Four Eyes

When I was a kid, we considered it the height of hilarity to refer to someone as “four eyes”. In modern terms, we thought this was a “sick burn,” but all it means it that the person wears glasses (spectacles). Not all that original, I know. In Romanian, however, saying ochii-n patru means something completely…

Loitering

Anyone who has ever learned (or attempted to learn) another language knows that there are always some words and phrases that can never be translated properly. The Portuguese word saudade is a classic example, having much more depth of meaning and sadness than English words like “longing” or “melancholy” can adequately portray. Today’s word, loitering…

The Net Bag Mini Sack Pack

Following up on my post A Refreshing Drink of Sweet Water Juice, I thought I’d explore some other common words in the Romanian language which have a number of common variants. When I first moved to Cluj-Napoca and I’d go to the grocery store, the clerk would ask me if I wanted a punga. This…

A Refreshing Drink of Sweet Water Juice

The other day, a friend of mine posted a rather humorous breakdown of the differences between some words used in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. One of them, in particular, made me smile, as I remember learning all three versions during the course of my adventures in learning the language. Making the issue even…

If I were the ambassador…

I have to admit that I was initially quite happily surprised to see the latest letter published in the Huffington Post (UK edition) from Doctor Ion “Two Sheeps” Jinga because I thought that perhaps the same ghost writer who recently wrote on behalf of Crin Antonescu had helped the good “doctor” sound somewhat intelligent and…

More Gooder Relations with the English

Anyone living here for any amount of time knows that Romania is a comedy of errors, where even the most routine things get cocked up (as British people say). A case in point is a screencap I took of the welcome message of the official website of the Romanian embassy in Britain: Seriously, you’d think…

Murder in Piata Unirii

On a bitterly cold and dark morning last week, long after the last club goers had staggered home and before the commuters began heading to work, I saw a murder right in the center of Piata Unirii, the main square in downtown Cluj-Napoca. It was a brazen thing, committed right in the center of the…

Answers to Pop Quiz #2

These are the answers to Pop Quiz #2 so if you haven’t taken the quiz yet and don’t want the “spoilers”, do not read the rest of what follows! Answers Question 1 Correct response: A The story begins “so the next morning…” Question 2 Correct response: C The Narrator states several times that his sister…

Pop Quiz #2

It’s easy enough to understand a movie or TV show when there are subtitles or people are speaking slow, clear English. But the real world isn’t always like that, is it? Listen to the audio story below as many times as you like (click here if the embedded player doesn’t work for you) and then…

E4R: Answers to Pop Quiz #1

If you haven’t taken the Pop Quiz already, then go ahead and do so before reading further because what follows are the ANSWERS. Yay! Three cheers for answers. Ready? If you’re a highly educated person you probably missed that I mischievously put an “extra” question on the test. I deliberately embed all kinds of textual…

E4R: Pop Quiz!

All of the following are real sentences that I’ve heard spoken with my own ears. Your job is to correctly guess the “school book” or standardized translation. Good luck! 1) Yesterday I went at the mall a) Yesterday I physically attacked the mall b) Yesterday I began to yell at the mall c) Yesterday I…

E4R: For a Fistful of Dollars

In Romanian, the logic is absolute. Any time you buy something with money, well… you buy it with money. Ex: Am cumparat cartea lui Sam cu doar 30 de lei! However in English, as odd as it sounds, and as infrequently as it is used here, one always pays for things (with money). Ex: I…