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What Language Do They Speak in Moldova?

What Language Do They Speak in Moldova

If you’ve ever been curious about the linguistic landscape of Eastern Europe, you might’ve wondered, “What language do they speak in Moldova?” Moldova, a beautiful country with rich history and traditions, has a unique linguistic story to tell. Let’s dive deep into this topic.

Key Takeaways

Official LanguageRomanian (also known as Moldovan)
Secondary LanguagesRussian, Gagauz, Bulgarian, Ukrainian
Percentage of Population Speaking RomanianApprox. 80%
History of the LanguageA reflection of Moldova’s diverse historical influences.
Language and PoliticsLanguage has been a significant factor in the country’s political and cultural identity.

The Official Language of Moldova

Romanian, often referred to locally as Moldovan, is the official language of Moldova. It is spoken by approximately 80% of the population. The distinction between Romanian and Moldovan is mostly political and stems from historical reasons. For all practical purposes, the two are linguistically identical, with minor regional variations.

Romanian/Moldovan in Numbers

Number of native speakers in MoldovaApprox. 2.6 million
Percentage of global Romanian speakers in MoldovaApprox. 10%
DialectsFew regional variations, but largely consistent

Secondary Languages in Moldova

Apart from Romanian, there are several other languages spoken across Moldova. These languages reflect the diverse history and ethnicities present within the country.

  1. Russian: Due to the Soviet era, Russian is widely spoken, especially among the older generation. It’s also the predominant language in the breakaway region of Transnistria.
  2. Gagauz: In the autonomous region of Gagauzia, Gagauz, a Turkic language, is spoken.
  3. Bulgarian: There are several Bulgarian communities in Moldova where the Bulgarian language is still spoken.
  4. Ukrainian: Due to proximity and shared history, there is a minority of Ukrainians in Moldova who speak Ukrainian.

Language and Politics

Language has been, and remains, a major political issue in Moldova. The name of the country’s official language has been a topic of debate and has been influenced by political ties.

  • Soviet Era: During the Soviet era, the language was referred to as ‘Moldovan’ and was written in the Cyrillic script.
  • Post-Soviet Era: After gaining independence, Moldova switched to the Latin script and emphasized its linguistic ties with Romania. However, in areas like Transnistria, the Cyrillic script is still in use.

Language and Culture

The Moldovan culture is deeply intertwined with its language. Folk music, traditions, and festivals in the country all have a strong linguistic component.

Major Cultural Events

  • Martisor: Celebrated on March 1st, it marks the coming of spring. Traditional songs sung in Romanian are an integral part of this celebration.
  • National Wine Day: Held in October, this festival showcases Moldova’s rich wine tradition. While wine tasting is central, language plays a role in the songs and stories shared.

Learning the Language

For those interested in learning Romanian/Moldovan, here are some resources:

  • Online Platforms: Websites like Duolingo, Memrise, and Babbel offer Romanian courses.
  • Books: “Discover Romanian” by Rodica Boțoman is a popular choice.
  • Language Schools: In Moldova, institutions like the International Language Training Center offer courses in Romanian for foreigners.


Moldova’s linguistic landscape offers a fascinating look into its history, politics, and culture. While Romanian (or Moldovan) is the dominant language, understanding the role of other languages like Russian and Gagauz provides a richer understanding of the country’s diverse heritage. Whether you’re a linguist, a traveler, or just curious, Moldova’s languages have a compelling story to tell.