Daily Archives: 14 February 2007

Romanian Synonymy: Romanian and French

The following synonym sets are formed from Romanian and French components.

  • călătorie ~ voiaj ‘trip’
  • întrecere ~ concurs/competiţie ‘competition’
  • convorbire ~ conversaţie/discuţie ‘conversation, discussion’
  • însufleţire/înflăcărare ~ entuziam ‘inspiration, enthusiasm’
  • cleveteală/bârfeală ~ calomnie ‘gossip, slander’
  • indignare ~ revoltă ‘revolt’
  • dovadă ~ argument ‘evidence, argument’
  • putere/tărie ~ forţă ‘power, force’
  • a înfăptui/îndeplini ~ a realiza ‘to fulfill, realize’
  • a zugrăvi/înfăţişa ~ a reda/descrie ‘to depict, render’
  • a contrazice ~ a combate/obiecta ‘to contradict, object’
  • a înapoia ~ a restitui ‘to give back, make restitution’
  • a pregăti ~ a prepara ‘to prepare’
  • a întrece ~ a depăşi ‘to overtake’
  • a înştiinţa ~ a comunica/anunţa ‘to inform, announce’

SOURCE: Section 3.1.5.7 in “Formation of Synonyms” Probleme de sinonimie, by Onufrie Vinţeler (Bucureşti: Editură Sţiinţifică şi Encliclopedică, 1983) [my translation].

In sharp contrast to the mostly rural, earthy Slavic borrowings examined earlier, these adoptions from French seem to reflect usage by cosmopolitan, high-society types, thus conforming to one of the earliest assumptions about why speakers of one language borrow words from another: because the lending language has more prestige. However, note that the Romanian equivalents of French Bon voyage and Bon appétit are Drum bun and Poftă bună, respectively, where the nouns are in both cases of Slavic origin.

Leave a comment

Filed under France, language, Romania