The Romanian Language

Background and learning it

The Romanian Language


Romanian is the official language of the country; it is spoken by about 90% of the population. It belongs to the Romance branch of the Indo-European language family.

As a derivative of Latin, it has 77% lexical similarity with Italian, 75% with French and 71% with Spanish. In addition, the language contains around 3,800 words of Slavic origin.

There are approximately 28 million speakers of Romanian. The language is also spoken in Moldova and a province of Serbia, although there are slight differences. The language evolved from a Latin derivative and it was probably one of the first to split away from it. Due to relative isolation of the geography it kept a relatively uniform structure. Influence from other Romance languages only started in the 18th Century.

Because of the nature of the language, it is relatively easy to pick up for a native or fluent speaker of one of the Romance languages. In the reverse case, Romanians going to Spain and Italy find it easy to communicate at a basic level quite quickly and reach working fluency in a short time.

The Romanian alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet, and has five additional letters. It is as follows:

A, a (a); Ă, ă (ă); Â, â (â din a); B, b (be), C, c (ce); D, d (de), E, e (e); F, f (fe / ef); G, g (ghe / ge); H, h (ha / haş); I, i (i); Î, î (î din i); J, j (je), K, k (ka de la kilogram), L, l (le / el); M, m (me / em); N, n (ne / en); O, o (o); P, p (pe); Q (chiu); R, r, (re / er); S, s (se / es); Ș ș (șe); T, t (te); Ț ț (țe); U, u (u); V, v (ve); W (dublu ve); X, x (ics); Y (i grec); Z, z (ze / zet).

K, Q, W and Y are not part of the native alphabet. They were officially introduced in the Romanian alphabet in 1982 and are mostly used to write loanwords from other languages like kilogram, quasar, watt, and yoga.

Minority languages

Hungarian is spoken by 7% of the population, mainly in Transylvania. There is a population of German speakers who make up around 1.5% of the national population. In localities where a given ethnic minority makes up more than 20% of the population, that minority's language can be used in the public administration and justice system, while native-language education and signage is also provided.

Romanians currently make up 89.5% of the population. The largest ethnic minorities are Hungarians, who make up 6.6% of the population and Roma, or Gypsies, who make up 2.46% of the population. By the official census 535,250 Roma live in Romania. Hungarians, who are a sizable minority in Transylvania, constitute a majority in the counties of Harghita and Covasna. Ukrainians, Germans, Lipovans, Turks, Tatars, Serbs, Slovaks, Bulgarians, Croats, Greeks, Russians, Jews, Czechs, Poles, Italians, Armenians, as well as other ethnic groups, account for the remaining 1.4% of the population.

Learning the language

Those attending a private or public elementary school, secondary school, or college will find that the language is part of the curriculum. Another option is to enroll at the Bridge Language Study House , the largest private language school in Romania. It is located in Bucharest.

If you interested in learning Romanian then check for courses in one of the following institutions: The University of Bucharest (Ariel Languages Center), Echo Consulting & Training, ABC Languages etc. Those not attending school can hire a private tutor to help them learn the language. The aupair system is not a yet very common in Romania.

Further reading

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