From the literature I've read ( Al.Rosetti History of Romanian for example ) it looks like we can talk about Vulgar Latin until the 4th or 5th century in the Balkans, and further than that many innovations are specific for an Eastern Romance branch ( Dalmatian as well as Southern Italian languages ). However this changes one the Slavs cross the Danube and occupy the Balkan peninsula in the 7th century, dividing the western and eastern romance speaking Balkan populations. My guess is that this is the point where the ancestor language of Romanian and Aromanian is born. There are however some innovations that take place in Romanian, Dalmatian and some southern italian languages, but not in Aromanian, like "cl" in "clamare" or "clavis" becomes "chema" ( Rou.) and "chiave" ( It. ). Does this mean that this innovation was universal for Eastern Romance but somehow it still isnt present eveywhere in Proto-Romanian? So how is it possible that so many languages developed from Latin in the balkans in such a small timespan: Vulgar Latin > Eastern Romance > Balkans Romance > Proto-Romanian > Romanian and Aromanian ? About which centuries are we supposedly speaking?

1 Answer 1


In the question the evolution of the Balkan romance languages is treated in the terms of a tree model with intermediate proto-languages at different stages. Some of the perceived difficulties can be resolved by assuming a wave model of language change. Now the archaic features of Aromanian (like the preservation of Latin ⟨cl⟩) are quite natural: It lies at the periphery of the Romance dialect continuum and was not reached by certain innovations that affected the other parts.

  • I made a mistake in OP. Actually Dalmatian also doesnt know the change of k before l to c ( ipa ). This makes me believe either that either proto-romanian wasnt ever a homogeneous language, either that this sound change, among others, happened naturally in old Romanian and Southern Italian languages without mutual influence. If i understand well your answer you mean that we know about these "proto-langauges", which represent different stages of eastern romance, by the simple fact that we notice the needed changes in the descendant languages and their reconstruction in the first place.
    – SarruKen
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 14:40
  • Now I have read more about the "wave model" and I think I understand better your answer. Thanks!
    – SarruKen
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 14:49

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