Monday, July 23, 2012

Several Romanian Words Go on the Endangered List

By Keith Massey, PhD Connect with me on Google+ and Twitter. Explore my novels at Lingua Sacra Publishing.

Romanian vocabulary. I'm here in their native and wild  habitat. And my observations of them in media and other realia have led me to begin here today a list of Endangered Romanian Words. Today's items are not yet to be declared extinct, primarily because I have hand-written vocabulary cards for them and still, by default, use these words in conversations. But when I see the word that has replaced the native original in official media or a billboard, there is cause for concern.

1) serviciu. This means 'job' in Romanian. In its place has been observed the word: job.

Here's the paradigm: un job (a job), jobul (the job), joburi (jobs), joburile (the jobs).
The genitive/dative is jobului in the singular and joburilor in the plural. 

I won't go into such depth on the paradigm of the other items.

2) sfârşit de săptămână. This is the phrase for weekend in Romanian. (Nota Bene: variant using the genitive is sfârşit săptămânii) The new word for weekend in Romanian is 'week-end'.

3) inceput. This is the past participle of the verb incepe,  'to begin, to start'. It is used, or at least it was at one time, as a substantive meaning 'start, beginning'. The new way in Romanian to say 'the start' is: startul.

4) petrecere. This one upsets me the most. This is the word for 'party'. I love parties. I've used this word so often to invite Romanians to parties. Hai, la petrecere!

This word is now replaced by the new Romanian word 'party'. (party-ul if you add the definite article.)

I'll keep you posted on further developments, especially if my further studies lead me to detect whether there is any pattern to these replacements.

Here's the good news. Every one of these new words is neuter, ensuring that Romanian will never, in the foreseeable future, abandon that third gender preserved today only in German, Romanian, and Slavic.