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 lapte – tea with milk.
- Scuzaţi-mă / iertaţi-mă, nu vorbesc română – Excuse 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 nimic – That’s OK, it’s nothing, no problem, etc etc.
- Bine v-am găsit! – Nice to see you again. (Literally, so good I found you).