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…

The 200 Lei Chisinau Challenge

Although the Republica of Moldova doesn’t draw too many tourists, there are still a non-trivial number of foreigners who manage to find their way to Chisinau for one reason or another. Therefore, if you’re reading this and you want to make some spending money while you’re in Chisinau, I hereby offer to pay you 200…

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…

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…

Media Acronyms

If you’re like me and you’re trying to learn Romanian by watching the news, you can sometimes get stymied by the (seemingly) hundreds of acronyms that the media uses here. For the past week or so I’ve been keeping a list of the ones I’ve seen. For your own elucidation, here they are in alphabetical…