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Introduction to Romanian: George O. Seiver


Title: Introduction to Romanian
Author: George O. Seiver
Publisher: New York: Hafner Publishing Company
Year: 1953
Pages: 257

An Amazon user's review:
Nowadays textbooks for learning basic conversational Romanian are readily available, with decent entries in both the Teach Yourself and Colloquial series. Going beyond that initial stage, reaching a better command of idiomatic usage and understanding the complex literary language, unfortunately requires searching for some publications of half a century ago. If you can find it, George O. Seiver's INTRODUCTION TO ROMANIAN (1953) is one of the wonderful textbooks of yesteryear that, in their unrealistically demanding approach to teaching beginners, prove to be superb intermediate textbooks.
Another such book is Grigore Nandris' COLLOQUIAL RUMANIAN of the same year, and that too should be snatched up if you ever find it. But what makes Seiver's book the best is its enormous amount of exercises. Every chapter has a long list of challenging exercises that force you to produce good literary style. Just work in collaboration with some patient Romanian friends who can check your work. Of course, your friends will inevitably laugh at the archaic usage (lots of vocabulary here that disappeared in the early 20th century), but the point is that Eminescu and Caragiale wrote just this kind of language. Seiver's book will prepare you to enjoy those pearls of Romanian literature that every native speaker grows up with, while if you stop with e.g. TEACH YOURSELF ROMANIAN you're limited to the everyday spoken language. Nearly every chapter also has a list of idioms, and most of these are still current, so by working with Seiver's book the reader will also speak more natural Romanian, sounding less functional and more fluid.
I learnt spoken Romanian in a couple of weeks and for years used it conversationally with friends and in shops in my adopted city of Cluj. I settled into a sort of complacency thinking my skills were good enough. Seiver's book showed me what learning a language really means. I cannot recommend this enough to every student of Romanian.


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