Know : Romance Languages : List, Origin, Current Status

The Romance languages (more accurately the Romanic languages), are a group of languages known also as Latin languages, or Neo-Latin languages, and are descended from Vulgar Latin. They form a branch of the Italic languages within the Indo-European language family. The five most widely spoken Romance languages by number of native speakers are Spanish (410 million), Portuguese (220 million), French (75 million), Italian (60 million), and Romanian (25 million). The larger have many non-native speakers; this is especially the case for French, which is in widespread use throughout Central and West Africa and the Maghreb region.

The Romance languages developed from Latin in the sixth to ninth centuries. Today, there are more than 800 million native speakers worldwide, mainly in Europe and the Americas and many smaller regions scattered throughout the world, as well as large numbers of non-native speakers, and widespread use as lingua franca. Because of the difficulty of imposing boundaries on a continuum, there are various counts of the Romance languages; Dalby lists 23 based on mutual intelligibility:

GalicianPortugueseSpanishAsturian-LeoneseAragoneseCatalanGasconProvençalGallo-WallonFrenchFranco-Provençal,  Romansh,  Ladin,  Friulian,  Venetian,  Lombard,  Corsican, ItalianNeapolitanSicilianSardinianDalmatianIstro-RomanianAromanian, and Daco-Romanian.

In several of these cases, more than one variety has been standardized, and is therefore considered a distinct language in the popular conception; this is true for example with Asturian and Leonese as well as Napolitan and Sicilian.


romance language origin

Romance languages are the continuation of Vulgar Latin, the popular and colloquial sociolect of Latin spoken by soldiers, settlers and merchants of the Roman Empire, as distinguished from the Classical form of the language spoken by the Roman upper classes, the form in which the language was generally written. Between 350 BC and AD 150, the expansion of the Empire, together with its administrative and educational policies, made Latin the dominant native language in continental Western Europe. Latin also exerted a strong influence in southeastern Britainthe Roman province of Africa, and the Balkans north of the Jireček Line.

During the Empire’s decline, and after its fragmentation and collapse in the fifth century, varieties of Latin began to diverge within each local area at an accelerated rate and eventually evolved into a continuum of recognizably different typologies. The overseas empires established by PortugalSpain, and France from the fifteenth century onward spread their languages to the other continents to such an extent that about two-thirds of all Romance language speakers today live outside Europe.

Despite other influences (e.g. substratum from pre-Roman languages, especially Continental Celtic languages; and superstratum from later Germanic or Slavic invasions), the phonologymorphology, and lexicon of all Romance languages are overwhelmingly evolved forms of Vulgar Latin. However, there are some notable differences between today’s Romance languages and their Roman ancestor. With only one or two exceptions, Romance languages have lost the declension system of Latin and, as a result, have SVO sentence structure and make extensive use of prepositions.

Romance Languages in Europe

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Romance Languages – World

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Lexical and grammatical similarities among the Romance languages, and between Latin and each of them, are apparent from the following examples having the same meaning:

English: She always closes the window before she dines.

Latin (Ea) semper antequam cenat fenestram claudit.
Aragonese (Ella) zarra siempre a finestra antes de cenar.
Aromanian (Ea/Nâsa) încljidi/nkidi totna firida ninti di tsinâ.
Asturian (Ella) pieslla siempres la ventana enantes de cenar.
Bergamasque (Lé) la sèra sèmper sö la finèstra prima de senà.
Bolognese (Lî) la sèra sänper la fnèstra prémma ed dsnèr.
Catalan (Ella) sempre tanca la finestra abans de sopar.
Corsican (Ella/Edda) chjode sempre u purtellu nanzu di cenà.
Emilian (Lē) la sèra sèmpar sù la fnèstra prima ad snàr.
Extremaduran (Ella) afecha siempri la ventana antis de cenal.
Franco-Provençal (Le) sarre toltin/tojor la fenétra avan de goutâ/dinar/sopar.
French Elle ferme toujours la fenêtre avant de dîner/souper.
Friulan (Jê) e siere simpri il barcon prin di cenâ.
Galician (Ela) pecha/fecha sempre a fiestra/xanela antes de cear.
Italian (Ella/Lei) chiude sempre la finestra prima di cenare.
Judaeo-Spanish Eya serra syempre la ventana antes de senar.
Ladin (Ëra) stlüj dagnora la finestra impröma de cenè. (badiot) (Ëila) stluj for l viere dan maië da cëina (gherdëina)
Leonese (Eilla) pecha siempre la ventana primeiru de cenare.
Ligurian (Le) a saera sempre u barcun primma de cenà.
Lombard(west.) (Lee) la sara sù semper la finestra primma de disnà/scenà.
Magoua (Elle) à fàrm toujour là fnèt àvan k’à manj.
Mauritian Creole Li touzur pou ferm lafnet avan (li) manze.
Milanese (Le) la sara semper sü la finestra prima de disnà.
Mirandese (Eilha) cerra siempre la bentana/jinela atrás de jantar.
Mozarabic Ella cloudet sempre la fainestra abante da cenare. (reconstructed)
Neapolitan Essa nzerra sempe ‘a fenesta primma ‘e magnà.
Norman Lli barre tréjous la crouésie devaunt de daîner.
Occitan (Ela) barra sempre/totjorn la fenèstra abans de sopar.
Picard Ale frunme tojours l’ creusèe édvint éd souper.
Piedmontese Chila a sara sèmper la fnestra dnans ëd fé sin-a/dnans ëd siné.
Portuguese Ela fecha sempre a janela antes de jantar/cear.
Romanian Ea închide totdeauna fereastra înainte de cinare.
Romansh Ella clauda/serra adina la fanestra avant ch’ella tschainia.
Sardinian Issa sèrrat sémper/sémpri sa bentàna innantis de chenàre/cenài.
Sassarese Edda sarra sempri lu balchoni primma di zinà.
Sicilian Idda chiui sempri la finestra prima di pistiari/manciari.
Spanish (Ella) siempre cierra la ventana antes de cenar.
Umbrian Essa chjude sempre la finestra prima de cena’.
Venetian Eła ła sara/sera sempre ła fenestra vanti de xenàr/disnar.
Walloon Ele sere todi li finiesse divant di soper.

Courtesy and Source : Wikipedia and Google

Know : When did Languages Start? A time line…

15,000 B.C. – Lesaux, France Cave Drawings. Historians date them to be from around 15,000 B.C.

6,000 B.C. – Proto-Indo-European language develops. Sixty Romance, Slavic, Celtic, Indo-Iranian, Germanic and Hellenic languages are all thought to have evolved from this one language. They are the first languages for about a third of all people.

5,000 B.C. –The first writing appears in Sumer. It evolves into the wedge-shaped writing style called cuneiform. Cuneiform was originally used to record things like trade.

3,400 B.C. – The Egyptians are using hieroglyphics and hieratic writing. Hieratic writing is a quick, cursive style of hieroglyphics.

3,000 B.C. – The Proto-Indo-European language is spreading out to Europe and Asia where other groups of languages will eventually evolve.

2,000 B.C. – The Greek language appears around this time. In Egypt, an early alphabetic writing was invented by Semitic laborers.

1,600 B.C. – The Phoenicians develop a phonetic alphabet.

1,200 B.C. – Chinese writing develops and is very complex. Writing is found on oracle bones. These are found in 1899 and explain much about Chinese culture.

800 B.C. – Egyptians use demotic writing. It’s a developed version of hieratic writing, much more like handwriting. Looking at it, you can hardly tell that it had evolved all the way from hieroglyphics.

500 B.C. – Classical Chinese are written on bamboo strips, cloth, and wooden tables.

400 B.C. – The first real grammar is used in India in a document on the structure of the Sanskrit language.

400 B.C. – The Qin script makes the main writing of China by the first emperor of the Qin dynasty. Previously, many different dialects of Chinese were used.

200 B.C. – The Tolkappiyam is written to explain the grammar of the Tamil language. It introduces ideas of separating words into verbs and nouns and talks about the alphabet having vowels and consonants.

200 B.C. – The Roman Empire conquers all of Italy, almost all of Europe, and some of Africa and Asia. This directly results in the development of the Romance languages – Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian.

179 B.C. – The Rosetta stone is written and has three languages written on it – Greek, Demotic, and Hieroglyphics. It has the same paragraph written in all three languages and was later used to decode Egyptian hieroglyphics.

1370 A.D. – The Bible is translated into English. This made it possible for the common people being able to read it.

1456 A.D. – The first printing press is invented in Germany by Johann Gutenberg. This makes the books much more available increasing literacy.

1755 A.D. – The Dictionary of the English Language Is written by Samuel Johnson. It gives the standardized spelling of the English Language.

1799 A.D. – The Rosetta stone is found in Egypt by the French. By using the Greek on it, they are able to translate the hieroglyphics and demotic writing on it.

1880 A.D. – Dr. Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof develops Esperanto, a universal language that he hopes will create harmony between people from different countries.

1916 A. D. – Ferdinand de Saussure, a French linguist, writes A Course in General Linguistics. He theorizes that language is a socially organized structure of meanings and rules.

1936 A.D. – The British philosopher A. J. Ayer writes Language, Truth, and Logic. He states that language is shared knowledge and confirmed through experience.

2000 A.D. – Languages from around the world start disappearing at an alarming rate. Some experts estimate as rapidly as one every 2 weeks.

Importance of Mother Tongue in learning English

esl1How does the mother tongue help the learning of English? 

Researches have shown that many skills acquired in the first language can be transferred to the second language. So, for example, if your child has developed good reading skills in Korean, she is likely to be able to apply these skills when reading English. (One useful reading skill is the ability to guess the meaning of unfamiliar words from context. Another one is the ability to decide which new words in a text are important to look up in the dictionary and which words can safely be ignored.) For this reason it helps if you can encourage your child to read good fiction and nonfiction in her own language. Similarly, the skills of being able to plan out a piece of writing or develop an argument in a persuasive essay can be applied in the second language once they have been learned in the first.

What are the other reasons for maintaining and developing mother tongue proficiency?

Firstly, many children in international schools plan to return to their home country at some point to continue their education there. This is a strong reason to make sure they do not have gaps in the mother tongue language or cognitive development. And secondly, ESL students who turn against or otherwise neglect their mother tongue can often suffer from problems of identity loss or alienation from their parents, and from their grandparents or other family members in their home country.

How can ESL students best develop their mother tongue proficiency?

For some students, developing mother tongue proficiency is easier because they have lessons each week in their native language. For students who are not in this fortunate position, there is still much that can be done to maintain the mother tongue. For example, parents can make sure that they have good reference books or textbooks at home – in the native language. Students should be encouraged to read good literature and to discuss school work. Some of the long summer vacation could be devoted to mother-tongue learning and reading.

Courtesy & Source :


With one wheel (one language), you can go from place to place.

With one wheel (one language), you can go from place to place.


With one big and one small wheel (one good and one not so good language) you can go farther and faster.

With two equal-sized wheels (two strong languages) you can comfortably go anywhere you want!

With two equal-sized wheels (two strong languages) you can comfortably go anywhere you want!