(archaically Rumanian or Roumanian; autonym: limba română [ˈlimba roˈmɨnə] (About this soundlisten), “the Romanian language”, or românește, lit. “in Romanian”) is an Eastern Romance language.
Romanian is a part of the Balkan-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin, which separated from the Western Romance during the 5th–8th centuries. To distinguish it within that group in comparative linguistics it is called Daco-Romanian as opposed to its closest relatives, Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian, and Istro-Romanian.
Romanian is also known as Moldovan in Moldova, although the Constitutional Court of Moldova ruled in 2013 that “the official language of the republic is Romanian”.
Furthermore, numerous immigrant Romanian speakers are also scattered across many other regions and countries worldwide, most notably Italy, the Iberian peninsula (both in Spain and Portugal), the German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), the British Isles (both in the United Kingdom as well as in Ireland), Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden), North America (most notably in the United States but also in Canada), Oceania (mainly Australia and New Zealand) and South America (mainly Brazil and Argentina).
The Romanian territory was inhabited in ancient times by the Dacians, an Indo-European people. They were defeated by the Roman Empire in 106 and part of Dacia (Oltenia, Banat and Ardeal) became a Roman province. For the next 165 years, there is evidence of considerable Roman colonization in the area, the region being in close communication with the rest of the Roman empire. Vulgar Latin became the language of the administration and commerce.
Under the pressure of the Free Dacians and of the Goths, the Roman administration and legions were withdrawn from Dacia between 271-275. Whether the Romanians are the descendants of these people that abandoned the area and settled south of Danube or of the people that remained in Dacia is a matter of debate.
Due to its geographical isolation, Romanian was probably the first language that split and until the modern age was not influenced by other Romance languages, so the grammar is roughly similar to that of Latin, keeping declensions and the neuter gender, unlike any other Romance language.
All the dialects of Romanian are believed to have been unified in a common language until sometime between the 7th and the 10th century when the area was influenced by the Byzantine Empire and Romanian came under the influence of the Slavic language. Romanian has very few Slavonic words. Also, the variations in the Daco-Romanian dialect (spoken throughout Romania and Moldova) are very small, which is quite remarkable, as until the Modern Era there was almost no connection between Romanians in various regions. The use of this uniform Daco-Romanian dialect extends well beyond the borders of the Romanian state: a Romanian-speaker from Moldova speaks the same language as a Romanian-speaker from the Serbian Banat.
It is also noteworthy that Romanian was the only Romance language that was not under the cultural influence of the Roman Catholic Church, instead being influenced by the Orthodox Church, Slavonic, Greek and Turkish cultures.