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Vlach language

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Title: Vlach language  
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Subject: Albania, Demographics of Slovenia, Ethnic groups in Vojvodina, Cieszyn Silesian dialect, Vlachs of Serbia, Demographic history of Subotica, Vârf
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Vlach language

Eastern Romance
Southeast Europe, Istria
Linguistic classification: Indo-European
Proto-language: Proto-Romanian
  • Vlach
  •  ? Italo-Dalmatian

Map of Balkans with regions currently significantly inhabited by Romanians/Vlachs highlighted

The Eastern Romance languages in their narrow conception, sometimes known as the Vlach languages, are a group of Romance languages that developed in Southeastern Europe from the local eastern variant of Vulgar Latin. Some classifications include the Italo-Dalmatian languages; when Italian is classified as Western Romance, Dalmatian generally remains in Eastern. This article will be concerned with Eastern Romance in the narrow sense, without Italian.


Several hundred years after the Roman Empire's dominance of the region, the local form of Vulgar Latin developed into Proto-Romanian, a language which had most of the features of modern Romanian. Probably due to foreign invasions (see Romania in the Dark Ages) and the migration of Vlach shepherds (see Vlachs in Wallachia), between 800 AD and 1200 AD Proto-Romanian split into four separate languages:

Common features

The Proto-Romanian branch was one of the earliest language groups to be isolated from the larger Latin family. As such, the languages contain a few words that were replaced with Germanic borrowings in Western Romance languages, for example, the word for white is derived from Latin "albus" instead of Germanic "blank".

They also share a few sound changes with the western Romance languages: some with Italian, such as [kl] > [kj] (Lat. clarus > Rom. chiar, Ital. chiaro) and also a few with Dalmatian, such as [gn] > [mn] (Lat. cognatus > Rom. cumnat, Dalm. comnut). However, most of them are original, see: Latin to Romanian sound changes.

The languages that are part of this group have some features that differentiate them from the other Romance languages, notable being the grammatical features shared within the Balkan language area as well as some semantic peculiarities, such as lume ("world") being derived from Latin lumen ("light"), inimă ("heart") being derived from Latin anima ("soul"), etc.

They also contain a Paleo-Balkanic substrate of a few hundreds of words, shared with Albanian and 70 early Slavic borrowings.

See also

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