Romance languages

Originated in Old Latium, Southern, Western and Eastern Europe; now also spoken in a vast majority of the American countries, in parts of Africa and in parts of Southeast Asia and Oceania
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Early form
ISO 639-2 / 5roa
Linguasphere51- (phylozone)
Romance languages.png
European Romance languages

  Majority native language
  Co-official and majority native language
  Official but minority native language
  Cultural or secondary language

The Romance languages, sometimes referred to as Latin languages or Neo-Latin languages, are the various modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin.[1] They are the only extant subgroup of the Italic languages in the Indo-European language family.

The five most widely spoken Romance languages by number of native speakers are Spanish (489 million), Portuguese (283 million), French (77 million), Italian (67 million) and Romanian (24 million), which are all national languages of their respective countries of origin. By most measures, Sardinian and Italian are the least divergent from Latin, while French has changed the most.[2] However, all Romance languages are closer to each other than to classical Latin.[3][4]

There are more than 900 million native speakers of Romance languages found worldwide, mainly in the Americas, Europe, and parts of Africa. The major Romance languages also have many non-native speakers and are in widespread use as linguae francae.[5]

Because it is difficult to assign rigid categories to phenomena such as languages which exist on a continuum, estimates of the number of modern Romance languages vary. For example, Dalby lists 23, based on the criterion of mutual intelligibility. The following includes those and additional current, living languages, and one extinct language, Dalmatian:[6]

  1. ^ Herman, József; Wright, Roger (2000). Vulgar Latin. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. pp. 96–115. ISBN 0-271-02001-6.
  2. ^ «if the Romance languages are compared with Latin, it is seen that by most measures Sardinian and Italian are least differentiated and French most (though in vocabulary Romanian has changed most).» Marius Sala; et al. "Romance languages".
  3. ^ Kabatek, Johannes; Pusch, Claus D. "The Romance languages". The Languages and Linguistics of Europe: A Comprehensive Guide. If we look at the Romance languages from a morphological, syntactic or content-oriented synchronic perspective, there are several features common to all of them that justify the assumption of a more or less coherent Romance type different from Latin.
  4. ^ Metzeltin, Miguel. "Tipología convergente de las lenguas románicas". Las Lenguas románicas estándar: historia de su formación y de su uso (in Spanish). p. 45. Pese a la gran variación que ofrecen los idiomas románicos, su evolución y sus estructuras presentan tantos rasgos comunes que se puede hablar de un tipo lingüístico románico.
  5. ^ M. Paul Lewis, "Summary by language size", Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth Edition.
  6. ^ David Dalby (1999). The Linguasphere register of the world's languages and speech communities (PDF). Vol. 2. Oxford, England: Observatoire Linguistique, Linguasphere Press. pp. 390–410 (zone 51). Retrieved July 30, 2020.

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