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…

WOTD: Hamal

A couple of years ago, back when I was still getting my bearings on Moldova, I kept being dumbstruck by how many employment offers were posted everywhere. Yes, a few were for lucru legal in Europa (legal work in Europe), but the vast majority were for local businesses. I couldn’t help but wonder – if…

Hey, Hey, It’s the Genitive A!

If you’re learning Romanian, you’ll soon find out that there are a metric ton of strange and confusing grammar rules. The vocabulary and verb conjugations are relatively easy, but understanding noun cases is pretty tricky. And probably one of the most difficult things to learn is when and how to use the genitive “a”. If…

WOTD: Băcănie

If you want to know what life is like in my house, consider that my wife and I spent half an hour debating the sign you see above. I took that photograph here in Chisinau because I was delighted to see a very old Romanian word that I hadn’t seen in years. Alas, even the…

Throwing in the Towel

Word Count: 526 A lot of people misjudge why I married my wife, thinking it’s more about her looks than her personality, but one reason why I love her so much is that she already speaks, reads, and writes four languages fluently. Holy Smokes! Right now she’s learning (modern) Greek, and it’s thanks to her…

Shut up and Dâns With Me

WORD COUNT: 346 A few years ago in Cluj (to be specific, it was when I first saw the hilarious David Ciceo on TV) I heard a word that I’d never heard before, and I had to ask a Romanian what it meant. Now I know, and since moving to the Republic of Moldova, I…

WOTD: Baraj

All the recent events over in Crimea put me in a somber mood, my thoughts turning to that strange old aristocrat Lord Alfred Tennyson and his poem The Charge of the Light Brigade about pointless and foolish deaths on that peninsula 150 years ago. Although thousands of soldiers from Russia and Britain suffered horribly, the…

WOTD: Film vs. Film Serial

It’s really interesting understanding the etymology (origin) of words. In both Romanian and English the word film came from French, originally meaning a “thin coating” or a thin layer on the surface of something. The first films (referring to photographs or movies) were a special kind of paper which had a thin layer of chemicals…

Word of the Day: Otevist

One of the more fun things you can do in the Romanian language is spontaneously create adjectives from acronyms. One of my favorite is “otevist”, which you won’t find in any dictionary but means “of or relating to OTV” based on the way those letters are pronounced in Romanian (o te vi + st). OTV…

Word of the Day: Dezvoltare

Whew, enough posts about me! Let’s talk about a word you’ve likely been hearing a lot in all of those clips and debates, and that is dezvoltare. The word is fairly easy for English speakers to master because it looks a lot like its translation – development. In most cases, it has a very identical…

Word of the Day: Zebra

You know, a lot of the times my Word of the Day series focuses on either obscure or unusual or linguistically interesting words and I realize this may not be of much use to the person who is just beginning to learn Romanian. If this is you, today you are lucky because the word zebra…