Languages of Romania : What Languages are Spoken in Romania?
Last Updated On: January 9, 2023 by The Migration Translators
Romania! Even those who have never been to Romania or Eastern Europe are familiar with the Dracula stories that were based in the Romanian region of Transylvania. Romania is a country steeped in history, wedged amongst the diverse countries of Eastern Europe, flanked on one side by the Black Sea and harboring the River Danube as it snakes from its mouth towards central Europe. The countries that surround Romania include Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Ukraine. Romania is a member state of the European Union.
Like many European countries, Romania has experienced long periods of upheaval, and was conquered and ruled from time to time by outsiders, but is now independent. Linguistically, Romania is very diverse, with its inhabitants speaking many different languages, although a single language has been chosen as the country’s official language.
The official language of Romania
The official language of Romania is Romanian. It is spoken as a first language by 9 in 10 Romanians and by most other Romanians as a second language. Romanian is the language of government and education. Somewhat surprisingly, considering where Romania is located, Romanian is not a Slavic language like Hungarian or Bulgarian, but a Romance language. That puts it in the same family as Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. Of these four European languages, it is probably most similar to Italian, in the same way as Spanish and Portuguese are similar. Because it shares so much with languages to the west of it, it also uses the same Latin script, rather than Cyrillic, which is used in neighboring Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Moldova.
Other languages that are spoken within Romania
Hungarian is the second most widely spoken language in Romania with over a million speakers, or around 6% of the Romanian population. Most Hungarian-speaking Romanians live in Transylvania, although there are pockets of Hungarian speakers throughout the country. The reason for the prevalence of Hungarian is that parts of Romania were actually part of the Hungarian Empire for long periods of time, most recently just after the Second World War.
Romani is the language of the Romani people, whose ancestors arrived from Northern India many centuries ago and have spread throughout Romania and elsewhere in Europe in highly mobile extended family groups. Romani is not related linguistically to Slavic languages like Hungarian or Romance languages like Romanian. Around 240,000 Romani-speaking people live in Romania, approximately 1.1% of the whole population.
German is spoken by scattered communities throughout Romania, again because of historically important German-speaking empires that Romania was a part of. The number of German speakers has declined in the last 100 years, with probably only around 40,000 still speaking it as a first language.
Ukrainian and Russian languages
Small populations of Ukrainian and Russian language users live within Romania, the Ukrainian speakers because of the proximity of Ukraine, and Russian speakers because of migrants fleeing religious persecution in Russia.
Even smaller numbers of Romanians speak a variety of other languages for historical reasons, Turkish and Tatar being prominent. English has been gaining ground as a second or third language in Romania because of the opportunities the language has for international connections. French is another international language that has had an influence on Romanian culture and the arts.
Romania is a fascinating country with a diverse linguistic heritage. If you need to have documents translated from English into Romanian or Romanian into English or into or from one of its more minor languages, be sure to choose a professional translation agency to help you.