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Aromanian (rrãmãneshti, armãneashti, armãneshce, "Aromanian", or limba rrãmãniascã/ armãneascã/ armãneshce, "Aromanian language"), also known as Macedo-Romanian or Vlach, is an Eastern Romance language, similar to Meglenoromanian, or a dialect of the Romanian language 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).
|rrãmãneshti, armãneashti, armãneashce|
|Native to||Greece, Albania, Romania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey.|
|estimated 250,000 (1997)|
|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.
The greatest number of Aromanian speakers is in Greece, with substantial numbers of speakers also found in Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and the Republic of North Macedonia. The latter was the only country where Aromanians are officially recognized as a national minority, until October 2017 when Albania also officially recognized them.
Large Aromanian-speaking communities are also found in Romania, where some Aromanians migrated from Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and Serbia, mainly after 1925. Aromanians may have settled in Turkey due to the influence of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. Today, there are a few Aromanians living in Turkey.
The Aromanian language has a degree of official status in the Republic of North Macedonia, where Aromanian 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, the Aromanian language has been the second official municipal language in the city of Kruševo.
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The language is similar to Romanian; its greatest difference lies in the 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. Though there are far fewer Slavic words, 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. One possibility for the origin of 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 used Greek words to coin new words (neologisms), while Romanian based most of its neologisms on French.
Aromanian has three main dialects, Gramustean, Pindean, and Fãrshãrot.
It has also several regional variants, named after places that were home to significant populations of Aromanians (Vlachs); nowadays located in Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia and Greece. Examples are the Moscopole variant (from the Metropolis of Moscopole, also known as the "Aromanian Jerusalem"); the Muzachiar variant from Muzachia in central Albania; the variant of Bitola; Pilister, Malovište, Gopeš, Upper Beala; Gorna Belica (Aromanian: Beala di Supra) near Struga, Krusevo (Aromanian: Crushuva), and the variant east of the Vardar River in the Republic of North Macedonia.
An Aromanian dictionary currently under development can be found on wiktionary.
Aromanian has differences from standard Romanian in its phonology, some of them probably due to influence from Greek. It has spirants that do not exist in Romanian, such as /θ, ð, x, ɣ/. Other differences are the sounds /dz/ and /ts/, which correspond to Romanian /z/ and /tʃ/, and the sounds: /ʎ/, final /u/, and /ɲ/, which exist only in local dialects 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.
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 "va" or "u" and the subjunctive mood.
gramushtean / farsherot
|va s'cãntu / u s'cãntu||va să cânt||o să cânt||voi cânta||I will sing|
|va s'cãnts / u s'cãnts||va să cânți||o să cânți||vei cânta||you (sg.) will sing|
|va s'cãntã / u s'cãntã||va să cânte||o să cânte||va cânta||(s)he will sing|
|va s'cãntãm / u s'cãntãm||va să cântăm||o să cântăm||vom cânta||we will sing|
|va s'cãntatsi / u s'cãntats||va să cântați||o să cântați||veți cânta||you (pl.) will sing|
|va s'cãntã / u 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 (aveam) and the past participle, as in Spanish and French, except that French replaces avoir (have) with être (be) for 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 (aveam, aveai, avea, aveamu, aveatu, avea), whereas the past participle does not change.
|avea mãcatã / avia mãcatã||vea mancat||mâncase||(he/she) had eaten|
|avea durnjitã / avia 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 (acãtsãnda(lui)), portu, lucreashce, adiľeashce.
- 2nd conjugation: armãnã, cade, poate, tatse, veade.
- 3rd conjugation: arupã, dipune, dutse, dzãse, featse, tradze, scrie.
- 4th conjugation: apire, doarme, hivrie, aure, pate, avde.
Situation in GreeceEdit
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 the resurgence in Romanian interest on the subject. Romanian nationalism maintains that Greek propaganda is still very strong in the area, inferring that Greeks define Aromanians as a sort of "Latinized Greeks". The fact remains that it is the majority of Greek Vlachs themselves that oppose the Romanian propaganda (those that supported it having emigrated in the early 20th Century to other countries), as they have done for the past 200 years. Most Greek Vlachs oppose the introduction of the language into the education system as EU and leading Greek political figures have suggested, 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 (Πανελλήνια Ομοσπονδία Πολιτιστικών Συλλόγων Βλάχων) expressed strong opposition to EU's recommendation in 1997 that the tuition of Aromanian be supported so as to avoid its extinction. 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 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'ljiartãnã amãrtiile a noasti
- ashi cum ľi ljirtãmu sh'noi a amãrtoshloru a noshtsa.
- Sh'nu nã du tu pirazmo,
- Sh'aveagljinã di atsel arãulu.
- Cã a Ta easti Amirãrijia sh'putearea
- a Tatãlui shi Hillui sh a Ayiului Duhu,
- tora, totãna sh tu eta a etilor.
- 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, ashe sh'pisti loc.
- Pãna a nostã, atsa di cathi dzuã, dãniu sh’azã,
- sh’ľartãni amartiili a nosti,
- ashe cum li ľãrtem sh’noi a amãrtor a noci,
- sh’nu ni du la pirazmo,
- ma viagľãni di atsel rãu.
- Cã a Ta esti amirãria ľ’puteria,
- a Tatãlui shi Hiľalui shi a Ayiului Spirit,
- tora, totãna sh’tu eta a etillor.
- 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.
- (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), translated by Dina Cuvata
Comparison with RomanianEdit
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.||Astfel, 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 phrasesEdit
|Aromanian (person)||(m.) armãn/rrãmãn, (f.) armãnã/rrãmãnã|
|Aromanian (language)||limba armãneascã; armãneashti/armãneashce/rrãmãneshti|
|Good day!||Bunã dzua!|
|What's your name?||Cumu ti chľamã? (informal)|
|How old are you?||Di cãtsi anji eshti?|
|How are you?||Cumu hits? (formal) Cumu eshci? /Cumu eshti? (informal)|
|What are you doing?||Tsi fats?/Tsi adari? (popular)|
|Goodbye!||S'nã videmu cu ghine!/Ghini s'ni videmu!|
|Bye!||S'nã avdzãmu ghiniatsa!|
|Please.||Vã plãcãrsescu. (formal) Ti plãcãrsescu. (informal)|
|I don't understand.||Nu achicãsescu/Nu aduchest.|
|Where's the bathroom?||ľu easte toaletlu?/ľu esti tualetu?|
|Do you speak English?||Zburats anglicheashce?/Grits anglikiashti?|
|I am a student.||Mine escu un studentu/Mini estu un student.|
|You are beautiful.||Hi mushat(ã)/Eshci mushat(ã)/Eshti mushat(ã).|
- Bara, Mariana. Le lexique latin hérité en aroumain dans une perspective romane. Munich: Lincom Europa, 2004, 231 p.; ISBN 3-89586-980-5.
- Bara, Mariana. Limba armănească: Vocabular şi stil. Bucharest: Editura Cartea Universitară, 2007, ISBN 978-973-731-551-9.
- Berciu-Drăghicescu, Adina; Petre, Maria. Şcoli şi Biserici româneşti din Peninsula Balcanică: Documente (1864–1948). Bucharest: Editura Universităţii, 2004.
- Capidan, Theodor. Aromânii, dialectul Aromân. Academia Română, Studii şi Cercetări, XX 1932.
- Friedman, Victor A. “The Vlah Minority in Macedonia: Language, Identity, Dialectology, and Standardization”, in Selected Papers in Slavic, Balkan, and Balkan Studies, eds. Juhani Nuoluoto, Martti Leiwo, & Jussi Halla-aho. Slavica Helsingiensa 21. University of Helsinki, 2001. online
- Gołąb, Zbigniew. The Arumanian Dialect of Kruševo, SR Macedonia. Skopje: MANU, 1984.
- Kahl, Thede. "Aromanians in Greece: Minority or Vlach-speaking Greeks?". farsarotul.org. Archived from the original on 2007-08-08.
- Kahl, Thede. “Sprache und Intention der ersten aromunischen Textdokumente, 1731–1809”, in Festschrift für Gerhard Birkfellner zum 65. Geburtstag: Studia Philologica Slavica I/I, ed. Bernhard Symanzik. Münstersche Texte zur Slavistik, 2006, p. 245–266.
- Marangozis, John. An Introduction to Vlach Grammar. Munich: Lincom Europa, 2010.
- Markoviḱ, Marjan. Aromanskiot i makedonskiot govor od ohridsko-struškiot region: vo balkanski kontekst [Aromanian and Macedonian dialects of the Ohrid-Struga region: in Balkan context]. Skopje: Makedonska akademija na naukite i umetnostite, 2007.
- Pascu, Giorge. Dictionnaire étymologique macédoroumain, 2 vols. Iaşi: Cultura Naţionalâ, 1918.
- Rosetti, Alexandru. Istoria limbii române, 2 vols. Bucharest, 1965–1969.
- "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in Aromanian. Njiclu amirārush. Translated by Maria Bara and Thede Kahl, ISBN 978-3-937467-37-5.
- Vrabie, Emil. An English-Aromanian (Macedo-Romanian) Dictionary. University, Miss.; Stratford, CT: Romance monographs, 2000.
- Weigand, Gustav. Die Sprache der Olympo-Wallachen, nebst einer Einleitung über Land und Leute. Leipzig: Johann Ambrosius Barth, 1888.
- Council of Europe Parliamentary Recommendation 1333 on the Aromanian culture and language (1997)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Aromanian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Romanian language – Britannica Online Encyclopedia
- Aromanians Archived March 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- Multiculturalism, alteritate, istoricitate «Multiculturalism, Historicity and “The image of the Other”» by Alexandru Niculescu, Literary Romania (România literară), issue: 32 / 2002, pages: 22,23,
- Angeliki Konstantakopoulou, Η ελληνική γλώσσα στα Βαλκάνια 1750–1850. Το τετράγλωσσο λεξικό του Δανιήλ Μοσχοπολίτη [The Greek language in the Balkans 1750–1850. The dictionary in four languages of Daniel Moschopolite]. Ioannina 1988, 11.
- Peyfuss, Max Demeter: Die Druckerei von Moschopolis, 1731–1769. Buchdruck und Heiligenverehrung im Erzbistum Achrida. Wien – Köln 1989. (= Wiener Archiv f. Geschichte des Slawentums u. Osteuropas. 13), ISBN 3-205-98571-0.
- Kahl, Thede: Wurde in Moschopolis auch Bulgarisch gesprochen? In: Probleme de filologie slavă XV, Editura Universității de Vest, Timişoara 2007, S. 484–494, ISSN 1453-763X.
- "The Bulgarian National Awakening and its Spread into Macedonia", by Antonios-Aimilios Tachiaos, pp. 21–23, published by Thessaloniki's Society for Macedonian Studies, 1990.
- Iancu Ianachieschi-Vlahu Gramatica armãneascã simplã shi practicã, Crushuva 1993, 1997; Μιχάλη Μπογιάτζη Βλαχική ήτοι μάκεδοβλαχική γραμματική Βιέννη, and Κατσάνης Ν., Κ. Ντίνας, 1990, Γραμματική της κοινής Κουτσοβλαχικής.
- Iancu Ianachieschi-Vlahu Gramatica simplã shi practicã, Crushuva 1993, 1997.
- Note also that Weigand, in his 1888 Die Sprache der Olympo-Wallachen, nebst einer Einleitung über Land und Leute remarks: "By inclination, the Livadhiotes are zealous advocates of Greek ideas and would much prefer to be unified with Greece" (p.15).
- "ΠΟΠΣΒ -ΔΙΟΙΚΗΤΙΚΟ ΣΥΜΒΟΥΛΙΟ". 18 March 2004. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2007-01-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "15-month prison sentence handed down to Mr Sotiris Bletsas for distributing information material financed by the Commission". European Parliament. 8 January 2002. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- "Διασπορά αληθινών ειδήσεων". February 10, 2001. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- Johan Haggman (18 December 2001). "Minority Language Activist, Bletsas Found Not Guilty in Historic Court Decision". Archived from the original on 30 November 2007.
|Aromanian edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
|Look up Aromanian in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Aromanian Language website
- Στα Βλάχικα – In Vlach: A website about the Vlach language in Greece
- Aromanian Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words (from Wiktionary's Swadesh list appendix)
- Aromanian basic lexicon at the Global Lexicostatistical Database
- Asterios Koukoudis: Studies on the Vlachs
- Greek Helsinki Human Rights Organization: Aromanians (Vlachs) in Greece
- Conjugation of verbs in Aromanian and Istro-Romanian
- Romanian and the Balkans, with some references to Aromanian
- Greek Vlach website
- Consiliul A Tinirlor Armanj – CTARM , webpage about Youth Aromanians and their projects
- Armans Association from Serbia
- Armans Cultural Association from Romania