The Hardest Word to Say in the Romanian Language (for English Speakers)

Unfortunately, this tongue-twister of a word is not some rarely used, technical word like jhgeaburi. Instead, it is literally a plague of a word to learn, and if you spend any time in Romania (or Moldova), you’ll definitely have cause to try to wrap your mouth around this particular bon mot.

You can’t blame Romanians for creating this word out of thin air like they sometimes do (copaci). Nope. This word is straight from the Latin.

The word I’m talking about, of course, is țânțari which means “mosquitos” in literally every other language in the world. And around here, mosquitos thrive during the summer. I’ve been considered a tasty treat by mosquitos since I was a kid, unfortunately.

The original “proper” Latin word was zinzalus. Remembering that the Romanian letter “ț” is almost a “z”, you can see how these two words are at least similar.

But right after the ț comes that deep â sound, and before your mouth can recover, here comes another ț! Basically, you have to half swallow your tongue in order to chunk out the difficult sibilant to vowel transitions.

If you’re learning Romanian and want to practice saying this word, all I can say is…


6 thoughts on “The Hardest Word to Say in the Romanian Language (for English Speakers)

  1. I think the following sentence: “Oaia aia e a ei”, it is very hard to pronounce too… It means: That sheep is hers.


  2. Strange, because there are, in my view far worse words than the one above, quietly fiendish for the English speaker! For example the verb A FĂRÂMIȚA (to crumble) which has as its familiar pluperfect; fărâmițaseși. This has just about everything wrong with it for the English speaker! Â is bad enough, and ș and ț, and the i, all contribute to the nightmare of this verb.


  3. I have been visiting Romania for 20 years including living here for 10 year, but I find the language just impossible. I would love to speak it, but at my age (67) it just is not possible.
    Inversely the sound in English the is so difficult for Romanians and is seldom pronounced correctly is “th” as in, this, that , those, they, something, Thursday, through, etc.


  4. J-g-h-eaburi instead of J-H-g-eaburi
    Funny how țânțari is so easy to say for native Romanians. It’s a matter of growing up with it. I can’t conceive how to pronounce anything in chinese though.


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