Part one can be found here.
A few months ago, I mentioned that on the back of all Romanian money it says Banca Nationala a Romaniei and someone asked what that “a” means, and how to use it.
As we know quite well, Romanian is a language with declinations, which means that the “receiving” noun has a special form which can denote possession.
Centrul orasului – The center of the city (or “the city’s center”).
Casa lui Bogdan – Bogdan’s house.
Sometimes though there are a number of linked nouns in a sentence and it is unclear which noun is “possessing” the adjective in question.
Banca Nationala a Romaniei means “Romania’s National Bank” but without the “a” in there it would be “National Romania’s Bank”.
There’s a large building in Cluj named “Casa de Cultura A Studentilor” meaning “The Students’ House of Culture”. Again, without the “a” in there it would be “The House of Students’ Culture”.
Therefore the possessive “A” always comes immediately before the receiving noun.
The good news is that there are only a few forms to learn.
Keep in mind that for “neuter” words, they take the masculine form in the singular and the feminine in the plural.
When you look at “Casa de Cultura A Studentilor” it’s pretty obvious that the word “studentilor” is plural (and masculine). So why is it “A”, the singular feminine form?
The possessive “A” reflects the gender/number of the noun that’s being possessed, not the possessor. In other words, the “A” refers to the word “Casa”, which is singular and feminine, not “Studentilor” which is plural and masculine.
If the students got together and pooled their money together and bought several buildings all with the same name then it’d be “Casele de Cultura ale Studentilor”.
Let’s try some! Remember that the “A” form modifies the noun that’s the “subject” of the sentence.
Highlight the blank portion with your mouse if you get stuck.
|Casa cea noua a parintilor mei|
|Computerul cel nou al fratelui meu|
|Pantofii noi ai studentilor|
|Cartile bune ale profesorului|
|Masina verde a lui Bogdan|
|Pisicile frumoase ale vecinului|
AND NOW YOU KNOW!