Worthwhile information about the Romanian language

Romanian is a Romance language

The Romanian language belongs – as the name already suggests – to the Romance languages.
All of these languages have developed from (vulgar) Latin, the language of the Roman Empire.
Within the romance language family, Romanian belongs to the Eastern Romance language sub-group.
The most well-known Western Romance languages are French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Along side Romanian, the Italian, Corsican, and Dalmatian are count part of the Eastern Romance languages.
The latter was used to be spoken in the eastern region of the Adriatic coast but got lost in further times.

The Latin roots of the Romanian language

What all Romance languages have in common is that they have developed distinctly in each region from spoken Latin since Late Antiquity.
During the course of the early Middle Ages, the individual Romance languages emerged and the first records of them had been made.

A short history of the Romanian language

The origins of Romanian, however, when compared to other Romance languages, remains obscured.
In linguistics there are two different theories about the origins of the Romanian language.
The first is the continuity theory which holds that the population of the former Roman province of Dacia passed down the language through the ages.
The other is the migration theory, according to which, the Romanians first migrated to modern day Romania, especially to Transylvania, in the tenth century.
Although written records in Romanian first appeared in the sixteenth century, the Romanian language is considered to have originated between 600 and 900 AD.

The Romanian dialects

There are four main Romanian dialects.
The largest of them is Daco-Romanian, which is currently spoken by roughly 19 million people in Romania, some 4 million in Moldavia as well as by minorities in Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Hungary.
Daco-Romanian is the official language of both Romania and Moldavia.
The Aromanian language, often called Macedo-Romanian, uses the Latin or Greek alphabet depending on the region and features many aspects of Greek influence.
Aromanian is spoken by half a million people, with the greatest number of Balkan-Romanian speakers south of the Danube.
Aromanian is spoken today in parts of Romania, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia.
The Megleno-Romanian language is today only spoken by a few thousand people in the border region between Romania and Macedonia.
In contrast with Aromanian, a notable Slavic influence is evident in Megleno-Romanian.
The Istro-Romanian language is only spoken by a few people on the Croatian Istrian peninsula.
All Istro-Romanians are bilingual due to geographical location, which has also lead to a heavy Croatian influence on Istro-Romanian.

Romanian literary language

The Romanian literary language is today Daco-Romanian.
The first known records of Daco-Romanian are from the year 1521.
In the Romanian language there are several Latin characteristics still present, which can not longer be found in other Romance languages.
In particular, the neuter form has remained unlike all other Romance languages.
Likewise, substantive inflection in different cases is still very distinct and close to the original Latin forms.
Modern spoken Romanian has many borrowed words from Slavic languages as well as from Greek, Turkish, Hungarian and Albanian.
Romanian has solidified itself as the standard language in the region surrounding Bucharest.
In 17 Minute Languages' language courses you will learn, read and hear this standard language.

The Romanian alphabet

Until the sixteenth century the Romanian language has used the Cyrillic alphabet.
From the 18th century on, the Latin alphabet has been used in Transilvania.
In 1862 an official Romanian alphabet was introduced.
It was based on the Latin alphabet.

The Romanian alphabet, which is used today is made up of 26 Latin letters and five additional special characters:
ă, â, î, ş and ţ.

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