The Aromanian language (armãneashti, armãneashte, armãneashci, armãneashce or rrãmãneshti), also known as Macedo-Romanian or Vlach, is an Eastern Romance language, similar to Megleno-Romanian, Istro-Romanian and Romanian, spoken in Southeastern Europe. Its speakers are called Aromanians or Vlachs (a broader term and an exonym in widespread use to define Romance communities in the Balkans). Some scholars, mostly Romanian ones, consider Aromanian a dialect of Romanian.
|armãneashti, armãneashte, armãneashci, armãneashce, rrãmãneshti|
|Native to||Greece, Albania, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia|
|estimated 210,000 (2018)|
|Latin (Aromanian alphabet)|
Aromanian shares many features with modern Romanian, including similar morphology and syntax, as well as a large common vocabulary inherited from Latin. An important source of dissimilarity between Romanian and Aromanian is the adstratum languages (external influences); whereas Romanian has been influenced to a greater extent by the Slavic languages, Aromanian has been more influenced by Greek, with which it has been in close contact throughout its history.
Aromanian is native to Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia. In 2018, it was estimated that Aromanian had 210,000 native speakers, of which 50,000 were in Albania, 9,800 in Bulgaria, 50,000 in Greece, 50,000 in Romania and 32,000 in Serbia.
Aromanian has a degree of official recognition in North Macedonia, where it is taught as a subject in some primary schools. In North Macedonia, Aromanian speakers also have the right to use the language in court proceedings. Since 2006, Aromanian has had the status of a second official municipal language in the city of Kruševo, the only place in the world where Aromanian has any kind of official status apart from general state recognition.
Apart from North Macedonia, the Aromanians are also recognized in Albania as a national minority.
Aromanian is similar to Romanian; its greatest difference lies in vocabulary. There are far fewer Slavic words (mostly Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Serbian) in Aromanian than in Romanian, and many more Greek words – a reflection of the close contact of Aromanian with Greek through much of its history. Loanwords of Greek origin were already present in Vulgar Latin, before the Roman Empire expanded into the Balkan region. Although there are fewer Slavic words in Aromanian, Aromanians are still surrounded by Slavic speakers in Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and Serbia, and Slavic loanwords are increasing.
It is generally considered that sometime between 800 and 1,200 years ago, Vulgar Latin spoken in the Balkan provinces of the Roman Empire, which is also known as Proto-Eastern Romance, broke up into four languages: Romanian, Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian and Istro-Romanian. A possible origin for Aromanian is that in the same way standard Romanian is believed to be descended from the Latin spoken by the Getae (Dacians [Daco-Thracians] and Roman settlers in what is now Romania), Aromanian descended from the Latin spoken by Thracian and Illyrian peoples living in the southern Balkans (Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace).
Greek influences are much stronger in Aromanian than in other Eastern Romance languages, especially because Aromanian has used Greek words to coin new words (neologisms), especially within Greece, while Romanian has based most of its neologisms on French. However, there has also been an increasing tendency for Aromanian-speakers outside of Greece to borrow terms from Romanian, due to the shared alphabet and contact with Romanian over the Internet, where Romanian-language material is much more available than it is in Aromanian.
Aromanian is generally described as having three main dialects: Fãrshãrot, Grãmustean and Pindean.
It has also several regional variants, named after places that were home to significant populations of Aromanians (Vlachs); nowadays located in Albania, North Macedonia and Greece. Examples are the Moscopole variant (from the Metropolis of Moscopole); the Muzachiar variant from Muzachia in central Albania; the variant of Bitola; Pilister, Malovište (Aromanian: Mulovishti), Gopeš (Aromanian: Gopish), Upper Beala; Gorna Belica (Aromanian: Beala di Suprã) near Struga, Krusevo (Aromanian: Crushuva), and the variant east of the Vardar river in North Macedonia.
An Aromanian dictionary currently under development can be found on wiktionary.
Aromanian exhibits several differences from standard Romanian in its phonology, some of which are probably due to influence from Greek or Albanian. It has spirants that do not exist in Romanian, such as /θ, ð, x, ɣ/ and which are a Greek influence. Other differences are the sound /ts/, which corresponds to Romanian /tʃ/, and the sounds: /ʎ/ and /ɲ/, which exist only in local variants in Romanian. Aromanian is usually written with a version of the Latin script with an orthography that resembles both that of Albanian (in the use of digraphs such as dh, sh, and th) and Italian (in its use of c and g), along with the letter ã, used for the sounds represented in Romanian by ă and â/î. It can also be written with a modified Romanian alphabet that includes two additional letters, ń and ľ, and rarely with a version of the Greek script.
- Central approximant consonants only occur as a result of a word-initial or intervocalic [i] and [u] when preceding another vowel.
- /x/, /ɣ/ can have allophones as [ç], [ʝ] when preceding front vowels.
- /x/, /h/ are in free variation among different dialects.
|Ã, ã||ã||/ə/, /ɨ/||For /ɨ/, "â" may be used|
|C, c||cã||/k/, /tʃ/, /x/||/k/ when followed by "a", "o", "u" or a consonant (/x/ in some dialects); /tʃ/ when followed by "e" or "i"|
|Dh, dh||dhã||/ð/||Used only for notation in particular accents where this phoneme is present, otherwise "d" is used|
|G, g||gã||/ɡ/, /dʒ/, /ɣ/||/ɡ/ before "a", "o", "u" or a consonant (/ɣ/ in some dialects); /dʒ/ before "e" and "i"|
|K, k||ca||/c/||before "e" or "i" only|
|Lj, lj||lj||/ʎ/||Found in Macedonian Latin alphabet|
|Nj, nj||nj||/ɲ/||Found in Macedonian Latin alphabet|
|Q, q||kiu||/k/||Used only in foreign words – "c" is normally used instead|
|Rr, rr||rrã||?||Used only for notation in particular accents where this phoneme is present, otherwise "r" is used|
|Th, th||thã||/θ/||Used only for notation in particular accents where this phoneme is present, otherwise "t" is used|
|W, w||dublã vã||/w/||Used only in foreign words|
|X, x||csã/gzã||/ks/, /ɡz/||Same pronunciation as found in English|
|Y, y||i greacã||/j/, /ɣ/||/j/ before "e" and "i", /ɣ/ elsewhere|
In addition, the digraph "gj" (/ɟ/ before "e" and "i") is used as well.
The grammar and morphology are very similar to those of other Romance languages:
- It has two grammatical numbers: singular and plural (no dual).
- It is a null-subject language.
- Verbs have many conjugations, including:
- A present tense, a preterite, an imperfect, a pluperfect and a future tense in the indicative mood, for statements of fact.
- An imperative mood, for direct commands.
- Three non-finite forms: infinitive, gerund, and past participle.
- Distinct active and passive voices, as well as an impersonal passive voice.
The Aromanian language has some exceptions from the Romance languages, some of which are shared with Romanian: the definite article is a clitic particle appended at the end of the word, both the definite and indefinite articles can be inflected, and nouns are classified in three genders, with neuter in addition to masculine and feminine.
Aromanian grammar has features that distinguish it from Romanian, an important one being the complete disappearance of verb infinitives, a feature of the Balkan sprachbund. As such, the tenses and moods that, in Romanian, use the infinitive (like the future simple tense and the conditional mood) are formed in other ways in Aromanian. For the same reason, verb entries in dictionaries are given in their indicative mood, present tense, first-person-singular form.
Aromanian verbs are classified in four conjugations. The table below gives some examples and indicates the conjugation of the corresponding verbs in Romanian.
(ind. pres. 1st sg.)
(ind. pres. 1st sg.)
|a cânta I
a da I
a lucra I
|a vedea II
a ședea II
a rămâne III (or a rămânea II)
|a duce III
a cunoaște III
a arde III
|carry, lead |
|a muri IV
a fugi IV
a îndulci IV
run away, flee
The future tense is formed using an auxiliary invariable particle "u" or "va" and the subjunctive mood.
|u s'cãntu/ va s'cãntu||va să cânt||o să cânt||voi cânta||I will sing|
|u s'cãnts/ va s'cãnts||va să cânți||o să cânți||vei cânta||you (sg.) will sing|
|u s'cãntã/ va s'cãntã||va să cânte||o să cânte||va cânta||(s)he will sing|
|u s'cãntãm/ va s'cãntãm||va să cântăm||o să cântăm||vom cânta||we will sing|
|u s'cãntatsi/ va s'cãntats||va să cântați||o să cântați||veți cânta||you (pl.) will sing|
|u s'cãntã/ va s'cãntã||va să cânte||o să cânte||vor cânta||they will sing|
Whereas in Romanian the pluperfect (past perfect) is formed synthetically (as in literary Portuguese), Aromanian uses a periphrastic construction with the auxiliary verb am (have) as the imperfect (aviam) and the past participle, as in Spanish and French, except that French replaces avoir (have) with être (be) for some intransitive verbs. Aromanian shares this feature with Meglenian as well as other languages in the Balkan language area.
Only the auxiliary verb inflects according to number and person (aviam, aviai, avia, aviamu, aviatu, avia), whereas the past participle does not change.
|avia mãcatã/ avea mãcatã||vea mancat||mâncase||(he/she) had eaten|
|avia durnjitã/ avea durnjitã||vea durmit||dormise||(he/she) had slept|
The Aromanian gerund is applied to some verbs, but not all. These verbs are:
- 1st conjugation: acatsã (acãtsãnd), portu, lucreadzã/lucreashce, adiljã/adiljeashce.
- 2nd conjugation: armãnã, cade, poate, tatse, veade.
- 3rd conjugation: arupã, dipune, dutse, dzãse, fatsi/featse, tradzi/tradze, scrie.
- 4th conjugation: apire, doarme, hivrie, aure, pate, avde.
The Macedonian Radio Television (Macedonian: Македонска радиотелевизија, transliteration: Makedonska radiotelevizija) (MRT) produces radio and television broadcasts in Aromanian.
Situation in Greece
Even before the incorporation of various Aromanian-speaking territories into the Greek state (1832, 1912), the language was subordinated to Greek, traditionally the language of education and religion in Constantinople and other prosperous urban cities. The historical studies cited below (mostly Capidan) show that especially after the fall of Moscopole (1788) the process of Hellenisation via education and religion gained a strong impetus mostly among people doing business in the cities.
The Romanian state began opening schools for the Romanian-influenced Vlachs in the 1860s, but this initiative was regarded with suspicion by the Greeks, who thought that Romania was trying to assimilate them. 19th-century travellers in the Balkans such as W. M. Leake and Henry Fanshawe Tozer noted that Vlachs in the Pindus and Macedonia were bilingual, reserving the Latin dialect for inside the home.
By 1948, the new Soviet-imposed communist regime of Romania had closed all Romanian-run schools outside Romania and, since the closure, there has been no formal education in Aromanian and speakers have been encouraged to learn and use the Greek language. This has been a process encouraged by the community itself and is not an explicit State policy. The decline and isolation of the Romanian orientated groups was not helped by the fact that they openly collaborated with the Axis powers of Italy and Germany during the occupation of Greece in WWII. Notably, the vast majority of Vlachs fought in the Greek resistance and a number of their villages were destroyed by the Germans.
The issue of Aromanian-language education is a sensitive one, partly because of opposition within the Greek Vlachs community to actions leading to the introduction of the language into the education system, viewing it as an artificial distinction between them and other Greeks. For example, the former education minister, George Papandreou, received a negative response from Greek-Aromanian mayors and associations to his proposal for a trial Aromanian language education programme. The Panhellenic Federation of Cultural Associations of Vlachs expressed strong opposition to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's recommendation in 1997 that the tuition of Aromanian be supported so as to avoid its extinction. This recommendation was issued after pressure from the Union for Aromanian Language and Culture in Germany. On a visit to Metsovo, Epirus in 1998, Greek President Konstantinos Stephanopoulos called on Vlachs to speak and teach their language, but its decline continues.
A recent example of the sensitivity of the issue was the 2001 conviction (later overturned in the Appeals Court) to 15 months in jail of Sotiris Bletsas, a Greek Aromanian who was found guilty of "dissemination of false information" after he distributed informative material on minority languages in Europe (which included information on minority languages of Greece), produced by the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages and financed by the European Commission. His conviction met with broad condemnation in Greece, where at least editorial compared the situation to the suppression of Kurdish and other minority languages in Turkey and noted the irony that some prosecutors in fact came from non-Hellenophone families that had once spoken Aromanian or Turkish. Bletsas was eventually acquitted.
Tatã a nostu tsi eshti tu tser,
si ayisiascã numa a Ta,
s’yinã amirãria a Ta,
si facã vrearea a Ta,
cum tu tser, ashã sh'pisti loc.
Pãnia a nostã, atsa di cathi dzuã, dãnu sh’azã,
sh‘ yiartãni amartiili a nosti,
ashe cum li yiãrtãm sh’noi a amãrtor a noci,
sh’nu ni du la pirazmo,
ma viagljãni di atsel rãu.
Cã a Ta esti amirãria sh'puteria,
a Tatãlui shi Hiljãlui shi a Ayiului Spirit,
tora, totãna sh’tu eta a etilor.
Tati a nost tsi esht tu tser,
s’ayiãsiaste numa a Ta,
s’zine amirãria a Ta,
si fache vrera a Ta,
cum tu tser, ashe sh'pisti loc.
Penia a noste, atsa di cathi dzue, denu sh’aze,
sh‘ yiartãni amartiãli a nosti,
ashe cum li yiãrtem sh’noi a amãrtor a noci,
sh’nu ni du la pirazmo,
ma viagãni di atsel reu.
Che a Ta esti amirãria sh'putera,
al Tati shi al Hiyiu shi al Ayiu Duh,
tora, totãna sh’tu eta a etãlu.
Tatã a nostu, tsi eshtsã tu tseru,
s'ayiseascã numa a Ta,
s'yinã amirãriljea a Ta,
si facã vrearea a Ta,
cumu tu tseru, ashi sh'pisti locu.
Pãnea a nostã atsea di cathi dzuã dãnãu sh'adzã
sh'yiartãnã amãrtiile a noasti
ashi cum ilj yirtãmu sh'noi a amãrtoshloru a noshtsã.
Sh'nu nã du tu pirazmo,
Sh'aveagljinã di atsel arãulu.
Cã a Ta easti Amirãriljia sh'putearea
a Tatãlui shi Hiljãlui sh a Ayiului Duhu,
tora, totna sh tu eta a etilor.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Dina Cuvata translated Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as follows:
Tuti iatsãli umineshtsã s'fac liberi shi egali la nãmuzea shi ndrepturli. Eali suntu hãrziti cu fichiri shi sinidisi shi lipseashti un cu alantu sh si poartã tu duhlu a frãtsãljiljei.
Comparison with Romanian
The following text is given for comparison in Aromanian and in Romanian, with an English translation. The spelling of Aromanian is that decided at the Bitola Symposium of August 1997. The word choice in the Romanian version was such that it matches the Aromanian text, although in modern Romanian other words might have been more appropriate. The English translation is only provided as a guide to the meaning, with an attempt to keep the word order as close to the original as possible.
|Vocala easti unã son dit zburãrea a omlui, faptu cu tritsearea sonorã, libirã sh'fãrã cheadicã, a vimtului prit canalu sonor (adrat di coardili vocali shi ntreaga gurã) icã un semnu grafic cari aspuni un ahtari son.||Vocala este un sunet din vorbirea omului, făcut cu trecerea sonoră, liberă și fără piedică, a aerului prin canalul sonor (compus din coardele vocale și întreaga gură) sau un semn grafic care reprezintă un atare sunet.||The vowel is a sound in human speech, made by the sonorous, free and unhindered passing of the air through the sound channel (composed of the vocal cords and the whole mouth) or a graphic symbol corresponding to that sound.|
|Ashi bunãoarã, avem shasili vocali tsi s'fac cu vimtul tsi treatsi prit gurã, iu limba poati si s'aflã tu un loc icã altu shi budzãli pot si sta dishcljisi unã soe icã altã.||Așa, avem șase vocale ce se fac cu aerul ce trece prin gură, unde limba poate să se afle într-un loc sau altul și buzele pot să stea deschise într-un soi sau altul.||This way, we have six vowels that are produced by the air passing through the mouth, where the tongue can be in one place or another and the lips can be opened in one way or another.|
|Vocalili pot s'hibã pronuntsati singuri icã deadun cu semivocali i consoani.||Vocalele pot să fie pronunțate singure sau împreună cu semivocale sau consoane.||The vowels can be pronounced alone or together with semivowels or consonants.|
Common words and phrases
|Aromanian (person)||(m.) Armãn/ rrãmãn, (f.) armãnã/ rrãmãnã|
|Aromanian (language)||Limba armãneascã/ limba rrãmãneascã; armãneashti/ armãneashte / armãneashci / armãneashce / rrãmãneshti|
|Good day!||Bunã dzua!|
|What's your name?||Cum ti chiamã? (informal)|
|How old are you?||Di cãtsi anji esht?|
|How are you?||Cumu hits? (formal) Cumu eshti?/ Cumu eshci? (informal)|
|What are you doing?||Tsi fats?/ Tsi adari? (popular)|
|Goodbye!||S'nã videmu cu ghine!/ Ghini s'ni videmu!/ Ghini s'ni vãdem!|
|Bye!||S'nã avdzãmu ghiniatsa!/ Sã s'avdzãm buniatsa!|
|Please.||Vã plãcãrsescu. (formal) Ti plãcãrsescu. (informal)|
|I don't understand.||Nu adukiescu/ Nu akicãsescu.|
|I don't know.||Nu shtiu/ Nu shciu.|
|Where's the bathroom?||Yu esti tualetu? / Yu easti toaletlu?/ Yu easte tualetu?|
|Do you speak English?||Zburats / Grits - anglikiashti? / anglicheashce?|
|I am a student.||Mini est / estu un student/ Mine escu un student.|
|I am a good person.||Mini est / estu un om bun|
|You are beautiful.||Eshti mushat(ã)/ Eshci mushat(ã)/ Hi mushat(ã)/ Esht mushat(e).|
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- Η βλαχική γλώσσα στο γλώσσες και αλφάβητα του κόσμου
- EVANGHELU PI DUPI LUKA (The Gospel according to Luke in Aromanian).