Romanian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Romania, Moldova and Transnistria. Other countries with a significant number of Romanian speakers include Serbia, Ukraine, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Germany, Russian, Israel, the USA and Canada. In 2016 there were about 24 million speakers of Romanian worldwide, including about 17 million in Romania, 2.5 million in Moldova, 177,000 in Transnistria, 1.1 million in Italy, 800,000 in Spain and 327,000 in Ukraine.
Romanian is a member of the Balkan-Romance or Eastern Romance branch of the Romance languages. It developed from Vulgar Latin, which was brought to the region by the Romans, who conqured it in 105-106 AD. At that time the area that corresponds to modern Romania, Moldova and parts of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine, was known as Dacia. It became a province of the Roman Empire known as Dacia Traiana.
Romanian retains a number of features of Latin, such as noun cases, which have disappeared from other Romance languages. It also contains words from the surrounding Slavic languages, from French, Old Church Slavonic, German, Greek and Turkish, and also from Dacian, an extinct Indo-European language that was spoken in Dacia until about the 7th century AD.
Romanian first appeared in writing during the 16th century, mainly in religious texts and other documents. The earliest known text in Romanian, which dates from 1521, 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.
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.
Hear how to pronounce 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.
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)
Shipping time world-
wide is typically 6 days.
Information about the Romanian language
The Letter of Neacşu of Câmpulung (the first written document in Romanian)
Online Romanian lessons
Online Romanian dictionaries
Televiziunea Româna (Romanian Television - includes live online programmes)
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Thanks to Adrian Homutescu and Bogdan Banu for providing material and suggestions for this page.
Page last modified: 12.01.23
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