The Romanian language is an Indo-European language, with its roots in the Latin Romance languages. Though it is sometimes referred to as Daco-Romanian, and various spellings of “Romanian” include Rumanian and Roumanian, it is most often called Romanian.
When the Roman people began their conquests on Romanian territory in 106AD, the Dacian people were the native people living there. The land was rich in silver and gold, and was colonized and kept by the Romans for the next two hundred years. In this time, the Latin language was enforced as being the primary language for business and administration. Then, in the 3rd century, the Dacian people forced the Romans to withdraw. The branch of spoken language then derived from the local language and the Latin language itself.
From this point, the Romanian language had little to do with the other Romance languages, and has developed linguistically to be relatively insular. At some point between the 7th and 10th centuries, under the rule of the Byzantine Empire, all the individual dialects of Romania were unified in a Proto-Romanian language. Here, the language was influenced by the Greek language, as well as the Slavic languages.
The Romanian language is an official language in its origin country of Romania, as officially classified by the Constitution of Romania in 1991. Public messages must have translations of foreign words into the Romanian language by law. It is also an official language in the Republic of Moldova, and the Vojvodina region in Serbia. In the Republic of Moldova, however, the Romanian language is named Moldovan, and despite certain local dialects, it is basically considered to be the same language as Romanian. However, this is a contentious issue, with even the speakers of Moldo-Romanian in Moldova writing either Romanian or Moldovan on census forms, to refer to the same language.
Romanian is also an official minority language in the country of Ukraine. While it is spoken primarily in Romania and Moldova, around 26 million people in total speak the Romanian language, with around 4 million of these people being second language speakers of the Romanian language.
There are recorded communities of Romanian speakers in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia and Spain, with smaller communities in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Israel, Germany and New Zealand, although these “smaller” communities can still have many speakers within them.
In Israel, for example, around 5% of the population speaks Romanian, though the language is primarily spoken in Southeastern, Central and Eastern Europe, where it is also a common option to learn as a second language, and courses are available in many higher education establishments. Because the language has seen such a variety of speakers throughout the world, it is unsurprising that the language itself has many different worldwide dialects, though within Romania itself the main dialect is that of the variety spoken around the Danube River.
Why Learn The Romanian Language?
The country of Romania itself is a beautiful one. It is the fourth fastest growing country in the world, in relation to travel and tourism, receiving around 6.6 million visitors in 2004. If you like gothic architecture and castles, the cities of Transylvania are well worth visiting, while if natural attractions are more your interest, then there is still plenty on offer, from the Danube Delta to the caves of the Apuseni Mountains.
The Romanian language has also recently begun to enjoy notoriety for its music and film industry. The Numa Numa song by the Romanian band O-Zone became popular over viral video, and there are many other modern singers and bands that have, with the global nature of the internet, become much more famous in countries that ordinarily may not have heard of them.
Likewise, there have been several Romanian films in the last few decades that have won awards at the Cannes Film Festival. The arts culture in the Romanian language is increasing more and more, and learning the Romanian language would be an excellent way to discover a whole new avenue of artistic endeavor.