3 May 2013

Romanian: learning a new language easier?


I have been learning Romanian for past three weeks. I can understand newscasts and interviews. I can even speak, although with regular pauses. Never have I progressed so quickly in a language. Of course, Romanian is related to French, Italian, and Spanish, which I already know. But then Portuguese and Italian were not this easy, and I was younger.

The reason is that I now know how to learn. Before we had Romanian at LingQ, I bought Pimsleur Basic. Three days of listening on the way to work and back. I gained a few phrases and broke the ice with the language. Then I went through Teach Yourself for Romanian.

Lately, I have been listening to two things: about 20% of the time have about 150 or so sentences that I have written in English and have translated and recorded in Romaninan via Elance. I then am able to import them into LingQ where I can study and share them. The other 80% of the time consists of listening to and reading content of interest. I have imported anticles in Romanian about Romanian history from Wikipedia into LingQ. Then I discovered Radio Romania. At first I imported a great number of articles into LingQ and listened to the radio broadcasts separately. But then I discovered the podcasts.

I have had them transcribed and study them at LingQ. I have created almost 5,000 LingQs in three weeks. I now know over 10,000 words!

Now, I am able to understand most of the interviews and radio broadcasts in Romanian. I still have a month to go before I visit Romania. The snowball is picking up speed. The more words I know, the more interesting content I can listen to. The more interesting content I listen to and read, the more I see the structures of the language in use, and the more they stick. And the more new words I know, the more I can learn.

This is the fastest I have ever learned a language. It really makes me want to learn more languages. Of course, much depends on how much common vocabulary there is with languages you already know. I may try Dutch or Polish next, or should I attempt Turkish or Arabic. But first I had better complete my Korean project.

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  1. Emma Tsai
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Hi Steve,
    You are my role model.
    I wish I would learn more languages as many as I could just the way you are.
    Long time no chat, hope to have some chances to talk to you again soon.
    Best regards,

  2. Emma Tsai
    Posted May 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi Steve,
    You are my role model.
    I wish I would learn more languages as many as I could just the way you are.
    Long time no chat, hope to have some chances to talk to you again soon.
    Best regards,

    • Posted May 4, 2013 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      I second that, Emma, Steve is a constant source of inspiration to all of us!

  3. Posted May 4, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Thanks Emma and David. You are very kind. I can tell you that Romanian is easy and fun. If you start that language I can share some interesting resources with you that I have had made via eLance. Some are in the LingQ library, and some more could be uploaded if there is interest. I would have to ask Radio Romania for permission to share them in the Library however.

    In a few weeks we hope to have a better way for members to help each other with content at LingQ and create more content in all languages.


  4. Tim McLernon
    Posted May 6, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi Steve I have been learning Romanian for a while now too and I am glad it’s now on Lingq! My question is where did you go to have the podcasts transcribed? I also like listening to those podcasts so that would be a valuable resource for me. I have used Rhinospike before but often that takes too long.. Thanks very much and great job so far with your Romanian!

  5. Posted May 7, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink


    I used elance to transcribe the podcasts. I can try share them with you on LingQ. What is your username on LingQ.


    • Tim McLernon
      Posted May 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Thank you very much, that would be great! My username is “tmclernon”

  6. Jenny
    Posted May 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Good luck with your studies. You are such an inspiration to me.

  7. Posted May 8, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Great post Mr. Kaufmann. I’ll definitely give LingQ a try, cause I need to get my Korean vocabulary up to the level you got your Romanian up to.

  8. omorfieleni
    Posted May 10, 2013 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    je suis roumaine,je suis en fravce depuis 3 ans maintenant et je me batte(force) avec l’anglais car il me faut pour avoir mon diplome d’ingenieur;j’ai bien progreser en fravcais mais l’anglais me pose encore des problemes,en ce qui concerne le roumain bonne chance c’est une belle langue,un peule des croyants et en plus une langue latine et bcp des mots se rassemblent avec le francais et sourtout la graimmaire.

    Elena C.

  9. Julie O'Regan
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    Hi Steve
    We are moving to Bucharest in July and I am trying to teach myself Romanian.

    I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed by all the information online about how best to learn a language. Do you have any recommendations of how I should go about it?

    I now have the basics, pronunciation, greetings, numbers which I learned from a book and wrote down on flash cards. I’ve just seen your article recommending the podcasts from Romanian Radio, very fast though for me!

    I would be most pleased to receive advice on the best way to improve.

    Kind regards


    • Posted February 26, 2016 at 12:17 am | Permalink

      Hi Julie,

      How was your trip? Are you now learning Romanian or have gone over to something else?

      Best regards,

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