PrehistoryRomanian descended from the spoken in the s of . Roman inscriptions show that Latin was primarily used to the north of the so-called Jireček Line (a hypothetical boundary between the predominantly Latin- and Greek-speaking territories of the in the ), but the exact territory where Proto-Romanian (or Common Romanian) developed cannot certainly be determined. Most regions where Romanian is now widely spoken , , , , , and significant parts of were not incorporated in the Roman Empire. Other regions , western Muntenia, and formed the Roman province of for about 170 years. According to the "continuity theory", the venue of the development of Proto-Romanian included the lands now forming Romania (to the north of the ), the opposite "immigrationist" theory says that Proto-Romanian was spoken in the lands to the south of the Danube and Romanian-speakers settled in most parts of modern Romania only centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire. Most scholars agree that two major dialects developed from Common Romanian by the 10th century. Daco-Romanian (the official language of Romania and Moldova) and Istro-Romanian (a language spoken by no more than 2,000 people in ) descended from the northern dialect. Two other languages, Aromanian and Megleno-Romanian, developed from the southern version of Common Romanian. These two languages are now spoken in lands to the south of the Jireček Line.
Early historyThe use of the denomination ''Romanian'' (''română'') for the language and use of the demonym ''Romanians'' (''Români'') for speakers of this language predates the foundation of the modern Romanian state. Romanians always used the general term "rumân/român" or regional terms like "ardeleni" (or "ungureni"), "moldoveni" or "munteni" to designate themselves. Both the name of "rumână" or "rumâniască" for the Romanian language and the self-designation "rumân/român" are attested as early as the 16th century, by various foreign travelers into the Carpathian Romance-speaking space, as well as in other historical documents written in Romanian at that time such as Cronicile Țării Moldovei (''The Chronicles of the land of Moldova'') by . An attested reference to Romanian comes from a Latin title of an oath made in 1485 by the Moldavian Prince to the Polish King , in which it is reported that ''"Haec Inscriptio ex Valachico in Latinam versa est sed Rex Ruthenica Lingua scriptam accepta"—This Inscription was translated from Valachian (Romanian) into Latin, but the King has received it written in the Ruthenian language (Slavic)''. The oldest extant document written in Romanian remains Neacșu's letter (1521) and was written using the Romanian Cyrillic alphabet, which was used until the late 19th century. In 1534, notes: ''"Valachi nunc se Romanos vocant"'' (''The Wallachians are now calling themselves Romans''). Francesco della Valle writes in 1532 that Romanians ''are calling themselves Romans in their own language'', and he subsequently quotes the expression: ''"Sti Rominest?"'' for ''"Știi Românește?"'' (''Do you know Romanian?''). The Johann Lebel writes in 1542 that ''"Vlachi" call themselves "Romuini"''. The chronicler Stanislaw Orzechowski (Orichovius) notes in 1554 that ''In their language they call themselves Romini from the Romans, while we call them Wallachians from the Italians''). The prelate and diplomat Antun Vrančić recorded in 1570 that ''"Vlachs in Transylvania, Moldavia and Wallachia designate themselves as "Romans"''. Pierre Lescalopier writes in 1574 that those who live in Moldavia, Wallachia and the vast part of Transylvania, ''"consider themselves as true descendants of the Romans and call their language romanechte, which is Roman"''. After travelling through , and Ferrante Capecci accounts in 1575 that the vallachian population of these regions call themselves ''"romanesci"'' ("românești"). In Palia de la Orăștie (1582) stands written ''". ..că văzum cum toate limbile au și înfluresc întru cuvintele slăvite a lui Dumnezeu numai noi românii pre limbă nu avem. Pentru aceia cu mare muncă scoasem de limba jidovească si grecească si srâbească pre limba românească 5 cărți ale lui Moisi prorocul si patru cărți și le dăruim voo frați rumâni și le-au scris în cheltuială multă... și le-au dăruit voo fraților români,... și le-au scris voo fraților români"'' In Letopisețul Țării Moldovei (17th century) written by the Moldavian chronicler Grigore Ureche we can read: “''În ţara Ardealului nu lăcuiescu numai unguri, ce şi saşi peste samă de mulţi şi români peste tot locul, de mai multu-i ţara lăţită de români decât de unguri.”'' ("In Transylvania there live not solely Hungarians or Saxons, but overwhelmingly many Romanians everywhere around."). Miron Costin, in his ''De neamul moldovenilor'' (1687), while noting that Moldavians, ns, and the Romanians living in the have the same origin, says that although people of Moldavia call themselves ''Moldavians'', they name their language ''Romanian'' (''românește'') instead of ''Moldavian'' (''moldovenește'').Constantiniu, Florin, ''O istorie sinceră a poporului român'' (''An honest history of the Romanian people''), Univers Enciclopedic, București, 1997, , p. 175 The Transylvanian Hungarian Martin Szentiványi in 1699 quotes the following: ''«Si noi sentem Rumeni»'' ("We too are Romanians") and ''«Noi sentem di sange Rumena»'' ("We are of Romanian blood"). Notably, Szentiványi used Italian-based spellings to try to write the Romanian words. , in his '' Descriptio Moldaviae'' (Berlin, 1714), points out that the inhabitants of Moldavia, Wallachia and Transylvania spoke the same language. He notes, however, some differences in accent and vocabulary. Cantemir's work provides one of the earliest histories of the language, in which he notes, like Ureche before him, the evolution from Latin and notices the Greek and Polish borrowings. Additionally, he introduces the idea that some words must have had Dacian roots. Cantemir also notes that while the idea of a Latin origin of the language was prevalent in his time, other scholars considered it to have derived from Italian. The slow process of Romanian establishing itself as an official language, used in the public sphere, in literature and ecclesiastically, began in the late 15th century and ended in the early decades of the 18th century, by which time Romanian had begun to be regularly used by the Church. The oldest Romanian texts of a literary nature are religious manuscripts (''Codicele Voronețean'', ''Psaltirea Scheiană''), translations of essential Christian texts. These are considered either propagandistic results of confessional rivalries, for instance between and , or as initiatives by Romanian monks stationed at in to distance themselves from the influence of the eparchy in Ukraine.
Modern history of Romanian in BessarabiaThe first was published in Vienna in 1780. Following the annexation of Bessarabia by Russia (after 1812), Moldavian was established as an official language in the governmental institutions of , used along with Russian, The publishing works established by Archbishop were able to produce books and liturgical works in Moldavian between 1815 and 1820. The linguistic situation in Bessarabia from 1812 to 1918 was the gradual development of . Russian continued to develop as the official language of privilege, whereas Romanian remained the principal vernacular. The period from 1905 to 1917 was one of increasing linguistic conflict, with the re-awakening of Romanian national consciousness. In 1905 and 1906, the Bessarabian '' '' asked for the re-introduction of Romanian in schools as a "compulsory language", and the "liberty to teach in the mother language (Romanian language)". At the same time, Romanian-language newspapers and journals began to appear, such as ''Basarabia'' (1906), ''Viața Basarabiei'' (1907), ''Moldovanul'' (1907), ''Luminătorul'' (1908), ''Cuvînt moldovenesc'' (1913), ''Glasul Basarabiei'' (1913). From 1913, the synod permitted that "the churches in use the Romanian language". Romanian finally became the official language with the Constitution of 1923.
Historical grammarRomanian has preserved a part of the , but whereas Latin had six s, from a morphological viewpoint, Romanian has only five: the , , , , and marginally the . Romanian nouns also preserve the neuter , although instead of functioning as a separate gender with its own forms in adjectives, the Romanian neuter became a mixture of masculine and feminine. The morphology of Romanian has shown the same move towards a compound and as the other Romance languages. Compared with the other , during its evolution, Romanian simplified the original Latin tense system in extreme ways, in particular the absence of .
Geographic distributionRomanian is spoken mostly in and the of Southern Europe, although speakers of the language can be found all over the world, mostly due to emigration of Romanian nationals and the return of immigrants to Romania back to their original countries. Romanian speakers account for 0.5% of the world's population, and 4% of the Romance-speaking population of the world. Romanian is the single official and national language in Romania and Moldova, although it shares the official status at regional level with other languages in the Moldovan autonomies of and . Romanian is also an official language of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina in Serbia along with five other languages. Romanian minorities are encountered in Serbia ( ), Ukraine ( and s), and Hungary ( ). Large immigrant communities are found in Italy, Spain, France, and Portugal. In 1995, the largest Romanian-speaking community in the Middle East was found in Israel, where Romanian was spoken by 5% of the population. Romanian is also spoken as a second language by people from Arabic-speaking countries who have studied in Romania. It is estimated that almost half a million Middle Eastern Arabs studied in Romania during the 1980s. Small Romanian-speaking communities are to be found in Kazakhstan and Russia. Romanian is also spoken within communities of Romanian and Moldovan immigrants in the United States, Canada and Australia, although they do not make up a large homogeneous community statewide.
In RomaniaAccording to the of 1991, as revised in 2003, Romanian is the official language of the Republic. Romania mandates the use of Romanian in official government publications, public education and legal contracts. Advertisements as well as other public messages must bear a translation of foreign words, while trade signs and logos shall be written predominantly in Romanian. The Romanian Language Institute
In MoldovaRomanian is the official language of the Republic of Moldova. The 1991 names the official language Romanian. The Constitution of Moldova names the state language of the country Moldovan. In December 2013, a decision of the ruled that the Declaration of Independence takes precedence over the Constitution and the state language should be called Romanian. Scholars agree that Moldovan and Romanian are the same language, with the -onym, glottonym "Moldovan" used in certain political contexts. It has been the sole official language since the adoption of the Law on State Language of the Moldavian SSR in 1989. This law mandates the use of Moldovan in all the political, economical, cultural and social spheres, as well as asserting the existence of a "linguistic Moldo-Romanian identity". It is also used in schools, mass media, education and in the colloquial speech and writing. Outside the political arena the language is most often called "Romanian". In the breakaway territory of Transnistria, it is co-official with Ukrainian language, Ukrainian and Russian. In the 2014 Moldovan Census, 2014 census, out of the 2,804,801 people living in Moldova, 24% (652,394) stated Romanian as their most common language, whereas 56% stated Moldovan. While in the urban centers speakers are split evenly between the two names (with the capital Chișinău showing a strong preference for the name "Romanian", i.e. 3:2), in the countryside hardly a quarter of Romanian/Moldovan speakers indicated Romanian as their native language. Unofficial results of this census first showed a stronger preference for the name Romanian, however the initial reports were later dismissed by the Institute for Statistics, which led to speculations in the media regarding the forgery of the census results.
In Vojvodina, SerbiaThe Constitution of the Republic of Serbia determines that in the regions of the Republic of Serbia inhabited by national minorities, their own languages and scripts shall be officially used as well, in the manner established by law. The Statute of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina determines that, together with the Serbian language and the Cyrillic script, and the Latin script as stipulated by the law, the Croatian language, Croat, Hungarian language, Hungarian, Slovak language, Slovak, Romanian and Rusyn languages and their scripts, as well as languages and scripts of other nationalities, shall simultaneously be officially used in the work of the bodies of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, in the manner established by the law. The bodies of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina are: the Assembly, the Executive Council and the Provincial administrative bodies. The Romanian language and script are officially used in eight municipalities: Alibunar, Bela Crkva, Banat, Bela Crkva ( ro, Biserica Albă), Žitište (Zitiște), Zrenjanin (Zrenianin), Kovačica (Kovăcița), Kovin (Cuvin), Plandište (Plandiște) and Sečanj. In the municipality of Vršac (Vârșeț), Romanian is official only in the villages of Vojvodinci (Voivodinț), Markovac (Vršac), Markovac (Marcovăț), Straža, Vršac, Straža (Straja), Mali Žam (Jamu Mic), Malo Središte (Srediștea Mică), Mesić (Vršac), Mesić (Mesici), Jablanka, Sočica (Sălcița), Ritiševo (Râtișor), Orešac (Vršac), Orešac (Oreșaț) and Kuštilj (Coștei). In the 2002 Census, the last carried out in Serbia, 1.5% of Vojvodinians stated Romanian as their native language.
Regional language status in UkraineIn parts of Ukraine where Romanians in Ukraine, Romanians constitute a significant share of the local population (districts in Chernivtsi Oblast, Chernivtsi, Odessa Oblast, Odessa and Zakarpattia Oblast, Zakarpattia oblasts) Romanian is taught in schools as a primary language and there are Romanian-language newspapers, TV, and radio broadcasting. The University of Chernivtsi in western Ukraine trains teachers for Romanian schools in the fields of Romanian philology, mathematics and physics. In Hertsa Raion of Ukraine as well as in other villages of Chernivtsi Oblast and Zakarpattia Oblast, Romanian has been declared a "regional language" alongside Ukrainian as per the 2012 legislation on languages in Ukraine.
In other countries and organizationsRomanian is an official or administrative language in various communities and organisations, such as the Latin Union and the European Union. Romanian is also one of the five languages in which religious services are performed in the autonomous monastic state of Mount Athos, spoken in the monk communities of Prodromos (Mount Athos), Prodromos and Lakkoskiti. In the unrecognised state of , Moldovan is one of the official languages. However, unlike all other dialects of Romanian, Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet, this variety of Moldovan is written in Cyrillic Script.
As a second and foreign languageRomanian is taught in some areas that have Romanian minority communities, such as Vojvodina in Serbia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Hungary. The Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR) has since 1992 organised summer courses in Romanian for language teachers. There are also non-Romanians who study Romanian as a foreign language, for example the Nicolae Bălcescu High-school in , Hungary. Romanian is taught as a foreign language in tertiary institutions, mostly in European countries such as Germany, France and Italy, and the Netherlands, as well as in the United States. Overall, it is taught as a foreign language in 43 countries around the world.
Popular cultureRomanian has become popular in other countries through movies and songs performed in the Romanian language. Examples of Romanian acts that had a great success in non-Romanophone countries are the bands O-Zone (with their No. 1 single ''Dragostea Din Tei/Numa Numa'' across the world in 2003–2004), Akcent (popular in the Netherlands, Poland and other European countries), Activ (band), Activ (successful in some Eastern European countries), DJ Project (popular as clubbing music) SunStroke Project (known by viral video "Epic sax guy") and Alexandra Stan (worldwide no.1 hit with "Mr. Saxobeat)" and Inna (singer), Inna as well as high-rated movies like ''4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days'', ''The Death of Mr. Lazarescu'', ''12:08 East of Bucharest'' or ''California Dreamin' (film), California Dreamin''' (all of them with awards at the Cannes Film Festival). Also some artists wrote songs dedicated to the Romanian language. The multi-platinum pop trio O-Zone (originally from Moldova) released a song called "''Nu mă las de limba noastră''" ("I won't forsake our language"). The final verse of this song, ''Eu nu mă las de limba noastră, de limba noastră cea română'' is translated in English as "I won't forsake our language, our Romanian language". Also, the Moldovan musicians Doina and Ion Aldea Teodorovici performed a song called "The Romanian language".
DialectsRomanian encompasses four varieties: (Daco-)Romanian, Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian, and Istro-Romanian with being the standard variety. The origin of the term "Daco-Romanian" can be traced back to the first printed book of Romanian grammar in 1780, by Samuil Micu and Gheorghe Șincai. There, the Romanian dialect spoken north of the is called ''lingua Daco-Romana'' to emphasize its origin and its area of use, which includes the former Ancient Rome, Roman province of Dacia, although it is spoken also south of the Danube, in Dobrudja, Vlachs of Serbia, Central Serbia and northern Bulgaria. This article deals with the Romanian (i.e. Daco-Romanian) language, and thus only its dialectal variations are discussed here. The differences between the regional varieties are small, limited to regular phonetic changes, few grammar aspects, and lexical particularities. There is a single written standard (literary) Romanian language used by all speakers, regardless of region. Like most natural languages, Romanian dialects are part of a dialect continuum. The dialects of Romanian are also referred to as ''sub-dialects'' and are distinguished primarily by phonetic differences. Romanians themselves speak of the differences as ''accents'' or ''speeches'' (in Romanian: ''accent'' or ''grai''). Depending on the criteria used for classifying these dialects, fewer or more are found, ranging from 2 to 20, although the most widespread approaches give a number of five dialects. These are grouped into two main types, southern and northern, further divided as follows: * The southern type has only one member: ** the Wallachian dialect, spoken in the southern part of Romania, in the historical regions of , and the southern part of Northern Dobruja, but also extending in the southern parts of . * The northern type consists of several dialects: ** the Moldavian dialect, spoken in the historical region of Moldavia, now split among Romania, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine ( and ), as well as northern part of Northern Dobruja; ** the Banat Romanian dialect, Banat dialect, spoken in the historical region of , including parts of Serbia; ** a group of finely divided and transition-like Transylvanian varieties of Romanian, Transylvanian varieties, among which two are most often distinguished, those of Crișana dialect, Crișana and Maramureș dialect, Maramureș. Over the last century, however, regional accents have been weakened due to mass communication and greater mobility. Some argots and speech forms have also arisen from the Romanian language. Examples are the Gumuțeasca, spoken in Mărgău, and the Totoiana, an inverted "version" of Romanian spoken in Totoi.
Romance languageRomanian is a Romance language, belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family, having much in common with languages such as Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese. However, the languages closest to Romanian are the other Balkan Romance languages, spoken south of the Danube: Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian and Istro-Romanian. An alternative name for Romanian used by linguists to disambiguate with the other Balkan Romance languages is "Daco-Romanian", referring to the area where it is spoken (which corresponds roughly to the onetime Roman Empire, Roman province of Dacia). Compared with the other Romance languages, the closest relative of Romanian is Italian. Romanian has had a greater share of foreign influence than some other Romance languages such as Italian in terms of vocabulary and other aspects. A study conducted by Mario Pei in 1949 which analyzed the degree of differentiation of languages from their parental language (in the case of
Balkan language areaThe Dacian language was an Indo-European language spoken by the ancient Dacians, mostly north of the Danube river but also in Moesia and other regions south of the Danube. It may have been the first language to influence the Latin spoken in Dacia, but little is known about it. Dacian is usually considered to have been a northern branch of the Thracian language, and, like Thracian, Dacian was a satem language. About 300 words found only in Romanian or with a cognate in the Albanian language may be inherited from Dacian (for example: ''barză'' "stork", ''balaur'' "dragon", ''mal'' "shore", ''brânză'' "cheese"). Some of these possibly Dacian words are related to pastoral life (for example, ''brânză'' "cheese"). Some linguists and historians have asserted that Albanians are Dacians who were not Romanized and migrated southward.Vladimir Georgiev (Gheorghiev), ''Raporturile dintre limbile dacă, tracă și frigiană'', "Studii Clasice" Journal, II, 1960, 39–58 A different view, which belongs to the "immigrationist theory", is that these non-Latin words with Albanian cognates are not necessarily Dacian, but rather were brought into the territory that is modern Romania by Romance-speaking Aromanians, Aromanian shepherds migrating north from Albania, Serbia, and northern Greece who became the Romanian people. While most of Romanian grammar and morphology are based on Latin, there are some features that are shared only with other languages of the Balkans and not found in other Romance languages. The shared features of Romanian and the other languages of the balkan sprachbund, Balkan language area (Bulgarian language, Bulgarian, Macedonian language, Macedonian, Albanian language, Albanian, Greek, and Serbo-Croatian) include a suffixed Article (grammar), definite article, the syncretism (linguistics), syncretism of genitive and dative case and the formation of the future and the alternation of infinitive with subjunctive constructions. According to a well-established scholarly theory, most Balkanisms could be traced back to the development of the Balkan Romance languages; these features were adopted by other languages due to language shift.
Slavic influenceSlavic influence on Romanian is especially noticeable in its vocabulary, with words of Slavic origin constituting about 10–15% of modern Romanian lexicon, and with further influences in its phonetics, morphology and syntax. The greater part of its Slavic vocabulary comes from Old Church Slavonic, which was the official written language of and Moldavia from the 14th to the 18th century (although not understood by most people), as well as the Sacred language, liturgical language of the Romanian Orthodox Church. As a result, much Romanian vocabulary dealing with religion, ritual, and hierarchy is Slavic. The number of high-frequency Slavic-derived words is also believed to indicate contact or cohabitation with South Slavs, South Slavic tribes from around the 6th century, though it is disputed where this took place (see Origin of the Romanians). Words borrowed in this way tend to be more vernacular (compare ''wikt:sfârși, sfârși'', "to end", with ''wikt:săvârși, săvârși'', "to commit"). The extent of this borrowing is such that some scholars once mistakenly viewed Romanian as a Slavic language. It has also been argued that Slavic borrowing was a key factor in the development of (''î'' and ''â'') as a separate phoneme.
Other influencesEven before the 19th century, Romanian came in contact with several other languages. Notable examples of lexical borrowings include: * German language, German: ''cartof'' < ''Kartoffel'' "potato", ''bere'' < ''Bier'' "beer", ''șurub'' < ''Schraube'' "screw", ''turn'' < ''Turm'' "tower", ''ramă'' < ''Rahmen'' "frame", ''muștiuc'' < ''Mundstück'' "mouth piece", ''bormașină'' < ''Bohrmaschine'' "drilling machine", ''cremșnit'' < ''Kremschnitte'' "cream slice", ''șvaițer'' < ''Schweizer'' "Swiss cheese", ''șlep'' < ''Schleppkahn'' "barge", ''șpriț'' < ''Spritzer'' "wine with soda water", ''abțibild'' < ''Abziehbild'' "decal picture", ''șnițel'' < ''(Wiener) Schnitzel'' "a battered cutlet", ''șmecher'' < ''Schmecker'' "taster (not interested in buying)",''șuncă'' < dialectal ''Schunke'' (''Schinken'') "ham", ''punct'' < ''Punkt'' "point", ''maistru'' < ''Meister'' "master", ''rundă'' < ''Runde'' "round". Furthermore, during the Habsburg Monarchy, Habsburg and, later on, Austrian Empire, Austrian rule of , , and , a large number of words were borrowed from Austrian German, Austrian High German, in particular in fields such as the military, administration, social welfare, economy, etc.Hans Dama
French, Italian, and English loanwordsSince the 19th century, many literary or learned words were borrowed from the other Romance languages, especially from French and Italian (for example: ''birou'' "desk, office", ''avion'' "airplane", ''exploata'' "exploit"). It was estimated that about 38% of words in Romanian are of French and/or Italian origin (in many cases both languages); and adding this to Romanian's native stock, about 75%–85% of Romanian words can be traced to Latin. The use of these Romanianized French and Italian learned loans has tended to increase at the expense of Slavic loanwords, many of which have become rare or fallen out of use. As second or third languages, French and Italian themselves are better known in Romania than in Romania's neighbors. Along with the switch to the Latin alphabet in Moldova, the re-latinization of the vocabulary has tended to reinforce the Latin character of the language. In the process of lexical modernization, much of the native Latin stock have acquired doublets from other , thus forming a further and more modern and literary lexical layer. Typically, the native word is a noun and the learned loan is an adjective. Some examples of doublets: In the 20th century, an increasing number of English words have been borrowed (such as: ''gem'' < jam; ''interviu'' < interview; ''meci'' < match; ''manager'' < manager; ''fotbal'' < football; ''sandviș'' < sandwich; ''bișniță'' < business; ''chec'' < cake; ''veceu'' < WC; ''tramvai'' < tramway). These words are assigned grammatical gender in Romanian and handled according to Romanian rules; thus "the manager" is ''managerul''. Some borrowings, for example in the computer field, appear to have awkward (perhaps contrived and ludicrous) 'Romanisation,' such as ''cookie-uri'' which is the plural of the Internet term ''cookie.''
LexisA statistical analysis sorting Romanian words by etymological source carried out by Macrea (1961) based on the DLRM (49,649 words) showed the following makeup: * 43% recent Romance loans (mainly French: 38.42%, Latin: 2.39%, Italian: 1.72%) * 20% inherited Latin * 11.5% Slavic (Old Church Slavonic: 7.98%, Bulgarian: 1.78%, Bulgarian-Serbian: 1.51%) * 8.31% Unknown/unclear origin * 3.62% Turkish * 2.40% Modern Greek * 2.17% Hungarian * 1.77% German (including Austrian German, Austrian High German) * 2.24% Onomatopoeic If the analysis is restricted to a core vocabulary of 2,500 frequent, semantically rich and productive words, then the Latin inheritance comes first, followed by Romance and classical Latin neologisms, whereas the Slavic borrowings come third. Romanian has a lexical similarity of 77% with Italian, 75% with French, 74% with Sardinian language, Sardinian, 73% with Catalan language, Catalan, 72% with Portuguese and Rheto-Romance, 71% with Spanish. Although they are rarely used nowadays, the Romanian calendar used to have the traditional Romanian month names, unique to the language. The longest word in Romanian is , with 44 letters, but the longest one admitted by the ''Dicționarul explicativ al limbii române'' ("Explanatory Dictionary of the Romanian Language", DEX) is , with 25 letters.
GrammarRomanian nouns are characterized by gender (feminine, masculine, and neuter), and Declension, declined by number (singular and plural) and case (nominative case, nominative/accusative case, accusative, /genitive case, genitive and vocative case, vocative). The articles, as well as most adjectives and pronouns, agreement (linguistics), agree in gender, number and case with the noun they modify. Romanian is the only Romance language where Article (grammar), definite articles are enclitic: that is, attached to the end of the noun (as in North Germanic languages, Scandinavian, Bulgarian language, Bulgarian and Albanian language, Albanian), instead of in front (proclitic). They were formed, as in other Romance languages, from the Latin demonstrative pronouns. As in all Romance languages, Romanian verbs are highly inflected for person, number, tense, mood, and voice. The usual word order in sentences is subject–verb–object (SVO). Romanian has four verbal Grammatical conjugation, conjugations which further split into ten conjugation patterns. Verbs can be put in five mood (linguistics), moods that are inflected for the person (indicative mood, indicative, conditional mood, conditional/optative mood, optative, imperative mood, imperative, subjunctive mood, subjunctive, and presumptive mood, presumptive) and four impersonal moods (infinitive, gerund, supine, and participle).
PhonologyRomanian has seven vowels: , , , , , and . Additionally, and may appear in some Loanword, borrowed words. Arguably, the diphthongs and are also part of the phoneme set. There are twenty-two consonants. The two Approximant consonant, approximants and can appear before or after any vowel, creating a large number of glide-vowel sequences which are, strictly speaking, not diphthongs. In final positions after consonants, a short can be deleted, surfacing only as the Palatalization (phonetics), palatalization of the preceding consonant (e.g., ). Similarly, a deleted may prompt labialization of a preceding consonant, though this has ceased to carry any morphological meaning.
Phonetic changesOwing to its isolation from the other Romance languages, the phonetic evolution of Romanian was quite different, but the language does share a few changes with Italian, such as → (Lat. clarus → Rom. chiar, Ital. chiaro, Lat. clamare → Rom. chemare, Ital. chiamare) and → (Lat. *glacia (glacies) → Rom. gheață, Ital. ghiaccia, ghiaccio, Lat. *ungla (ungula) → Rom. unghie, Ital. unghia), although this did not go as far as it did in Italian with other similar clusters (Rom. place, Ital. piace); another similarity with Italian is the change from or to or (Lat. pax, pacem → Rom. and Ital. pace, Lat. dulcem → Rom. dulce, Ital. dolce, Lat. circus → Rom. cerc, Ital. circo) and or to or (Lat. gelu → Rom. ger, Ital. gelo, Lat. marginem → Rom. and Ital. margine, Lat. gemere → Rom. geme (gemere), Ital. gemere). There are also a few changes shared with Dalmatian language, Dalmatian, such as (probably phonetically ) → (Lat. cognatus → Rom. cumnat, Dalm. comnut) and → in some situations (Lat. coxa → Rom. coapsă, Dalm. copsa). Among the notable phonetic changes are: * diphthongization of e and o → ea and oa, before ă (or e as well, in the case of o) in the next syllable: :* Lat. cera → Rom. ceară (wax) :* Lat. sole → Rom. soare (sun) * iotation → in the beginning of the word :* Lat. herba → Rom. iarbă (grass, herb) * velar → labial before alveolar consonants and (e.g. ngu → mb): :* Lat. octo → Rom. opt (eight) :* Lat. lingua → Rom. limbă (tongue, language) :* Lat. signum → Rom. semn (sign) :* Lat. coxa → Rom. coapsă (thigh) * Rhotacism (sound change), rhotacism → between vowels :* Lat. caelum → Rom. cer (sky) * Alveolars assibilated to when before short or long :* Lat. deus → Rom. zeu (god) :* Lat. tenem → Rom. ține (hold) Romanian has entirely lost Latin (qu), turning it either into (Lat. quattuor → Rom. ''patru'', "four"; cf. It. ''quattro'') or (Lat. quando → Rom. ''când'', "when"; Lat. quale → Rom. ''care'', "which"). In fact, in modern re-borrowings, while isolated cases of /kw/ exist, as in ''cuaternar'' "quaternary", it usually takes the German-like form /kv/, as in ''acvatic'', "aquatic". Notably, it also failed to develop the palatalised sounds and , which exist at least historically in all other major Romance languages, and even in neighbouring non-Romance languages such as Serbian language, Serbian and Hungarian language, Hungarian. However, the other Eastern Romance languages kept these sounds, so it's likely old Romanian had them as well.
Writing systemThe first written record about a Romance language spoken in the Middle Ages in the Balkans is from 587. A Vlach muleteer accompanying the Byzantine army noticed that the load was falling from one of the animals and shouted to a companion ''Torna, torna frate'' (meaning "Return, return brother!"). Theophanes Confessor recorded it as part of a 6th-century military expedition by Comentiolus and Priscus against the Avars and Slovenes. The oldest surviving written text in Romanian is a letter from late June 1521, in which Neacșu of Câmpulung wrote to the mayor of Brașov about an imminent attack of the Turks. It was written using the Romanian Cyrillic alphabet, Cyrillic alphabet, like most early Romanian writings. The earliest surviving writing in Latin script was a late 16th-century n text which was written with the Hungarian alphabet conventions. In the 18th century, n scholars noted the Latin origin of Romanian and adapted the Latin alphabet to the Romanian language, using some orthographic rules from Italian alphabet, Italian, recognized as Romanian's closest relative. The Cyrillic alphabet remained in (gradually decreasing) use until 1860, when Romanian writing was first officially regulated. In the Moldavian SSR, Soviet Republic of Moldova, the Russian-derived Moldovan Cyrillic alphabet was used until 1989, when the Romanian Latin alphabet was introduced; in the breakaway territory of Transnistria the Cyrillic alphabet remains in use.
Romanian alphabetThe Romanian alphabet is as follows: : K, Q, W and Y, not part of the native alphabet, were officially introduced in the Romanian alphabet in 1982 and are mostly used to write loanwords like ''kilogram'', ''quasar'', ''watt'', and ''yoga''. The Romanian alphabet is based on the Latin script with five additional letters , , , , . Formerly, there were as many as 12 additional letters, but some of them were abolished in subsequent reforms. Also, until the early 20th century, a breve marker was used, which survives only in ă. Today the Romanian alphabet is largely Phonemic orthography, phonemic. However, the letters ''â'' and ''î'' both represent the same close central unrounded vowel . ''Â'' is used only inside words; ''î'' is used at the beginning or the end of non-compound words and in the middle of compound words. Another exception from a completely phonetic writing system is the fact that vowels and their respective semivowels are not distinguished in writing. In dictionaries the distinction is marked by separating the entry word into syllables for words containing a Hiatus (linguistics), hiatus. Stressed vowels also are not marked in writing, except very rarely in cases where by misplacing the stress a word might change its meaning and if the meaning is not obvious from the context. For example, ''trei copíi'' means "three children" while ''trei cópii'' means "three copies".
Pronunciation* ''h'' is not silent like in other Romance languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan and French, but represents the phoneme , except in the digraphs ''ch'' /k/ and ''gh'' /g/ (see below) * ''j'' represents , as in French, Catalan or Portuguese (the sound spelled with ''s'' in the English words "vision, pleasure, treasure"). * There are two letters with a comma below, Ș and Ț, which represent the sounds and . However, the allographs with a cedilla instead of a comma, ''Ş'' and ''Ţ'', became widespread when pre-Unicode and early Unicode character sets did not include the standard form. * A final orthographical ''i'' after a consonant often represents the palatalization of the consonant (e.g., ''lup'' "wolf" vs. ''lupi'' "wolves") – it is ''not'' pronounced like Italian ''lupi'' (which also means "wolves"), and is an example of the Slavic languages, Slavic influence on Romanian. * ''ă'' represents the schwa, . * ''î'' and ''â'' both represent the sound . In rapid speech (for example in the name of the country) the ''â'' sound may sound similar to a casual listener to the short schwa sound ''ă'' (in fact, Aromanian does merge the two, writing them ''ã'') but careful speakers will distinguish the sound. The nearest equivalent is the vowel in the last syllable of the word ''roses'' for some English speakers. It is also roughly equivalent to European Portuguese , the Polish ''y'' or the Russian ''ы''. * The letter ''e'' generally represents the Mid front, mid front unrounded vowel , somewhat like in the English word ''set''. However, the letter ''e'' is pronounced as ([j] sounds like 'y' in 'you') when it is the first letter of any form of the verb ''a fi'' "to be", or of a personal pronoun, for instance ''este'' "is" and ''el'' "he". This addition of the semivowel does not occur in more recent loans and their derivatives, such as ''eră'' "era", ''electric'' "electric" etc. Some words (such as ''iepure'' "hare", formerly spelled ''epure'') are now written with the initial ''i'' to indicate the semivowel. * ''x'' represents either the phoneme sequence as in ''expresie'' = expression, or as in ''exemplu'' = example, as in English. * As in Italian, the letters ''c'' and ''g'' represent the affricates and before ''i'' and ''e'', and and elsewhere. When and are followed by vowels and (or their corresponding semivowels or the final ) the digraphs ''ch'' and ''gh'' are used instead of ''c'' and ''g'', as shown in the table below. Unlike Italian, however, Romanian uses ''ce-'' and ''ge-'' to write and before a central vowel instead of ''ci-'' and ''gi-''.
Punctuation and capitalizationUses of punctuation peculiar to Romanian are: * The quotation marks use the Quotation mark, non-English usage#Polish, Polish format in the format „quote «inside» quote”, that is, „. . .” for a normal quotation, and double angle symbols for a quotation inside a quotation. * Proper quotations which span multiple paragraphs do not start each paragraph with the quotation marks; one single pair of quotation marks is always used, regardless of how many paragraphs are quoted. * Dialogues are identified with Quotation mark, non-English usage#Quotation dash, quotation dashes. * The serial comma, Oxford comma before "and" is considered incorrect ("red, yellow and blue" is the proper format). * Punctuation signs which follow a text in parentheses always follow the final bracket. * In titles, only the first letter of the first word is capitalized, the rest of the title using sentence capitalization (with all its rules: proper names are capitalized as usual, etc.). * Names of months and days are not capitalized (''ianuarie'' "January", ''joi'' "Thursday"). * Adjectives derived from proper names are not capitalized (''Germania'' "Germany", but ''german'' "German").
Academy spelling recommendationsIn 1993, new spelling rules were proposed by the Romanian Academy. In 2000, the Moldovan Academy recommended adopting the same spelling rules, and in 2010 the Academy launched a schedule for the transition to the new rules that was intended to be completed by publications in 2011. On 17 October 2016, Minister of Education Corina Fusu signed Order No. 872, adopting the revised spelling rules as recommended by the Moldovan Academy of Sciences, coming into force on the day of signing (due to be completed within two school years). From this day, the spelling as used by institutions subordinated to the ministry of education is in line with the Romanian Academy's 1993 recommendation. This order, however, has no application to other government institutions and neither has Law 3462 of 1989 (which provided for the means of transliterating of Cyrillic to Latin) been amended to reflect these changes; thus, these institutions, along with most Moldovans, prefer to use the spelling adopted in 1989 (when the language with Latin script became official).
Examples of Romanian text: 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. ::''(Universal Declaration of Human Rights)'' The sentence in contemporary Romanian. Words inherited directly from Latin are highlighted: : 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. The same sentence, with French and Italian loanwords highlighted instead: : 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. The sentence rewritten to exclude French and Italian loanwords. Slavic loanwords are highlighted: : Toate ființele omenești se nasc slobode și deopotrivă în destoinicie și în drepturi. Ele sunt înzestrate cu înțelegere și cuget și trebuie să se poarte unele față de altele în duh de frățietate. The sentence rewritten to exclude all loanwords. The meaning is somewhat compromised due to the paucity of native vocabulary: : Toate ființele omenești se nasc nesupuse și asemenea în prețuire și în drepturi. Ele sunt înzestrate cu înțelegere și cuget și se cuvine să se poarte unele față de altele după firea frăției.
See also* Albanian–Romanian linguistic relationship * Legacy of the Roman Empire * Romanian lexis * Romanianization * Moldovan language * BABEL Speech Corpus * Controversy over ethnic and linguistic identity in Moldova * Moldova–Romania relations
Bibliography* * Giurescu, Constantin, ''The Making of the Romanian People and Language'', Bucharest, 1972. * Thede Kahl, Kahl, Thede (ed.), ''Das Rumänische und seine Nachbarn'', Berlin, 2009. * Paliga, Sorin, ''The Earliest Slavic Borrowings in Romanian'', Romanoslavica vol. XLVI, nr. 4, Editura Universității din București, Bucharest, 2010. * * Rosetti, Alexandru, ''Istoria limbii române'', 2 vols., Bucharest, 1965–1969. * Uwe, Hinrichs (ed.), ''Handbuch der Südosteuropa-Linguistik'', Wiesbaden, 1999.