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Thread: "Roumanian"

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    #1

    "Roumanian"

    Hello everyone!

    I have an issue with understanding a sentence:
    "Without a halt we continued our way to Altenburg, where we were obliged to stop, after seven hours uninterrupted driving, not for tea, but for petrol. This was Roumanian and unsatisfactory." - found in: Robert Byron: Europe in the Looking-Glass, Hesperus Press Limited 2012, p. 40

    What does "Roumanian" mean, can you help?


    Thank you very much!

    Listicetti

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    #2

    Re: "Roumanian"

    Welcome to the forum, Listicetti.

    It's a variant of 'Romanian'. Click here and bookmark the OneLook dictionary search for your future reference.

  3. probus's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "Roumanian"

    That is true, but it does not really answer the question. In the passage, "This was Roumanian ..." is a racist statement typical of the time. The implication is that the Roumanians through whose territory they were passing were somehow to blame for their need to stop.
    Last edited by probus; 05-Oct-2015 at 04:41.

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: "Roumanian"

    That 'typical of the time' may need some explaining. The 2012 reprint of Europe in the Looking-Glass is described by Amazon as 'a travel book which has not been in print since 1926'. Robert Byron was born in 1905. (This is not to say that racism no longer exists, but casual and offhand national slurs like this are less common now).

    It's not clear what 'This' refers to in that last sentence - the delay, the need for petrol, or the petrol itself: probably this last, I think, as many Englishmen abroad 100 years ago were used to regarding anything foreign as substandard. And while, say, French or German petrol was just tolerable, Roumanian petrol was - as they used to say - 'the outside of enough'

    b
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  5. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #5

    Re: "Roumanian"

    Romania was a big oil producer in that time, but maybe their petrol was somehow different from the kind the driver normally bought and his car didn't run as well.

  6. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: "Roumanian"

    Maybe a lower octane...? (not that I know anything about oil processing).

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    #7

    Re: "Roumanian"

    I read that passage to mean that the author found that driving for seven hours and stopping only for fuel, with no breaks for tea, unacceptable. This Roumanian mentality of long drives stopping only when absolutely necessary to refuel and not taking proper tea breaks was (in the author's opinion) unsatisfactory.
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