Case File: Moldovan v. Romanian

In the Romanian speaking world, there are few issues more divisive than whether or not “Moldovan” is a separate language than Romanian.

Romanian’s Special Word: DOR

For years and years and years almost beyond counting, there’s one thing that I have continually been told by Romanians. And that’s that there’s a special word in their language that “cannot be translated.” And that word is dor. Last week, the Unsleeping Eye brought me a perfect example of this: DOR: an untranslatable Romanian…

Brânză vs. Cașcaval

One of the great difficulties in learning any foreign language is when there are two words in the new language for something, but you only have one word in your own. Nearly 20 years ago now (my goodness, how the time has flown!), I remember asking the woman who taught me so much about Romanian…

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…

Summer Words

With the temperature soaring into the upper 30s all across Romania and Moldova this week, I thought it was the perfect time to learn some summer words! The links (underlined words) go to DEX, the online Romanian dictionary where you can see all the declinations and/or gendered versions of the word. căldură (call-doo-ruh) – Heat…

Sharpy, Licky, and Mini Pitchfork

Romanian is an interesting and colorful language, but it’s actually quite rare to find an entire set of words that are strictly derived from Latin. One such case involves everyday kitchen utensils. Knife = cuțit Spoon = linguriţă Fork = furculiţă The Romanian word for “knife” comes directly from the Latin term cotitus which means…

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…