I just guessed. These are the problematic ones.

But 70% of nouns are predictable, just put an "s". And 70% is a luxury.

In Portuguese you know that the words ending in "a" become "as".

but in Romanian the feminine "a" nouns can become "e" or "i" and you have to guess.
There's no general rule to guide you.
Last edited by Levike on 2013-05-30, 18:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Luís » 2013-05-30, 18:41

It might appear random to you, but that doesn't mean there isn't a rule.

To most Portuguese speakers the plural form of words ending in -ão are completely random and make no sense at all (I doubt the average person can come up with a rule). But if you consider etymology and the Latin words they derive from, they're actually pretty regular. I'm sure it's probably similar with Romanian.
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Levike » 2013-05-30, 18:47

But you can not convince everyone who learns Portuguese/Romanian to learn Latin first.

Yes that would help.
Like at the word man
om --> oameni

The problem is that in Romanian we have the neutre gender
which in singular acts like is were masculine but in plural like the feminine ones.
And sometimes this gender has its own funny plurals.
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Re: Romanian = Hardest Latin language

Postby Levike » 2013-05-30, 18:54

Portuguese plurals are also a bit easier because they don't really change within the noun like:

masă -> mese (table)
om -> oameni (man)
soare -> sori (sun)
mare -> mări (sea)

The Portuguese ones change only their endings.
And in Romanian the central changes are really common.
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