Hey, hey we’re the Aromanians

Just when you thought you’ve finally got a handle on who the Romanians are, their language, their culture and their long and tortured history, up pops the Aromanians.

Say what? Yeah, you know, the Aromanians. It turns out Romanians come in a wide variety of flavors: there’s the Aromanians, the Bromanians (my personal favorite), the Cromanians, the Dromanians, etc. Collect them all!

Nah, I’m just joking. In reality there are “regular” Romanians and then there are groups of people who somewhere in the last thousand years got separated from the main group and developed their own distinct sub-group of Romanian language and culture.

The biggest of these sub-groups is the Aromanians, whom I had never heard about until one day I was walking in downtown Bucharest and saw a sign written in what looked like crazy, bizarro-world Romanian language, close to the real thing but just slightly different enough that my already weakened mental hinges began to slide open and worlds began colliding.

The sign was written in Aromanian and was an advertisement for a big upcoming meeting of Aromanians to speak in their language and get together and hang out and have fun (I’m assuming) and let others get to know them a little bit better.

Most Aromanians are simply people who, for whatever reason, long ago moved to the highlands of the Albania/Greece/Macedonia area of Europe and decided that was a fine, fine place to raise their sheep and over time they developed a distinct series of changes to their language from “regular” Romanian (officially known as Daco-Romanian). I can tell you right now I can pretty much read Aromanian but hearing it spoken (to me) sounds like like a really drunken guy slurring his speech.

In Greece and elsewhere in the lower Balkans, the Aromanians are called the “Vlachs”, which is where the term “Wallachia” (in English) comes from as well, just meaning “them foreign bastards” rather than any kind of true derivative of what they call themselves.

Most remaining Aromanians still live in the lower Balkans area, surrounded by a sea of people speaking vastly different languages (i.e. not derived from Latin).

There are a few Aromanians in Romania today but not very many, mostly because they’ve been absorbed (culturally-speaking) but the ones that are left can be found mostly in Dobruja as well as their occasional meet-ups in Bucharest of course.

If you really want to know more about the Aromanians, click here (in English). For a nice comparison of “regular” Romanian and Aromanian languages (in English) click here.

And last but definitely not least, there ARE two other sub-groups of Romanian speakers, one being the Istro-Romanians, mostly in a handful of villages in Croatia (and I’ve heard them speak and it’s completely impossible for me to understand it) and the Megleno-Romanians, who unbelievably are a handful of Muslims living in Turkey.

Oh and just for the record, there’s a gigantic debate and controversy over whether “Moldovan” (from the nation of Moldova) is or is not a separate and distinct language than “regular” Romanian. All I can say on that is “Moldovan” has a hell of a lot more Slavic words than Romanian does, as well as using much more Slavic pronunciation (especially the letter “E”) but for all intents and purposes, it’s the same.


7 Comments Add yours

  1. unu says:

    Mostly correct, except for their the Daco-Romanian origins. Which is not true, simply because both are dialects of the same old language, Proto-Romanian, now on an equal level with each other.
    Yes, they migrated down to their present homeland in Albania, Greece and Macedonia, most likely from an area in present Serbia.
    But that happened long time ago.
    Many hundreds of years ago!
    In fact it was so long ago, there was no Daco-Romanian dialect. There were not even the same Balkan countries as we know them today.
    It was an Age of the Empires. The Eastern Roman (Byzantine) empire was still rulling in the South. But it had many problems: the Slavs arrived from North-East and settled in the lowlands and the cities. The Latin-speaking people were left mostly in the mountains or other wooded areas, making a living as shepards, farmers, and other country trades.
    The Vlachs (old Romanians) and the (Slavic) Bulgarians fought together against Byzance, and eventually made their own Empire in Thracia, Macedonia and other parts of the Northern Balkans: the Vlaho-Bulgarian Empire.
    It was during these circumstances when the separation happened.
    In time, both dialects found distinct ways, and made changes to the initial old language. The Northern Vlachs become the nowadays Romanians. Our language has more slavic words, but it developed a literary form, the one taught at school. With this literary language it come a certain amout of control, we have “proper ways” of saying something.
    In the southern Balkans, the opposite is true. The language generally stays closer to the initial Proto-Romanian form. There are fewer Slavic words, more Greek and Albanian ones.


  2. Gabriel says:

    Romanians and Aromanians understand each other better than North Italians and South Italians. Aromanians have the same heritage as Romanians, they use older Romanian words and pronunciations that aren’t used any more in Romania. Their main occupation was shepherding, so since the ancient times they were following the mountain routes to the South and to the North (Moravian Vlachs). 50% of the Slovakian words from the field of shepherding have Romanian etymology. Before the migrants (Slavs, Avars, Huns, Turks, etc.) came in Europe, Dacians, Thracians and Illyrians occupied a large side of Europe. From The Crimean Peninsula to the borders of present-day Germany there were tribes that understood each other, traded with each other and joined wars together. Every country’s historians try today to say how they were the first in a place and how they had the “best” culture, but instead of contributing to history, they wipe out of our memories the fact that once we were the same people and the migrants had a very low impact on our genetics, indeed they changed our religion, language, traditions, but we still share the same ancient history.


  3. lala says:

    Aromanians are not romanians. It is two different people like germans and Dutch. The languages sound similar but are not understandable to each other.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm. Saying that Aromanians are a group of Romanians is incorrect. It is believed that Aromanians are either Romanized Greeks (and thus became Latin Speakers), Romanized Thracians, or Roman legionnaires that settled in the area of Northern Greece because they received land for their services. All of the above occurred before Romanians came into existence… If you are going to blog, please do a bit more research.


    1. dlcorpblog says:

      Then why the fuck do this people have the same blood,almost the same culture,language etc.. The fuck? Stupid Hun.


  5. alex says:

    megleno-romanians live in greece and macedonia, not turkey :P. and they are definetely NOT muslim. and yes, moldovan and romanian are one and the same language… it’s like you would say that texan is a different language than english


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