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Romanian and Latin

Is anyone else noticing the starking similarities between Classic Latin and Romanian. When I'm learning this it feels like half of the vocab is Latin and the other half is new to me

November 22, 2016



Well, yes, it is a Romance language, originated from the local Vulgar Latin.


I imagine this is true for most of the Romance languages. This is just my guess because I have never studied Latin.


Yeah, that's true. I have studied other Romance Languages. I mean unlike other Romance Languages, Romanian looks like they get the word DIRECTLY from Latin rather than be derived from Latin


yes, of the bigger romance languages Romanian is said to be one that has the most archaic features, if you include the smaller ones Sardian will take the place.


Also most other Romance Languages have dropped the cases.


Whatever some linguists decide for us and in our name, we are proud that along the centuries, in a Slavic sea, we remained an Latin island.

”Eu nu ți-aș dori vreodată să ajungi să ne cunoști / Nici ca Dunărea să-înece spumegând a tale oști...”

”De-aşa vremi se-nvredniciră cronicarii şi rapsozii; / Veacul nostru ni-l umplură saltimbancii şi irozii...”



Yes, all romance languages have ties to Latin.


Yes, Romanian is a Latin language, a form of Vulgar Latin spoken by the Former Dacian inhabitants of Modern Day Romania. Romanian is part of the Romance branch (Eastern Romance speakers, also known as Vlahs/Valahs/Wallahs/Blahs), however because of it's isolation from the other Romance speakers, it managed to keep key grammatical features from Latin and some direct vocab. that others did not.
At one point, Romanian was influenced by modern French and a revamp on Latin words. That's the reasoning behind their similarities.


Quick question for the linguists. I'm curious-- did any other Romance language keep the neuter gender?


No, only Romanian. Spanish and Portuguese kept neuter gender only in the demonstrative adjectives.


What about the less well-known ones-- Catalan, Occitan, Romansh?


There are some in Asturian, and some in Romansh, but not many.


Indeed, Asturian is interesting as it has three types of neuters: masculine, feminine, and pure. Neuter nouns tend to be abstract, collective, and uncountable (usually don't have plurals). But it's not the same as Latin's. Nor is Romanian's exactly, either. Romansh, as mentioned, also has its own kind. Asturian is also interesting in that it preserved a '-u' ending for masculine nouns, while Spanish and other Iberian languages have '-o' (though European Portuguese pronounces its o as u). Other than that, basically just Sicilian, Aromanian, and Old Romanian have '-u' endings (in modern Romanian it's only seen in the definite articulation of the noun, like focul, taurul, omul, etc. or in a few words like acru, agru, negru, etc.)

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I guess that explains why every once in a while, while traveling through Asturias, we would see traffic signs having sprayed out letter O and replaced with U :) Local patriotism against "catalanisation" of Asturias :)


I read that Romanian have the most of Latin vords in camparison with other latin language,thats why from Romanian is very easy to learn Italian,Spanish and Portugues but not in revers direction (From Spanish,Italian<Portugues to Romanian) .As a Romanian(Moldovan) I see this language very easy,don't know how it fills from Spanish,Italian and Portugues.


I have heard/read claims that of all the romance languages, Romanian remains the closest to the Latin it came from (while still having lots of Slavic and French influence).


Not entirely true, although that's something that gets said a lot. It preserved some grammatical aspects like cases, but also developed its own unique innovations in other areas. The enclitic endings may partly be due to native Balkan influence too.

Linguist Mario Pei calculated the distance of various Romance languages from Latin (small numbers indicate more similarity/closeness). He took into account the whole picture, including phonology, grammatical structure, etc.:

Sardinian - 8%, Italian - 12%, Spanish - 20%, Romanian -23.5%, Portuguese - 33%, French - 44%


I'm a Romanian and I can tell that is a legend... Indeed, what Verbum_Facere wrote is true... I don't know about Sardinian, but RO is closer than FR or POR to Latin, but not closer than IT, ES or Catalan...


yes, Romanian is a Latin language, but unlike the other languages in the family it comes from a slang version of it which the Dacians spoke and then that got mixed with the Latin spoken by the Romans when they invaded at the beginning of the second century and a few new words from the Slavic tribes passing through.

In history class in school they describe it as 85% Latin 10% Dacian and 5% Slavic. To be fair there are a lot of gaps in the history like the connection between Thracians and predecessors of Romans when trying to trace back the language branch and there are way too many new hypothesis developing in the last few years which make things even more complicated. So what I just said to you is a summary off all those things put together. Hope this was helpful :)


Perhaps today that is a good breakdown, but it wasn't always so. In the mid 19th century literally thousands of words were borrowed from French or Italian, partly to fill in the gaps with technical or abstract words that didn't have equivalents before, but partly to "re-Latinize" the language, as it replaced many old Slavic words that are no longer used or are archaic today. There is certainly more than 5% Slavic, and it includes some pretty common words. In the past, it was more.

The western Romance languages also borrowed thousands of words from literary Latin in the Renaissance and late Middle Ages, and many of those are the ones that Romanian later borrowed. It is the core of the languages that make them classified as "Romance", and the same applies to Romanian. The "inherited" core of Latin words is relatively small compared to the total amount of vocabulary (in all these languages), but these words represent the most common and basic vocabulary that is used the most often in normal speech. These words also underwent more change over time, naturally, than the more recent loan words.

As for Dacian... I know it sounds crazy as a Romanian to say this, but if you really study the existing facts, we simply can't say for sure that there is a direct link between Dacian words and words in Romanian. We simply assume that some of the ones that are unexplained or have similarities with Albanian must come from there. Recently some linguists are taking the position that the words were actually borrowed from Albanian after a time of close cohabitation in the past. But we just don't know because there isn't enough evidence. The Dacian language was never recorded except for some (Latinized) personal names, like Decebalus and Burebista, etc., place names, like Buridava, and a list of plants. As far as we can tell, there isn't a direct link between these and many words in Romanian.

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"As for Dacian... I know it sounds crazy as a Romanian to say this"....on the contrary, I admire people who can depart from popular beliefs that majority supports usually because it portraits them in, for them, better light, or makes them more important (by introducing a wider or deeper historical background).

I actually wanted to say that every once in a while when I would throw in a Serbian word, my wife (Romanian) would recognise it as a word that her grandma used to say (and grandma still lives in Bihor county) and that my modest opinion was that there is more than 5% of Slavic words.


Romanian had a heavier Slavic 'casual' communication influence in the past. This was due to the presence of the Slavonic language in the Orthodox Church (at its highest peak). Many words borrowed from South Slavic (such as Hrană) are no longer as used as they were in the past, however even now at days there is a Slavic vocab list that reaches way over 5%. Roughly 15% of Romanian vocabulary is Slavic of origin! :-)

Edit: Most of these influences are from Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian, and Russian (levels of influence differentiate by region).

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