Romania, located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Balkan Europe, is a multicultural and multilingual territory. Although Romanian is the official language, several linguistic minorities contribute to the country’s cultural and economic richness. This article explores the different languages spoken in Romania, their usage statistics, and their role in trade, both domestically and internationally.

The Romanian language: A Romance language in Eastern Europe

The Romanian language, belonging to the Romance language family, is the mother tongue of nearly 89% of the Romanian population. It is the country’s official language and is used in administration, education, media, and daily life. Romania is the only majority Romanian-speaking country in Eastern Europe, which brings it closer to Latin European countries such as France, Italy, and Spain.

Linguistic minorities in Romania

According to the 2011 census, linguistic minorities represent approximately 11% of the Romanian population. Among them are:

  • The Hungarian language (6.1%), mainly spoken in the Transylvania region, where a significant Hungarian community resides.
  • The Romani language (1.1%), spoken by the Roma community.
  • The Ukrainian language (0.3%), concentrated in the north of the country.
  • The German language (0.2%), historically present in Transylvania with the Saxon community.
  • Other minority languages such as Russian, Turkish, Tatar, Serbian, and Bulgarian.

The role of languages in trade

Romania, a member of the European Union since 2007, maintains trade relations with many countries, both within and outside the EU. Proficiency in foreign languages is a significant advantage for Romanian companies seeking to expand internationally.

The Romanian language in trade

Although the Romanian language is not an international lingua franca, it plays an essential role in trade relations with neighboring Moldovan and Bulgarian countries, where it is also spoken and understood. Additionally, the Romanian diaspora present in many European and North American countries constitutes a potential network for Romanian companies.

Foreign languages in trade

The most taught foreign languages in Romania are English, French, and German (Eurostat, 2017). These languages play a crucial role in trade relations with Romania’s main economic partners.

  • English, as an international lingua franca, is essential for relations with English-speaking and non-English-speaking countries.
  • French is an asset for exchanges with France, Belgium, and French-speaking African countries.
  • German is important for relations with Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
  • The Hungarian language facilitates exchanges with Hungary, a neighboring and significant trading partner.

Romania, with its linguistic diversity, offers considerable potential for international trade. The Romanian language, although a minority on the international scene, plays an essential role in relations with neighboring countries and the Romanian diaspora. Foreign languages, notably English, French, German, and Hungarian, are significant assets for Romanian companies seeking to expand internationally.

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