The state language of Moldova is Romanian, and locally referred to as 'Moldovan'. It is the native language of 80% of the population and is also spoken as a primary language by other ethnic minorities. The Romanian language descends from the Vulgar Latin dialects spoken in the Roman provinces north of the 'Jireček Line'.

This is a proposed notional line separating the predominantly Latin-speaking territories from the Greek-speaking lands in Southeastern Europe in Late Antiquity. Moldova is in the northeastern corner of the Balkan region of Europe. Its capital city is Chișinău, located in the south-central part of the country.

Moldova is bounded by Ukraine to the north, east, and south and by Romania to the west. The bulk of the republic lies between the Prut and Dniester rivers. The name Moldova is derived from the Moldova River; the valley of this river served as a political center at the time of the foundation of the Principality of Moldavia in 1359. According to legend, Prince Dragoș named the river after hunting; the prince's exhausted hound 'Molda' drowned in the river. The dog's name, given to the river, extended to the Principality.

For a short time in the 1990s, at the founding of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the name of the current Republic of Moldova was also spelled Moldava. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the country began to use the Romanian name, Moldova. Officially, the name Republic of Moldova is designated by the United Nations.

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