Can You Learn Romanian in Two Months? I Don’t Think So

Can You Learn Romanian in Two Months… has been transcribed from Steve’s YouTube channel. You can download the audio and study the transcript as a lesson at LingQ.

Hi there, Steve Kaufmann. Romanian, fluency in two months, I don’t think so. Remember I had a program back a while ago which I called Fluency in Five Days, where I spent a whole year working on Czech, the first seven-eight months or so, basically, listening and reading, working at LingQ and then I started stepping up my online discussions with Czech tutors and then I eventually went to Prague and I spent five days there, four days speaking seven to eight hours a day at the end of which I felt I had made major progress.


I guess I really can’t say I’m fluent in Czech, but certainly I understand the radio, I’ve learned a lot about Czech history and when I was in Prague I was carrying on conversations and having a great time. The whole idea was that I picked up on something from Dr. _________, a wonderful multilingual person who imitates Russian accents and stuff who is popular here on YouTube. He had said that your passive vocabulary will be activated within three days, so I gave myself an extra two days. Still, I can’t say that I achieved fluency, not in five days and not really even within that whole period, but I can read Czech books, I can understand Czech radio and I can get along in Czech, so I’m happy and I will continue to work on my Czech.


But Romanian now, I guess I started around the 10th or 15th, I’m not sure when, of May. No, April. Let me think now. Yes, April. So I’ve had about six weeks and it will be close to eight weeks by the time I leave Romania. So six or seven weeks of prep and, of course it’s getting closer because next Monday I arrive in Vienna. I’m going to Vienna because – a little bit of the background – we deal with a company based in Vienna called Schweighofer, which is a lumber company, a very successful company headed up by a very dynamic individual, one of the most effective executives and business people in the software lumber business as far as I’m concerned.


He has built sawmills in Romania and we are buying lumber from these sawmills for shipment into the U.S. east coast. Mr. Schweighofer every year has a special prize for design with wood and I’ve been invited every year to go and take part in these ceremonies and I’ve never done so. I’ve known Mr. Schweighofer for quite a few years and so I decided this year, since we’re dealing with him and the mills in Romania, I would go to Vienna.


If I go to Vienna then I have to visit the sawmills in Romania and if I’m going to visit the sawmills in Romania then I was determined I would learn some Romanian. It coincided with about the time we introduced Romanian at LingQ, so for the last six weeks or so, as many of you know, I’ve been working on my Romanian. Of course the test will be when I arrive in Romania on the evening of the 5th of June. I will have the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th departing on the 10th, returning here on the 10th. So how much will I be able to do in Romanian? We will see. I promise to do a video in Romania talking with some Romanians, but before getting into that I want to talk a bit about how exciting it is to learn languages on the Internet. It’s a theme I get back to all the time.


Finding content in order to learn Romanian

We introduced Romanian at LingQ, but we had no content. A couple of our members gave us a small amount of content, but there was no content so I had to go out and create some through Elance, which is a very useful site on the Internet, where you can contact freelance people for outsourcing.  I have now a total of three tutors via Elance for Romanian. I was able to find people, as I explained before, to translate these 150 basic sentences and record them. I loaded this up as content into LingQ, so another 30-40 people have been able to use this in LingQ and it’s all available free of charge. I don’t mind. I do it for myself and, yet, other people are able to benefit. Then I had people do transcripts of the Radio Romania podcasts. I’ve tried a number of different transcribers and I’ve got one now that’s extremely good and quite reasonable.


She volunteered a number of resources, a grammar book, and she volunteered this one site called _______. It’s put out by the _______ and there there is like 22 lessons, audio and text. Initially, I imported those for my own use into LingQ and then I approached this person who had told me about it and asked her. I said could you approach the _________ and ask them if we could share this amongst other learners at LingQ. It’s available for free download.


They came back and immediately said yes, which is wonderful. Because all the time I’ve approached Ekho Moskvy for Russian or _______ for Czech for permission to share their material at our website, they don’t even answer. They don’t even answer. Here we got an answer right away, so I loaded up 22 lessons today of Romanian, audio and text, using the LingQ system. So however many people want to access that through LingQ are welcome to use it. I mean it’s just amazing how all this stuff works.


Also on that ________ website there is a PDF grammar book, a very good one with lots of examples, so I emailed the PDF grammar book to my Kindle account on my iPad and also on my iPhone. So now, of course, when I travel I’ll have my iPhone, my iPad and I have all of my recent lessons that I’ve downloaded onto the iPad. Anything I have on LingQ on the computer is now available to me on the iPad. Granted, right now I have to create the links on the computer because it’s much more convenient, but I just create them very, very quickly and then I do the reading and reviewing and listening on my iPad.


I just spent the last 20 minutes organizing all these lessons that I have, the Radio Romania podcasts with transcripts and the lessons from this ________, so I will have those available to review on the plan, as well as the ________. I can’t remember the name of it all, but this novel that another one of my tutors sent me. It’s quite difficult for me, but I’ve got the audio book and I’ve got the text. So I can read the text in PDF format, struggle, I can also listen to the audio book because I’ve got that sitting on my iPhone and also on my Nano.


Now, you can say that that’s a lot of investment in Nano, iPhone, iPad, plus the money I paid for transcribing and other services and stuff, but compared to going to a class it’s peanuts. If you go to a class five days a week three hours a day or whatever, you’re looking at $1,000 every month. Those are expenses that are just gone, whereas here a lot of what I’m doing I’m able to share with other people via LingQ. People can just download it. I’m able to take it with me, review it wherever I am, on the go, in the plane, while waiting for a plane at the airport.


Of course I won’t be fluent in Romanian in this short period of time, but I have learned so much about Romania, about Romanian history, about history 2,000 years ago, 500 years ago, different groups, Hungarians, Germans, in Transylvania the struggle for Bessarabia, Moldova, between the wars, the fascists and the king and stuff like that. So when I’m in Romania all the stuff I’ve been learning about in Romanian is just going to make my stay there so much more pleasant, plus I’ll be able to communicate at some level. How well I’ll be able to communicate we will have to see.


I promise a video from Romania and that will be starting on the 6th or 7th of June. That’s when I’ll be starting on my little holiday. After visiting the sawmills, I’ll be driving through Transylvania, one night in Brasov, two nights in _______ and while in ______ there is an international theater festival there. Apparently, there’s theater in the streets and in the public squares and so forth and so on, so I’ll be able to wander around and try out my Romanian.


So just to update you on my brief Romanian escapade, but once it’s over I have to beetle back to my Korean because I don’t want to backslide too badly in my Korean. So thanks for listening, bye for now.


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