As an official language, Romanian is spoken in Romania, Moldova and the eastern part of Serbia’s province Vojvodina. It’s also an official EU language.
Romanian speakers are scattered across many other countries, notably Australia, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Bulgaria, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Russia, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, France, and Germany.
As a native language, Romanian is spoken by around 25 million people. Around 4 million people from over 40 countries of the world are learning Romanian as a foreign language.
How difficult it is to learn Romanian largely depends on your native language. It can be relatively easy to learn for speakers of Indo-European languages, especially Romance languages. It is often listed among the top easiest languages for speakers of English to learn.
However, there may be a number of difficulties: a complex phoneme system (7 vowels, 20 diphthongs, and 22 consonants), 5 noun cases, irregular verbs, 4 verb conjugation groups among other things.
The Romanian language belongs to Indo-European languages, the Eastern Romance sub-branch of Romance languages, a linguistic group that evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin.
Romanian descended from the Vulgar Latin spoken in the Roman provinces of South-eastern Europe. Scholars believe that its early form, Proto-Romanian, appeared around the 9th century AD.
Romance languages are called so because they originate from Latin, the language spoken by the Western Roman Empire. Romanian descended from the Vulgar Latin spoken in the Roman provinces of South-eastern Europe, which makes it a Romance language.
It shares some similarities with other Romance languages, such as Spanish, French and Italian, and Romanian speakers can to some extent understand these languages.
Languages belonging to one group, such as, for instance, Slavic, Germanic or Romance languages, tend to share many similarities as they have common roots and often a lot of shared history as well. This results in similar grammar and shared vocabulary.
The Romanian language shares some similarities with other Romance languages, such as Spanish, French, Italian and others, and Romanian speakers can to some extent understand these languages.
The understanding is subjective, though, and can vary from speaker to speaker. However, Italian seems to be one of the easiest languages for Romanian speakers, with many being able to understand over 50% of what is said in an everyday situation.