Romanian is regarded as the most difficult of the Romance languages to learn. While grasping the language’s grammatical structure is difficult, you can always settle on a middle ground by learning the Romanian English accent. Mastering the Romanian accent might seem daunting, but in this article, you’ll receive some guidelines on how to develop a convincing one. This post covers the details of learning the Romanian accent and some tips to speed up the learning process.
Learn the Romanian Pronunciation
The Romanian accent is one of the easiest to grasp, mainly because the country has high English Proficiency levels. This makes it easy for you to look up words and their pronunciations by native Romanians.
Correct Romanian pronunciation is as essential to understanding the language as good grammar is. You want to communicate clearly and sound like a fluent speaker to other people.
Fun fact: The Romanian accent is similar to Italian sounds, with modest Slavic impacts.
Mastering the mouth position for a Romanian accent reduces your efforts to deliver the words by half. The three primary considerations for acing your vampire accent include:
- Positioning your mouth – rounded or unrounded
- Positioning your tongue – up or down / touching the teeth
- Participation of your vocal cords
It is crucial to know where your tongue and lips are when speaking in a Romanian accent and where they should be. Since we are not naturally aware of the tongue and lips used in our home languages, it is easy to assume you are doing it correctly.
In reality, the general instruction for doing a Romanian vampire accent is delivering the words from the front of your mouth and keeping your lips tighter. So, you wouldn’t be moving your mouth as much as a native English speaker.
This particular mouth positioning is similar to the posh British accent, where you speak delicately and pronounce each word with sophistication.
There are distinct mouth positions for delivering various sounds. Take a look at this example below to understand the mouth positioning for the letter ‘E’ in the Romanian English accent:
When saying ‘E’ in a Romanian English accent, you slightly open your lips and mouth. When saying ‘e’ in a Romanian accent, it would look like you are broadly grinning without touching your lips.
Pronouncing the “R’s” and the “W’s”
When positioning your mouth in the way mentioned above, your “r’s” will have a slight rolling, and the “w’s” are pronounced almost the same as a faint ‘v.’
A point to remember here that gives away a person struggling to adopt the Romanian accent is the pronunciation of the “w” sound. Someone with command over the Transylvanian accent would pronounce the “w” as a slight ‘v,’ while a novice’s “w” sound would sound like a rich ‘v.’
Implementing this rule, the sentence: “They lived in a far away island” would be delivered as “They leeved in a fa-r avay island.”
Vowels Sounds and Syllables
The significant distinction between an RP English accent and the Romanian accent is the sounds and syllables. The sounds of Romania are a blend of consonants, vowels, and semi-vowels; twenty consonants, four semi-vowels, and seven vowels, to be exact.
When speaking in English, a Romanian person mixes most standard English syllables with their own. Let me explain the rule with the help of an example:
In the Romanian accent, you pronounce ‘a’ as ‘-ah,’ even in words that demand the letter to pronounce as ‘-ae.’ So, the words ‘father’ and ‘aback’ would be pronounced with a flat ‘a’ in a Romanian accent.
Here is a list of similar vowels pronunciations in the Romanian accent:
- e is pronounced as eh, like in bet
- i is pronounced as ee, like in beet
- o is pronounced as oh, like in pole
- u is pronounced as oo, like in pool
Keeping this concept in mind, you would pronounce ‘alert’ as ‘al-ai-rt,’ ‘pizza’ as ‘pee-za,’ ‘about’ as ‘ab-oh-t,’ and ‘amuse’ as ‘amoose’ when adopting a Romanian English accent.
If you notice closely, we implemented the same concept in the example in rule two, where the word ‘lived’ was to be pronounced as ‘lieved.’
However, this rule applies to words with vowel sounds in the middle. When the vowels occur at the beginning of the sentence, a Romanian usually pronounces them as a native English speaker does, only with a higher pitch.
Know Which Syllables to Stress On
Stressing on the syllables is a crucial consideration when mastering the Vampire accent. The most effective approach to learning the stress mechanism in a Romanian accent is to hear others speak.
However, you can also identify the key difference by comparing English and the Romanian Vampire accent. In essence, all the syllables get equal emphasis.
For example, a native English speaker pronounces the words’ naval’ by stressing the first ‘a’ more than the second. However, a Romanian would pronounce the same word as ‘n-ah-vah-l.’
Learn the Rhythm of the Romanian Accent
If you have ever heard someone with a Romanian accent speak, you must have noticed that their sentence delivery has a rhythm.
While the native English speakers deliver their sentences in one flow, the Transylvanian accent has a melodic bass line that fluctuates up and down depending on the key emphasizing words.
While there is no specific structure to the rhythm, you can get an idea of which words to emphasize and how to form a melody of the sentence by listening to a Romanian person speaking in the Dracula accent.
Enunciating the “T’s” and “D’s”
Properly articulating the ‘t’ and ‘d’ sounds at the end of words can make all the difference when it comes to mastering the Romanian accent.
While native English speakers usually smear the ends of words ending with ‘t’ or ‘d,’ someone with a Romanian accent would make sure to enunciate these words correctly.
So, for example, the words ‘don’t,’ ‘said,’ ‘and,’ and ‘wait’ are pronounced as it is in the Transylvanian accent. This is in contrast to the typical English pronunciation, where you wouldn’t be able to distinguish the ‘t’ or ‘d’ sound present at the end of these words.
Applying the rule to a sentence, you would say, “I couldn’t comprehend the chemistry teacher’s lecture on Chemical Bonding,” while emphasizing the ‘t’ and ‘d’ sounds.
Pronounce the “E” as “A” and “A” as “-AE”
I don’t think we need any explanation on this one. When speaking in the vampire accent, you deliver the ‘e’ in words as a faint ‘a.’
On the other hand, the’ a’ sounds are pronounced like a distinct ‘-ae,’ emphasizing the second half of the diphthong ‘e.’
Here’s a sentence to help you comprehend the concept better: the word ‘stay’ would be pronounced as ‘stai-ie’ in the Romanian accent. On the other hand, you would say ‘mate’ instead of ‘met’ (almost like in a Scottish accent).
Incorporate the Romanian Slangs in Your Speech
The best, foolproof way of sounding like a native Romanian is to speak like the native Romanians.
Even though the Romanians speak in English in the mega cities, they still scatter a few slang here and there to add that personalized touch. So, even if you haven’t mastered your vampire accent, you can throw in a few Romanian words and phrases to mingle with the natives.
Here are the most common slangs the Romanians use in their everyday conversations:
- Ba – it means “hello” or “hey guys.”
- Brumi – it means “beautiful.”
- Bda – it means “yes.” While the actual word for yes is ‘da,’ native Romanians add an extra ‘m’ to show involvement in the conversation. Consider it the ‘hmm’ in the English language.
- Misto – it means “cool.”
- Naspa – the Romanians use this word to refer to something that is “substandard” or “low quality.”
Tips to Speed up Your Romanian Accent Learning Process
Use Voice Recording Tools
The net is full of free resources that you can utilize to improve your pronunciation when learning the Transylvanian accent. The majority of these resources teach proper dialogue and sentence delivery, in addition to everyday words.
We recommend paying attention to the teacher’s mouth movements while speaking in a Romanian accent and trying to mimic the speech. You can even record yourself, compare your speech with a native’s, and do a self-analysis to point out the flaws and focus on your weak points.
Practice In Front of the Mirror
Knowing how to speak in a Romanian accent isn’t a big deal. The real dread arises when doing the accent in front of a crowd.
To make your efforts of learning the vampire accent worth it, practice speaking it in front of the mirror. This way, you will be able to combat the anxiety of speaking in front of others and will also be able to pinpoint your own mistakes in mouth positioning.
Listen to the accent
Have you ever observed parents repeating ‘mamma’ or ‘dada’ multiple times in front of their toddlers? They can pick up words just by listening to them.
Training your ears to particular sounds can help you pick up words and pronunciations faster. This listening and repeating exercise will fasten the pace of your learning.
You can watch Romanian movies or TV series (the ones in English) or even listen to recorded audio books to grasp how native Romanians deliver their sentences.