Romania has a population of around 19.5 million residents, most of which speak Romanian as their first language. This translates to about 91% of the population whose native language is Romanian. Romanian is also the only official language of the country. The Romanian language belongs to the Balkan-Romance group of languages, which dates back to the 5th century AD and is descended from Vulgar Latin. Over the centuries, the Romanian language borrowed words from Slavic languages, Turkic, Hungarian, French and Italian. Of all the Romance languages, however, it shares most similarities with Italian. Romanian is the predominant language in the country, and all government publications, legal contracts and public education is conducted and written in Romanian.

The most widely spoken minority language in Romania is Hungarian. Approximately 6.7% of the country’s total population speaks the Hungarian language, the majority of which live in Transylvania. Hungarian belongs to the Uralic language family, and its written records date back to the 900s AD, when it used the Old Hungarian alphabet. Today, Hungarian is written using the Latin alphabet and has been influenced by French, Italian and German. Hungarian is used in certain public offices of Romania at local levels, in places where the ethnic Hungarian population is over 20%.

Aside from Hungarian, other minority languages spoken throughout Romania include Romani, Ukrainian, German, Russian, Turkish and Tatar. Romani is spoken by 1.1% of the population and is used in local government administrative offices and the educational system, throughout 79 communes and in 1 town. These locations are concentrated in the Calarasi and the Mures counties. Ukrainian is spoken by 57,593 speakers, German by 45,129 speakers, Russian by 29,890 speakers, Turkish by 28,714 speakers, and Tatar by 21,482 speakers.

Other smaller population sizes speak several other languages such as Serbo-Croatian, Slovak, Bulgarian, and Greek. 26,732 Serbians and Croatians speak their languages, Slovak is spoken by 16,108, Bulgarian by 6,747, and Greek by 4,146 speakers. The Turks, Greeks and Crimean Tatars mainly inhabit the Northern Dobruja region of Romania.

Foreign languages of Romania include English, which is an important part of the Romanian society. Approximately 29% of the population can speak the English language, which is also the primary foreign language taught in schools at both primary and secondary grade levels. English is followed closely by French, which is spoken by 24% of the population. French is also the second most popular foreign language class taken in public schools. In fact, Romania is noted for having the largest number of French learners in a non-French speaking country. Other less common foreign languages within Romania are Italian and German, spoken by 7% and 6% of the population, respectively.


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