-cia- and -cea-

DrLindenbrock

Senior Member
Italian
Hi,
I have a doubt concerning the spelling and pronunciation of Romanian.
I understand Romanian spelling rules concerning G and K are pretty much like the ones in Italian.
How are the words salcie (willow) and ceai (tea) pronounced?
Are they pronounced like "salče" and "čai"? What I mean to ask is whether both the E in "salcie" and the E in "ceai" are silent , i.e. just serve the purpose of making the C pronunced as CH in English and not as K.
In the case I got this right, is there a rule telling when to use E or when to use I? Or is it just a matter of usage and etymology.
I hope the question is clear.....but I'm not 100% sure :eek: ... please DO tell me if it isn't and I'll try to rephrase it!
Cheers :)
 
  • robbie_SWE

    Senior Member
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    Hi,
    I have a doubt concerning the spelling and pronunciation of Romanian.
    I understand Romanian spelling rules concerning G and K are pretty much like the ones in Italian.
    How are the words salcie (willow) and ceai (tea) pronounced?
    Are they pronounced like "salče" and "čai"? What I mean to ask is whether both the E in "salcie" and the E in "ceai" are silent , i.e. just serve the purpose of making the C pronunced as CH in English and not as K.
    In the case I got this right, is there a rule telling when to use E or when to use I? Or is it just a matter of usage and etymology.
    I hope the question is clear.....but I'm not 100% sure :eek: ... please DO tell me if it isn't and I'll try to rephrase it!
    Cheers :)

    Hi DrLindenbrock!

    Happy to see an Italian learn Romanian (it usually is the other way around :D )!

    Concerning your question:

    salcie = [sálcie] the "e" at the end is NOT silent and the "ci" is pronounced just like the Italian "ci sono"

    ceai = [čai] here the "e" is silent, because the the reason why there is an "e" is to create te "ch" sound like in English.

    I don't know if there really is a rule, you must probably learn these words by heart.

    Hope it helped!

    :) robbie
     

    DrLindenbrock

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hi DrLindenbrock!

    Happy to see an Italian learn Romanian (it usually is the other way around :D )!

    I've noticed that! :D
    :)

    Concerning your question:

    salcie = [sálcie] the "e" at the end is NOT silent and the "ci" is pronounced just like the Italian "ci sono"

    ceai = [čai] here the "e" is silent, because the the reason why there is an "e" is to create te "ch" sound like in English.

    I don't know if there really is a rule, you must probably learn these words by heart.

    Hope it helped!

    :) robbie

    Thank for your answer! So, let me make this statement and you please tell me if it sound correct to you, ok?

    In order to make the C have a "ch" sound like in English before A, O, U, you must insert an E between them, so you have:
    CEA /cha/
    CEO /cho/
    CEU /chu/

    The I is not used for this purpose. In combinations like CIA, CIO, CIU, both the I and the following vowels are clearly pronounced.

    E.g. ceai /chai/ but ciorbă /ch-i-orbă/

    Tell me what you think of this!
    Thank you very much!
    :)
     

    robbie_SWE

    Senior Member
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    Sound pretty ok, but you will not see many combinations like the ones you presented. There's only one thing I don't agree on and that's ciorbă.
    I don't pronounce the "i", so it's more like "ch-orbă". I thinkt that the same rule applies for "i" too in some cases.
    e.g. ciudat [chu-dat], cioc [ch-oc] etc.

    Hope it helped!

    :) robbie
     

    parakseno

    Senior Member
    Romanian, Romania
    Well, actually all letters should be prnounced... it's just a matter of the speed with which one talks that some sounds seem to dissapear.
    ce is pronounced somewhat like /ce/ in Italian "voce".
    ci is pronounced as /ci/ in (it.) "ci sono" as robbie said before.

    Now, because some people talk faster, when e and i are followed by another vowel, they seem to "unite" and be pronounced as a single sound. For example /e/ in "cea" slides slightly into /i/ so that one might hear sometimes something very similar to /cia/ as cia in "diciamo". But in most cases you should hear the /e/ quite clearly.

    I don't know a more technical explanation... hope you understand what I'm trying to say.
     

    DrLindenbrock

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hi Parakseno :)
    Thank you for your help!
    Well, since you seem to know some Italian (or maybe a lot, I don't know ;) :) ) let me ask a comparative question.
    As you know, when in Italian we write CIA we don't pronounce the I at all.
    The I here is just a device to make the C pronounced as CH in English and not as K.
    Does the same occur in Romanian?
    When I see a an "international" word like ciocolată I would automatically think of the I in the first syllable being silent, like in Italian. But of course, you are the native speaker! :)

    Correct me if I'm wrong, Robbie and Parakseno, but it seems to me that you said slightly diverging things...
    Anyway, thank you very much for all the time you are devoting to this thread! :thumbsup:
    :)
     

    parakseno

    Senior Member
    Romanian, Romania
    Yes, I know they are a bit diverging... Let's take a closer look at "ciocolată". If we say that the /i/ in "cio..." were to be silent, then in Romanian one should read something like the English /cho/ in "chocolate". But in Romanian this is not the case. The /i/ is there, but it tends to unite with the vowel /o/ that follows, being pronounced with the same breath. I think the technnical term for this is diphtong.
    It's like trying to say the Italian "fiore". The two sounds /i/ and /o/ seem to unite into a single phoneme/sound; you pronounce them as being a single vowel.

    Hope I was clear enough.
     

    robbie_SWE

    Senior Member
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    Naturalmente Parakseno! Hai ragione! Se tu vuoi DrLindenbrock, posso scrivere alcuni esempi domani!

    Saluti!

    :) Robbie
     

    Beobachter

    Member
    English, USA
    Well, actually all letters should be prnounced... it's just a matter of the speed with which one talks that some sounds seem to dissapear.

    You're referring here only to the combinations involving "c" and a following vowel? Sorry if I'm getting confused, I just wanted to pin this down.
     

    DrLindenbrock

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Yes, I know they are a bit diverging... Let's take a closer look at "ciocolată". If we say that the /i/ in "cio..." were to be silent, then in Romanian one should read something like the English /cho/ in "chocolate". But in Romanian this is not the case. The /i/ is there, but it tends to unite with the vowel /o/ that follows, being pronounced with the same breath. I think the technnical term for this is diphtong.
    It's like trying to say the Italian "fiore". The two sounds /i/ and /o/ seem to unite into a single phoneme/sound; you pronounce them as being a single vowel.

    Hope I was clear enough.

    Yes, it is very clear! :thumbsup: Thank you very much! :)

    Robbie, all your examples will be greatly appreciated! Thanks a lot! / tutti i tuoi esempi saranno molto apprezzati! Grazie mille! :)
     

    robbie_SWE

    Senior Member
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    Allora, voglio scrivere in inglese, perché io credo che questo "thread" è utilizzabile per tutti chi imparano la lingua rumena. :D

    Parakseno means that the "i" is very silent due to the unification of the vowels. It's almost like the French "vous avez" where the "s and a" are combined (N.B. just an exapmle...in Romanian the unification is much harder to hear).

    If you say the Romanian word very slowly you will hear the "i", but only
    faintly. Can you hear the "i" in the Italian cioccolata?

    I'll do some studying on the subject and come back to you if I find
    anything else!

    Hope it helps a bit!

    :) robbie
     

    parakseno

    Senior Member
    Romanian, Romania
    You're referring here only to the combinations involving "c" and a following vowel? Sorry if I'm getting confused, I just wanted to pin this down.

    No, not just "c"+vowel. It's a general phenomenon and it's not happening only in Romanian. Sounds do clash and do influence one another anyway, but when someone speaks at a higher rate (more sounds/time :p) this influence is much more audible.

    Romanian has pretty much a phonetic spelling, the characters one sees written correspond to a certain sound. It's true that the groups such as "che", "chi", "ce", "ci", "ghe", "ghi", "ge", "gi" seem to pose some problems and I remember that when I was back in the 1st grade, there was a separate lesson on them. But there are no true mute sounds as in French for example.

    Instead there is one interesting thing to note. Let's consider the form "este" (present indicative, 3rd person singular) of the verb "to be" ("a fi"). You'll always hear it pronounced with an /i/ sound before it: "ieste".
    But this doesn't happen to all words begining in "e". For example: "element" doesn't get an /i/ sound (and it sounds close to the way it would be pronounced in English, just remember to pronounce ALL the vowels: /e/-l/e/-meant, where e is read as "e" in "met").
    But I guess this is a totally differenet story...
     

    DrLindenbrock

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Allora, voglio scrivere in inglese, perché io credo che questo "thread" è utilizzabile per tutti chi imparano la lingua rumena. :D

    Giusto! / Right! :D :)

    Parakseno means that the "i" is very silent due to the unification of the vowels. It's almost like the French "vous avez" where the "s and a" are combined (N.B. just an exapmle...in Romanian the unification is much harder to hear).

    If you say the Romanian word very slowly you will hear the "i", but only
    faintly. Can you hear the "i" in the Italian cioccolata?

    I'll do some studying on the subject and come back to you if I find
    anything else!

    Hope it helps a bit!

    :) robbie

    Ok, I think I get it. Thanks for your help!
    As for your question, no, in Italian the I in cioccolata is absolutely silent... just like the H in chocolate is silent... the I in Italian and the H in English in this case just serve the purpose of avoiding that C be pronounced as K.

    The reason for me assuming E and I between C and another vowel (A, O, U) were silent was because I've read that Romanian orthography was developed having Italian as a model, I understand it is an accepted fact that in Italian and Romanian the pronounciation of C and G had the same evolution from Latin, etc.
    Anyway, I guess I'll really clear my doubt by speaking to a native... I should find one that suits the purpose... :D :)
     

    robbie_SWE

    Senior Member
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    Giusto! / Right! :D :)



    Ok, I think I get it. Thanks for your help!
    As for your question, no, in Italian the I in cioccolata is absolutely silent... just like the H in chocolate is silent... the I in Italian and the H in English in this case just serve the purpose of avoiding that C be pronounced as K.

    The reason for me assuming E and I between C and another vowel (A, O, U) were silent was because I've read that Romanian orthography was developed having Italian as a model, I understand it is an accepted fact that in Italian and Romanian the pronounciation of C and G had the same evolution from Latin, etc.
    Anyway, I guess I'll really clear my doubt by speaking to a native... I should find one that suits the purpose... :D :)

    But you're absolutely right! Romanian is based on Italian orthography and the pronounciation should be quite simillar.

    Sper orcum ca continui cu limba romana si ca inca nu ai developat o teama! :D

    (Sperò che comprendi)
     

    Beobachter

    Member
    English, USA
    Romanian has pretty much a phonetic spelling, the characters one sees written correspond to a certain sound.

    How about a single "i" at the end of a word? When I hear the national anthem sung, I can't hear any vowel sound pronounced at the end of "tirani," "ori," "duşmani," etc
     

    parakseno

    Senior Member
    Romanian, Romania
    How about a single "i" at the end of a word? When I hear the national anthem sung, I can't hear any vowel sound pronounced at the end of "tirani," "ori," "duşmani," etc

    Are you sure it's sung by Romanians? "i" at the end of a word IS pronounced. If it wouldn't you couldn't tell the difference between "tiran" (singular) and "tirani" (plural). "ori" is sometimes pronounced /or/ but if this is the case, then it's spelled "or". So, if it's written, it's there.
     

    Beobachter

    Member
    English, USA
    Are you sure it's sung by Romanians? "i" at the end of a word IS pronounced. If it wouldn't you couldn't tell the difference between "tiran" (singular) and "tirani" (plural). "ori" is sometimes pronounced /or/ but if this is the case, then it's spelled "or". So, if it's written, it's there.

    Well of course I do not doubt what you're saying--if a native speaker says it's pronounced, I believe it! But I can say that I have listened carefully to more than a dozen recordings of the anthem sung by native speakers, and to my ears the final "i" (or any vowel sound) is not audible in those words (or in "mâni," "piepturi," "Priviţi," etc.) I have tried, but I just can't hear it. (But I have only spent a total of two days in Romania, so I certainly can't claim to have much relevant exposure.)

    There are many very good recordings of the Romanian anthem here (add www):

    nationalanthems.us/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1078345604
     

    robbie_SWE

    Senior Member
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    Beobachter, what you are saying might be true for a non-native's ear, but consider this:

    Tiran = singular, ends very sharply [tee-raan]
    Tirani = plural, ends with a soft sound where the n and i float into each other [tee-raani]

    I think that this is very hard for a non-native to hear, but for a Romanian the difference is like night and day. The "i" at the end indicates the difference between an abrupt stop and a smooth phonetic ending.

    Hope this helped a bit!

    :) robbie
     

    Beobachter

    Member
    English, USA
    Could you elaborate a bit on the difference in pronunciation between a single "i" and a double "i" at the end of a word, e.g., the differences one hears in the phrase "barbarii de tirani"?
     

    robbie_SWE

    Senior Member
    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English
    When it's a double "i" the "i" is audible and an essential part of the word. When it's tirani, the "i" is only barely audible, almost silent.

    :) robbie
     

    parakseno

    Senior Member
    Romanian, Romania
    Well, I don't know, maybe it's just me... but I hear that "i" at the end very well even when it's only one of them.

    Could you elaborate a bit on the difference in pronunciation between a single "i" and a double "i" at the end of a word, e.g., the differences one hears in the phrase "barbarii de tirani"?

    Well, double "i" ("ii" that is) gets you a very long /i/ to say so. It's somewhat like the /i:/ sound in the English word "meet"; a single "i" is like the /i/ in "in".

    And I return a bit to the discussion about /i/ final. We should maybe take into account that what you heard was sung, but in a normal conversation that /i/ is clearly heard. Maybe the fact that it's the end of the word makes it loose its intensity, and in the case of "tirani" it comes right after the stressed sillable (so it's certainly less intense than the /a/) but it's still audible.
     
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