Reuben, the Oxford polyglot fascinated by the Romanian language: “Romania is a country with soul and heart”

Reuben Constantine, the British student from Oxford who loves the Romanian language, reveals in an exclusive interview for “Adevărul” how he came to study our language and how he convinced other British students to learn Romanian.

Reuben Constantine speaks nine foreign languages ​​PHOTO personal archive

Second-year student of Foreign Languages ​​at Oxford University, the British Reuben Constantine speaks nine foreign languages ​​fluently, and Romanian is his favorite among them all.

Recently, a clip posted on TikTok in which Reuben speaks with great admiration about his passion for the Romanian language, had hundreds of thousands of impressions and numerous positive comments, mostly from Romanians. He explains in detail the similarities between the Romanian language and the Romance languages.

Before attending Oxford University, Reuben Constantine proved he had a passion for languages, managing to reach a good conversational level in French, Greek, Spanish, Italian and German within a year. As a result, the choice to study foreign languages ​​at university was a natural one.

He gladly accepted to give an exclusive interview for “Adevărul”, the first given to a Romanian publication. Reuben gladly agreed to conduct the interview in Romanian, the foreign language he fell in love with.

“I immediately fell in love with her”

THE TRUTH: When did you become addicted to language learning?

REUBEN CONSTANTINE: At 18, during the COVID-19 pandemic, because I had a lot of free time. I was already learning French at school and had discovered a method that I liked, so I decided to start learning another language on my own. My family had booked a holiday in Greece so I chose Greek. I spent a lot of time in the winter learning Greek, and when I went to Greece in the summer I was able to speak to the locals in their language. Their reactions and the smile on their faces when I started speaking in Greek was priceless to me. I enjoy both the process of learning a language and the reward of talking to people.

– When did you come into contact with the Romanian language for the first time?

I was working in an Italian restaurant where I spoke Italian with the other staff members. One day, I was talking to a customer in the restaurant who told me that she is Romanian and that the Romanian language is very similar to Italian. She was very friendly and spoke passionately about her home country. When I got home, I decided to start learning Romanian and I immediately fell in love with it.

– What fascinates you the most about the Romanian language?

The vocabulary. I am fascinated by historical linguistics, especially the evolution from Latin to the current Romance languages. I speak several other Romance languages ​​and I find it so interesting to compare Romanian words with Spanish, French, etc. The Romanian language often has forms that are most similar to Latin, as well as many words in common with Greek and Turkish, due to language contact.

“I convinced more British students to learn Romanian”

– How is learning the Romanian language compared to the other eight languages ​​you have learned?

It was relatively easy to pick up the language right from the start, as much of the vocabulary and pronunciation was familiar to me. On the other hand, it was difficult to master because the grammar is very complicated! It is particularly difficult to know the gender of nouns, especially the so-called neuter ones!

Reuben fell in love with the Romanian language PHOTO personal archive

Reuben fell in love with the Romanian language PHOTO personal archive

– Have other colleagues from Oxford followed your example and started learning Romanian?

Yes! I have several friends who are Romanian and together we have convinced several other British students to start learning this language!

– Who are your Romanian language teachers at Oxford and how is the interaction with them?

At Oxford the lessons are held weekly and are offered free of charge by the university and any student can attend. I participate in advanced level courses in a group of 5-6 students. The courses are taught by Oana Uta Bărbulescu, lecturer at the University of Bucharest. He is a charismatic and passionate teacher who shares his love for the Romanian language and historical linguistics. Our classes are always the highlight of my week. The lessons are very relaxed and relaxing, with an emphasis on using the language in different communication situations and on discussing grammatical curiosities in the Romanian language.

The British student is fascinated by the Romanian language PHOTO video capture Tik Tok

The British student is fascinated by the Romanian language PHOTO video capture Tik Tok

The peculiarity of “to”

– Why is Romanian your favorite foreign language?

I like to speak the language with my Romanian friends, so naturally I started to associate the language with these people. I also think that the Romanian language sounds very beautiful and fascinates me from a linguistic point of view.

– Which Romanian words are the most interesting for you?

The mark “sǎ” is extremely interesting (as in the construction “I want to speak Romanian”) because I noticed that this word does not exist with this value and with this behavior in the other Romance languages, but it is very similar to the particle “να”, which is found in modern Greek. Linguists believe that the extensive use of the subjunctive and the narrowing of the use of the infinitive is due to language contact and falls under the category of common features between the languages ​​of the Balkans, that area of ​​the Balkan Sprachbund.

Reuben's Favorites

– What are your favorite Romanian words?

Damn! Love! Beauty!

– You also have great admiration for Romanian culture. Which parts and personalities of Romanian culture do you like the most?

I love Romanian food!

I also find people very friendly and sociable. I am naturally a very open person and it is very easy for me to communicate very freely with Romanians: sometimes, after 10 minutes, I have the impression that I have already known them for years!

– If you had to describe Romania in one word, what would it be?

A country with soul and heart.