What better way to learn about Romania than through the language of the people? With this in mind, I have decided to join in with a blogging friend of mine, who is hosting an A-Z word challenge. In response to this challenge, I will aim to post three Romanian words here each day, accompanied by photographs and anecdotes about the country and what we have found here. You are welcome to join in by adding your own words, thoughts or comments.
Today is A (pronounced ‘ah’), so we will begin with amidon, or to be more precise, amidon de porumb:
The reason for this is that this elusive beastie took quite some tracking down! For British readers, it’s cornflour. American readers will know what I’m talking about if I tell them that amidon means ‘starch’. To confuse the issue even more, on this box it’s called something like ‘fine edible starch’. Exactly what we had on the shopping list!
So far, we’ve only been able to find it in one supermarket. The shop assistants in the others knew what we were talking about (once we’d worked out that we needed to ask for amidon and not făină) but were unable to find any on their shelves. Despite what it says on the box, it seems using it for preparing cakes, biscuits, desserts or sauces isn’t a thing in Romania.
My second choice of word is albastru. This is because it’s my favourite colour and because we have seen rather a lot of it since we’ve been here:
Blue sky: Cer albastru
It’s also an interesting word because, more literally, it means ‘whitish’ or ‘off-white’. So perhaps it refers to a sky lightly veiled with wispy white clouds? Whatever, alabaster, is a kind of gypsum or calcite, a whitish rock that can be carved to make ornaments, jars and vases. The word originated from the Latin, prior to that the Greek and prior to that, possibly Egyptian.
My final word is apus:
This means ‘sunset’ ‘sundown’ or ‘dusk’ . It can also mean ‘west’, with apusean meaning ‘western’. Hence Munții Apuseni – The ‘Mountains of the Sunset’ or ‘Western Mountains’.
The above photo was taken a week or two back, a couple of hours after we’d had thunder and lightning (but no rain). The clouds slowly clearing away made for a fabulous display of colour.
Apus – chosen because there is little in this world that is more beautiful.