Transylvanian varieties of Romanian

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The Transylvanian varieties of Romanian (subdialectele / graiurile transilvănene) are a grouping of speech varieties of the Romanian language, specifically of the Daco-Romanian dialect. These varieties cover the historical region of Transylvania, except several large areas along the edges towards the neighboring subdialects.

The Transylvanian varieties are part of the northern grouping of Romanian subdialects, along with the Moldavian and the Banat subdialects.

Among the Transylvanian varieties, the Crișana subdialect is easier to distinguish, followed by the Maramureș subdialect. Less distinct are two other dialectal areas, one in the north-east and another in the center and south.


Unlike the other Romanian subdialects — those of Wallachia, Moldavia, and Banat —, the Romanian of Transylvania is broken up into many smaller and less distinct local speech varieties, making its dialectal classification more difficult. Classifications made until the end of the 19th century included a Transylvanian subdialect,[1] but as soon as detailed language facts became available (at the beginning of the 20th century), this view was abandoned. In 1908 Gustav Weigand used phonetic differences and reached the conclusion that the Romanian language in Transylvania was a mosaic of transition varieties.[2] Subsequent researchers agreed with his view.

Emil Petrovici suggested this dialectal fragmentation could be attributed to the fact that Transylvania has been inhabited for longer and had enough time to differentiate and split into small dialectal cells, determined by geography, whereas Moldavia and Wallachia were relatively recently colonized, which led to a remarkable dialectal unity in each of those two regions.[3]

Phonetic features[edit]

As a group, all Transylvanian varieties share a small number of common phonetic features:

  • The stressed vowels [e, ə, o] open to [ɛ, ɜ, ɔ].
  • After [s, z, t͡s], and in some varieties also after [ʃ, ʒ, r], the following vocalic changes occur: [e] becomes [ə], [i] becomes [ɨ], and [e̯a] reduces to [a].
  • The diphthong [ɨj] found in the Wallachian subdialect is realized here as the monophthong [ɨ]: [ˈkɨne, ˈmɨne, ˈpɨne] for cîine, mîine, pîine.
  • Stressed vowels tend to be pronounced longer.
  • The vowel [a] before a stressed syllable closes to [ə].
  • In a series of verbs, the stress shifts to the root: [ˈblastəm, ɨnˈfəʃur, ˈstrəkur, ˈməsur] for standard blestém, înfășór, strecór, măsór.
  • The vowel [u] is found in the full paradigm of the verbs a durmi, a adurmi ("to sleep, to fall asleep", compare with standard a dormi, a adormi).


  1. ^ Mozes Gaster, 1891
  2. ^ Gustav Weigand, "Despre dialectele românești", in Convorbiri literare, XLII, 1908, 4, pp. 441–448, cited by Vasile Ursan
  3. ^ Emil Petrovici, "Transilvania, vatră lingvistică a românismului nord-dunărean", in Transilvania, LXXII, 1941, 2, p. 103, cited by Vasile Ursan (Romanian)


See also[edit]