member of the Romance group of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Romance languages
). It is spoken by about 22 million people in Romania, where it is the official language, by 3 million people in Moldova, and by perhaps another 1 million persons scattered in Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, and Hungary. At the present time Romanian is written in the Roman alphabet, to which have been added the symbols ă, â, î, ş,
In Moldova under Soviet rule, however, Cyrillic characters were used for Romanian. A distinctive feature of Romanian is the attachment of the definite article to the noun as a suffix, as in omul
). The oldest surviving Romanian texts are from the 16th cent., and there are four major dialects of the language.
See J. E. Augerot and F. D. Popescu, Modern Romanian (1971); E. Vasiliu and S. Golopentia-Ertescu, Transformational Syntax of Romanian (1973).
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