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About the story
What’s with this “Wren” thing?
   The oldest extant version of the fable we are presenting here appeared in 1913 in the first volume of a two-volume anthology of Low Saxon folktales (Plattdeutsche Volksmärchen “Low German Folktales”) collected by Wilhelm Wisser (1843–1935). Read more ...

limba româna

Romanian (Daco-Romanian)

Sibiu, Romania
Transylvania’s Sibiu (Hungarian Nagyszeben, German Hermannstadt): European Capital of Culture in 2007, and a gem within the heart of the beauty-blessed Romanian-speaking region

Language information: What is here meant by “Romanian” may also be termed “Romanian proper” or “Daco-Romanian.” The extent of applicability of “Romanian proper” is debatable considering the controversial status of Moldovan. “Daco-Romanian” is based on today’s language area which more or less coincides with the Roman colony of Dacia and the region in which Dacian was spoken prior to Romanization. Both names, “Romanian proper” and “Daco-Romanian,” exclude the following Romanian offshoot enclaves that some consider Romanian dialects (Romanian graiuri) and others consider separate languages: Aromanian (limba armãneascã, used in Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania), Megleno-Romanian (vlăheşte, used in Macedonia, Greece and a few enclaves in Romania), and Istro-Romanian (limba istroromână, used in Northern Croatia).
     What we mean by “Romanian” here is essentially the group of Romance-derived language varieties used at the lower reaches of the Danube (Romanian Dunărea) and on the shores of the Black Sea (Romanian Marea Neagră). Moldovan (Romanian (limba) moldovenească) is usually considered a part of the continuum of Moldavian dialects (Romanian graiul moldovenesc) that covers parts of Northern Romania, all of Moldova (Romanian Republica Moldova) as well as adjacent areas and scattered enclaves in Bessarabia in today’s Ukraine. However, there is a faction in Moldova (a former Soviet republic) that for political reasons considers Moldovan a separate language, and Moldovan is still written with the Cyrillic alphabet in the breakaway republic Transnistria (Russian Приднестровье, Ukrainian Придністров’я), while Moldova proper now uses the Roman alphabet as used in Romania (Romanian România).

             Romanian is used in the afore-mentioned regions as well as in adjacent areas in Serbia’s Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (Romanian Voievodina)and Timok Valley (Serbian Тимочка Крајина, Timočka Krajina, Romanian Timocul or Valea Timocului), in and around Hungary’s town of Gyula (Romanian Giula) and in Bulgaria’s border town of Vidin (Видин). In Ukraine, the highest concentrations of Romanian speakers are located in Chernivtsi Oblast (Ukrainian Чернівецька область, Romanian Regiunea Cernăuţi) and Odessa Oblast (Ukrainian Одеська область, Одещина, Romanian Regiunea Odessa). Outside this region, there are Daco-Romanian speaker communities in numerous countries, most notably in Canada, France and Germany, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Probably the largest community of Romanian speakers is found in Israel—an estimated half million, which makes Romanian second only after Russian as a non-official language of that country.
     As a non-native language, Romanian is used in Romania’s and Moldova’s linguistic minority communities, particularly in the large communities of speakers of Hungarian and Romany (“Gypsy”), and also by significant numbers of speakers of Armenian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Tatar, Turkish, Ukrainian and Yiddish. Among the most significant minority languages of Moldova are Gagauz, Russian, Ukrainian and Yiddish, all of which are officially recognized, and furthermore Bulgarian.
     Genealogically, Romanian is very complex in that it is derived from Dacian Latin and has various substrata and adstrata of other regional languages, probably including one of Dacian, a now extinct Indo-European language that was probably closely related to the likewise extinct Thracian language. In addition to features shared by languages of various groups in the greater Balkans region, Romanian has been significantly influenced by Slavic languages of the region. Influences from other Romance languages are significant also, especially owing to traditional interest in and use of Italian and French in Romanian-speaking society. There is some Turkish influence as well, due to Ottoman colonialism, and to some degree also Greek influence. Not insignificant either are Hungarian and German influences in some northwestern dialects of Romanian.
     Among numerous special features of this group of Eastern Romance language varieties is full labialization of /gw/ and /kw/, as in Latin lingua > limba ‘tongue’, and quattuor > patru ‘four’.
     Written Romanian literature can be traced back to the 16th century. Following the era of Greek literary influences under Ottoman rule in the 18th century, Romanian writers began to turn westward, first toward European Illuminism and in the 19th-century national awakening period toward Western Europe, especially toward Romance-speaking Europe, while using much homegrown material. In the 20th century, Romanian writers came to be influenced by Soviet and Soviet-dictated literature.
     Considering Romania’s newly acquired membership in the European Union and its great wealth of natural beauty and cultural interest that attracts tourism, the importance of Romanian as a foreign language is likely to increase.

Genealogy: Indo-European > Romance > East > Romanian

    Click to open the translation: [Click]Click here for different versions. >

Author: Reinhard F. Hahn

© 2011, Lowlands-L · ISSN 189-5582 · LCSN 96-4226 · All international rights reserved.
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