How to Count to 20 in Romanian

Do you know how to count to 20 in Romanian? No? Well, let’s begin! Plus, find out where all those numbers come from and which languages Romanian is most closely related to.

First things first, are you up to speed with the historical reference in the name ‘Romanian’? The language – and the country where it’s spoken, Romania – are both so named because of their links to the former Roman Empire. Exactly why is up for debate, but it seems likely to be related to the fact that the Roman Empire included part of modern-day Romania and people in that region spoke an ordinary type of Latin called ‘Latin Romanicus’.

Why is this relevant? Well, it was ‘Latin Romanicus’ that gave rise to the term ‘Romance languages’ – languages derived from ordinary Latin – and knowing about Romance languages is important for understanding this post.

With us so far? Awesome.

So, when we hear people talking about Romance languages, French, Spanish, and Italian are usually the ones that crop up the most. Of course, there are many more than that – Portuguese, Catalan, and Sicilian are just three more languages that are descended from Latin.

Romanian is another. (Yes, we know you saw that coming!) Although Romanian has been influenced by the Slavic languages surrounding it, it is still more closely related to its Romance cousins, as should become clear as we start learning the numbers.

Let’s get started!

The numbers 0 – 10

Here are the Romanian numbers 0 – 10:

unu1inherited from Latin ūnus, from Old Latin oinos, originally from Proto-Indo-European *óynos (one, single)
doi2from Vulgar Latin *duī (“two”, root), from Latin duo
trei3inherited from Latin trēs, from Proto-Indo-European *tréyes
patru4inherited from Latin quattour, from Proto-Indo-European *kʷetwóres
cinci5inherited from Vulgar Latin cīnque, from Latin quīnque
şase6inherited from Latin sex, from Proto-Indo-European *swéks
şapte7inherited from Latin septem, from Proto-Indo-European *septḿ̥
opt8inherited from Latin octō
nouă9inherited from Latin novem
zece10inherited from Latin decem

The numbers 11 – 20

The numbers 11 – 20 are mainly made by taking the numbers in the above table (1 – 9) and adding -sprezece to the end. -Sprezece is made up of spre + zece and literally means ‘to ten’.

This isn’t a form you’ll tend to see in other Romance languages. That’s because it was influenced by Romanian’s neighbouring languages like Albanian and Old Church Slavonic.


Oh, but what about the word for 20? Douăzeci is made up of two parts – două, the feminine form of ‘two’ and zeci, a plural form meaning ‘tens’. So the word literally means ‘two tens’.

Learn your numbers with uTalk

You can find full audio for the numbers in this post in the uTalk app, and you can learn them there, too, by playing games and having fun!

Want to learn more numbers? As well as our Numbers up to Twenty topic, our app also has a topic (in every language) called Numbers up to Ten Million. We don’t list every single number – how could we? – but you’ll learn how to form the numbers intuitively through exposure in the Phrase Practice section and the various games.

Start learning with uTalk today. Download our app for free, and when you want to subscribe, you can get started with 40% off your next subscription. Happy language learning!

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