ROMANIAN: LATIN LANGUAGE AMONG THE SLAVIC
Spoken by nearly 28 million people in Romania, Moldavia and in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, in Serbia, Romanian is considered a Latin language. Due to the country's geographic isolation, it was the first neolatine language to emerge and to not have undergone influences from other Romance languages until the modern age—reason why its grammar, although similar to Latin, maintains declinations and the neutral gender.
By Juliana Tavares
Former territory of the Dacians, Romania was occupied by Romans in 106 AD, by Roman Emperor Trajan—reason why the vulgar Latin used at the time was converted to the language also used by the country's administration and commerce. However, some words from Romanian—most of which related to cattle pastoring—,only exist in four of its dialects, both variants of Albanian: Daco-Romanian; Armenian; Megleno-Romanian and Istro-Romanian.
Despite most of Romanian grammar and morphology being based on vulgar Latin, the language presents some specific traces from the Balkans, which are not found in other Romance tongues—most likely due to the multiple waves of invasion that succeeded in the nation over the centuries, among them the Slavic in the 6th century, the Bulgarian and Magyars in the 9th century, and the Tartars in the 13th century.
Slavic influence, for example, was the first occurring during the formation of the Romanian language, felt both at phonetic and lexical levels. Furthermore, Romanian was strongly influenced by other geographically near languages, among them German, Hungarian, Greek and Turkish. It was only after the 19th century that many neologisms borrowed from other Romance languages, particularly French and Italian, and more recently English, were introduced.
Romanian is also the only Romance language that has an enclitic definite article, i.e. which is affixed at the end of the noun. The alphabet is based in the Latin alphabet, but has 5 additional letters. The vowels, and their respective semi-vowels, do not have distinct letters. Tonic vowels are also not marked in writing, with a rare exception of the cases in which the incorrect accentuation can change the meaning of the word. Letters have values close to that of Italian, but there are exceptions such as characters with diacritical accents, among other peculiarities. All of that implies that translations, especially technical translations, for Romanian requires from the specialist a proper knowledge of the languages that have influenced it.