Vlach language in Serbia
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Vlach, Romanian, or Timok Romanian (autoglossonym: limba română, meaning "language of Romans", rumâneşte / rumâneşce, Romanian: Româna timoceană; Serbian: Влашки / Vlaški) are the terms used to designate the Romanian varieties spoken by the Vlachs in eastern Serbia.
Serbian statistics list Vlach and Romanian languages separately depending of what people declared in census. This however, does not mean that Serbian government have official position whether Vlach and Romanian are separate languages. ISO hadn't assigned it a separate language code in the ISO 639 standard. In the 2002 census, 40,054 people in Serbia declared themselves ethnic Vlachs and 54,818 people declared themselves native speakers of the Vlach language.
The Vlach language does not have any official status and it is not standardized, thus some members of Vlach community ask for official usage of standard Romanian in the areas inhabited by Vlachs until the standardization of the Vlach language.
For historical reasons connected with the multicultural region of Vojvodina, Romanian is listed as a separate language in latest Serbian census, the number of its speakers was 34,515, while 34,576 people declared themselves as ethnic Romanians. The declared Vlach speakers are mostly concentrated in eastern Serbia, mainly in the Timočka Krajina region and adjacent areas, while declared Romanian speakers are mostly concentrated in Vojvodina.
According to some sources in the media (among others BBC, ProTV and Gardianul), Serbia recognised Romanian as the native language of the Vlachs, through the act of confirmation of the National Council of the Vlach National Minority in August 2007.
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Its two main variants, Ungurean and Țăran, are subordonated forms of the Romanian varieties spoken in Banat and Oltenia, respectively. The speakers have been isolated from Romania and their speech did not keep up with the neologisms (for some abstract notions, as well as technological, political and scientific concepts) borrowed by the Romanian speakers on the other shore of the Danube from French and Italian and as such, they're using Serbian counterparts instead, as Serbian has been the language of education for nearly two centuries.
The term Vlach is the English transcription of the Serbian term for this language (vlaški), while Romanian or Roumanian is the English transcription of its Vlach/Romanian counterpart (român/rumân).
For example, the National Council representing Vlach minority is called:
- Consiliul Naţional al Minorităţii Naţionale Rumâne in Vlach/Romanian,
- Национални савет Влашке националне мањине, Nacionalni Savet Vlaške Nacionalne Manjine in Serbian,
- and National Council of Vlach (Roumanian) National Minority in English.
Further on, the Romanian/Vlach Democratic Party of Serbia is called in Romanian/Vlach Partidul Democrat al Rumânilor din Sârbia and Vlaška Demokratska Stranka (Влашка демократска странка) in Serbian. This happens also with the others institutions of the Vlach minority.
The term Vlach language(s) is also often used to refer to Eastern Romance languages in general, which includes Romanian. There are considerable differences between these Vlach languages (the Greek, Macedonian and Albanian Vlachs, versus the Vlachs of Istria, versus the Vlachs of Eastern Serbia who are closest to Romanians) and untutored native speakers have difficulties understanding each other.
Usage in media
- Eastern Romance substratum
- Origin of the Romanians
- Legacy of the Roman Empire
- The Balkan language area
- Romanian language
- Romance languages
- Website of the Federaţia Rumânilor din Serbie
- Gustav Weigand, Linguistischer Atlas des dacorumänischen Sprachgebiets, 1909, Leipzig: Barth
- Petru Neiescu, Eugen Beltechi, Nicolae Mocanu, Atlas lingvistic al regiunii Valea Timocului – Contribuţii la atlasul lingvistic al graiurilor româneşti dintre Morava, Dunăre şi Timoc, Cluj-Napoca, 2006
- Slavoljub Gacović, Od Rimljana i latinskog do Rumuna Timočana i rumunskog, Nacionalni savet vlaške nacionalne manjine, Bor, 2008
- Danas "Svedeni smo na vlaško kolo", 19 March 2007
- "Vlachs of Serbia recognised as a national minority" ("Vlahii din Serbia recunoscuţi ca minoritate naţională"), published by BBC on 17 August 2007: "Vlachs were finally recognised as a national minority and the Romanian language was accepted as their native language"
- Ştirile ProTV: "Romanian language recognised as native language in Serbia" ("Limba română recunoscută drept limbă maternă în Serbia"], news report made by Ştirile ProTV on 19 August 2007
- "Serbia recognised that the Vlachs of Timoc speak Romanian" ("Serbia a recunoscut că «vlahii» din Timoc vorbesc româneşte"), published in Gardianul, 3 August 2007
- Interview with Predrag Balašević, president of the Romanian/Vlach Democratic Party of Serbia: "We all know that we call ourselves in Romanian Romanians and in Serbian Vlachs."
- Website of the Consiliul Naţional al Minorităţii Naţionale Rumâne din Serbia