Romanian is an Indo-European language that belongs to the eastern group of the Romance languages, being the least-known of the Latin languages, coming in at fifth place in terms of number of speakers behind Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian. Many people in Serbia, Bulgaria and Ukraine speak it and it is estimated that there are roughly 28 million native speakers of Romanian throughout the world.
The denomination “Roman” comes from the Latin “RŌMĀNUS,” while the name “Daco-Roman,” i.e. “Daco-Romanian,” refers to the ancient Roman province of Dacia, the territory of which today makes up a large part of Romania.
And what about Moldovan?
First we must take a look at the geography. Moldova is a geographical and historical region of the Romanian northeast. The current Republic of Moldova was a part of Romania until its annexation by the Soviets in 1940.
Although the Republic of Moldova (with its capital in Chișinău) declared independence on August 27, 1991 and joined the UN the following year, “the other Moldova” (the Romanian province with its capital in Iasi) continued to be part of Romania and today its inhabitants have EU passports, enjoying all the same privileges and rights as, for example, Germans or Spaniards.
The Moldovan language, also known as the Moldovan-Romanian language, is the name given to the variety of Romanian spoken in the Republic of Moldova.
According to the law from September 1989 on the use of the languages of Moldova, which is still in force, the Moldovan language is “really identical” to Romanian and they share a common literary level and grammar. Thus, one can say that Moldovan and Romanian are the same language.
It’s a very special situation: speakers of Romanian from here and others from there living two very different realities, speaking the same language, and being citizens of two different countries.
For Moldovans from the Republic of Moldova to enter the Romanian province of Moldova (better known as Moldavia), authorities require them to possess a valid passport and visa as if they were foreigners.
One of the most absurd situations arises in the admissions test at Romanian universities for Moldovans “from the republic” who have to go through a one-year introductory program, just like any other foreigner from Russia, Germany or China, to learn the Romanian language.