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Aromanian in the Balkans

Language designations:

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

Language vitality according to:

UNESCO Ethnologue Endangered Languages
(Definitely endangered) 4, 5, 6a, 6b (depending on country) At risk; Vulnerable; Threatened (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; 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.

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

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

Education of the language

History of language education:

Please describe the history of the language's presence in:

  • the country's school system;
  • published, broadcasted, or online learning resources.

Legislation of language education

Please describe legislation concerning education of the language. Distinguish between different levels of legislation. For instance, legislation concerning Aragonese language education in Aragon (Spain) is affected by:

Questions that may be discussed in this section:

  • Is the language protected by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages?
  • Does the law allow for the language to be taught in school?
  • Does the law allow for the language to be used as medium of instruction in school?
  • Does the law state that teaching the language or using it as medium of instruction is compulsory?

Feel free to add additional points, not included in the list above.


  • 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).


  • 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:

If information is available, please discuss whether:

  • there are learning materials being developed,
  • these materials are sufficient and of good quality,
  • these materials are commissioned or their development subsidized by the regional or national government,
  • there is training available for language teachers,
  • there are sufficient teachers and if they are competent,
  • there is a teacher's union, or an institution where teachers can get advice or additional training,
  • teacher training is subsidized by the regional or national government,
  • language education is promoted by an institution,
  • promotion of language education is subsidized by the government,
  • the quality of language education is inspected and stimulated.

Feel free to add additional points, not included in the list above, and to structure your information using chapter headings, e.g.:

Language learning materials:

Education presence

To what extent is language education available in the area under scrutiny:

  • Is the language being taught in- or outside of school?
  • If the language is taught during school hours,
    • in which grades is it being taught?
    • for how many hours per week?
    • to how many children / what percentage of the population?
    • are language skills being evaluated in any way?
    • what level of competence do students reach?
  • Is the language used as medium of instruction in school?
  • What school systems with respect to multilingualism are there (bilingual, trilingual)?
  • Are there courses available for adults?
  • Is the language taught or studied at university level?

Can you say anything about to what extent education of the language helps to preserve it:

  • Do students use the language outside of school?
  • Does the fact that the language is being taught in school add to its prestige, and the speakers' self esteem?

Feel free to add additional points, not included in the list above, and to structure your information using chapter headings.


  • 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.


  • 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

languages/aromanian_in_the_balkans.1519129490.txt.gz · Last modified: 2018/02/20 13:24 by annika_klein

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