Megleno-Romanian language

Megleno-Romanian (known as vlăhește by its speakers, and Megleno-Romanian or Meglenitic and sometimes Moglenitic or Meglinitic by linguists) is an Eastern Romance language, similar to Aromanian.[5] It is spoken by the Megleno-Romanians in a few villages in the Moglena region that spans the border between the Greek region of Macedonia and North Macedonia. It is also spoken by emigrants from these villages and their descendants in Romania, in Turkey by a small Muslim group, and in Serbia. It is considered an endangered language.

Meglenitic, Meglinitic, Moglenitic
Native toGreece, North Macedonia, Romania, Turkey,[1] Serbia
Native speakers
5,000 (2002)[2]
Early forms
Language codes
ISO 639-3ruq
The extent of Megleno-Romanian (in purple) and Aromanian (in gold)
Romanian schools for Aromanians and Megleno-Romanians in the Ottoman Empire (1886)

Classification edit

Megleno-Romanian is a member of the family of Romance languages. More specifically, it is an Eastern Romance language, a language formed after the retreat of the Roman Empire from the Balkans. Due to the fact that it is spoken by very few people and because of its similarities with the Aromanian, modern Romanian and Istro-Romanian languages, some linguists consider it to be an intermediary between Romanian and Aromanian, often being considered either a dialect of Romanian, a dialect of Aromanian, or an independent language. It is closer to standard Romanian than the Aromanian language, suggesting that it split from Common Romanian later than Aromanian. Megleno-Romanian has been strongly influenced by the neighbouring South Slavic varieties.

Name edit

The term Megleno-Romanian has been used by linguists (mainly Romanians), who noticed the similarity to the Romanian language. The Megleno-Romanians identify themselves as vlaș ("Vlach") or by local endonyms such as liumnicean ("from Liumnița") or umineț ("from Uma").[6]

Geographical distribution edit

Megleno-Romanian is spoken in several villages in the Pella and Kilkis regional units of Macedonia, Greece, as well as in a handful of villages across the border in North Macedonia. In the village of Huma, the language was spoken by most inhabitants before they and other Megleno-Romanians from the region moved in the cities of Gevgelija and Skopje where some have preserved their native language.[7] After World War I, some Megleno-Romanians moved to Romania, in Southern Dobruja, but were moved to the village of Cerna in Tulcea County (Northern Dobruja) after the population exchange between Bulgaria and Romania. In Cerna, about 1,200 people continue to speak Megleno-Romanian. In 1940, about 30 families moved from Cerna to the Banat region of Romania in the villages of Variaș, Biled and Jimbolia. Some speakers who identified as Muslim, from the village of Nânti (Nótia), were moved to Turkey from Greece as part of the population exchange between them of the 1920s.[8] Some also live in Serbia, specially in the village of Gudurica.[9]

Phonology edit

Megleno-Romanian is not a standardised language and there are phonological differences across idioms.[10]

Consonants edit

Labial Dental/
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ
Stop voiceless p t c k
voiced b d ɟ ɡ
Affricate voiceless t͡s t͡ʃ
voiced d͡z d͡ʒ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ ç (h)
voiced v z ʒ
Trill r
Approximant lateral l ʎ
central j w
  • Sounds [h] as well as [β, ð, ɣ] can also occur from Greek borrowings.[11][12]

Vowels edit

Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-mid e ə o
Open-mid ɛ ɔ ɔː
Open a

Some particular phonetic characteristics of the Megleno-Romanian vowel system compared to other Eastern Romance languages are:[10]

  1. long vowels: ā, ē, ī, ǭ, ō, ū
  2. use of the open-mid back rounded vowel [ɔ] in some words which in Romanian would use [ə] and [ɨ], for example: pǫ́nză
  3. apheresis of [a] in initial position: aveamveam ("we had"), aducduc ("I bring")

Vocabulary edit

Megleno-Romanian inscription (Ceshma ămpiratului, "the Emperor's Fountain") on a water fountain along the way to Huma, a village in North Macedonia

Much of the vocabulary is of Latin origin and much of its phonetics and semantics is shared with Aromanian and Romanian: (n.b.: MR=Megleno-Romanian, DR=Daco-Romanian, i.e. Romanian)

  • basilica > MR bisearică, DR biserică (church, originally "basilica")
  • lumen > MR lumi, DR lume (world, originally "light")
  • monumentum > MR murmint, DR mormânt (grave, originally "monument")
  • strigis > MR strig, DR strig (I yell, originally "owl")
  • draco > MR drac, DR drac (devil, originally "dragon")

Megleno-Romanian also contains some words that have cognates with Albanian. These words are present in Daco-Romanian too:

  • MR brad; DR brad; cf. Alb. bredh (fir tree)
  • MR monz; DR mânz; cf. Alb. mës (colt)
  • MR bucuros; DR bucuros; (happy) cf. Alb bukur (beautiful)

There are also some words which are of Slavic origin and which can be found in all the Eastern Romance languages:

  • MR stăpân; DR trup (body); cf. Sl. trupŭ
  • MR stăpon; DR stăpân (master); cf. Old Slavic. stopanŭ, today's Bulgarian stopanin and Macedonian stopan

There are a number of Byzantine and Modern Greek words, several dozens of which are also found in Daco-Romanian (Romanian language) and Aromanian and about 80 words that were borrowed via Macedonian and Bulgarian languages and other languages of the Balkans. Prior to the creation of the modern state of Greece, Megleno-Romanian borrowed very few words directly from Greek.

  • Gr. prósfatos > MR proaspit; DR proaspăt (fresh)
  • Gr. keramídi > MR chirămidă; DR cărămidă (brick)
  • Gr. lemoni > MR limonă, via Bulg. limon (lemon); cf. DR lămâie

The most important influence on Megleno-Romanian was the East South Slavic languages, this influence being more profound than that exerted by Greek on Aromanian. Most Slavic terms are of Macedonian and Bulgarian origins. The linguist Theodor Capidan argued that the words borrowed show some phonetic features of the Bulgarian language dialect spoken in the Rhodope Mountains. There are many instances where basic words of Latin origin that can still be found in Daco-Romanian and Aromanian were replaced by Slavic words. In some cases, standard Romanian also independently borrowed the same word.

  • Bulgarian (Slavic) drob > MR drob
  • Bulgarian neviasta > MR niveastă (bride)
  • Bulgarian gora > MR goră (forest)

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ a b The internal classification of the Eastern Romance languages presented in Petrucci (1999) proposes a bipartite split into Northern and Southern branches, with the Southern branch splitting into Megleno-Romanian and Aromanian.[3] By contrast, the classification presented within Glottolog v4.8 proposes a bipartite split between Aromanian and Northern Romanian, the latter of which is further split into Istro-Romanian and Eastern Romanian, from which Daco-Romanian and Megleno-Romanian are hypothesized to have split from.[4]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Ethnologue entry
  2. ^ Megleno-Romanian at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  3. ^ Petrucci 1999, p. 4.
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian (2023-07-10). "Glottolog 4.8 - Eastern Romance". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. doi:10.5281/zenodo.7398962. Retrieved 2023-11-20.
  5. ^ Romanian language – Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  6. ^ Berciu-Drăghicescu, Adina (coord.), Frățilă, Vasile (2012). Aromâni, Meglenoromâni și Istroromâni: Aspecte identitare și culturale, capitolul Meglenoromânii – aspecte istorice, geografice, etnoidentitare și etnodemografice [Aromanian, Megleno-Romanians, and Istro-Romanians: Aspects of Identity and Culture, chapter Meglenoromânii – aspecte istorice, geografice, etnoidentitare și etnodemografice]. Editura Universității din București. p. 311. ISBN 978-606-16-0148-6.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Nevaci, Manuela; Saramandu, Nicolae (2014). "Aspectul verbal în dialectul macedoromân" [Verbal aspect in the Megleno-Romanian dialect]. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  8. ^ Kahl, Thede (December 2014). "Language preservation, identity loss: The Meglen Vlachs". p. 40. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  9. ^ Sorescu-Marinković, Annemarie; Maran, Mircea (December 2014). "Megleno-Romanians in Gudurica: Language and Identity". Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  10. ^ a b Nevaci, Manuela; Saramandu, Nicolae (2014). "Le dialecte méglénoroumain. Une synthese" [The Megleno-Romanian dialect - a synthesis]. (in French). Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  11. ^ Narumov, B. P. (2001). Мегленорумынский язык / Диалект. Романские языки. pp. 671–681.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  12. ^ Atanasov, Petar (2002). Meglenoromâna astăzi. Bucharest: Romanian Academy.

Further reading edit

  • Capidan, Theodor, Meglenoromânii
    • vol. I: Istoria și graiul lor [Their history and speech], București, Cultura Națională, 1925;
    • vol. II: Literatura populară la meglenoromâni [Popular literature of the Megleno-Romanians], București, Cultura Națională / Academia Română, Studii și Cercetări VII, 1928;
    • vol. III: Dicționar meglenoromân [Megleno-Romanian dictionary], București, Cultura Națională / Academia Română, Studii și Cercetări XXV, 1935
  • Petrucci, Peter R. (1999). Slavic Features in the History of Rumanian. München: LINCOM Europa. ISBN 38-9586-599-0.

External links edit