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Romanian (limba română/român)

Romanian is a Romance language spoken by about 24 million people mainly in Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. Romanian retains a number of features of Latin, such as noun cases, which have disappeared from Romance languages. Romanian contains many words taken from the surrounding Slavic languages, and also from French, Old Church Slavonic, German, Greek and Turkish.

Romanian at a glance

  • Native name: limba română [ˈlimba roˈmɨnə]; român [roˈmɨn]
  • Linguistic affliation: Indo-European, Italic, Romance, Eastern Romance
  • Number of speakers: c. 24 million
  • Spoken in: Romanian and Moldova, and also in Serbia, Greece and Hungary
  • First written: 1521
  • Writing system: Cyrillic and Latin alphabets
  • Status: official language in Romania, Moldova, Vojvodina in Serbia, Mount Athos in Greece. Recognised minority language in Hungary and Serbia

Romanian first appeared in writing during the 16th century, mainly in religious texts and other documents. The earliest known text in Romanian dates from 1521 and is a letter from Neacşu of Câmpulung to the mayor of Braşov. Neacşu wrote in a version of the old Cyrillic alphabet similar to the one for Old Church Slavonic, which was used in Walachia and Moldova until 1859.

From the late 16th century a version of the Latin alphabet using Hungarian spelling conventions was used to write Romanian in Translyvania. Then in the late 18th century a spelling system based on Italian was adopted.

A version of the Cyrillic alphabet was used in the Soviet Republic of Moldova until 1989, when they switched to the Romanian version of the Latin alphabet.

Old Romanian alphabet

This version of the Latin alphabet was used during the transition from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabets. It is still used, though mostly in church writings.

Old Romanian alphabet

Cyrillic alphabet for Romanian (16th century - 1860)

Cyrillic alphabet for Romanian (16th century - 1860)

Modern Romanian alphabet (Alfabetul limbii române)

Modern Romanian alphabet (Alfabetul limbii române

Romanian pronunciation

Romanian pronunciation


Download alphabet charts for Romanian (Excel)

Sample text in Romanian

Toate ființele umane se nasc libere și egale în demnitate și în drepturi. Ele sunt înzestrate cu rațiune și conștiință și trebuie să se comporte unele față de altele în spiritul fraternității.

A recording of this text by Georgescu Alexandru Cristian


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about Romanian | Phrases | Numbers | Family words | Telling the time | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

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Information about the Romanian language

The Letter of Neacşu of Câmpulung (the first written document in Romanian)

Online Romanian lessons

Romanian phrases

Online Romanian dictionaries

Romanian Electronic talking dictionaries

Online Romanian radio

Televiziunea Româna (Romanian Television - includes live online programmes)

Online Romanian news

Learn Romanian online with RomanianPod101

Romance languages

Aragonese, Aranese, Aromanian, Asturian, Catalan, Corsican, Dalmatian, Emilian-Romagnol, Extremaduran, Fala, Franco-Provençal, French, Friulian, Galician, Gallo, Genoese, Guernésiais, Istriot, Italian, Jèrriais, Ladino, Ladin, Lombard, Megleno-Romanian, Mirandese, Moldovan, Monégasque, Occitan, Picard, Piedmontese, Portuguese, Romanian, Romansh, Sardinian, Sicilian, Spanish, Venetian, Walloon

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet

Thanks to Adrian Homutescu and Bogdan Banu for providing material and suggestions for this page.

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