The Romanian language is a romance language and is a member of the Balkan-Romance family. Over 24 Million people speak it, with the greatest concentration in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. The language is often referred to as “Moldovan” – although it’s exactly the same language, with a few regional differences.
There are widely dispersed communities of Romanian people in many countries, including:
Romanian people have been highly mobile throughout history, although many of their descendants have assimilated into the local population and no longer use the language. Many people have also moved abroad since Romania joined the EU in 2007.
During the soviet Era, Moldovans used the Cyrillic alphabet – they have since switched back to the Latin alphabet. Of course, for people who grew up at the time, it’s only natural to keep using the form they are familiar with. For this reason, you’re likely to come across texts using both scripts – especially if you read old books. This can be quite confusing, but students should consider it an opportunity to learn a new alphabet!
Syntactically, Romanian is quite different from other Romance languages. It has been heavily influenced by the spoken tongue of neighboring countries, which are mostly Slavic. That said, it has a large degree of similarity with Italian.
There are striking differences, too. It’s the only romance language with three genders (male, female and neuter).
There are 3 dialects to master, and they have some grammatical differences. For instance, there’s a verb tense (the simple perfect) that is only used by people living in the South-West.
In some ways, the language is very conservative. It preserves many Latin inflections which are missing from other Romance tongues.
As a vital language with a thriving and diverse community of speakers, Romanian is a very worthwhile language to learn!