What Languages Are Spoken In Moldova?

The Moldovan countryside.
The Moldovan countryside.

The Romanian language is the official language of Moldova. Russian, Gagauze, and Ukrainian are the major minority languages spoken in the country. A number of other European languages are also spoken in Moldova.

Official Language Of Moldova

The official language of Moldova is Romanian. The term “Moldovan” is also used to refer to the official language of the country. The name controversy goes back to the Soviet era and later the emergence of an independent Moldova. During the Soviet rule in Moldova, a State language law was passed in 1989 which declared that Moldovan was the state language of Moldova. However, when the Declaration of Independence of Moldova was signed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Declaration stated Romanian to be the official language of the newly independent Moldova. Again, when the Constitution of Moldova was framed in 1994, Moldovan was mentioned as the official language of the country. In 2013, after more than a decade, the Constitutional Court of Moldova declared that the official language mentioned in the Declaration of Independence would be preferred and become the official language of Moldova. Thus, Romanian once more became the official language of Moldova.

According to linguists, Moldovan and Romanian refer to the same language. The names were used interchangeably in political contexts. Currently, Romanian is taught in schools across the country. 75.8% of the Moldovan population speak Romanian (or Moldovan) as their native language including 94.5% of ethnic Moldovans. Other communities in Moldova also speak the language including ethnic Russians (5.8%), ethnic Bulgarians (8.7%), ethnic Ukrainians (7.7%), and others.

Official Minority Languages Of Moldova

Several minority languages of Moldova with a significant population of speakers are also assigned an official status. These include:


The language is spoken by the Gagauz people of Gagauzia, an autonomous region of Moldova. 104,890 people speak Gagauz as their first language.


Russian acts as the lingua franca of Moldova, serving as a language of communication between people of different ethnic communities. The language enjoys official status in Gagauzia and Transnistria. 11.25% of the Moldovan population speak Russian as their native language. Russian is spoken as the first language by 540,990 people including 93.2% of the ethnic Russians of Moldova.


Ukrainian is the native language of 186,394 Moldovans and is spoken as the first language by 130,114 people. The language has been granted a co-official status with Russian in the Transnistria region.

Foreign Languages Spoken In Moldova

Russian is a popular foreign language spoken in Moldova due to the former influence of the Soviet Union on Moldovan economy and culture. The language is, however, mostly spoken by the older and middle generations of the country. A large number of Russian television channels are telecasted in the country and outnumber the number of Romanian television channels. Many of these Moldovans are bilingual in the Romanian and Russian languages. English is taught as a foreign language in many schools across the country. It is thus growing in popularity among the Moldovan youth. However, a sound knowledge in advanced English is lacking among the majority in Moldova. Other foreign languages spoken in Moldova include French, Spanish, Italian, and other European languages. These languages are mostly spoken by Moldovan migrants or expats in Moldova.


More in Society