Useful expressions in Romanian, like oral sex tomorrow, perhaps

by Bernard O'Shea

Romanians often laugh when they hear a foreigner try to say mâine, which means tomorrow, because foreigners often mispronounce it as muie, which means oral sex. I made the error constantly, apparently, when I was in Romania, so I am not the best person to try to outline the difference, but here goes:

  • mâine sounds a bit like “mwee-neh”
  • muie ” sounds a bit like “mwin-yeah”

Write those words in Google Translate (or something similar) and click on the “listen” icon to hear them for yourselves.

When a and i have hat-like accents on them –  ă â î  – it gives them more of an “uh” sound, a bit like a groan which you might utter if you are punched in the stomach.  Other accents that you probably won’t find on a non-Romanian keyboards are s and t with commas underneath them – ş and ţ – to give a hissing sound – and little hats sometimes on a and i –  ă â î  – giving them more of an “uh” sound, a bit like a groan which you might utter if you are punched in the stomach. 

Here are other useful sayings I learnt during my stay:

  • Habar n-am = I haven’t a clue/I have no idea. Great for when people ask you for directions, or when your Romanian teacher asks you something.
  • (Eu) aş vrea o bere I would like a beer.
  • Aş vrea încă o bere I would like another beer.
  • Ceai cu laptetea with milk.
  • Scuzaţi-mă / iertaţi-mă, nu vorbesc românăExcuse me / pardon me, I don’t speak Romanian.
  • Vorbesc engleză, vorbiţi engleză? I speak English, do you speak English?
  • O zi bună / o seară bună Have a nice day / have a good evening.
  • Nu face nimic / nu-i mimic / pentru nimicThat’s OK, it’s nothing, no problem, etc etc.
  • Bine v-am găsit! Nice to see you again. (Literally, so good I found you).

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romaniadventure August 9, 2013 - 10:15 am

That’s terrifying! I would never have guessed the perils of saying “See you tomorrow!”
Thanks for the warning!

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Bernard O'Shea August 18, 2013 - 8:04 pm

Hi, thanks for the feedback. Apparently if you say the word for a lemon wrongly it too can mean something rude, but I don’t want to delve into the details! Take care, cheers

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For immediate results, wait | My Five Romances September 10, 2013 - 11:42 pm

[…] Useful expressions in Romanian, like oral sex tomorrow, perhaps (myfiveromances.wordpress.com) […]

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raveca October 10, 2013 - 7:23 pm

Hi, Bernard.
First of all, congratulations on learning so many languages, especially Romanian! Sometimes it can be challenging for us natives, too, I can only imagine how frustrating it must be at times for foreigners.
I am from Sibiu myself (currently living in Japan) and I happened to be back home in the same time as you. Didn’t see you around though 🙂
You have a very interesting blog here, really funny and informative. Keep it up!

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Bernard O'Shea October 10, 2013 - 7:39 pm

Hi thank you very much for your comments, and I enjoy your blog too. Sibiu is a nice place, I enjoyed my time there but it was alas too short. Maybe one day our paths will cross there again? In which case we should at least have a drink or meal in piata mare ori piata mici. All the best. Cheers

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raveca October 11, 2013 - 8:07 am

We definitely should! (And talk about the languages of the world – I too, am struggling with an interesting one right now.)

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Trish Whytock November 26, 2013 - 2:26 am

such a cunning linguist!

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