Vlach vs Aromanian

  • OldAvatar

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    It is confusing, like many other things in the Balkans region. I'm really guessing that such a discussion will unfortunately turn into a political debate.

    Aromanian (Macedo-Romanian) is practically one language, having a few dialects (North dialects: grămuştean, fârşerot, moscopolean, muzăchear, bealan; South dialects: pindean - from the Pind mountains, olimpiot - from the Olimp mountains. The language is called differently, according to the region in which Aromanians live (limba armãneascã, armãneshce, armâneashti, rămăneşte, sau vlăheaşte). Romanian linguists consider it a variation of Romanian language, basically different dialects, while others, like Greeks or Serbs or even some Aromanians, for example, consider it a separate language and nation.
    As a conclusion, Romanians do consider Aromanian and Vlach being basically the same thing, while others don't.

    PS: You can find an online study of the language here. Unfortunately, it is in Romanian.

    Regards,
    OA
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Good question! I too am afraid that some will feel compelled to make some condescending or downright insulting comments to one Balkan nation or another.
    Now I have looked into the question myself trying to figure it out by reading what Greek Vlachs have to say.
    This site says it's a Romance languace deriving from Latin after the fall of the Roman Empire and belongs to the group/family of the Easter Romance languages where the northern languages such as Dacorumanian (from which modern Romanian developed) and the Istroromanian as well as the southern dialect of Meglenoromanian

    I have my doubts, to say the least, about what this site seems to imply. According to it a)it's the Vlachs that went north and not latin-speakers that came south and it seems to imply that we are talking about billingual Greeks? Others seem to share the same idea which I haven't heard before and for which I haven't seen any scientific backup (I don't mean to say that there isn't any but at least I haven't even heard of it)

    This one says that the origin of Romanians and Vlachs is a mystery and that both belong to the same liguistic group.

    This one is in English :D.

    The dialect/language thing is one I cannot comment myself because a)unfortunately I do not speak any of these dialects/languages and b)the definition of each is not always clear :D
     

    OldAvatar

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Good question! I too am afraid that some will feel compelled to make some condescending or downright insulting comments to one Balkan nation or another.
    Now I have looked into the question myself trying to figure it out by reading what Greek Vlachs have to say.
    This site says it's a Romance languace deriving from Latin after the fall of the Roman Empire and belongs to the group/family of the Easter Romance languages where the northern languages such as Dacorumanian (from which modern Romanian developed) and the Istroromanian as well as the southern dialect of Meglenoromanian

    I have my doubts, to say the least, about what this site seems to imply. According to it a)it's the Vlachs that went north and not latin-speakers that came south and it seems to imply that we are talking about billingual Greeks? Others seem to share the same idea which I haven't heard before and for which I haven't seen any scientific backup (I don't mean to say that there isn't any but at least I haven't even heard of it)

    This one says that the origin of Romanians and Vlachs is a mystery and that both belong to the same liguistic group.

    This one is in English :D.

    The dialect/language thing is one I cannot comment myself because a)unfortunately I do not speak any of these dialects/languages and b)the definition of each is not always clear :D
    Don't worry, I'm not here to start an argument. More than that, I see Greeks as friends. That's why is more difficult to understand why the Aromanian language is not recognized as a Romanian relative. Nobody claims any land or some other crazy demands. I don't see why some of the Greeks are so worry about that.
    I don't speak Greek, apart the basic that I've learned in my last two holidays there. But I do understand probably about 80% of Vlachs language, even the one spoken in Greek Macedonia, for example, without the need of learning it. ;) Most of the songs presented here are perfectly understandable. While they sound like a totally foreign language to a Greek speaker, some of them don't need translation into Romanian (ex. Come on girl, come to the well - Ai, moi feată, la făntănă (Aromanian) - Hai, măi fată, la fântână (Romanian)). Is this a scientific proof? Probably not, but it is good enough for me.

    Best regards,
    OA
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Now you have me confused OldAvatar. A) those sites are actually started by Vlachs in Greece B) I just quoted the information I found. I personally, from what I've read, think that you are right. I cannot talk about the rest of the Greeks since it's not a matter we usually discuss really. I know that in the past things were more ... "heated" from both the Greek and the Romanian side with the Greeks Vlachs sort of caught in the middle ;)
    Anyway, to clarify things: While it would be strange if the Greek Vlach dialect hasn't had become influenced by Greek, it is most definitely not a dialect of Greek. No one says that. No one seems to say that it is not related with Romanian (with the exception of that one site that left me in a bit of a doubt).
    As to its exact relation with the Romanian I cannot have any personal opinion. A Romanian friend of mine couldn't read the sites I directed him to, you can understand quite a few things, and I've read in a blog that some Vlachs have gone to study in Romania confident that knowing Vlach they will be able to sort of get by till, very quickly, they learn Romanian. That's it.
     

    sokol

    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    Don't worry, I'm not here to start an argument. More than that, I see Greeks as friends. That's why is more difficult to understand why the Aromanian language is not recognized as a Romanian relative. Nobody claims any land or some other crazy demands. (...)
    Well, even if nobody makes claims in the Balkans region as well as Former Yougoslavia and the Nations which once were behind the Iron Curtain the equation 'one language = one nation' still is made very often and used in politics too.
    So it really is understandable why someone living in this specific area might just be worried. (Of course, this should not be so. But we're talking facts here.)

    Therefore, there's absolutely no doubt that Aromunian and Romanian are closely related (of course influence of other languages of their surroundings, like Greek, are likely, but this doesn't change the facts). As are Romanian and Italian, if (of course) not so closely related.
    The important thing is not to make a political argument out of it, which is very easy for me (as I am Austrian) but might be more difficult for others.

    As for the term of 'Vlach' one has to be careful, though: it is not only used for Aromunians but also for people who speak other languages (who probably once were Aromunians but now assimilated to their Serbian surroundings, for example; or take gypsies = Roma-groups from Romania, for example the Kalederash, who sometimes are referred to as 'Vlach-group' Roma because their language is influenced by Romanian).
     

    Jo Alex sG

    New Member
    Portuguese
    Hi folks, newby here.
    As I've been making some brief searches on the eastern branch of the romance languages and have come to my own conclusions about this but, though I'm no expert on the subject, I hope the links I've searched and some of their excerpts will be of some use to those interested in checking them:
    I'll also repost here my comment posted on some video pages on Youtube on the general topic of the eastern romance languages:

    There´s a lot of politics involved in most linguistic classifications of regional languages. In this case, as the regional varieties surfaced early in their history, we could say they are romance regional languages in their own right, since their development did not depart from one single Romanian dialect into its linguistic offspring so as to say, but rather developed in parallel ways! The fact that they called themselves by a different name does not change the crucial fact that the split happened in such an early stage of the language that calling it Romanian tends to give an apparent linguistic supremacy to the present mainstream dialect, i.e. the official language of the modern state of Romania, over the others which does not reflect the diachronic reality of these dialects in my opinion. So calling them by other terms avoid this misconception of superiority centralized governments foster towards their own official supradialectal in detriment of regional languages which actually had a parallel linguistic evolution. However, I liked how this site posted it as 'common Romanian family of languages":
    " ... Vlaški, Žejanski or Istro-Romanian is an Eastern, or Balkan, Romance language, and it represents one of four historic branches of the Common Romanian family of languages. The three other branches are Daco-Romanian (which has its own dialects, one of which developed into modern Romanian), Aromanian (spoken by several larger linguistic enclaves in Albania, Greece, and Macedonia) and Megleno-Romanian (spoken by very small linguistic enclaves in Macedonia and Greece). For comparison, all other living Romance languages belong to the Western Romance group." "It can not be said with certitude when the four branches of Common Romanian split away from each other. Proposals range from some time in the second half of the first millennium CE to as late as the twelfth century, for certain branches. In any case, for reasons of geography and history, the speakers of these languages subsequently lived entirely separate linguistic, cultural and political histories. ..." In The origin of the language The distant ancestors of today's Vlaški and Žejanski (Vlashki and Zheyanski, also, Istro-Romanian) ..." More in https://www.vlaski-zejanski.com/en/nauci/the-origin-of-the-language-1

    I think the Wikipedia article on the subject, though not being an unquestionable source in itself, has most reliable and also substantial sources for its bibliography. It seems to describe the evolution of the term Vlach thoroughly, and of special notice to what is being discussed are the following excerpts:
    "Historically, the term was used primarily for the Romanians" and "... the Romanians used for themselves the endonym "Rumân/Român", from the Latin "Romanus" (in memory of Rome).[1..."; " ... Nowadays, the term Vlachs (also known under other names, such as "Koutsovlachs", "Tsintsars", "Karagouni", "Chobani", "Vlasi", etc.[17]) is used in scholarship for the Romance-speaking communities in the Balkans, ..."
    In https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlachs

    And, last but not least:
    " ... It is not even wholly certain (and the issue is fraught with political sensitivities) that the Romanians and their language developed in situ in the modern territory of Romania. The Roman province of Dacia, which broadly corresponds to modern Romania, was established under Trajan at the beginning of the second century and abandoned barely three generations later, under Aurelian, between 271 and 275, when the Roman legions withdrew to the south of the Danube. The speakers of the form of Latin that was to become Romanian remain unidentifiable, for modern historians, for many centuries, and must at an early date have been cut off from the western Empire and, later, from the Roman Catholicism which permeates the culture of so many other major Romance languages. For Romanians the language of religion (Orthodox Christianity), and therefore of writing, was Greek and later Church Slavonic. The movement of the Slavs into the Balkans in the fifth and sixth centuries, further contributed to the linguistic isolation of the Romanians, and left a profound imprint on the Romanian language. ..." by Martin Maiden in the free PDF to download from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02614340.2010.11917476
     
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