Romania is surrounded by Slavic-speaking countries. Yet, Romanian is a Romance language, similar to Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Slavic roots represent only about 10% of the vocabulary. Other influences in the language come from Turkish, German and Bulgarian.
Romanian is spoken in the Republic of Moldova, too. That is because the Moldovan territory (Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina), Romanian territory, became part of the Soviet Union in 1940 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moldova). It gained its independence in 1991. Still, Romanian has remained the national language.
About 24 million people speak it as a native language, and 4 million people speak it as a second language. (https://www.silverbaytrans.com/post/5-interesting-facts-about-the-romanian-language)
Romanian is easy to read or pronounce, since it is a phonetic language. The words are pronounced exactly as they are spelt. There are only five “special” letters, two consonants (ș pronounced “sh” and ț pronounced “ts”) and three vowels: ă (pronounced as the indefinite article “a” in English), as well as “â and î” (both pronounced as the vowel in the last syllable of the English word “modern”).
Romanian also has a dialect called Aromanian (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aromanian_language).
Among the very few Romanian words in English there is hora (a circle dance in the Balkans). Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_words_of_Romanian_origin
You can find interesting facts about Romania here: https://www.romaniatourism.net/culture-history/36-interesting-facts-romania For instance, the name of the country (Romania) and the language (Romanian) comes from the Latin word “Romanus”, which means “citizen of the Roman Empire”. Since it has the same root as Rome, the capital city of Italy, you will find it easy to study Romanian especially when you speak Italian.
In the 10th-12th century, Slavic alphabet replaced the Latin one (https://www.historia.ro/sectiune/general/articol/cat-de-vechi-este-scrisul-in-limba-romana), and the oldest writing in Romanian is considered to be a letter in 1521 (https://radioromaniacultural.ro/cele-mai-vechi-scrieri-in-limba-romana/).
More than 100,000 foreigners live in Romania, and studying the language is increasingly encouraged and promoted. You may want to give it a try, too.
Article by Nadia Esslim