Get To Know The Carpathian Basin

Is Romanian A Romance Language?

Romanian is an Eastern European Romance language that originated from the Roman Empire's conquest of the region known as Dacia. After over a century of Roman rule, the people in the area continued to speak Latin.

March 23, 2024
3
min read
Romanian is an Eastern European Romance language that originated from the Roman Empire's conquest of the region known as Dacia. After over a century of Roman rule, the people in the area continued to speak Latin.

Table of contents

Please note: the following is a transcription of the video linked above.

Check out the map in the video above. This is a map of people in Europe that speak Romance languages - that is to say that they speak languages that come from the Romans, i.e. they are Latin-based languages.

Theres languages on this map that we always think of like Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French. But over in the east, we have Romanian. How did this come to be?The Roman Emperor Trajan conquered this region, which was called Dacia, back in 106 A.D. The Romans then continued to rule over Dacia (appropriately named Roman Dacia) for over a century until they left in 275 A.D. But after nearly 170 years of Roman rule, the people there spoke Latin. If we look at the Balkan Peninsula during this time, you can see that in the upper half of the Balkan Peninsula, people spoke languages derived from Latin, and in the southern half they spoke a form of Greek.

But that would all change during a great migratory period in the sixth century when Slavic peoples or the ancestors of modern Slavic peoples migrated down into the Balkans and they brought their language with them. Additionally, in 800 A.D. the Magyar people (Hungarians) migrated and settled on what we now call today Hungary, and they also brought their language with them.

But the majority of people who lived in what is now Romania and Moldova continued to speak this Latin based language.What this means is that if you ever go to Romania and you speak English, you can likely pick up a little bit of the language just by knowing English. For comparison, here's a sign in Hungary. You probably can't read it at all because Hungary is a very difficult language to learn and it's not related at all to English. Or here's an advertisement in Bulgaria. They use a completely different alphabet!

But then look at this sign here in Romania. Even if you don't speak a word of Romanian, you can probably find English analogs of some of these words like access, transport, vehicle or municipality. So if you can read the road signs in Romania, you have Trajan to think.

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