Romanian – a Unique Romance Language

The Romanian language, “limba română” in itself, has its roots in Vulgar Latin, as most other Romance languages do, such as French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. What makes it stand out from its “siblings” is that it is the only Romanic language spoken in the east of Europe.

Romanian formed out of the long process of colonization of Dacia by the Roman Empire between 106 BC and 275 AC. Besides the Latin influence, Romanian was also influenced by Slavic languages due to migration of Slavic tribes to the territory of present-day Romania during the Middle Ages.

Romania was left unattested for a long time, until the 16th century, only in 18th becoming to establish itself as an official language, as formerly Latin was the official or clerical language, as well as the Cyrillic alphabet.

Romanian is now the official language in Romania as well as in Moldova, summing around 24 million speakers. Romanian is also an official language in other regions, such as the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in Serbia, Ukraine or the town Gyula in Hungary.

The Romanian language is divided into four dialects: proper Romanian, Aromanian native to Greece, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey, Megleno-Romanian also native to parts of Greece, Macedonia and Turkey, and Istro-Romanian which is native only to Croatia. The differences between these linguistic varieties are rather small, of phonetic, grammar or lexical order.

Also within the Romanian language, there is an incredibly wide range of accents, depending on the region. It is unclear if it is fine to class them as 2 or 20, as they are astoundingly similar, yet Romanians easily differentiate each other by such.

In the southern part of Romania, the Wallachian dialect is spoken, although it can be divided into two: Muntenia and Oltenia, for the latter is known for the usage of a unique verbal tense. The northern dialects are plenty: the Moldavian accent in Moldavia as well as in Bessarabia, the Banat dialect, and many the Transylvanian varieties of Romanian, such as Crisana, Maramures, Bucovina or Ardeal (center of Transylvania).

As a Romance language, Romanian is the third most similar to its inheritance language, Latin, after Sardinian which is the most similar and Italian. The lexical similarity between these languages is no lower than 70% in any case, as Italian is the most similar with almost eithy percent.

In modern times, Romania’s vocabulary has also been heavily influenced by French, Hungarian, Turkish, German, and Greek as the native speakers of these languages cohabited with Romanians.

With the 20th century, English has found its way into Romanian and a lot of borrowings have taken place ever since.

As most countries hold on to dear life of their diacritics, Romania does the same with its: ă, â, î, ș, ț.

A Romanian person, when asked how his language is pronounced will always reply with: “You pronounce it how it’s written and you write it the same way it’s pronounced.” 

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Stefania Tripe
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” ― Stephen King.


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