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Aromanian language

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Aromanian language

armãneașce, armãneaști, rrămănești.
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
Official language in
Recognised as minority language in parts of:
Language codes
ISO 639-2 rup
ISO 639-3 rup
Glottolog arom1237[2]
Linguasphere 51-AAD-ba
Part of a series on
By region or country
Major settlements
Related groups
Dialects of Aromanian

Aromanian (limba armãneascã, armãneșce, armãneaști, rrămănești), also known as Macedo-Romanian or Vlach, is an Eastern Romance language spoken in Southeastern Europe. Its speakers are called Aromanians or Vlachs (which is an exonym in widespread use to define the communities in the Balkans).

It 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 are found 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 the 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 Mоscopolites, 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 and 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, Meglenian 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.

Also, with the coming of the Turks in the Balkans, Aromanian received some Turkish words as well. Still the lexical composition remains mainly Romance.


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

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 here.


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: (/ð/, /ɣ/, /x/, /θ/). 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 Latin script (a modified Romanian alphabet that includes two additional letters, ń and ľ). It can also be written with a Greek 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 in 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 does have some features that distinguish it from Romanian, an important one being the complete disappearance of verb infinitives which is a shared 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, indicating also the conjugation of the corresponding verbs in Romanian.[9]

Conjugation Aromanian
(ind. pres. 1st sg.)
(ind. pres. 1st sg.)
I cântu
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-cântu / u s-chentu va să cânt o să cânt voi cânta I will sing
va s-cânț / u s-chents va să cânţi o să cânți vei cânta you (sg.) will sing
va s-cântă / u s-chente va să cânte o să cânte va cânta (s)he will sing
va s-cântăm / u s-căntem va să cântăm o să cântăm vom cânta we will sing
va s-cântaț / u s-căntats va să cântați o să cântați veți cânta you (pl.) will sing
va s-cântă / u s-chente va să cânte o să cânte vor cânta they will sing


Whereas in Romanian the pluperfect (past perfect) is formed synthetically (as for instance 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 măcată / avia măcată vea mancat mâncase (he/she) had eaten
avea durńitã / avia durńitã vea durmit dormise (he/she) had slept


The gerund which exists in Aromanian is only applied to some verbs, not all. These verbs are:

  • 1st conjugation: acață (acățănda(lui)), portu, lucreașce, adiľeașce.
  • 2nd conjugation: armână, cade, poate, tațe, veade.
  • 3rd conjugation: arupă, dipune, duțe, dzâse, feațe, tradze, scrie.
  • 4th conjugation: apire, doarme, hivrie, aure, pate, avde.

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.

Romanian Schools for Aromanians and Meglenoromanians in the Ottoman Empire (1886)

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 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] A notable and perhaps not so well known (outside Greece) fact regarding the Greek Aromanian speakers is the contributions made by the community to the evolution and institutions of the Greek state during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The National Technical University of Athens—known as "Metsovion" (of Metsovo)—the Greek Vlach village in the Pindus from where its two main benefactors originated (Nikolaos Stournaras and Michail Tositsas), The Zappeion megaron, and the foundation of the Bank of Greece to name but a few were realised by the donations of notable Greek-Vlach benefactors. The fact that this occurred at a time when the majority of Vlachs resided outside the then Kingdom of Greece served to seriously undermine any Romanian claims that they constituted a persecuted minority group.

Use of the Aromanian language in the Florina Prefecture

Romanian interference in the first half of the 20th century eventually led to antagonism between Aromanians with a Hellenic national consciousness (pejoratively known in Romania as grecomans) who rejected what they perceived as Romanian propaganda, and those who espoused a Latin identity as promoted in the Romanian schools. According to the Romanian nationalist point of view the "grecomans" and the Greek militia (known as "andarti") "terrorized" the Pindus region between 1903–1912 leading to a diplomatic crisis with Romania in 1911 (see Adina Berciu, Maria Petre: 2004). The Greek nationalist point of view maintains that the newly incorporated Romanian state was seeking to divert attention from more serious territorial disputes with Russia and Bulgaria by using Greek Vlachs as leverage. It is noteworthy that Romanian nationalists touring the Greek Vlach villages were invariably struck by the locals' lack of interest in the Romanian cause.

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 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 [3][4], 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 [5] 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 [6].

Language sample


Tată a nostru, ți eșci tu țerl,
s'ayisească numa a Ta,
s'yină amirăriľa a Ta,
si facă vreare a Ta,
cum tu țerl, ași ș'pisti locl.
Pânea a nostră ațea di cathi dzuă dă-nă-u ș'ază
și ľartă-nă amărtiile a noastre
ași cum ľi ľirtăm ș'noi a amărtoșlor a noșci.
Și nu nă du la pirazmo,
ala aveagľi-nă di ațel arăul.
Că a Ta easte Amirãriľa și putearea
a Tatãlui și Hiľlui și a Ayului Spirit,
tora, totăna ș'tu eta a etilor.


Tatã a nostu ți ești tu țer,
si ayisiască numa a Ta,
s’yină amirăria a Ta,
si facă vrearea a Ta,
cum tu țer, așe ș’pisti loc.
Penia a noste, ața di cathi dzue, de-ni-u ș’aze,
ș’ľartă-ni amartiili a nosti,
așe cum li ľãrtem ș’noi a amărtoľor a noci,
ș’nu ni du la pirazmo,
ma viagľă-ni di ațel rău.
C a Ta esti amirăria ľ’puteria,
a Tatãlui și Hiľalui și a Ayiului Spirit,
tora,totăna ș’tu eta a etillor.

(The Lord's Prayer - source)

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 vântului 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 bunăoară, avem șase vocale ce se fac cu vântul ce trece prin gură, unde limba poate să se afle într-un loc sau altul și buzele pot să stea deschise 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 deodată 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.) armân, (f.) armână (m.) aromân, (f.) aromână
Aromanian (language) limba armânească; armâneaști/armâneașce/rrămănești limba aromână, aromânește
Good day! Bună dzua! Bună ziua!
What's your name? Cumu ti chľamă? (informal) Cum te cheamă? (informal)
How old are you? di căți ańi ești? câți ani ai? / de câți ani ești? (archaic)
How are you? Cumu hiț? (formal) Cumu eșci? /Cumu ești?(informal) Ce mai faci? / Cum ești? (informal)
What are you doing? Ți faț? Ți adari? (popular) Ce faci? (informal)
Goodbye! S-nă videmu cu ghine!,/ghini s'ni videmu La revedere! (Să ne vedem cu bine!)
Bye! s'nâ avdzâmu ghiniața,Ciao! Ciao! (informal), Salut! (informal), La revedere! (formal)
Please. Vă-plăcărsescu. (formal) Ti-plăcărsescu (informal) Vă rog. (formal), Te rog. (informal)
Sorry. Îń yini râu Scuze. (Îmi pare rău)
Thank you. Haristo. Mulțumesc!
Yes. Ie Da.
No. Nu. Nu.
I don't understand. Nu achicăsescu. Nu înțeleg. Nu achiesez.
Where's the bathroom? ľu easte toaletlu?,/ľu esti tualetu? Unde este toaleta?
Do you speak English? Zburaț anglicheașce?,/grits anglikiashti? Vorbiți englezește? (formal)
I am a student. Mine escu studentu,/mini estu student Sunt student. (m.)
You are beautiful. Hi mușat(ã), Eșci mușat(ã)/ești mușat(ã) Eşti frumos/frumoasă. (informal,)

See also


  • Bara, Mariana. Le lexique latin hérité en aroumain dans une perspective romane, LincomEuropa Verlag, München, 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, ed. Juhani Nuoluoto, Martti Leiwo, Jussi Halla-aho. Slavica Helsingiensa 21. University of Helsinki, 2001. online
  • Kahl, Thede. Aromanians in Greece: Minority or Vlach-speaking Greeks?. Online: [7]
  • Kahl, Thede. Sprache und Intention der ersten aromunischen Textdokumente, 1731-1809. In: Symanzik, Bernhard (ed.): Festschrift für Gerhard Birkfellner zum 65. Geburtstag: Studia Philologica Slavica I/I, Münstersche Texte zur Slavistik, 2006, p. 245-266.
  • 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.
  • Weigand, Gustav. Die Sprache der Olympo-Wallachen, nebst einer Einleitung über Land und Leute. Leipzig: Johann Ambrosius Barth. 1888.


  1. ^ [8] Council of Europe Parliamentary Recommendation 1333 on the Aromanian culture and language (1997)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Aromanian". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Aromanians
  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).

External links

  • 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)
  • 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
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