The situation of Arman/Aromanian language (ISO 639-3: rup) and traditions resembles that of many other lesser known languages in Europe (e.g.: Reto-romans), some of which are in danger of eventual extinction. However, despite the high interest in the Balkans – reflected by diverse reasearchers, not much is known about its people, their expectations and feelings, and their points of view about the changes taking place around them. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in its Recommendation 1333 (1997) on the Aromanian Culture and Language, has expressed its concern about the critical situation of the Aromanian culture and language. This statement – made few years ago – is still fully valid today.
There are around 1.5 million speakers of Aromanian across the Balkans. Due to the lack of data and to different census methods, estimating the Aromanian population is nearly impossible. Aromainan is spoken in Romania, Greece, Albania, Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia.
Most Aromanians live in northern Greece, further important settlement areas can be found in southern Albania, the Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the Rhodope Mountains and the Dobrudja. Aromanians define themselves – depending on which dialect group they belong to – as Armâńi or Rrămăńi.
Because of their traditional mobile cattle-breeding and because of persecutions from their urbanized settlements, the distribution of Aromanians is very dispersing. Therefore, they could never represent neither geographically nor concerning their self-understanding a coherent group.
[Description delivered by the Aromanian community for the Language Fair]