Megleno-Romanian language

Megleno-Romanian language
Spoken in Greece, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Turkey[1]
Region Balkans
Native speakers 5,000[1]  (date missing)
Language family
Language codes
ISO 639-3 ruq
Linguasphere 51-AAD-bb
The Megleno-Romanian and the Aromanian linguistic area
Romanian schools for Aromanians and Meglenoromanians in the Ottoman Empire (1886)

Megleno-Romanian (known as Vlăheşte by speakers and Megleno-Romanian, Moglenitic or Meglenitic by linguists) is a Romance language, similar to Aromanian and Romanian, or a dialect of the Romanian language.[2] It is spoken by the Megleno-Romanians in a few villages in the Moglena (Μογλενά) region of Macedonia (Greece and the Republic of Macedonia), in Romania and by a very small Muslim group in Turkey (Karadjaovalides). It is considered an endangered language.



Megleno-Romanian is a member of the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family. More specifically, it is an Eastern Romance language, a language formed after the retreat of the Roman Empire from South-Eastern Europe. Some linguists consider it to be an intermediary between Romanian and Aromanian, often being considered either a dialect of Romanian, a dialect of Aromanian, or an independent language. It is much closer to standard Romanian than the Aromanian language, suggesting that it split from Proto-Romanian later than Aromanian. Megleno-Romanian is influenced a lot by South Slavic.


The term "Megleno-Romanian" has been used by linguists who noticed the similarity to the Romanian language. The Megleno-Romanians identify themselves as Vlahi (see Etymology of Vlach for more on this term).[citation needed]


The origins of Megleno-Romanian could possibly be somewhere along the Axios valley in Republic of Macedonia and the north side of Paiko mountain (Macedonian: Пајак планина), northern Greece, close to the border with Republic of Macedonia, maybe latinized ancient Paeonians or even latinized ancient Macedonians. The Meglen Vlach language may have separated from the form of Latin spoken in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire at a different time in history than the other Vlach groups. Megleno-Romanian is most influenced by the south Slavic languages of the region. According to researcher Maria Papageorgiou from Skra (Municipality of Axioupolis, Kilkis prefecture, Macedonia region, Greece), in the Meglenitic dialect several ancient Greek plays of tragic poets that are lost nowadays have been saved as oral tales/sagas.[3]

Geographic distribution

Megleno-Romanian is spoken in the Kilkis and Serres prefectures of Macedonia (Greece), as well as in several villages close to the Greek border in the Republic of Macedonia. In one village, Huma, the language was spoken by most inhabitants. Some of people with Meglono-Romanian origin, knowing the Megleno-Romanian language are living in city of Gevgelija and in Skopje the capital of Republic of Macedonia. After World War I, some Megleno-Romanians moved to Romania, many of them settling in the Cerna village in the Tulcea County, in which about 1,200 continue to speak Megleno-Romanian. In 1940, about 30 families moved from Cerna to the Banat region of Romania in the villages of Variaş, Biled and Jimbolia. Some speakers who identified as Muslims were moved to Turkey from Greece as part of religious-based population exchanges.


Megleno-Romanian has some unique phonetic characteristics, not found in the other Eastern Romance languages:

  1. long vowels: ā, ē, ī, ō, ū
  2. ă, â → o, a: câmp → comp (field), mânc → mānc (I eat)
  3. unaccentuated initial a disappears: adaug → daug (I add), afară → fară (outside), aduc → duc (I bring)


Much of the vocabulary is of Latin origin and much of its phonetics and semantics is shared with Aromanian and Romanian: (n.b.: MR=Megleno-Romanian, DR=Daco-Romanian, i.e. Romanian)

  • basilica > MR bisearică, DR biserică (church, originally "basilica")
  • lumen > MR lumi, DR lume (world, originally "light")
  • monumentum > MR murmint, DR mormânt (grave, originally "monument")
  • strigis > MR strig, DR strig (I yell, originally "owl")
  • draco > MR drac, DR drac (devil, originally "dragon")

Megleno-Romanian also contains some words that have cognates with Albanian. These words are present in Daco-Romanian too:

  • MR brad; DR brad; cf. Alb. bredh (fir tree)
  • MR monz; DR mânz; cf. Alb. mës (colt)
  • MR bucuros; DR bucuros; (happy) cf. Alb bukurë (beautiful)

There are also some words which are of Slavic origin and which can be found in all the Eastern Romance languages:

  • MR trup; DR trup (body); cf. Sl. trupŭ
  • MR stăpon; Dr stăpân (master); cf. Old Slavic. stopanŭ, today's Bulgarian stopanin and Macedonian stopan

There are a number of Byzantine and Modern Greek words, several dozens which are also found in Daco-Romanian (Romanian language) and Aromanian and about 80 words that were borrowed via Macedonian and Bulgarian languages and other languages of the Balkans. Prior to the creation of the modern state of Greece, Megleno-Romanian borrowed very few words directly from Greek.

  • Gr. prósfatos > MR proaspit; DR proaspăt; (fresh)
  • Gr. keramídi > MR chirămidă; DR cărămidă (brick)
  • Gr. lemoni > MR limonă, via Bulg. limon (lemon); cf. DR lămâie

The most important influence on Megleno-Romanian was the East South Slavic languages, this influence being more profound than the influence exerted by Greek on Aromanian. Linguist Theodor Capidan argued that the words borrowed show some phonetical features of the Bulgarian language dialect spoken in the Rhodope Mountains. There are many instances where basic words of Latin origin that can still be found in Daco-Romanian and Aromanian were replaced by Slavic words. In some cases, standard Romanian also independently borrowed the same word.

  • Slavic. drob > MR drob; DR drob (liver)
  • Slavic nevesta > MR niveastă; DR nevastă (wife)
  • Slavic gora > MR goră (forest)

See also


  1. ^ a b c Ethnologue entry
  2. ^ Romanian language – Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  3. ^ In Greek "Tales by myths of ancient Greek poetic plays that have been lost and other tales of Vlachophone village of Skra" Maria Papageorgiou, Thessaloniki, 1984

External links

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