Romance languages

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

Romance languages across the world
  Majority native language
  Co-official and majority native language
  Official but minority native language
  Cultural or secondary language

The Romance languages, also known as the Latin[1] or Neo-Latin[2] languages, are the languages that are directly descended from Vulgar Latin.[3] They are the only extant subgroup of the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family.

The five most widely spoken Romance languages by number of native speakers are Spanish (489 million), Portuguese (240 million),[4] French (80 million), Italian (67 million) and Romanian (24 million), which are all national languages of their respective countries of origin. There are also numerous regional Romance languages. Italian, together with Sardinian, is the least divergent Romance language from Latin, whereas French has changed the most.[5]

There are more than 900 million native speakers of Romance languages found worldwide, mainly in the Americas, Europe, and parts of Africa. Portuguese, French and Spanish also have many non-native speakers and are in widespread use as linguae francae.[6]

The various Romance-speaking peoples, usually those of Latin Europe and Latin America, have sometimes been collectively referred to as Romance peoples, Latin peoples, or Romanic peoples.[7][8][9]

  1. ^ "Latin". Dictionary. Archived from the original on 2023-06-10. Retrieved 2023-11-03.
  2. ^ "Neo-Latin". Dictionary. Archived from the original on 2023-04-25. Retrieved 2023-11-03.
  3. ^ Herman, József; Wright, Roger (2000). Vulgar Latin. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. pp. 96–115. ISBN 0-271-02001-6.
  4. ^ "The World Factbook World". The World Factbook. CIA (US). Retrieved 14 November 2023.
  5. ^ "Romance languages". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  6. ^ M. Paul Lewis, "Summary by language size Archived 2013-02-02 at the Wayback Machine", Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth Edition.
  7. ^ Dame, Frederick William (2001). "The Swiss Romance Peoples And Their Identity". History of Switzerland: Historical Switzerland from the Romans to Napoleon. E. Mellen Press. ISBN 978-0-7734-7386-7. Archaeologists and historians classify as Romance peoples those descendants of the provincial Roman populations who still lived in the de facto, dejure, or the regions of Late Roman Empire that no longer belonged to the once powerful world empire ruled by Rome.
  8. ^ MultiCultural Review: Dedicated to a Better Understanding of Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Diversity. GP Subscription Publications. 2001. ISBN 978-0-8239-9700-8. Romanians (a Latin people, cousins of Italians, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Catalans)
  9. ^ Pavlovic, Zoran (2006). "Romanic Peoples". Europe. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4381-0455-3. At a time during which Europe is rapidly becoming economically and politically integrated, it is easy to forget about the tremendous cultural complexity that characterizes this region of the world... The culture region's ethnic structure is mainly composed of three major groups: Germanic, Slavic, and Romanic, each of which branches into numerous smaller groups.

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