Aromanian language

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Armãneashti, Rrãmãneshti
Native to Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia
Region Southern Balkans
Ethnicity Aromanians
Native speakers
estimated 250,000 (1997)[1]
Early form
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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Dialects of Aromanian

The Aromanian language (Aromanian: limba Armãneascã or Rrãmãneascã), also known as Vlach, is a Romance language. It is considered to be part of the group of Eastern Romance languages, which in its turn represent the eastern branch of the family of Romance languages.

The Aromanian language shares many features with the other Eastern Romance languages Megleno-Romanian, modern Romanian and Istro-Romanian, including similar morphology and syntax, as well as a large common vocabulary. However, alongside their similarities, there are also considerable dissimilarities between them.

Its speakers are called Aromanians or Vlachs, the last one being a broader term and an exonym in widespread use, to define in its early stages all Latin people of Europe and later on, only those from the Balkans.

The Aromanian language is usually written with a version of the Latin script, the Aromanian alphabet.

Geographic distribution[edit]

The greatest number of Aromanian speakers is found in Greece, followed by a substantial number of speakers in Albania, the Republic of Macedonia, and less in Serbia and Bulgaria.

Aromanian-speaking communities are also found as a diaspora in Romania, where they migrated from Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and Serbia mainly after 1925; in Turkey due to the influence of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans and Europe; in the United States, Australia, Canada, etc., due to their migration in modern times.

Official status[edit]

The Republic of Macedonia, after its declaration of independence from Yugoslavia, was the first country that officially recognized Aromanians as an ethnic minority. As a result of that the Aromanian language has a degree of official status. Aromanian is taught as a subject in some primary schools (in Skopje, Bitola, Štip and Kruševo), and 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, where it is spoken by about 10% of the municipal population.[3]

Albania became the second country, in October 2017, to officially recognize Aromanians as an ethnic minority. Therefore it is expected to provide a degree of official status regarding the language (education, mass media, administration, etc.).

The language has so far no official status in Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, despite the high number of Aromanians living in these countries.

Origin theories and history[edit]

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

Trying to analyse the Aromanian language, we should take into consideration the history of all Romance languages of Europe.

— That being said, according to the generally accepted theory, about the origin of Romance languages of Europe, it is supposed that, each of them is a mixture of their specific substratum, (the ancient, local, language of each country) and the common adstratum, (the official Latin, the language of Rome).

— However, recently a new theory, considered by many linguists and historians as the most realistic one, is gaining ground against the official one. According to new studies, the so called ‘’ Romanisation ’’ during the dominance of the Roman Empire, did not take place. Therefore, each one of these Romance languages is considered to be the genuine, the original, the authentic one, spoken back in ancient times, by its native people in their respective country and all of them, including the official Latin, are considered as being sisters, descending from an ancient, common, ‘’mother language’’.

  • So, depending on which theory is adopted, the Aromanian language can be considered:

(1) as a mixture of the ancient, local language and the official Latin.

(2) as the genuine, ancient, language spoken by native people in southern Balkans, (probably in Macedonia region).

— In the first case, the features that the Aromanian language shares with the Megleno-Romanian, modern Romanian and Istro-Romanian language, should have been inherited from their similar substratum (ancient Thracian / Dacian) and their first, common, adstratum (the Latin language). An important source of dissimilarity between Romanian and Aromanian is the second adstratum. Whereas Romanian has been influenced to a greater extent by Slavic, Aromanian has been influenced mainly by Greek, with which it has been in close contact throughout its long history.

— In the second case, the features that the Aromanian language shares with the Megleno-Romanian, modern Romanian and Istro-Romanian language, should have been inherited only from their similar substratum (ancient Thracian / Dacian). The source of dissimilarity, between Romanian and Aromanian is the same like in the first case, the adstratum, with the particularity that in this case, there is only a single one. Whereas Romanian has been influenced to a greater extent by Slavic, Aromanian has been influenced mainly by Greek, with which it has been in close contact throughout its long history.

It is generally considered that sometime between 800 and 1,200 years ago, after the migration of Slavic people in the Balkans, 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. The effect of that major event, was that all four branches followed somehow a different and independent way from each other. So the Romanian language started to have a new interconnection with the Slavic language, [traceable by the presence of many Slavic words in its vocabulary, although later those words were replaced by neologisms taken mainly from French], while Aromanian continued its interconnection with the Greek language.

Another factor that explains the considerable influence of Greek upon Aromanian language, is the fact that, the influence of the ancient Greek was already present in southern Balkans, before the invasion of the region by the Roman Empire. So, the connection between the Aromanian and the Greek language, dates back to ancient times.

With the arrival of the Turks in the Balkans, Aromanian like all other languages of the region, also received some Turkish words.

Despite all influences that have been exercised upon it, the Aromanian still remains a Romance language.


There is some kind of consensus that the Aromanian language has two main dialects.

  • Fãrshãrot (Aromanian: Rrãmãneshti), which is spoken by Aromanians in central and southern Albania, in some areas of Greece like Epirus and Thessalia and by part of the Aromanian community in the Republic of Macedonia. It has been used in different written texts in Moscopole in the 18th century.
  • Pindean (Aromanian: Armãneashti), which is spoken by Aromanians in Greece, mainly in the Pindus mountain region, in part of Thessalia and Greek Macedonia. It is also used by part of the Aromanian community in the Republic of Macedonia and in south-western Bulgaria.

There are also slight, regional differences within each of the two dialects.

An Aromanian dictionary currently under development can be found on wiktionary.


Aromanian has numerous differences from standard Romanian in its phonology. Some of them are probably due to influence from Greek, such as having fricatives that do not exist in Romanian like /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.


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]

Conjugation Aromanian
(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[edit]

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

pindean / fărshărot
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.[10]

Meglenian Romanian English
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 the Balkans[edit]

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 Balkans in the 1860s, but this initiative was not supported by the majority of Aromanian people, because of the fact that the education was done in modern Romanian and not in Aromanian language. All the process was regarded with suspicion not only by the Balkan's states, (especially Greece), but also by the Aromanians themselves who correctly 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.[citation needed] Romanian nationalism maintains that Greek propaganda is still very strong in the area, inferring that Greeks define Aromanians as a sort of "Latinized Greeks".[citation needed] The fact remains that it is the majority[citation needed] of Greek Vlachs themselves that oppose the Romanian propaganda (those that supported it having emigrated in the early 20th Century to other countries[citation needed]), as they have done for the past 200 years.[citation needed] Most Greek Vlachs oppose the introduction of the language into the education system[citation needed] as EU[citation needed] and leading Greek political figures[citation needed] have suggested, viewing it as an artificial distinction between them and other Greeks.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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, 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.[15] Bletsas was eventually acquitted.[16]

Language sample[edit]


Tatã a nostru, tsi eshtsã tu tserlu,
s'ayiseascã numa a Ta,
s'yinã amirãriljea a Ta,
si facã vrearea a Ta,
cumu tu tserlu, ashi sh'pisti loclu.
Pãnea a nostã atsea di cathi dzuã dãnã-u sh'adzã
sh'ljiartãnã amãrtiile a noastri
ashi cum li ljirtãmu sh'noi a amãrtoshloru a noshtsã.
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 lloc.
Penia a nostã, atsa di cathi dzuã, dãni-u sh’azã,
sh’ljartãni amartiili a nosti,
ashe cum li ljãrtem sh’noi a amãrtorillor a noci,
sh’nu ni du la pirazmo,
ma viagljãni di atsell rãu.
Cã a Ta esti amirãria sh'puteria,
a Tatãllui shi Hiljãllui shi a Ayiullui Duh,
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 hãrdziti cu fichiri shi sinidisi shi lipseashti ca un cu alantu si poartã tu duhlu a frãtsãljiljei.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), translated by Dina Cuvata

Comparison with Romanian[edit]

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 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 phrases[edit]

English Aromanian
Aromanian (person) (m.) Armãn / Rrãmãn, (f.) Armãnã / Rrãmãnã
Aromanian (language) Armãneashti / Rrãmãneshti
Good day! Bunã dzua!
What's your name? Cum vã chljamã? (informal)
How old are you? Di cãtsi anji hjitsi?
How are you? Cum hjitsi? (formal) Cumu eshci? / Cum eshti? (informal)
What are you doing? Tsi fatsi? / 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)
Sorry. S'mi hãrdzitsi.
Thank you. Haristo.
Yes. Ye.
No. Nu.
I don't understand. Nu akicãsescu
Where's the bathroom? Lju easte toaletlu? / Lju esti tualetu?
Do you speak English? Zburats anglikeashce? / Grits anglikiashti?
I am a student. Mine escu un studentu / Mini estu un student.
You are beautiful. Eshci mushat(ã) / Eshti mushat(ã).

See also[edit]


  • 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?". 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.


  1. ^ Council of Europe Parliamentary Recommendation 1333 on the Aromanian culture and language (1997)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Aromanian". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: 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. 
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  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[edit]