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Aromanian in the Balkans

Language designations:

  • In the language itself: armãneashce (armâneashti) or limba armâneascâ
  • ISO 639-3 standard: rup

Language vitality according to:

UNESCO Ethnologue Endangered Languages Glottolog
Definitely endangered Educational Developing Vigourous Threatened At risk Vulnerable Threatened  shifting
depending on country depending on source

Linguistic aspects:

  • Classification: Indo-European → Italic → Romance → Eastern Romance. For more information, see arom1237 at Glottolog
  • Script: Latin; Greek (in Greece)

Language standardization

Is there a standardized orthography in use? Which institution maintains this orthography?


Language Area

Aromanian is spoken in seven countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia.

In Albania: Fier County, Mbrostar commune; far southeast, Gjirokastër and Korçë counties; also in Tiranë area.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina: (non-indigenous)

In Bulgaria: Pazardzhit province: Peshtera, Velingrad, and Rakitovo municipalities; Kyustendil and Blagoevgrad provinces. (non-indigenous)

In Greece: Epirus and Western Macedonia, Macedonia and Thrace, and Thessaly and Central Greece administrative units(villages of Gourgiotisa, Octhia, Stratos, Agrambelo, Paleomanina, Stroggylovouni, Manina Blyzanon); Pindus mountains, western Ioannina, southwest Trikala, southwest corner, Grevena; Pella area, southeast of Lake Vegoritis and into Imathia; central zone, Kastoria into Florina and Kozani. Major cities like Athens, Thessaloniki, Larisa, Trikala and scattered urban communities in various cities in Greece and abroad where Aromanians have moved after the 2nd World War.

In Macedonia: Bitola, Resen, Prilep, Struga, and Ohrid municipalities; Skopje, Stip, Krusevo, Kocani-Vinica, Sveti Nikole, Kumanovo, and Gevgelija; southwest, north of Ohrid and Presba lakes.

In Romania: Constanta and Tulcea departments; Dobrudja region; major cities like Bucharest. (non-indigenous)

In Serbia: Belgrade City, Nis, and scattered urban communities in Vojvodine and Kosovo. (non-indigenous)

There are several dialects of Aromanian, which can be classified as belonging to one of two larger dialect groups: rrămănești or armâneaști.

(Sources: Kahl, Thede. 2005. “Offene Fragen in der Erforschung des Aromunischen und seiner Dialekte”. In A. N. Sobolev and A. Yu. Rusakov (eds.), Jazyki i Dialekty Malyx Ètniceskix Grupp na Balkanax, 155-166. Sankt-Peterburg: Biblion.

Simons, Gary F. and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2017. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Twentieth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version:

Speaker numbers

In all countries: 502,160 1)

Education of the language

History of language education:

Presence of the language in the country's school system


  • Between the two world wars and until 1948 Greece accepted Romanian schools (preschool, primary and secondary schools) within its territory, in the north of Greece (in cities: Thessaloniki, Veria, Edessa and Grevena and in various Aromanian villages in Ipiros and Macedonia mostly Pindos and Grammos mountain ranges). These schools hosted many Aromanians but the education was in Romanian rather than in Aromanian.
  • The Aromanian language disappeared from all educational levels until 1996, when an Aromanian course was introduced at the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki. This attempt to teach the Aromanian language was made by professor-linguist Ntinas Konstantinos but the effort did not have a follow-up (it lasted from February 1996 to June 1997; the target group were students and scientists).

Published, broadcasted, or online learning resources

  • Beis, S. (2000). Le parler aroumain de Metsovo: description d' une langue en voie de disparition (The Aromanian language of Metsovo: description of an endangered language) Ph.D. Thesis, Paris: Universite Paris V
  • Katsanis, N., Ntinas, K. (1990) Grammatiki tis Kinis Koutsovlahikis (Grammar of the common Kutsovlahiki), Thessaloniki: Arhio Koutsovlahikon Meleton
  • Vasileiou, A. (2014) Η γλώσσα των Βλάχων (Καραγκούνηδων) της Ακαρνανίας: καταγραφή μιας γλώσσας υπό εξαφάνιση (The language of Acarnania's Vlachs (Karagounidhes): recording of a language under disappearance) Ph.D. Thesis, Florina: Panepistimio Dytikis Makedonias (University of Western Macedonia)
  • Takis Georgiu (2015) – “ΜΑΘΑΙΝΟΥΜΕ ΒΛΑΧΙΚΑ – Amvițămu armânești” (We are learning Aromanian), Aromanian Association of Veria, 4th publication accompanied by language learning CD.
  • Takis Georgiu (2011), Λεξικό της βλαχικής γλώσσας / Dictionary of Aromanian language / lexiko di limba armâneasca, Aromanian Association of Veria
  • Ntinas, K. (1996) Aromanian language courses:
  • Ntinas, K. (1986) Το Κουτσοβλάχικο ιδίωμα της Σαμαρίνας, φωνολογική ανάλυση. (The Kutsovlah dialect of Samarina, a phonologic analysis), Ph.D Thesis Tessaloniki: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
  • Beis, S., Dasoulas, F. (2017) Πρόταση για το σύστημα γραφής της βλαχικής γλώσσας (Proposal for the writing system of the Vlach language), Glossologia, 25, (51-69). Retrieved from:
  • Dasoulas Fanis (2013), Η αποκωδικοποίηση ενός πολιτισμού μέσα από το πεδίο της γλωσσικής έκφρασης: το βλάχικο ιδίωμα του Μετσόβου, (Decoding a culture through its linguistinc expression: The Aromanian dialect of Metsovo), 2nd Edition.
  • Сenter for minority group research (2001), Γλωσσική ετερότητα στην Ελλάδα: τούρκικα-πομακικά, βλάχικα, σλαβικοί διάλεκτοι, αρβανίτικα, (Linguistic diversity in Greece: Turkish-Pomak, Vlach, Slavic dialects, Arvanitika), Alexandria publications.
  • Koiloukos Dimitris (2016), Εισαγωγή στη βλαχική γλώσσα και τη γραμματική της, (Introduction to the Aromanian language and grammar), Trikala, April 2016.
  • Pavlidis Pabagiotis (1992), Ελληνοβλαχικό λεξικό του βλάχικου ιδιώματος της Λαϊστας Ζαγορίου Ιωαννίνων, (Greek-Aromanian Dictionary of Laista Zagori Ioannina) Greek Mountaineering Association of Laista Zagori Ioannina.
  • Mousios Georgios (2014), Η βλαχική γλώσσα, η γλώσσα μας (Aromanian Language, our language). Athens
  • Exarchos Giorgis (2003), Βλάχοι: μνημεία ζωής και λόγου ενός πολιτισμού που χάνεται, (Aromanians: life and language moonuments of an endagered culture) Epikairotita publications.
  • Exarchos Giorgis (2001), Οι ελληνόβλαχοι/ αρμάνοι (The Greekvlachs/ Aromanians), Volume Α’, Kastaniotis publications..
  • Exarchos Giorgis (1996) Αρμάνοι-Βλάχοι: Ιστορία-Γλώσσα-Ριζικό, (Aromanias – Vlachs: History – Language – Fate) INALCO.
  • Exarchos Giorgis (1987), Τι είναι; 220 αινίγματα στα βλάχικα (What is it? 220 Aromanian riddles), Aromanian Association of Veria.
  • Efstathiou Giannis (2003), Οι ελληνόβλαχοι: ιστορικά-γλωσσικά-λεξιλόγιο (The GreekVlachs: History-Language-Vocabulary), Trikala.
  • Papazisi-Papatheodorou Zoi (1996), Παραμύθια των βλάχων: 96 παραμύθια περιοχής Τρικάλων Θεσσαλίας στη βλαχική & ελληνική γλώσσα, (Aromanian Fairy Tales: 96 fairy tales from the region of Trikala Thesssaly in aromanian and Greek language), Gutenberg.
  • Fuchi Spiru (2015), Kavafis poezii pi armânești, pub. Botimet M & B.
  • Lentziou-Trikou Koula (2014), Λεξικό αρωμανικής (Βλαχικής) γλώσσας των βλαχόφωνων ελλήνων των Μεγάλων Λιβαδίων Πάικου Κιλκίς με καταγωγή από την Πίνδο (Dictionary of aromanian (Vlach) language of Aromanian speaking Greeks from Megala Livadia Paiko Kilkis with origin from Pindos), Thessaloniki.
  • Galaitsis Takis (2013), Από τη ζωή των βλάχων: di tu bana armânjilor (From the Aromanian life), Aromanian Association of Veria.
  • Boyatzis Michail (1863), Γραμματική ρωμανική ήτοι μακεδονοβλαχική (στην ελληνική, βλαχική και γερμανική γλώσσα) (Romance or Macedonoaromanian grammar (in Greek, Aromanian and German language), Bucarest.

Legislation of language education


  • Bulgaria has not signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. According to the Constitution of Bulgaria political parties may not be created on the basis of ethnicity. Minorities are not recognised. Nevertheless organisations of ethnic groups are officially registered. A “National Council for Collaboration on Ethnic and Demographic Problems” exists to the Council of Ministers, in which almost all ethnic groups are presented (incl. Aromanians).


  • Greece has not signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
  • The law doesn't make any provision for the teaching of the language but it is not strictly forbidden either.
  • The law does not allow for Aromanian to be used as medium of instruction in school.
  • The law does not state that teaching the language or using it as medium of instruction is compulsory.

The Greek authorities do not recognise Aromanians as a different ethnic group, considering them rather as “Vlach- (or Latin-) speaking Greeks”. Nor is Aromanian used in the judicial and administrative fields or the media, apart from the occasional showing of folk dances and songs on television and radio. Greece has a Pan-Hellenic Union of Vlach Cultural Associations, which was set up in 1985 and comprises some 100 local associations, which conduct a wide range of cultural activities in several different fields. However, the Pan-Hellenic Union of Vlah Cultural Associations has not promoted up until now the revitalization, study and teaching of the Aromanian language. Only very recently was the creation of a committee for the language preservation announced.


  • A real language policy to protect the Aromanian language issued by Romanian authorities does not exist. There is no interest in or support of the actions undertaken by ACR (Aromanian Community from Romania) or ACS (Aromanian Cultural Society).


  • Legislation does not provide for the teaching of the Aromanian language in schools. Given the small number of people declaring themselves to be Aromanians (Cincari in Serbian), the Aromanian minority has no political status. Due to complicated issues regarding identity and loyalty towards the state, most Aromanians in Serbia declare themselves to be Serbs. Meanwhile, the Aromanian community does not make demands for education in their mother tongue due to the fact that the members of the community are scattered throughout the country and do not form a compact group.

Institutional support for education of the language:


There is no institutional support for education of the language.

Language learning materials:

There are very few learning materials developed by the Aromanian Associations.

Education presence


  • Between the two wars Aromanians could visit a secondary school in Gorna Giumaia (now Blagoevgrad) and a high school (lyceum) in Sofia, but the education was in Rumanian rather than in Aromanian. An attempt was made to reopen this school in the 90s, but without the expected success (one class in Rumanian language with the option of Aromanian as an additional language, which has not been taken advantage of). In 2003, language courses in Aromanian were organised in 3 towns, with a total number of about 50 students (about 100 teaching hours).
  • Main difficulties: different language knowledge of the participants, lack of professional teachers, lack of school books
  • The introduction of Aromanian as a mother tongue is very difficult (not enough participants, no official school programmes, no teachers)
  • Aromanian is not taught at Bulgarian Universities.


  • The language is not taught in schools.
  • Some Aromanian Associations are actually teaching the language. Each association tries to teach the local variety of its region. Teachers are usually native speakers of the Aromanian language without scientific background in the teaching process and the creation of educational material and teaching corpus.
  1. Aromanian Associations teaching Aromanian language in Greece:

Aromanian Association of Athens. Teaching from 2016 – now. Class: twice per month, target group: adults. (30 students). Each lesson consists of three parts: language teaching, song teaching (with emphasis on lyrics as a language teaching component) and dance. The teaching curriculum is in the 2 major dialects Pindean and Farsherot.

  1. Aromanian Association of Veria. Teaching from 1990 – now. Almost 3 groups per week. Classes: once per week, target group: adults & children (separate groups). (30 students per group)
  2. Aromanian Association of Anilio – Metsovo. Teaching from 2012 – now. Class: once per week, 2 groups, target group: children. (almost 20 students per group)
  3. Aromanian Association of Aetomilitsa. Teaching from 2015 – now: In Thessaloniki city. Class: twice per week, target group: adults. (25 students)
  4. Aromanian Association (Aromanians from Perivoli village) of Magnisia. In Velestion city. Teaching from 2015 – now. Class: once per week, target group: mostly children (30 students)
  5. Aromanian Association of Distrato. From 2013 – now. In Konitsa city. Class: once per week. Target group: adults. (20 students)
  6. Aromanian Association of Krania Aspropotamou. From 2014 – now. In Trikala city Class: once per week. Target group: adults. (20 students). Summer school for children in Krania village (20 students).
  • The language is not used as medium of instruction.
  • There is no school system with respect to multilingualism.
  • Aromanian associations depend on demand; they offer courses for both children and adults.
  • The language cannot be studied at university level.
  • Education helps to preserve the Aromanian language. The majority of Aromanians in Greece have no opportunity to interact in Aromanian. The number of children exposed to the language is decreasing. Some of the reasons are: a) it is spoken mainly by elder people in the villages; b) young people living in the big cities do not use it to communicate on their daily activities; c) very often Greek is the main language of communication between the members of Aromanian families. Therefore, the education of the language has a huge contribution to language preservation and revitalization. It creates an environment where the language is spoken.
  • Outside of school the language is only spoken in Aromanian villages and small cities and mostly between the members of the family and during the communication with elderly people.

Sutsată a Armîńilor di Athina, (Society of Aromanians of Athens)

  • The Society of Aromanians of Athens (Sutsată a Armîńilor di Athina) is an Aromanian association based in Athens that promotes the revitalisation of both Aromanian language and culture. It was set up in the end of 2015 by a small core group of Arοmanians living in the wider area of the Greek capital.
  • The Society offers a meeting and reference place for those interested in promoting the Αrοmanian culture and language with scientific criteria and strengthening the relations between its members from all over Greece. This is unique and unprecedented given that most of the existing Aromanian associations target a local group from a specific geographic area or village which speaks a common linguistic dialect or variety of Αromanian language.
  • The Society of Aromanians of Athens, on the contrary, seeks, to set new, but solid, foundations to teach this endangered language, redefining Aromanian identity in a constantly changing socioeconomic environment and integrating its cultural heritage in the modern world. This is succeeded through recreational activities that encompass both modern/contemporary features and the revival of the traditional customs.
  • During the first half of 2016, the emphasis was placed on lectures, on the writing system of the Aromanian language and its varieties, the urbanization of the Aromanians and the role of Aromanian identity during the past decades, contemporary Aromanian poetry, as well as the organisation of music concerts and parties.
  • Since the fall of 2016, Aromanian language courses have been regularly organised under the responsibility of a group of language teachers and linguists. Furthermore, the Society offers dance and song classes organized by professionals.
  • The Society became a legal entity in August 2017. Membership has grown rapidly, and it now lists at least 50 regular members and many friends, mostly young people.
  • Due to the diverse background of its participants, the Society is enjoying a rich variety of Aromanian cultural expressions and Aromanian dialects. As will be analysed further below, this diversity creates one of the main challenges in the teaching process.
  • As far as scientific activities are concerned, the Society has organised or is going to organise the following events in collaboration with academic departments and similar Aromanian associations from all over Greece:
  1. a special workshop was conducted in December 2017 in Veroia, city in northern Greece on the quest of a standard Aromanian language writing system, a common teaching method and the role of technology in transcribing and preserving the language, its dialects and varietie;
  2. an academic conference on Aromanian identity, culture and language with the participation of academics and researchers from Greece and abroad aiming at the publishing of the proceedings;
  3. in spring 2018: lectures about historical and ethnological issues.


  • Due to the low number of Aromanian pupils in one and the same school, teaching the Aromanian language is hindered by legal regulations: the minimum sufficient number of pupils ; didactic quota for teachers; teachers have to be Aromanian and employees of the school; the daily program, etc.


  • The Serbian-Aromanian association “Lunjina” (light) offers Aromanian language courses once per week. The group is composed of both beginners and advanced students as well as people who would like to reactivate their mother tongue.
  • Once per month, Lunjina organises conferences about Aromanian culture which focus on great figures from the community who have contributed to the development of Serbian society (writers, ministers, benefactors, physicians, architects and other professionals), but also on Aromanian lifestyle, migration, etc. For two years, these conferences were held in the premises of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts as part of a joint project with Lunjina; since the project ended, they have been organised in the premises of Lunjina. The conferences bring together well-known specialists, members of both local and international schools and colleges as well as a target audience that is larger than the one for the language courses. The aim of the conferences is to give members of the Aromanian community access to elements of their own history which are not taught at school and to increase their self-esteem with regard to their origin. At the same time, awareness of the existence of the minority is increased in the broader public. Conferences are held in Serbian, but sometimes also in English or Aromanian (with translation). Conference speakers participate on a voluntary basis.

Online learning resources

Simons, Gary F. and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2017. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Twentieth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version:
languages/aromanian_in_the_balkans.txt · Last modified: 2024/04/25 11:52 by ydwine

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