What Are The Romance Languages? – Top 5 Languages

What are the Romance languages? No, it’s not what you’re thinking. Romance languages aren’t used for showing love to someone. 

But hold on! This article will beautifully unveil these languages.

We will analyze historical and principal linguistic factors to know what the Romance languages are? 

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Let’s take a look at what these “languages of love” really are. 

What Are the romance languages? A General Overview:

The term Romance comes from “Romanicus,” meaning “of the Roman style.” 

Romance languages are a language family in the Indo-European languages. It is one of the most prominent and most influential language families with historical significance and importance worldwide.

Over a significant span and across a remarkable terrestrial area, Romance language comes from medieval Latin. It was spoken in the regions of Europe which were under the rule of the Roman Empire. When the Western Roman Empire collapsed, Latin changed in various ways in different areas.

Latin is now consider a dead language. As Romance language replaced it and called as New Latin Languages.

By time, the Romance lects had split apart enough to be able to speak of separate. The list is below:

– Gallo-Romance (Catalan & Occitan),

– Ibero-Romance (Glacian, Leonese, Portuguese & Spanish) 

– Italo-Romance (Italian) 

– Eastern Romance ( Romanian & Moldovan)

Are The Romance Languages Really Romantic? 

Sad to say, Romance languages have nothing to do with romancing someone (I mean, learning a romance language is more comfortable!).

Are The Romance Languages Really Romantic
Are The Romance Languages Really Romantic

Romance languages are developed from Latin, the language of the Roman Empire. And Rome is the capital of Italy. So, both the Roman republic and Latin language dominate Italy.

Now watch this; Italy-Italic, & Rome-Romance. Do you see a connection? Of all, Italian is the closest to Latin. Italian is considered the modern language of what was once the center of the Roman Empire. Other Romance languages are no longer intelligible with Latin.

Did you know Latin is the official language of the Church and, therefore, still spoken in the Vatican?

Vulgar Latin:

They call it “Vulgar Latin” because not obviously what you’re thinking. However, “Vulgar” is the word for “common.” And so the “Vulgar Latin” means “common Latin.” 

When Latin spreads across the Roman Empire, there were two forms of Latin throughout the Empire. 

One was the formal Classical Latin, used by the philosopher, poets, and officials. Classical Latin, however, slowly changed with the decline of the Roman Empire because a tiny group spoke it.

And there was the common Vulgar Latin, used by the common-day people of the Roman Empire. Following the downfall of the Roman Empire, people gradually adopted the language. And Vulgar Latin evolved into the Romance languages.

How many romance languages are there?

It’s hard to count the number of Romance languages in existence because they form a dialect continuum. That means any two neighboring villages along the continuum can understand each other. But, the further away the two towns are, the more different their dialects are.

Many of the old dialects are divided into a smaller number of national languages and regional languages.

As European countries colonized the new world, they spread their languages all over the world. It presides the linguistic scene in the Americas, besides Western Europe and Africa.       

The essential Romance languages are French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. There are 800 million native speakers of the Romance language. 

Here are some most spoken modern languages with ancient roots.

1. Spanish (Castilian)

Spanish, also called Castilian (Castile), is the most spoken Ibero-Romance language. It is the official language of Spain and 19 Latin American nations. Some native speakers also refer to it as español (Spanish). 

Nearly 8% of the world population is Spanish-speakers. So it has different dialects, majorly categorized into Spain Spanish and Latin American Spanish. 

One Of The Famous Romance Language Is Spanish
One Of The Famous Romance Language Is Spanish

Out of all Romance language, Spanish is relatively easy to learn. Many Spanish words come from Greek and Arabic. Moreover, this Romance language is the third most popular on the internet.

2. Portuguese

Portuguese and Spanish are the most alike languages as they both developed on the Iberian Peninsula. Both relate to the Ibero-Romance group. Portuguese and Spanish share 90% lexical similarity. And both have several different dialects.

 Portuguese alphabet consists of 23 letters. And it has nine vowel words.

Portuguese is the mother tongue of over 270 million people. It is the second most widely spoken Romance language.

3. French

French is the Occitan-Romance group. It probably is the most internationally significant Romance language worldwide. French is the second most commonly taught language after English.

French stands somewhat apart compared to other Romance languages as it has significant changes in the sounds of words. Only French has a nasal vowel. It mostly starts the word with “s” and “k” at the end. 

Globally, 77 million people speak French today.

4. Italian

Italian is part of the Italo-Romance group includes all the Italian dialects. It is mostly derived from Latin. Southern Italian, today is the most similar to Eastern Romance Language. In the North, they’re closer to Western Romance Language.

Italian Is An Italo Romance Group
Italian Is An Italo Romance Group

Interestingly, this Romance language is popularly known as the language of Romance. Italian is the language of over 65 million people worldwide.

5. Romanian

Latin get through in Romania, whose language, Romanian, is a Romance language. It is also spoken in Moldova, so the native refers to it as Moldovan language. It is part of the Balkan-Romance group. Some regard it as the forgotten Romance language. Romanian was perhaps the first of the Romance languages to split from Latin.

The Romanian language has a close south Italian dialect, as well as a Slavic influence. So most Romanian words are the same spelled as they pronounced. Romanian is the first language of more than 22 million people.

Is the Romance language mutually intelligible? 

Generally, it seems that the answer is yes, but a conditional yes. Romance languages have some common characteristics as they all are sharing the same roots. 

Sometimes, Romance speakers can understand other Romance languages to a certain extent. And in other cases, communication is relatively straight-forward. There are similarities in structure and vocabulary. But the apparent differences are in the word pronunciations and grammar.

The highest degree of mutual intelligibility is between Spanish and Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, or Italian and Romanian.

Will learning one Romance language help you know another one?

The answer is Yes! It’s not very hard to jump from one Romance language to the other. Learning a language is one of the most rewarding challenges we humans can undertake.

We just discovered the rich history of Romance languages. We can see that today, Romance languages enjoy a notable presence worldwide. And we can also assume it’s exciting future.

Many schools and universities continue to teach it. So do we.

You can contact The Language Doctors team today to get more information regarding the Translation and Interpretation Services. Our young, passionate, and dynamic team invite you to start this fantastic journey of learning with us. 

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