Aromanian language

Not to be confused with Romanian language or Armenian language.
armãneashce, armãneashti, rrãmãneshti.
Native to Greece, Albania, Romania, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey.
Native speakers
estimated 250,000 (1997)[1]
Early forms
  • Aromanian
Latin (Aromanian alphabet)
Official status
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-2 rup
ISO 639-3 rup
Glottolog arom1237[2]
Linguasphere 51-AAD-ba
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Major settlements
Related groups
Dialects of Aromanian

Aromanian (limba armãneascã, armãneshce, armãneashti, rrãmãneshti), also known as Macedo-Romanian or Vlach, is an Eastern Romance 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).

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; 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.

Geographic distribution

The greatest number of Aromanian speakers is in Greece, with substantial numbers of speakers also found in Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and in the Republic of Macedonia. Macedonia is the only country where Aromanians are officially recognized as a national minority. In Albania, Aromanians are recognized as a cultural or linguistic minority.

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.

Official status

The Aromanian language has a degree of official status in the Republic of Macedonia, where Aromanian is taught as a subject in some primary schools (in Skopje, Bitola, Štip and Kruševo). In the Republic of 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 (after Macedonian) in the city of Kruševo (Crushuva), even though it is spoken by ~ 10% of the municipal population.[3] The language has no official status in any other country, despite the even higher numbers of Aromanians in some other countries, e.g. Greece.


Dictionary of four Balkan languages (Greek, Albanian, Aromanian and Bulgarian) by Daniel Moscopolites, an Aromanian from Moscopole, written c. 1770 and published c. 1794; republished in 1802 in Greek.[4][5][6][7][8]

The language is similar to Romanian; its greatest difference lies in the vocabulary. There are far fewer Slavic words 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.

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.

With the arrival of the Turks in the Balkans, Aromanian also received some Turkish words. Still, the lexical composition remains mainly Romance.


Aromanian has three main dialects, Gramustean, Pindean, and Fãrsherot.

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 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 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 do not exist 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 with a version of the Greek script.


Aromanian grammar book, with the title in Greek and German, 1813

The grammar and morphology are very similar to those of other Romance languages:

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.[9]

(ind. pres. 1st sg.)
(ind. pres. 1st sg.)
I cãntu
a cânta I
a da I
a lucra I
II ved
a vedea II
a ședea II
a rămâne III (or a rămânea II)
III duc
a duce III
a cunoaște III
a arde III
carry, lead
IV mor
a muri IV
a fugi IV
a îndulci IV
run away, flee

Future tense

The future tense is formed using an auxiliary invariable particle "va" or "u" and the subjunctive mood.

gramushtean / farsherot
va s-cãntu / u s-chentuva să cânto să cântvoi cânta I will sing
va s-cãnts / u s-chentsva să cânţio să cânțivei cânta you (sg.) will sing
va s-cãntã / u s-chenteva să cânteo să cânteva cânta (s)he will sing
va s-cãntãm / u s-cãntemva să cântămo să cântămvom cânta we will sing
va s-cãntati / u s-cãntativa să cântațio să cântațiveți cântayou (pl.) will sing
va s-cãntã / u s-chenteva să cânteo să cântevor 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.[10]

avea mãcatã / avia mãcatã vea mancatmâncase (he/she) had eaten
avea durnjitã / avia durnjitãvea durmitdormise (he/she) had slept


The Aromanian gerund is applied to some verbs, but not all. These verbs are:

Situation in Greece

Romanian Schools for Aromanians and Meglenoromanians in the Ottoman Empire (1886)
Use of the Aromanian language in the Florina Prefecture

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.[11]

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.[12] 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,[13][14] 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[15] and it emerged that his case was zealously pursued by Aromanian leaders who viewed themselves as patriotic Greeks and felt affronted by the suggestion that they belonged to a "minority". Bletsas was eventually acquitted.[16]

Language sample


Tatã a nostru, tsi eshci tu tserl,
s'ayiseascã numa a Ta,
s'yinã amirãriľa a Ta,
si facã vreare a Ta,
cum tu tserl, ashi sh'pisti locl.
Pãnea a nostrã atsea di cathi dzuã dã-nã-u sh'azã
shi ľartã-nã amãrtiile a noastre
ashi cum ľi ľirtãm sh'noi a amãrtoshlor a noshci.
Shi nu nã du la pirazmo,
ala aveagľi-nã di atsel arãul.
Cã a Ta easte Amirãriľa shi putearea
a Tatãlui shi Hillui shi a Ayului Spirit,
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.
Penia a noste, atsa di cathi dzue, de-ni-u sh’aze,
sh’ľartã-ni amartiili a nosti,
ashe cum li ľãrtem sh’noi a amãrtoľor a noci,
sh’nu ni du la pirazmo,
ma viagľã-ni di atsel rãu.
C a Ta esti amirãria ľ’puteria,
a Tatãlui shi Hiľalui shi a Ayiului Spirit,
tora,totãna sh’tu eta a etillor.

(The Lord's Prayersource)

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 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.

Aromanian Romanian English
Vocala easti un 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 fel 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

English Aromanian Romanian
Aromanian (person) (m.) armãn, (f.) armãnã (m.) aromân, (f.) aromână
Aromanian (language) limba armãneascã; armãneashti/armãneashce/rrãmãneshti limba aromână, aromânește
Good day! Bunã dzua! Bună ziua!
What's your name? Cumu ti chľamã? (informal) Cum te cheamă? (informal)
How old are you? di cãtsi anji eshti? câți ani ai? / de câți ani ești? (archaic)
How are you? Cumu hits? (formal) Cumu eshci? /Cumu eshti?(informal) Ce mai faci? / Cum ești? (informal)
What are you doing? Tsi fats? Tsi adari? (popular) Ce faci? (informal)
Goodbye! S-nã videmu cu ghine!,/ghini s'ni videmu La revedere! (Să ne vedem cu bine!)
Bye! s'nã avdzãmu ghiniatsa,Ciao! Ciao! (informal), Salut! (informal), La revedere! (formal)
Please. Vã-plãcãrsescu. (formal) Ti-plãcãrsescu (informal) Vă rog. (formal), Te rog. (informal)
Sorry. Inj yini rãu Scuze. (Îmi pare rău)
Thank you. Haristo. Mulțumesc!
Yes. Ie Da.
No. Nu. Nu.
I don't understand. Nu achicãsescu. Nu înțeleg. Nu achiesez.
Where's the bathroom? ľu easte toaletlu?,/ľu esti tualetu? Unde este toaleta?
Do you speak English? Zburats anglicheashce?,/grits anglikiashti? Vorbiți englezește? (formal)
I am a student. Mine escu studentu,/mini estu student Sunt student. (m.)
You are beautiful. Hi mushat(ã), Eshci mushat(ã)/eshti mushat(ã) Ești frumos/frumoasă. (informal,)

See also



  1. Council of Europe Parliamentary Recommendation 1333 on the Aromanian culture and language (1997)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Aromanian". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. Aromanians Archived March 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. Multiculturalism, alteritate, istoricitate «Multiculturalism, Historicity and “The image of the Other”» by Alexandru Niculescu, Literary Romania (România literară), issue: 32 / 2002, pages: 22,23,
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. "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.
  9. 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.
  10. Iancu Ianachieschi-Vlahu Gramatica simplã shi practicã, Crushuva 1993, 1997.
  11. 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).
  12. "ΠΟΠΣΒ -ΔΙΟΙΚΗΤΙΚΟ ΣΥΜΒΟΥΛΙΟ". 18 March 2004. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014.
  14. "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.
  15. "Διασπορά αληθινών ειδήσεων". February 10, 2001. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  16. Johan Haggman (18 December 2001). "Minority Language Activist, Bletsas Found Not Guilty in Historic Court Decision". Archived from the original on 30 November 2007.

External links

Aromanian edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Look up Aromanian in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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