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.


14 thoughts on “Hey, hey we’re the Aromanians

  1. The moldav idiom has less Slavic loans than the rest of romanian
    For ex.
    Modovans never say , sorcova’ but ,cu uratu’
    Not rude(relatives) only ,neamuri’
    Not , glezna’ but genunchi.


  2. So many inaccuracies in this damn article. I am aromanian by the side of my father and we always identified as greeks.”Vlachs” meaning “those damn foreigners”? What? Where did you even get that? Lmao. In my village in western macedonia 3 romanian scholars came to teach romanian.You know what their end was? Execution. Aromanian is a language mainly composed by latin and greek. Its kinda stupid to suggest that only because we speak a language that has many same clues, we are actually the same.We arent. Latin was the main language spoken during the reign of the roman empire. Aromanians in greece at least are latinized greeks. DNA tests even showed the similarities of vlachs and greeks in the mainland. Nice try but no.


    1. Actually we have the same origin.
      11th century Byzantine chronicler Keukamenos wrote that the Vlachs descended from the Dacians led by Decebalus and the Bessi (another Thracian tribe), and that their homeland was between the Danube and the Sava rivers (the territory of Dacia Aureliana; after emperor Aurelian abandoned Dacia Traiana, the original Dacia province, he created a new province called Dacia Aureliana south of the Danube and re-settled most of the population of the original Dacia in it, leading to the formation of the Proto-Romanians/Vlachs there). He went on to say that part of these Vlachs decided to migrate far to the south, until they reached Greece and they settled there. And that’s how you Aromanians came to be. Unfortunately, after a milennia it seems that a lot of you have forgotten who you were and even worse, today some of you suffer from the Stockholm syndrome, as you try to hide your Aromanian identity as much as possible and take a lot of pride in being Greeks, despite the fact that for most of history Greeks have treated you like utter crap and still do. Weird people you guys are.


      1. To clarify a few things:
        While Romanized Dacians & Bessi may have contributed to the Romanian/Vlach ethnogenesis, Vlachs undoubtedly descended first and foremost from the Roman colonists settled by Trajan in Dacia Traiana, who were resettled later by Aurelian south of the Danube in Dacia Aureliana.
        So why did Keukamenos write that they descended from Dacians and Bessi?
        Well…the situation of the Vlachs in Greece in his time was a bit messy.
        Long story short, they behave like utter savages, rebelling often and causing nothing but trouble for the Byzantines.
        Keukamenos even characterized them in detail and the conclusion was basically “they’re a bunch of no-good sons of b**ches!”.
        The man simply couldn’t believe these barbarian-like people descended from Romans.
        Them descending mainly from the Thracian people the Romans conquered was a far more likely explanation for their primitive behaviour. However, today we know it’s not exactly like that.
        It’s both funny and tragic to think that, a bunch of Romans, the most advanced civilization at that time, lost their culture and values entirely after a few centuries of being surrounded by tribes like the Bulgars, Slavs, or the Avars, and became barbarians like them.
        But it isn’t really surprising is it, that period isn’t called “the Dark Ages” for nothing…


  3. 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.


  4. 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.


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


  6. 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.


  7. 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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