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Originally Southern Europe and parts of Africa; now also Latin America, Canada, parts of Lebanon and much of Western Africa
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Distribution of major language groups. Romance languages are in dark blue).

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The Romance languages (sometimes referred to as Romanic languages, Latin languages, Neolatin languages or Neo-Latin languages) are a branch of the Indo-European language family, precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Latin, the language of ancient Rome. There are more than 800 million native speakers worldwide, mainly in the Americas and Europe, as well as many smaller regions scattered throughout the world. Because of the extreme difficulty and varying methodology of distinguishing among language, variety, and dialect, it is impossible to count the number of Romance languages now in existence, but a restrictive, arbitrary account can place the total at approximately 25. In fact, the number is much larger, and many more existed previously. The six most widely spoken standardized Romance languages are Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and Catalan. Among numerous other Romance languages are Corsican, Leonese, Occitan, Aromanian, Sardinian, Sicilian, Venetian, Galician, and Friulian.



Romance languages are the continuation of Vulgar Latin, the popular 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 Britain, the 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 5th 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 Portugal, Spain and France from the 15th century onward spread their languages to the other continents, to such an extent that about 70% of all Romance speakers today live outside Europe.

Despite influences from pre-Roman languages and from later invasions, the phonology, morphology, lexicon, and syntax of all Romance languages are predominantly evolutions of Vulgar Latin. In particular, with only one or two exceptions, Romance languages have lost the declension system of present Latin and, as a result, have SVO sentence structure and make extensive use of prepositions.


The term "Romance" comes from the Vulgar Latin adverb romanice, derived from Romanicus: for instance, in the expression romanice loqui, "to speak in Roman" (that is, the Latin vernacular), contrasted with latine loqui, "to speak in Latin" (Medieval Latin, the conservative version of the language used in writing and formal contexts or as a lingua franca), and with barbarice loqui, "to speak in Barbarian" (the non-Latin languages of the peoples that conquered the Roman Empire).[1] From this adverb the noun romance originated, which applied initially to anything written romanice, or "in the Roman vernacular".

The word romance with the modern sense of romance novel or love affair has the same origin. In the medieval literature of Western Europe, serious writing was usually in Latin, while popular tales, often focusing on love, were composed in the vernacular and came to be called "romances".


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:

Latin (Illa) claudit semper fenestram antequam cenat.
Aragonese Ella tranca/zarra siempre la finestra antes de zenar.
Asturian Ella pieslla siempre la ventana/feniestra primeru de cenar.
Bolognese (Lî) la sèra sänper la fnèstra prémma ed dsnèr.
Corsican Ella chjudi sempre u purtellu primma di cenà.
Bergamasque (Lé) la sèra sèmper sö la finèstra prima de senà.
Catalan (Ella) sempre tanca la finestra abans de sopar.
Franco-Provençal (Le) sarre toltin/tojor la fenétra avan de goutâ/dinar/sopar.
French Elle ferme toujours la fenêtre avant de dîner/souper.
Friulian Jê e siere simpri il barcon prin di cenâ.
Galician (Ela) fecha sempre a fiestra/xanela antes de cear.
Italian (Lei/Ella) chiude sempre la finestra prima di cenare.
Leonese Eilla pecha siempre la ventana primeiru de cenare.
Milanese (Le) la sara semper sü la finestra prima de disnà.
Mirandese Eilha cerra siempre la bentana/jinela atrás de jantar.
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 cină.
Romansh Ella clauda/serra adina la fanestra avant ch'ella tschainia.
Sardinian Issa serrat semper sa bentana antes de chenare.
Sicilian Idda chiudi sempri la finestra avanti ca pistia/cina.
Spanish (Ella) siempre cierra la ventana antes de cenar.
Umbrian Essa chjude sempre la finestra prima de cena'.
Venetian Ła sara sèmpre ła finestra prima de senàr.
Walloon Ele sere todi li finiesse divant di soper.

English Translation: She always closes the window before dining (or having dinner).

Note that some of the lexical divergence above comes from different Romance languages using the same root word with different meanings (semantic change). Portuguese, for example, has the word fresta, which is a cognate of French fenêtre, Italian finestra, Romanian fereastra and so on, but now means "slit" as opposed to "window." (The Portuguese terms defenestrar, meaning "to throw through a window" and fenestrada, "replete with windows" also have the same root, but are later derivations from Latin.) Likewise, Portuguese also has the word cear, a cognate of Italian cenare and Spanish cenar, but uses it in the sense of "to have a late supper" in most varieties, while the preferred word for "to dine" is actually jantar (related to archaic Spanish yantar) because of semantic changes in the 19th century. Galician has both fiestra (from medieval fẽestra which is the ultimate origin of standard Portuguese fresta), and the less frequently used ventá and xanela.

As an alternative to lei (originally the accusative form), Italian has the pronoun ella, a cognate of the other words for "she", but it is hardly ever used in speaking.

Spanish/Asturian/Leonese/Cantabrian ventana and Mirandese and Sardinian bentana come from Latin ventum, Spanish viento, "wind" (c.f. English window, etymologically 'wind eye'), and Portuguese janela, Galician xanela, Mirandese jinela from Latin ianua + ella, "small opening", same root as "January" and "janitor".

Sardinian balcone (alternative for bentana) comes from Old Italian and is similar to other Romance languages such as French balcon, Portuguese balcão, Romanian balcon, Spanish balcón and Corsican balconi (alternative for purtellu).



Vulgar Latin

There is a lack of documentary evidence about Vulgar Latin for the purposes of comprehensive research, and the literature is often hard to interpret or generalise upon. Many of its speakers were soldiers, slaves, displaced peoples and forced resettlers, more likely to be natives of conquered lands than natives of Rome. It is believed that Vulgar Latin already had most of the features that are shared by all Romance languages, which distinguish them from Classical Latin, such as the almost complete loss of the Latin case system and its replacement by prepositions; the loss of the neuter gender, comparative inflections; replacement of some verb paradigms by innovations (e.g. the synthetic future gave way to an originally analytic strategy now typically formed by infinitive + evolved present indicative forms of 'have'); the use of articles; and the initial stages of the palatalization of the plosives /k/, /g/, and /t/. Some modern languages, such as Finnish, have similar, quite sharp, differences between their printed and spoken form. To some scholars, this suggests that the form of Vulgar Latin that evolved into the Romance languages was around during the time of the Empire, and was spoken alongside the written Classical Latin which was reserved for official and formal occasions. Others scholars argue that the distinctions are more rightly viewed as indicative of sociolinguistic and register differences normally found within any language.

Fall of the Roman Empire

During the political decline of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, there were large-scale migrations into the empire, and the Latin-speaking world was fragmented into several independent states. Central Europe and the Balkans were occupied by the Germanic and Slavic tribes, as well as by the Huns, which isolated the Vlachs from the rest of Latin Europe. British Romance and African Romance, the forms of Vulgar Latin used in southeastern Britain and the Roman province of Africa, where it had been spoken by much of the urban population, disappeared in the Middle Ages. But the Germanic tribes that had penetrated Italy, Gaul, and Hispania eventually adopted Latin and the remnants of Roman culture, and so Latin remained the dominant language there.

Latent incubation

Between the fifth and tenth centuries, the dialects of spoken Vulgar Latin diverged in various parts of their domain, eventually becoming distinct languages. This evolution is poorly documented because the literary language, Medieval Latin, remained close to the older Classical Latin.

Recognition of the vernaculars

Between the 10th and 13th centuries, some local vernaculars developed a written form and began to supplant Latin in many of its roles. In some countries, such as Portugal, this transition was expedited by force of law; whereas in others, such as Italy, many prominent poets and writers used the vernacular of their own accord — some of the most famous in Italy being Giacomo da Lentini and Dante Alighieri.

Uniformization and standardization

The invention of the printing press apparently slowed down the evolution of Romance languages from the 16th century on[citation needed], and brought a tendency towards greater uniformity of standard languages within political boundaries, at the expense of other Romance languages and dialects less favored politically. In France, for instance, the dialect spoken in the region of Paris gradually spread to the entire country, and the Occitan of the south lost ground.

Current status

Romance languages, 20th century
Eastern and Western Romania split by the La Spezia-Rimini Line
Proportion of the 690 million native Romance language speakers of each language

The Romance language most widely spoken natively today is Spanish (around 400 million speakers), followed by Portuguese (over 200 million), French (close to 100 million and more than 200 million including second language speakers), Italian (around 75 million), Romanian (around 24 million native and 28 million including second language speakers[2]), and Catalan (around 6.7 million), all of which are official languages in at least one country. A few other languages have official status on a regional or otherwise limited level, for instance Friulian, Sardinian and Valdôtain in Italy; Romansh in Switzerland; and Galician in Spain. French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Romanian are also official languages of the European Union. Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and Catalan are the official languages of the Latin Union; and French and Spanish are two of the six official languages of the United Nations.

Outside Europe, French, Spanish and Portuguese are spoken and enjoy official status in various countries that emerged from their respective colonial empires. French is an official language of Canada, the Caribbean, many countries in Africa, and some in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Spanish is an official language of Mexico, much of South America, Central America and the Caribbean, and of Equatorial Guinea in Africa and is the most spoken Romance language in the world. Portuguese is the official language of Brazil (reaching almost 190 million, is the language spoken by half of South America, though not in the whole of Latin America), five African countries (Angola, Cabo Verde, Guiné-Bissau, Moçambique and São Tomé e Príncipe), and East Timor and Macau in Asia and is the second most spoken Romance language. Although Italy also had some colonial possessions, its language did not remain official after the end of the colonial domination, resulting in Italian being spoken only as a minority or secondary language by immigrant communities in North, South America, Australia, and African countries like Libya, Eritrea and Somalia. Romania did not establish a colonial empire, but the language is spoken as a native language in Moldavia, while it also spread outside Europe through emigration, notably in Western Asia; Romanian has flourished in Israel, where it is a native language to 5% of the population,[3] and by many more as a secondary language; this is due to the large numbers of Romanian-born Jews who moved to Israel after World War II.[4]

The total native speakers of Romance languages are divided as follows (with their ranking within the languages of the world in brackets):[5]

The remaining Romance languages survive mostly as spoken languages for informal contact. National governments have historically viewed linguistic diversity as an economic, administrative or military liability, as well as a potential source of separatist movements; therefore, they have generally fought to eliminate it, by extensively promoting the use of the official language, restricting the use of the "other" languages in the media, characterizing them as mere "dialects", or even persecuting them.

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, however, increased sensitivity to the rights of minorities have allowed some of these languages to start recovering their prestige and lost rights. Yet it is unclear whether these political changes will be enough to reverse the decline of minority Romance languages.

Classification and related languages


The classification of the Romance languages is inherently difficult, since most of the linguistic area can be considered a dialect continuum, and in some cases political biases can come into play. Nevertheless, according to SIL counts, 47 Romance languages and dialects are spoken in Europe. Along with Latin (which is not included among the Romance languages) and a few extinct languages of ancient Italy, they make up the Italic branch of the Indo-European family.

Classical Latin
Vulgar Latin
Continental Romance
Sardinian languages
Italo-Western Romance
Eastern Romance
Western Romance
Balkan Romance
Gallo Romance
Albanian words
Occitano Romance

Note that Dalmatian is now generally grouped under Proto-Italian rather than Eastern Romance.

Proposed subfamilies

The main subfamiles that have been proposed by Ethnologue within the various classification schemes for Romance languages are:

  • Italo-Western, the largest group which includes languages such as Italian, Spanish, and French.
  • Eastern Romance, which includes the Romance languages of Eastern Europe, such as Romanian.
  • Southern Romance, which includes a few languages with particularly archaic features, such as Sardinian and, partially, Corsican.

Pidgins, creoles, and mixed languages

Some Romance languages have developed varieties which seem dramatically restructured as to their grammars or to be mixtures with other languages. It is not always clear whether they should be classified as Romance, pidgins, creole languages, or mixed languages. Some other languages, such as English, are sometimes thought of as creoles of semi-Romance ancestry. There are several dozens of creoles of Portuguese, Swahili, Spanish and French origin, some of them spoken as national languages in former European colonies.

Creoles of French

Creoles of Spanish

Creoles of Portuguese

Auxiliary and constructed languages

Latin and the Romance languages have also served as the inspiration and basis of numerous auxiliary and constructed languages, such as Interlingua, its reformed version Modern Latin,[6] Latino sine flexione, Occidental, and Lingua Franca Nova, as well as languages created for artistic purposes only, such as Talossan. Because Latin is a very well-attested ancient language, some amateur linguists have even constructed Romance languages that mirror real languages that developed from other ancestral languages. These include Brithenig (which mirrors Welsh), Breathanach,[7] (mirrors Irish), Wenedyk (mirrors Polish), Þrjótrunn (mirrors Icelandic),[8] and Helvetian (mirrors German).[9]

Linguistic features

Common Indo-European features

As members of the Indo-European family, Romance languages have a number of features that are shared with some other members of this family that set them apart from languages of other families, including:

Features inherited from Classical Latin

The Romance languages share a number of features that were inherited from Classical Latin, and collectively set them apart from most other Indo-European languages:

  • Word stress remains predominantly on the penultimate syllable in most languages, although there have been significant changes with respect to classical Latin. Stress patterns are usually similar across languages. In its modern form French is the noticeable exception in that stress falls predictably on the last syllable that does not contain a schwa. It should be observed, however, that the final stress of Modern French is not the result of systematic stress shift, but of the phonological erosion of syllables following the Proto-Romance stressed syllable; thus while e.g. Italian transparently maintains Latin stress on the second syllable of an infinitive such as amare /aˈmare/, in fact French does, too: aimer /ɛˈme/, replicating at first Spanish /aˈmar/, but going beyond in losing /r/ as well.
  • There are two grammatical numbers, singular and plural (no dual).
  • In most Romance languages, personal pronouns have different forms according to their grammatical function in a sentence, a remnant of the Latin case system; there is usually a form for the subject (inherited from the Latin nominative) another for the object (from the accusative or the dative), and a third set of personal pronouns used after prepositions or in stressed positions (see prepositional pronoun and disjunctive pronoun, for further information). Third person pronouns often have different forms for the direct object (accusative), the indirect object (dative), and the reflexive.
  • Except for standard French and a few other exceptions, they are all null-subject languages. (Some non-standard varieties of French treat disjunctive pronouns as arguments and clitic pronouns as agreement markers.[10]
  • Verbs have many conjugations, including in most languages:
    • A present tense, a preterite, an imperfect, a pluperfect and a future tense in the indicative mood, for statements of fact.
    • Present and preterite subjunctive tenses, for hypothetical or uncertain conditions. Several languages (for example, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish) have also imperfect and pluperfect subjunctives, although it is not unusual to have just one subjunctive equivalent for preterit and imperfect (e.g. no unique subjunctive equivalent in Italian of the so-called passato remoto).
    • An imperative mood, for direct commands.
    • Three non-finite forms: infinitive, gerund, and past participle.
    • Distinct active and passive voices, as well as an impersonal passive voice.
  • Several tenses and aspects, especially of the indicative mood, have been preserved with little change in most languages, as shown in the following table for the Latin verb dīcere (to say), and its descendants.
Infinitive Indicative Subjunctive Imperative
Present Preterite Imperfect Present Present
Latin dīcere dīcit dīxit dicēbat dīcat/dīcet dīc
Aragonese dizir diz dizié deziba diga diz
Asturian dicir diz dixo dicía diga di
Catalan dir diu digué/va dir deia digui/diga digues
Franco-Provençal dire di djéve dijisse/dzéze dète
French dire il dit il dit il disait (qu')il dise dis
Galician dicir di dixo dicía diga di
Italian dire dice disse diceva dica dica
Leonese dicire diz dixu dicía diga di
Milanese el dis l'ha dit el diseva el diga
Bolognese dîr al dîs l'à détt / al dgé al dgeva al dégga
Neapolitan dicere dice dicette diceva
Occitan dire1 ditz diguèt disiá diga diga
Picard dire tu dis - tu disoais éq tu diches dis
i dit - i disoait qu'i diche -
Piedmontese a dis a dìsser2 a disìa ch'a disa dis
Portuguese dizer diz disse dizia diga diz3
Romanian a zice zice zise zicea zică zi
Romansh dir el di (el ha ditg) el scheva4 ch'el dia di
Sardinian nàrrere nàrat àt naradu naraìat nàrat nàras
Sicilian dìciri dici dissi dicìa dicissi5 dici
Spanish decir dice dijo decía diga di
Venetian dir dixe dixe dixea diga
Walloon dire i dit (il a dit) i dijheut (k') i dixhe di
Basic meaning to say he says he (has) said he was saying [that] he says say! [you]
1With the variant díser.
2Until the 18th century.
3With the disused variant dize.
4From a form like discheva.
5Sicilian uses imperfect subjunctive in place of present subjunctive (dica).
  • The main tense and mood distinctions that were made in classical Latin are generally still present in the modern Romance languages, though many are now expressed through compound rather than simple verbs. The passive voice, which was mostly synthetic in classical Latin, has been completely replaced with compound forms.

Features inherited from Vulgar Latin

Romance languages also have a number of common features that are not shared with Classical Latin. Most of these are thought to have been inherited from Vulgar Latin. Even though the Romance languages are all derived from Latin, they are arguably much closer to each other than to their common ancestor, owing to a core of common developments. The main difference is the loss of the case system of Classical Latin, an essential feature which allowed great freedom of word order, and has no counterpart in any Romance language except Romanian. In this regard, the distance between any modern Romance language and Latin is comparable to that between Modern English and Old English. While speakers of French, Italian or Spanish, for example, can quickly learn to see through the phonological changes reflected in spelling differences, and thus recognize many Latin words, they will often fail to understand the meaning of Latin sentences.

  • Vulgar Latin borrowed many words, often from Germanic languages that replaced words from Classical Latin during the Migration Period, including some basic vocabulary. Notable examples are *blancus (white), which replaced Classical Latin albus in most major languages; *guerra (war), which replaced bellum; and the words for the cardinal directions, where cognates of English "north", "south", "east" and "west" replaced the Classical Latin words borealis (or septentrionalis), australis (or meridionalis), orientalis, and occidentalis, respectively, in the vernacular. (See History of French - The Franks.)
  • There are definite and indefinite articles, derived from Latin demonstratives and the numeral unus (one).
  • Nouns have only two grammatical genders, masculine and feminine. Most Latin neuter nouns became masculine nouns in Romance. However, in Romanian, one class of nouns—including the descendants of many Latin neuter nouns—behave like masculines in the singular and feminines in the plural (e.g. un deget "one finger" vs două degete "two fingers", cf. Latin digitum, pl. digita). The same phenomenon is observed non-productively in Italian (e.g. il dito "the finger" vs le dita "the fingers"). (In French, the three words amour, délice, orgue are similarly masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural.)
  • Apart from gender and number, nouns, adjectives and determiners are not inflected. Cases have generally been lost, though a trace of them survives in the personal pronouns. An exception is Romanian, which retains a combined genitive-dative case, and a vocative case.
  • Adjectives generally follow the noun they modify.
  • Many Latin combining prefixes were incorporated in the lexicon as new roots and verb stems, e.g. Italian estrarre (to extract) from Latin ex- (out of) and trahere (to drag).
  • Many Latin constructions involving nominalized verbal forms (e.g. the use of accusative plus infinitive in indirect discourse and the use of the ablative absolute) were dropped in favor of constructions with subordinate clause. Exceptions can be found in Italian, for example, Latin tempore permittente > Italian tempo permettendo; L. hoc facto > I. fatto ciò.
  • The normal clause structure is SVO, rather than SOV, and is much less flexible than in Latin.
  • Owing to sound changes which made it homophonous with the preterite, the Latin future indicative tense was dropped, and replaced with a periphrasis of the form infinitive + present tense of habēre (to have). Eventually, this structure was reanalysed as a new future tense.
  • In a similar process, an entirely new conditional form was created.
  • While the synthetic passive voice of classical Latin was abandoned in favour of periphrastic constructions, most of the active voice remained in use. However, several tenses have changed meaning, especially subjunctives. For example:
    • The Latin pluperfect indicative became a conditional in Sicilian, and an imperfect subjunctive in Spanish.
    • The Latin pluperfect subjunctive developed into an imperfect subjunctive in all languages except Romansh, where it became a conditional, and Romanian, where it became a pluperfect indicative.
    • The Latin preterite subjunctive, together with the future perfect indicative, became a future subjunctive in Old Spanish, Portuguese, and Galician.
    • The Latin imperfect subjunctive became a personal infinitive in Portuguese and Galician.
  • Many Romance languages have two verbs "to be", derived from the Latin stare (mostly used for temporary states) and esse (mostly used for essential attributes). In French, however, stare and esse had become ester and estre by the late Middle Ages. Owing to phonetic developments, there were the forms êter and être, which eventually merged to être, and the distinction was lost. In Italian, the two verbs share the same past participle, stato. See Romance copula, for further information.

For a more detailed illustration of how the verbs have changed with respect to classical Latin, see Romance verbs.

Sound changes

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Word structures in Romance languages have undergone considerable phonological change from their earlier Latin forms, by various processes that were in some cases shared, but in many more characteristic of each language. Those changes applied more or less systematically to all words, but were often conditioned by the sound context, morphological structure, or regularizing tendencies.

Most languages have lost sounds from the original Latin words. French, in particular, elision progressed more than in any other of the languages (although its conservative etymological spelling does not always make this apparent). In general, all final vowels were dropped, and sometimes also the preceding consonant: thus Latin lupus and luna became Italian lupo and luna but French loup [lu] and lune [lyn]. (See also Use of the circumflex in French.) Catalan, Occitan, many Northern Italian dialects, and Romanian (Daco-Romanian) lost the final vowels in most singular masculine nouns and adjectives, but retained them in the feminine, leaving masculines unmarked for gender, but feminines overtly marked; a pair such as sec 'dry, m. sg.' vs. seca 'dry, f. sg.' is typical (and ultimately responsible for French sec vs. sèche; /lu/ 'wolf', /luv/ 'she-wolf'). Other languages, including Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Galician and Romanian have retained those vowels.

Some languages have lost the final vowel -e from verbal infinitives, e.g. dīcere → Portuguese dizer (to say). Other common cases of apocope are the verbal endings, e.g. Latin amāt → Italian ama (he loves), amābamamavo (I loved), amābatamava (he loved), amābatisamavate (you loved), etc.

Sounds were often lost in the middle of words, too; e.g. Latin Luna → Galician and Portuguese Lua (Moon), crēdere → Spanish creer (to believe).

On the other hand, some languages have added epenthetic vowels to words in certain contexts. Characteristic of the Iberian Romance languages (Spanish and Portuguese, etc..) is the insertion of a prosthetic e at the start of Latin words that began with s + consonant, such as sperōespero (I hope). French originally did the same, but later lost the s: spatula → arch. espauleépaule (shoulder). In the case of Italian, vowel-final articles, lo for the definite and uno for the indefinite, are used immediately preceding masculine words that begin with s + consonant words (sbaglio, "mistake" → lo sbaglio, "the mistake"), as well as all masculine words beginning with z (i.e. clusters /ts/ or /dz/) zaino, "backpack" → lo zaino, "the backpack", although Italian is still in possession of a now receding prothetic /i/ if a consonant must otherwise precede the cluster, e.g. in /i/Svizzera 'in Switzerland', alternating today with in Svizzera.

A characteristic feature of the writing systems of almost all Romance languages is that the Latin letters c and g — which originally always represented the "hard" consonants [k] and [ɡ] respectively — now represent "soft" consonants when they come before e, i, or y. This is due to a general palatalization of /k/ and /ɡ/ that occurred in the transition to Vulgar Latin. Since the written form of all the affected words was tied to the classical language, the shift was accommodated by a change in the pronunciation rules. The soft sounds of c and g vary from language to language. The consonant t, which was also palatalized, changes pronunciation in French (and English) orthography, but in the other Romance languages the spelling was altered to match the new sound. An exception is Sardinian, whose plosives remained hard before e and i in many words.

The distinctions of vowel length present in Classical Latin were lost in most Romance languages (an exception is Friulian), and partly replaced with qualitative contrasts such as monophthong versus diphthong (Italian, Spanish; French to a lesser extent), or close vowel versus open vowel (as in Portuguese, Galician, Occitan and Catalan).

For most languages in this family, consonant length is no longer phonemically distinctive or present. However some languages of Italy (Italian, Sardinian, Sicilian, and numerous other varieties of central and southern Italy) do have long consonants like /ɡɡ/, /dd/, /bb/, /kk/, /tt/, /pp/, /ll/, /mm/, /nn/, /ss/, and to a lesser extent /rr/, etc., where the doubling indicates a short hold before the consonant is released, in many cases with distinctive lexical value: e.g. note /ˈnɔ.te/ (notes) vs. notte /ˈnɔt.te/ (night), cade /ˈ (s/he, it falls) vs. cadde /ˈ (s/he, it fell). They may even occur at the beginning of words in Romanesco, Neapolitan and Sicilian, and are occasionally indicated in writing, e.g. Sicilian cchiù (more), and ccà (here). In general, the consonants /b/, /ts/, and /dz/ are long at the start of a word, while the archiphoneme |R| is realised as a trill /r/ in the same position.

The double consonants of Piedmontese exist only after stressed /ə/, written ë, and are not etymological: vëdde (Latin videre, to see), sëcca (Latin sicca, dry, feminine of sech). In standard Catalan and Occitan, there exists a geminate sound /lː/ written ŀl (Catalan) or ll (Occitan), but it is usually pronounced as a simple sound in colloquial (and even some formal) speech in both languages.

For more detailed descriptions of sound changes, see the articles Vulgar Latin, History of French, History of Portuguese, Latin to Romanian sound changes, and History of the Spanish language.

Lexical stress

While word stress was rigorously predictable in classical Latin, this is no longer the case in most Romance languages, and stress differences can be enough to distinguish between words. For example, Italian Papa [ˈ] (Pope) and papà [pa.ˈpa] (daddy), or the Spanish imperfect subjunctive cantara ([if he] sang) and future cantará ([he] will sing). However, the main function of Romance stress appears to be a clue for speech segmentation — namely to help the listener identify the word boundaries in normal speech, where inter-word spaces are usually absent.[citation needed]

The position of the stressed syllable in a word generally varies from word to word in each Romance language. Stress usually remains fixed on its assigned syllable within any language, however, even as the word is inflected. It is usually restricted to one of the last three syllables in the word, although Italian verb forms can violate this, e.g. telefonano [teˈlɛ] (they telephone). The limit may be exceeded also by verbs with attached clitics, provided the clitics are counted as part of the word; e.g. Spanish entregándomelo [en.tre.ˈɣ] (delivering it to me), Italian mettiamocene [meˈtːjaː.mo.tʃ] (let's put some of it in there), or Portuguese dávamo-vo-lo [ˈda.vɐ] (we were giving it to you).

Other shared features

The Romance languages also share a number of features that were not the result of common inheritance, but rather of various cultural diffusion processes in the Middle Ages — such as literary diffusion, commercial and military interactions, political domination, influence of the Catholic Church, and (especially in later times) conscious attempts to "purify" them in accordance with Classical Latin. Some of those features have in fact spread to other non-Romance (and even non-Indo-European) languages, chiefly in Europe. Some of these "late origin" shared features are:

  • Most Romance languages have polite forms of address that change the person and/or number of 2nd person subjects (T-V distinction), such as the tu/vous contrast in French, the tu/Ella (or more often Lei) contrast in Italian, the tu/dumneavoastră (from dominus + vostre, literally meaning "your Lordship") in Romanian or the (or vos) /usted contrast in Spanish. Italian also had another form (Voi) denoting more respect than a tu, but of a lesser degree than Ella; the use of Voi at a national level has been discontinued because it was strongly supported by fascists, today, it remains in some continental southern dialects.
  • They all have a large collection of learned hellenisms and latinisms, with prefixes, stems, and suffixes retained or reintroduced from Greek and Latin, and used to coin new words. Most of these are also used in English, e.g. tele-, poly-, meta-, pseudo-, dis-, ex-, post-, -scope, -logy, -tion, though their spelling may differ slightly; for example, poly- becomes poli- in Romanian, Italian and Spanish.
  • During the Renaissance, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and a few other Romance languages developed a progressive aspect which did not exist in Latin. In French, progressive constructions remain very limited, the imperfect aspect generally being preferred, as in Latin.
  • Many Romance languages now have a verbal construction analogous to the present perfect tense of English. In some, it has taken the place of the old preterite (at least in the vernacular); in others, the two coexist with somewhat different meanings (cf. English I did vs. I have done). A few examples:
    • preterite only: Galician, Sicilian, Leonese, some dialects of Spanish;
    • preterite and present perfect: Catalan, Occitan, Portuguese, standard Spanish;
    • present perfect predominant, preterite now literary: French, Romanian, several dialects of Italian and Spanish.
    • present perfect only: Romansh

Writing systems

The Romance languages have kept the writing system of Latin, adapting it to their evolution. One exception was Romanian before the 19th century, where, after the Roman retreat, literacy was reintroduced through the Romanian Cyrillic alphabet by Slavic influences. The Cyrillic alphabet was also used for Romanian (Moldovan) in the USSR. Also the non-Christian populations of Spain used the systems of their culture languages (Arabic and Hebrew) to write Romance languages such as Ladino and Mozarabic in aljamiado.


The Romance languages are written with the classical Latin alphabet of 23 letters — A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, V, X, Y, Z — subsequently modified and augmented in various ways. In particular, the single Latin letter V split into V (consonant) and U (vowel), and the letter I split into I and J. The Latin letter K and the new letter W, which came to be widely used in Germanic languages, are seldom used in most Romance languages — mostly for unassimilated foreign names and words.

While most of the 23 basic Latin letters have maintained their phonetic value, for some of them it has diverged considerably; and the new letters added since the Middle Ages have been put to different uses in different scripts. Some letters, notably H and Q, have been variously combined in digraphs or trigraphs (see below) to represent phonetic phenomena that could not be recorded with the basic Latin alphabet, or to get around previously established spelling conventions. Most languages added auxliary marks (diacritics) to some letters, for these and other purposes.

The spelling rules of most Romance languages are fairly simple, but subject to considerable regional variation. The letters with most conspicuous phonetic variations, between Romance languages or with respect to Latin, are

B: May alternate in pronunciation with v, for example in some variants of Spanish and Portuguese.
C: Generally a "hard" [k], but "soft" (fricative or affricate) before e, i, or y.
G: Generally a "hard" [ɡ], but "soft" (fricative or affricate) before e, i, or y. In some languages, like Spanish, the hard g is pronounced as a fricative [ɣ] after vowels. In Romansch, the soft g is a voiced palatal plosive [ɟ] or a voiced alveolo-palatal affricate [dʑ].
H: Silent in most languages; used to form various digraphs. But represents [h] in Romanian, Walloon and Gascon Occitan.
J: Represents a fricative in most languages, or the palatal approximant [j] in Romansh and in several of the languages of Italy. Italian does not use this letter in native words. Usually pronounced like the soft g (except in Romansch and the languages of Italy).
Q: As in Latin, its phonetic value is that of a hard c, and in native words it is always followed by a (sometimes silent) u. Romanian does not use this letter in native words.
S: Generally voiceless [s], but voiced [z] between vowels in most languages. In Spanish, Romanian, Galician and several varieties of Italian, however, it is always pronounced voiceless. At the end of syllables, it may represent special allophonic pronunciations. In Romansh, it also stands for a voiceless or voiced fricative, [ʃ] or [ʒ], before certain consonants.
W: No Romance language uses this letter in native words, with the exception of Walloon.
X: Its pronunciation is rather variable, both between and within languages. In the Middle Ages, the languages of Iberia used this letter to denote the voiceless postalveolar fricative [ʃ], which is still the case in Modern Catalan and Portuguese. With the Renaissance the classical pronunciation [ks] — or similar consonant clusters, such as [ɡz], [ɡs], or [kθ] — were frequently reintroduced in latinisms and hellenisms. In Venetian it represents [z], and in Ligurian the voiced postalveolar fricative [ʒ]. Italian does not use this letter in native words.
Y: This letter is not used in most languages, with the prominent exceptions of French and Spanish, where it represents [j] before vowels (or various similar fricatives such as the palatal fricative [ʝ], in Spanish), and the vowel or semivowel [i] elsewhere.
Z: In most languages it represents the sound [z], but in Italian it denotes the affricates [dz] and [ts] (which, although not normally in contrast, are usually strictly assigned lexically in any single variety: Standard Italian gazza 'magpie' always with [ddz], mazza 'club, mace' only with [tts]), in Romansh the voiceless affricate [ts], and in Galician and Spanish it denotes either the voiceless dental fricative [θ] or [s].

Otherwise, letters that are not combined as digraphs generally have the same sounds as in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), whose design was, in fact, greatly influenced by the Romance spelling systems.

Digraphs and trigraphs

Since most Romance languages have more sounds than can be accommodated in the Roman Latin alphabet they all resort to the use of digraphs and trigraphs — combinations of two or three letters with a single sound value. The concept (but not the actual combinations) derives from Classical Latin; which used, for example, TH, PH, and CH when transliterating the Greek letters "θ", "ϕ" (later "φ"), and "χ" (These were once aspirated sounds in Greek before changing to corresponding fricatives and the H represented what sounded to the Romans like an /ʰ/ following /t/, /p/, and /k/ respectively. Some of the digraphs used in modern scripts are:

CI: used in Italian, Romance languages in Italy and Romanian to represent /tʃ/ before A, O, or U.
CH: used in Italian, Romance languages in Italy, Romanian, Romansh and Sardinian to represent /k/ before E or I; /tʃ/ in Occitan, Spanish, Astur-leonese and Galician; [c] or [tɕ] in Romansh before A, O or U; and /ʃ/ in most other languages.
DD: used in Sicilian and Sardinian to represent the voiced retroflex plosive /ɖ/. In recent history more accurately transcribed as DDH.
DJ: used in Catalan and Walloon for /dʒ/.
GI: used in Italian, Romance languages in Italy and Romanian to represent /dʒ/ before A, O, or U, and in Romansh to represent [ɟi] or /dʑi/ or (before A, E, O, and U) [ɟ] or /dʑ/
GH: used in Italian, Romance languages in Italy, Romanian, Romansh and Sardinian to represent /ɡ/ before E or I, and in Galician for the voiceless pharyngeal fricative /ħ/ (not standard sound).
GL: used in Romansh before consonants and I and at the end of words for /ʎ/.
GLI: used in Italian and Romansh for /ʎ/.
GN: used in French, Italian, Romance languages in Italy and Romansh for /ɲ/, as in champignon or gnocchi.
GU: used before E or I to represent /ɡ/ or /ɣ/ in all Romance languages except Italian, Romance languages in Italy, Romansh, and Romanian (which use GH instead).
IG: used at the end of word in Catalan for /tʃ/, as in maig, safareig or enmig.
IX: used between vowels or at the end of word in Catalan for /ʃ/, as in caixa or calaix.
LH: used in Portuguese and Occitan /ʎ/.
LL: used in Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Astur-leonese, Norman and Dgèrnésiais, originally for /ʎ/ which has merged in some cases with /j/. Represents /l/ in French unless it follows I (i) when it represents /j/ (or /ʎ/ in some dialects). It's used in Occitan for a long /ll/
L·L: used in Catalan for a geminate consonant /ll/.
NH: used in Portuguese and Occitan for /ɲ/, used in official Galician for /ŋ/ .
N-: used in Piedmontese and Ligurian for /ŋ/ between two vowels.
NN: used in Leonese for /ɲ/,
NY: used in Catalan for /ɲ/.
QU: represents [kw] in Italian, Romance languages in Italy, and Romansh; [k] in French, Astur-leonese and Spanish; [k] (before e or i) or [kw] (normally before a or o) in Occitan, Catalan and Portuguese.
RR: used between vowels in several languages (Occitan, Catalan, Spanish...) to denote a trilled /r/ or a guttural R, instead of the flap /ɾ/.
SC: used before E or I in Italian and Romance languages in Italy for /ʃ/, and in French and Spanish as /s/ in words of certain etymology.
SCH: used in Romansh for [ʃ] or [ʒ].
SCI: used in Italian and Romance languages in Italy to represent /ʃ/ before A, O, or U.
SH: used in Aranese Occitan for /ʃ/.
SS: used in French, Portuguese, Piedmontese, Romansh, Occitan, and Catalan for /s/ between vowels.
TG: used in Romansh for [c] or [tɕ]. In Catalan is used for /dʒ/ between vowels, as in metge or fetge.
TH: used in Jèrriais for /θ/; used in Aranese for either /t/ or /tʃ/.
TJ: used between vowels and before A, O or U, in Catalan for /dʒ/, as in sotjar or mitjó.
TSCH: used in Romansh for [tʃ].
TX: used at the beginning or at the end of word or between vowels in Catalan for /tʃ/, as in txec, esquitx or atxa.

While the digraphs CH, PH, RH and TH were at one time used in many words of Greek origin, most languages have now replaced them with C/QU, F, R and T. Only French has kept these etymological spellings, which now represent /k/ or /ʃ/, /f/, /ʀ/ and /t/, respectively.

Double consonants

Gemination, in the languages where it occurs, is usually indicated by doubling the consonant, except when it does not contrast phonemically with the corresponding short consonant, in which case gemination is not indicated. In Jèrriais, long consonants are marked with an apostrophe: S'S is a long /zz/, SS'S is a long /ss/, and T'T is a long /tt/. The double consonants in French orthography, however, are merely etymological. In Catalan, the gemination of the l is marked by a punt volat = flying point - l·l.


Romance languages also introduced various marks (diacritics) that may be attached to some letters, for various purposes. In some cases, diacritics are used as an alternative to digraphs and trigraphs; namely to represent a larger number of sounds than would be possible with the basic alphabet, or to distinguish between sounds that were previously written the same. Diacritics are also used to mark word stress, to indicate exceptional pronunciation of letters in certain words, and to distinguish words with same pronunciation (homophones).

Depending on the language, some letter-diacritic combinations may be considered distinct letters, e.g. for the purposes of lexical sorting. This is the case, for example, of Romanian ș ([ʃ]) and Spanish ñ ([ɲ]).

The following are the most common use of diacritics in Romance languages.

  • Vowel quality: the system of marking close-mid vowels with an acute, é, and open-mid vowels with a grave accent, è, is widely used (in Catalan, French, Italian, etc.) Portuguese, however, uses the circumflex (ê) for the former, and the acute (é), for the latter.
  • Nasality: Portuguese marks nasal vowels with a tilde (ã) when they occur before other written vowels and in some other instances. While not frequent among the other Romance languages, the use of this symbol generally to indicate nasality has been incorporated in the orthographies of many South American indigenous languages (Guarani is an example).
  • Palatalization: some historical palatalizations are indicated with the cedilla (ç) in French, Catalan, and Portuguese. In Spanish and several other world languages influenced by it, the grapheme ñ represents a palatal nasal consonant.
  • Diaeresis: when a vowel and another letter that would normally be combined into a digraph with a single sound are exceptionally pronounced apart, this is often indicated with a diaeresis mark on the vowel. In the Spanish word pingüino (penguin), the letter u is pronounced, although normally it is silent in the digraph gu when this is followed by an e or an i. Other Romance languages that use the diaeresis in this fashion are French, Catalan, and Brazilian Portuguese.
  • Stress: the stressed vowel in a polysyllabic word may be indicated with the acute, é (in Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan), or the grave accent, è (Italian, Catalan, Romansh). The orthographies of French and Romanian do not mark stress. In Italian and Romansh orthography, indicating stress with a diacritic is only required when it falls on the last syllable of a word.
  • Homophones: words that are pronounced exactly or nearly the same way, but have different meanings, can be differentiated by a diacritic. An acute accent, for example, is used in Spanish to distinguish si ("if") from ("yes"), and in Catalan to distinguish os ("bone") from ós ("bear"). A grave accent is used in French to distinguish ou ("or") from ("where"); in Italian and Romansh to distinguish e ("and") from è ("is"); and in Catalan to distinguish ("hand") from ma ("my"). The circumflex can also have this function in French, sometimes. Often, such words are monosyllables, the accented one being phonetically stressed, while the unaccented one is a clitic; examples are the Spanish clitics de, se, and te (a preposition and two personal pronouns), versus the stressed words , , and (two verbs and a noun).

Less widespread diacritics in the Romance languages are the breve (in Romanian, ă) and the ring (in Wallon and the Bolognese dialect of Emiliano-Romagnolo, å). The French orthography includes the etymological ligatures œ and (more rarely) æ. The use of the circumflex in French is partly etymological as well.

Upper and lower case

Most languages are written with a mixture of two distinct but phonetically identical variants or "cases" of the alphabet: majuscule ("uppercase" or "capital letters"), derived from Roman stone-carved letter shapes, and minuscule ("lowercase"), derived from Carolingian writing and Medieval quill pen handwriting which were later adapted by printers in the 15th and 16th centuries.

In particular, all Romance languages presently capitalize (use uppercase for the first letter of) the following words: the first word of each complete sentence, most words in names of people, places, and organizations, and most words in titles of books. The Romance languages do not follow the German practice of capitalizing all nouns including common ones. Unlike English, the names of months (except in European Portuguese), days of the weeks, and derivatives of proper nouns are usually not capitalized: thus, in Italian one capitalizes Francia ("France") and Francesco ("Francis"), but not francese ("French") or francescano ("Franciscan"). However, each language has some exceptions to this general rule.

Vocabulary comparison

The tables below provide a vocabulary comparison that illustrates a number of examples of sound shifts that have occurred between Latin and Romance languages, along with a selection of minority languages.

Latin Sardinian Italian Sicilian Romanian Friulian French Occitan Catalan Aragonese Spanish Astur-Leonese Mirandese Portuguese English
aquam abba acqua acqua apǎ aghe eau aiga aigua augua agua agua auga água water
altum artu alto autu [11] înalt alt haut aut alt alto alto altu alto alto high
caballum caàddu cavallo cavaddu cal ĉhaval cheval chival cavall caballo caballo caballu cabalo cavalo horse
ego deo io iu eu jo je ièu jo yo yo yo/you you eu I
facere faghere fare fari (a) face faire far fer fazer hacer facer/facere fazer fazer to do
focum fogu fuoco focu foc fûc feu fuèc foc fuego fuego fueu/fuegu fuogo fogo fire
insulam isula isola isula insulǎ îsule île iscla illa isla/isola isla islla/isla ilha ilha island
lactem latte latte latti lapte lat lait lach llet leit leche lleche/lleite lheite leite milk
linguam limba lingua lingua limbǎ lenghe langue lenga llengua luenga lengua llingua lhéngua língua tongue/language
nostrum nostru nostro nostru [12] nostru nestri [13] notre nòstre [14] nostre nuestro nuestro nuestru/nuesu nuosso nosso our
pellem pedde pelle peddi piele piel peau pièl pell piel piel piel piel pele skin
pluviam pròia, proìda pioggia chiuvuta ploaie ploe pluie pluja pluja plebia lluvia lluvia/chuvia chuba [15] chuva rain
tres tres tre tri trei tre trois tres tres tres tres trés trés três three

See also


  1. ^ Ilari, Rodolfo (2002). Lingüística Românica. Ática. p. 50. ISBN 85-08-04250-7. 
  2. ^ The Latin Union reports 28 million speakers for Romanian, out of whom 24 million are native speakers of the language: Latin Union - The odyssey of languages: ro, es, fr, it, pt; see also Ethnologue report for Romanian
  3. ^ 1993 Statistical Abstract of Israel reports 250,000 speakers of Romanian in Israel, while the 1995 census puts the total figure of the Israeli population at 5,548,523
  4. ^ Reports of about 300,000 Jews who left the country after WW2
  5. ^ Source: MSN Encarta - Languages Spoken by More Than 10 Million People (number of Romance speakers estimated at 690 million speakers, number of Catalan language speakers estimated at 9.1 million)
  6. ^ Modern Latin
  7. ^
  8. ^ Þrjótrunn: A North Romance Language: History
  9. ^ Relay 10/R - Jelbazech
  10. ^ Henri Wittmann. "Le français de Paris dans le français des Amériques."PDF (52.1 KB), Proceedings of the International Congress of Linguists 16.0416 (Paris, 20-25 juillet 1997). Oxford: Pergamon (CD edition). )
  11. ^ Dictionary Sicilian - Italian
  12. ^ Sicilian-English Dictionary
  13. ^ Dictionary English-Friulian Friulian-English
  14. ^ Occitan - English Dictionary
  15. ^ Translator Portuguese-Mirandese

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ROMANCE LANGUAGES, the name generally adopted for the modern languages descended from the old Roman or Latin tongue, acted upon by inner decay or growth, by dialectic variety, and by outward influence, more or less marked, of all the foreign nations with which it came into contact.

During the middle ages the old Roman Empire or the Latinspeaking world was called Romania, its inhabitants Romani (adj. Romanicus), and its speech Romancium, Vulgar Romancio, Italian Romanzo, from Romanice loqui=to speak Romance; in Old French nominative romanz, objective roman(t), Modern French roman, " a novel," originally a composition in the vulgar tongue. In English some moderns use Romanic (like Germanic, Teutonic) instead of Romance; some say Neo-Latin, which is frequently used by Romance-speaking scholars. By successive changes Latin, a synthetical language, rich in inflexions, was transformed into several cognate analytical tongues of few inflexions, most of the old forms being replaced by separate form-words. As the literary language of the ancient Roman civilization died out, seemingly extinguished by the barbarism of the middle ages, all the forms of the old classical language being confounded in the most hopeless chaos, suddenly new, vigorous and beautiful tongues sprang forth, ruled by the most regular laws, related to, yet different from, Latin. How was this wonderful change brought about? How can chaos produce regularity? The explanation of this mystery has been given by Diez, the great founder of Romance philology. The Romance languages did not spring from literary classical Latin, but from popular Latin, which, like every living speech, had its own laws, not subject to the changing literary fashions, but only to the slow process of phonetic change and dialectic variety. It is interesting to observe that much that is handed down to us in the oldest Latin literature (notably in the vocabulary) reappears in the most recent phase of Latin - the Romance languages. Thus, a verb nivere, " to snow," is known to Pacuvius, but does not again appear until the time of Venantius Fortunatus, and then with a change of conjugation - nivere, while it has now a new term of life in French and Rhaeto-Romanic dialects. It is obvious that there was no break of continuity in the vulgar language, for if in the later imperial ages a verb had been formed from nix, nivis, it must have been nivare, or niviare (Fr. neiger). Here especially the words of Horace come true: " Multa renascentur, quae jam cecidere, cadentque Quae nunc sunt in honore vocabula, si volet usus, Quem penes arbitrium est et jus et norma loquendi." The present article, embracing all the Romance languages, aims at tracing on the one hand their common origin and their common development, on the other hand at pointing out the peculiarities of the individual languages and the possible explanations of the growth of these peculiarities. Their common development is mainly dealt with under Latin Language. The relation of the early vulgar Latin to the literary language, the spread of Latin following the spread of Roman rule, the prevalence of Latin over Oscan, Umbrian, Etruscan, and late Iberian and Gallic - all these matters concern rather the history of Latin than of the Romance languages. But we may say broadly that the language spoken throughout the Roman Empire at the time of Augustus was fairly uniform, and that naturally differentiations took place (varying according to regions) which were not, however, strongly marked, and which even tended to be obliterated in later times.

The main causes of these variations were twofold. (1) The process of Romanizing the various districts took place at epochs far remote one from the other, and between the earliest and the latest of these epochs Latin itself was modified.' (2) We have the reaction on Latin of the languages of the pre-Roman populations.

Applying this first point of view, we should find that the oldest form of Latin (oldest, that is, for our present purposes) was introduced into Sardinia (238 B.C.); next comes Spain (197 B.C.), Illyria (167 B.C.), South Gaul (120 B.C.), North Gaul (50 B.C.), Raetia (15 B.C.), Dacia (A.D. 107). And we can actually trace some of the results of these differences in date, chiefly perhaps in the vocabulary and morphology of the Romance languages. When, for example, we find the dative illui (Ital., Fr., Rum. lui) missing in the Iberian peninsula, we may infer that it was unknown to the Latin introduced there, and conversely that Latin still used the ancient cova (Sp. cueva, " Cava ") and not the more recent cava (Ital. cava), also demagis or gumia, which we only know from Lucilius, Sp. demas, gomia. We may be justified in assigning to these historic causes the beginnings of the divergence from the original uniformity. Neither active intercourse, nor the dislocations of tribes and populations brought about by the exigencies of military or colonizing enterprise, ever effected a complete fusion of these divergences. To this we must add, as a second element, ethnic considerations.

To begin with, we seem to find in Italy itself, among the Italic population in country districts, the survival of isolated forms which had been discarded by the literary language with its levelling tendencies, and in consequence also by what may be called " Average Latin " (Durchschnittslatein). In early Latin. d becomes r before labials, e.g. ar me advenias occurs in Plautus; arvorsus, arger from *arfger are the ancient forms. Only arbiter has survived as a word of the official language and because in general feeling the noun was consciously connected with the verb baetere, though it was soon discarded. Arger, under the influence of aggerere, aggestus, became agger, and arvorsus was displaced by advorsus. In Abruz. we have arbendd, " to repose," beside Sicil. abbintari which suppose *arventare beside adventari; Abruz. armuri, " to put out the fire," represents Lat. *armoriri instead of admoriri; arbukkd is found beside Ital. abboccare. All these forms are only attested in Italy, and they might by reason of their prefix be classed as Umbrian, since in Umbrian ar for ad is even commoner, cf. the place-name Arestaffele in Molise, which in Latin would be ad Stabula, save that the limitation to the cases that are in line with the Latin rule prove precisely that this is not a case of Umbrian influence, but of a preservation of ancient and popular forms. Beyond the limits of Italy arger has been preserved, e.g. Sp. arcen, and not only Ital. argine; further armissarius, " stallion," in the Lex Salica and in Rum. armesarii; perhaps Sp. almuerzo, " breakfast," for *armuerzo beside Lat. admorsus. In the second place we have, especially in Italy, clearly UmbroOscan forms. Contrary to Latin use, these two dialects, the most important in ancient Italy, have f between vowels from an early bh, dh, as against Latin b, d; and Umbrian, Paelignan, &c., e, o, from an early ei, ou, as against Latin i, u. Thus crefrat (in the glosses), as against Latin cribrat, is both by right of its vowel and consonant, an Umbrian form. And with this we must compare Ital. bifolco beside Lat. bubulcus; Ital. taffiari, " to feast," beside tabulari; tafano, " horsefly," beside Lat. tabanus; bufalo, beside Lat. bubalus. Further, Neap. Ottufro, " October," morfende, " eyeteeth," Lat. mordente, &c. There is a special interest in cases like the French mandrin beside Ital. manfano. What has come down to us is manphur, which is not Greek, its ph notwithstanding, but which owing to its f we must take to be Osco-Umbrian; while the corresponding Latin form would be *mandar. The Latin supplies the French, the Osco-Umbrian the Italian form. As to the other instance, Varro points to vella beside villa as rustic, and to this we must add Ital. stegola, Sardin. isteva, Sp. and Port. esteva (*steva for stiva), " plough tail "; Ital. elce, Sardin. elige, Fr. yeuse, " holly " (*elex for ilex), or Ital. pommice, Fr. ponce, Sp. pomez, " pumicestone " (*pomice for pumice). It must not be overlooked that the last word denotes an object found chiefly in Sicily and near Naples, that is, in the ancient seat of the Oscans. It will be clear that we are dealing chiefly with words connected with agriculture, and it is remarkable that those of our second category spread all over the empire, while those of the first were entirely, or almost entirely, limited to Italy.

As a parallel we may cite the vocabulary of North and South Gaul, which yields a number of Gallic elements, and one may safely infer that in the first few centuries after the Roman conquest these elements were more numerous than at a later stage, and there is in fact a definite justification for this inference. The socalled Endlichers glossary of the 5th century is a compilation, by a native of South Gaul, of Gallic words which were clearly at that time still current in the south of France. 2 And in this we have not only dunum, " montem," cambiare, " pro re dare" (Fr. changer); caio, " breialo sive bigardio " (Fr. quai); nanto " valle," Savoy. nd, " stream," but also avallo, " poma," which was lost in later times but is preserved in its derivative amelanche, " medlar." Another Gallic word recorded by ancient tradition - tegia, "hut " - still exists to-day with this meaning in the Venetian and Raetic Alps, and moreover plays an important part in toponomy - Fr. Arthies from Gall. are Tegias, " at the huts," N. Ital. Tezze; but in the oldest Gallo-Romance it may have been in use as an appellative, and thence have passed into Basque - e.g. Basq. tegi, " hut." The permeation of the Latin vocabulary by Gallic elements dates from the time of the contact of Gauls and Roman forces. Many of these elements - e.g. bracae, camisia - were widely used at so early a stage as to have penetrated into Rumania (Rum. imbrdcci, " put on," cameasa, " chemise"); others again have scarcely, if at all, passed beyond their ancient limits, even those that Roman literature has preserved for us. It is true that Martial says " Barbara de pictis veni bascauda Britannis Sed me jam mavult dicere Roma sibi," but only in France has bachoue been preserved up to the present, while so far no traces of bascauda have been established for Italy.

Glancing over the Gallic contributions to the Gallo-Romance vocabulary, we see at once that they belong to a considerable extent to the sphere of agriculture, and that among the implements mentioned it is chiefly vehicles of all kinds which have Gallic names. The record of Roman times supplies us with benna, carpentum, carrum, caruca, agredum, petorritum, rheda, but carrum alone gained a firm footing; caruca in the form of charrue, " plough," survives in France, and benna (Fr. banne, Ital. benna) in its ancient home. Under this heading we may perhaps add taratrum, " gimlet," in Isidore, Fr. taribre, Engad. tareder, Sp. taladro, Port. trado; Fr. jante, " felloe of a wheel " (Bret. Kammed), Fr. taranche, Gall. tarinca. With caruca we may class soc, " plough-share," and O. Fr. raie, Mod. Fr. rayon, " furrow," Gallic *rica (cf. Cymr. rhych). A further group is formed by cervoise, " beer," from Gall. cerevisia, O. Fr. braiz, Mod. Fr. brai, " malt," brasser, " to brew," Gall. brace; lie, " yeast." Among the names of plants Gallic betulla has survived wherever the tree is common. Within narrower bounds we find Fr. if, " yew," Gall. *ivum (cf. Ir. eo); probably also *cassanus, " oak," Fr. chene, Prov. casser; Fr. verne, " alder " (cf. Ir. fern and the Gall. place-name Vernodubrum, " alderwater "); beloce, " sloe," bulluca, and S. Fr. aranhon, " sloe " (Ir. airne). Pliny mentions marga, " marl," as being in use among the Gauls as manure for soil, from the diminutive *margila, Fr. marne. An agricultural measure was called arepennis, Fr. arpent. Fields were separated by a hedge - Prov. gorce (cf. O. Fr. gort, " fence"); a hedged-round piece of land is called in French lande, Ir. land. Another method of demarcation was by means of hurdles, Fr. claie, Piedm. cia (cf. Ir. cliath); or of barricades, Fr. combre (whence the verbs encombrer, dncombrer), which corresponds to a Gallic *comboros. Inside the hurdles the sheep and cows were kept whose milk yielded mbgues, " whey " (Ir. medg). The wood needed for the erection of fences was cut with the " wood-knife," Gall. vidubium, Fr. vouge. We may notice further the group broga, " enclosure," " preserve," Prov. brogo and the diminutive brogilo, Fr. breuil. In north Italy we find fruda, " torrent " (cf. Cymr. frwth), which is a parallel to na mentioned above; also Comasc. dren, " blackberry," Ir. dren, " thorn," and (over a large part of north Italy) bar, "" bunch," " tuft," O. Ir. barn. To single out a few words, there is Prov. ban, " horn," Cymr. ban; Piedm. vinverra, from a word that has come down to us as Latin, but is really Gallic: viverra, Cymr. gwywer, Gaelic feoragh, " weasel," and in the RhaetoRom. dialect in Switzerland carmun, from a Gallic carmon, which is cognate with O.H.G. harmo, Mod. H.G' hermelin, " ermine." In this way we might amplify examples, and it should not escape notice that we have to deal chiefly with substantives, with few adjectives and hardly any verbs.' In precisely the same way the Spanish vocabulary must have been seamed with traces of Iberian elements. But the process of elimination took place more rapidly and thoroughly in this case, so that the number of Iberian or Celtic-Iberian words that have resisted time and change is small. On a Latin inscription from Spain we find Paramus, " plain," and paramo occurs to this day in this sense. As the Iberian does not know the sound p, the word cannot be Iberian, and must be Celtic.

In Isidore we find baia, " bay," which should be read baia, as Sp. and Port. bahia prove - doubtless an Iberian word, since Fr. baie and Ital. baia are forms quite recently borrowed from Spanish. This baia is perhaps somehow connected with the place-name Bayona. Again, the lapides lausiae of the Lex Metalli Vipascensis are Celtic rather than Iberian (cf. Sp. losa, Port. lousa, as well as Prov. lausa, Piedm. losa). Considering our ignorance of Iberian, and the pronounced colouring of Basque by Spanish words, it is not often easy to decide on which side the indebtedness lies when we meet with a word in Spanish and Basque whose etymology is still uncertain.

Much discussion centres round the question as to how far the pre-Romanic nations influenced the phonology of the Romans in the process of their assimilation. Opinions are strongly divergent. While G. I. Ascoli has repeatedly assumed influences of this kind on a large scale, the present writer is very sceptical.' It may be well to give the essential points.

Plautus uses distennite and dispennite instead of distendite and dispendite - forms he imported from his native Umbria. And like the Umbrians, the Oscans too pronounced nn instead of nd. Later we find this same change throughout the whole of south and central Italy, and even in Rome, whereas it is not observed in Tuscany, north Italy and other Romanic countries. We may therefore confidently assume that this is due to a reaction of the Oscan-Umbrian dialects. Similarly it is in accordance with Umbrian pronunciation to convert breathed plosives into voiced after nasals, e.g. iuenga = Lat. juvenca; and similarly we have cinque in central and south Italy beside Tusc. cinque (quinque). But even in this particular the change affects not only the regions of ancient Umbria, but also those of the Oscans and Messapians, though again it must be admitted that we do not know what the pronunciation of the ancient Messapians was. And finally, we find the Latin d represented in Umbrian between vowels by a sound which has a separate sign in the national alphabets and which in Latin is reproduced as -rs. And since the Paelignan alphabet too has a sign for a modified d, one may perhaps assume that in these districts d had a specialized sound as th, or r; and this view agrees with the fact that in the dialects of central and southern Italy d was pronounced sometimes like r, sometimes like th. And probably this sums up all we can say with certainty.

It has always been maintained that French u (pronounced as German u), derived from u, is due to the influence of Gallic. The u (with modern sound) is identified with the whole area of the French language except part of the Walloon, part of French Switzerland, and Piedmont, Genoa, Lombardy, the Grisons, Tirol and the northern part of the Emilia; but not Friuli, Venetia and Istria. On the other hand, the ancient u became i in Cymric, to which ii must be regarded as an intermediary step, that may therefore have existed in Gallic. But in the first place we must observe that Greek writers always render the Gallic u by ov, never by v; that the Romans too write ii, never y; and further, that over a large part of the area ii came in comparatively recently. Secondly, in Gallic inscriptions the combination CT is frequently replaced by XT, so that the Irish pronunciation cht (Ir. nocht, " night ") is as old as Ancient Gallic. And since the preliminary stage of the Fr. fait from factum, nuit from node, is likewise cht, it is natural to suppose a relation between these facts, and all the more because the Iberian Peninsula on the one hand, and a large part of the western and central area of upper Italy on the other, show an identical process; but in Venetian, central and southern Italy ct became tt. Thirdly, nasalized vowels are in evidence chiefly in the ancient seats of the Celts - in northern and 'southern France, in Piedmont, Genoa, Lombardy and partly in Raetia, also in Portugal, but not as far as southern Emilia. At this point again evidence from the Gallic fails completely. Finally, an attempt has been made to trace back the general characteristics of the French and the Gallo-Romanic dialects of Italy to the peculiarities of the Gallic accent. It is assumed that there was a decided stress-accent, which brought about an over-emphasis of the stressed syllable at the expense of the unaccented ones, with the result of a marked weakening of the unaccented vowels, and particularly of those following the stressed syllable. Here again we can only ' Cf. R. Thurneysen, Keltoromanisches (Halle, 1885); W. MeyerLiibke, Einfi Krung in die romanische Sprachwissenschaft, p. 38 ff. a G. I. Ascoli, Una Lettera glottologica (1880); Archivio glottologico italiano, x. 260; Sprachwissenschaftliche Briefe (1887; cf. H. Schuchardt, Zeitschrift fur rom. Phil. iv. 140 and elsewhere); and Meyer-Lubke, loc. cit. 205 ff.

say that Gallic itself affords no evidence for this assumption, and that, on the contrary, this peculiar accentuation maybe due to other reasons, unknown to us. To turn to morphology, the method of enumerating - as we find it, for example, in Fr. quatre-vingts, &c. - would seem to be Gallic, since it is common to all the Celts.

But even if we admit certain regional variations, all these were overlaid by an " Average Latin " which presents a number of essential features uniformly over the whole area, and which differed from the literary language. These characteristics (in historical sequence) are as follows: (I) Loss of final m in polysyllabic words (which we find exemplified in the very oldest inscriptions); (2) loss of the h- sound, a loss which outside the towns was of great antiquity (cf. anser), and at the beginning of imperial times was fairly common; (3) loss of n before s coupled with the lengthening of the vowel, for which Varro is evidence in his alternations of mensa and ,mesa; (4) the assimilation of rs to ss - e.g. sursum from sursum (Ital. suso, O. Fr. sus, Mod. Fr. dessus). Toward the end of the Republic v is lost before u - e.g. vius instead of vivus, rius instead of rivus (Ital. Sp. rio), anticus instead of antiquus (Ital. antico). In the first century A.D. b became v between vowels, thus merging itself into the latter sound, so that in examining the Romance languages it is impossible to decide whether the original was v or b. And this change spreads in sentences to the initial b (as in the inscription manduca vibe lude e beni at me), which leads in some cases to some uncertainty in the use of v and b. And lastly, we have the case of cl and tl - e.g. veclus (Ital. vecchio, Fr. vieil, Sp. viejo, Port. velho, Rum. viechiu) instead of vetulus; the reduction of di before vowels, of j, g before e, i, and of z to a single sound j, or rather dj, in consequence of which we have diurnum (Ital. giorno, Fr. jour); juvenis (Ital. giovane, Fr. jeune); gener (Ital. genero, Fr. gendre); zelosus (Ital. geloso, Fr. jaloux), all represented by the same initial.

To turn to vowels, we must first notice that, according to Varro, ae was pronounced e in the country, but that in the cities the diphthong was maintained at first, while the simple sound was only admitted during the course of the 1st century A.D. If this is an instance of an early spreading of a rustic pronunciation, we have in another case a victory for that of the bourgeoisie and aristocracy. 0 for au belongs to Umbrian, Volscian and vulgar Latin, which explains why Appius Claudius Pulcher changed his name to Clodius when he deserted the patricians and went over to the plebeians. And there is other evidence of this change of sound. But in the inscriptions of the Empire o for au is very rare, save in proper names, and the Romance languages have partly preserved the au to this. day with little or no change (cf. Rum. auzi, Prov. auzir, Port. ouvir from audire), or only changed it to o at a later stage (cf. Fr. chose, where ch could only have arisen before a, not o), so that one may assume that the " Average Latin " always preserved the au. Then, without entering into detail, we must mention the prothesis of i before st, sp, sc, a phenomenon which arose, judging from the inscriptions, in the znd century A.D. We find it at the beginning of the sentence, and also within it after consonants, but not after vowels; e.g. ilia spata, but illas ispatas; istare, istd, but to istds, &c.

Most important of all are the modifications that affect the accented vowels, which give a new look to the language as a whole. In Old Latin and even towards the end of the Republican age, vowels varied solely according to their quantity, e.g. a was longer than a, e longer than e, but the vowel sound was the same, or at any rate the difference in quality between long and short must have been quite insignificant, seeing that Cicero and Quintilian wished the word divisio to be avoided in speech from motives of decorum, because of the likeness in sound to vissio. Quantity was not influenced by the number of the consonants following: actus was pronounced with a, factus with a, &c. In the course of the 1st century approximately quality was differentiated in addition to quantity in all vowels except a - short vowels being pronounced with an open, long ones with a close, sound. The written language expresses this change by writing ae for e, i for e, e for i, u for o, o for ic. In addition there are statements of the grammarians, though they mention only the double pronunciation of e and o, not that of i and u. It was probably in the course of the 4th century that the further change took place, by which all vowels were lengthened before a single consonant, and shortened before two or more, e.g. 'sitis became sitis, while tectum became rectum. But the older qualitative variations were maintained so that even now sitis and vitis, or tectum and lectum did not contain the same vowel-sound, the former having a cl o se, the latter an open, vowel. (Cf. Ital. sete, vite, Fr. soif, vis, Sp. sed, vid; or Ital. ktto and letto, Fr. toit and lit.) . It is at the end of the 4th century that Augustine says: " Afrae aures de corruptione vocalium vel productione non judicant," and the uncertain practice of the poets in the matter of quantity points to the breaking down of the old conditions. .This was not the end of the process of development; but the most important stages were already accomplished. In this, too, we are concerned with changes affecting the whole Romance region. The final step was taken when open i and close e, open u and close o, were reduced to one sound which may be called close e (or o). This step was not taken by the eastern regions, excepting as to e, and Sardinia remained completely unaffected (v. infra). The vowel-system that developed in course of time is thus as;follows: e ei i u uo o .1/?? ?

e e i 2t Q 9 ,a beforei const. -before i const.

"before 2 consts. -before 2 consts. 4/ U In the department of flexion we find less radical changes. The genitive was the first case to disappear. In general its functions were usurped by the preposition de. But for the possessive sense the dative was adopted, cf. HIC Requiescunt Membra Ad Duos Fratres, in an inscription from Gaul. The accusative serves for the case after prepositions under all circumstances, and therefore even in places where the older language used the ablative, e.g. magister cum suos discentes in a Pompeian inscription. Nouns of the third declension with monosyllabic nominative, e. g. lens, stirps, ars, &c., form a dissyllabic nominative, e.g. lentis, stirpis, &c. The dividing line between masculine and neuter, at all times doubtful, is frequently broken down, especially in the singular, e.g. Lubitum instead of cubitus, and there are converse cases. The absorption of the fourth declension by the second is almost complete. In the declension of the pronouns the genitives ipsuius, illuius, dat. ipsui, illui, fern. illaeius, illaei, are found in several inscriptions, but do not belong to the common language, since, as we have already said, they are not at home in the Iberian peninsula. On the other hand, all the Romance languages show that *eo took the place of ego. The use of ille as personal pronoun, and also of ipse, and of both these forms as articles, dates from ancient times. We find a parallel to the weakening of these demonstratives in the amalgamation of the pronominal combinations to be found as early as Plautus with ecce, eccum, which results in new forms, e.g. ecceille (0. Fr. cil, Mod. Fr. celui) or eccuille (Ital. quegli, Sp. aquel); ecceiste (Fr. ce- (t)); eccuiste (Ital. questo, Sp. aqueste). In the verb-system, a characteristic change is the disappearance of the future and passive forms, the explanation of the phenomenon in both cases being psychological rather than formal. Popular language is not familiar with the future, and replaces it by the present - or, more strictly speaking, the vulgar person deals only with the present or the past. The case of the passive is similar. The transposition of active into passive is too complicated a process for the simple mind. The object of the action remains the object; when the subject of the action is not known, they resorted to the indefinite third person plural, e.g. vendunt casam is the popular mode of expressing domus venditur. And further, the perfect amatus sum was replaced by amatus fui, since fui was a perfect and could now take over the function of a present. For the moment, all other tenses and moods of the verb were preserved, only of the infinite forms, the gerundive, perfect infinitive and the two supines disappeared. Of the gerund nothing remained but the ablative. In compensation, however, we soon find a form habeo cantatum springing up beside cantavi in use as perfect, e.g. litteras scriptas habeo meant in the first instance, " I possess written letters," with nothing implied as to who wrote the letters; `but later this usage is limited to cases where the owner is also ' the originator of the state of things expressed in the participle, and thus it attains to the force of a perfect.

There is little change in the formation of individual verb-forms. It is natural that the infinitives esse, velle, posse, being exceptional, should have been brought into line with all the rest. This was done by simply adding -re on to esse (Ital. essere, Fr. etre), while the other two were constructed from the forms of the verb whose ending was .accented, or from the perfect, e.g. volebam, potebam, volui, potui, gave rise to *volere, *potere, on the analogy of docebam, docui, monebam, monui, nocebam, nocui, &c.; with infinitives, docere, monere, nocere, &c. (cf. Ital. volere, potere, Fr. vouloir, pouvoir, Sp. and Port. poder, Rum. urea, putea). In other infinitives there is much confusion, especially as between -ere, and -ere verbs, noticed by the Latin grammarians themselves; we have evidence, too, that at an early stage the present forms in -io, -iam led to a confusion of the -ire and -ere conjugation, e.g. Plautus has morire (Ital. morire, Fr. mourir, `Sp. morir, Rum. muri); Lucretius has cupire; Cato has fodire, &c. For the rest we may note as important that perfect-forms without u-, such as -asti, -astis, -arunt, infected the first person singular, e.g. -ai instead of -avi. A new type in -idi arose on the model of vendidi, and then affected other verbs in -ndere, e.g, descendidi (in Gellius), prendidi (in the grammarian Probus) and in general verbs of the third conjugation. But its spread was slow, so that it can scarcely be said to have been common to all the languages.

In the formation of words the popular language probably had far greater freedom than the written language. We find not only a marked preference for diminutives in -ulus and -ellus, but many other types are established, or new ones created. And as the chief ones we must mention the post-verbalia (nouns constructed out of verbs). Thus pugnare, being itself derived from pugnum, then produces pugna (on the pattern of planta, plantare), and these formations soon became extremely common, and not only in a- verbs, but also in ere-verbs, cf. in particular dolus, " grief " (not to be confused with the ancient dolus, " craft "), C.I.L. x. 4510 (Rum. dor, Ital. duolo, Fr. deuil, Sp. duelo). As examples of other types we have -ura beside -or, which we can trace back to ardura, a contamination of ardor and arsura, which extended to fervura; also to strictura beside strictus; directura beside directus, when the old participles had separated both in form and in meaning from the verbal-system and had become adjectives, whose t was felt to be part of the stem. Another feature of the verb is the gradual retreat of old simple formations in favour of derivatives from the participle, e.g. cantare, adjutare, ausare, &c., in place of canere, adjuvare, audere; then for denominatives -icare and the Gr. -izare (Ital. -eggiare, Fr. -oyer, Sp. -ear) which, coming in with Christianity, was soon added on to Latin stems, e.g. (in Fulgentius) citherizantium aut tibizantium. Among points of syntax we may single out the replacing of infinitival sentences (following verbs of feeling, seeing, hearing, wishing) by clauses with ut, quod or quia, whence Ital. che, Fr. que. The latter particle spread most rapidly, and soon took precedence over the other conjunctions, not only in the cases just mentioned, but in introducing object-, subject-and final-clauses.

It is in the vocabulary that it is most difficult to define the relations of the common and the literary language. So much of the Latin vocabulary as appears over the whole Romance area comes of course from the everyday language which was used from the mouth of the Ebro to that of the Danube, but it is by no means all. It is more interesting to inquire whether anything can be reconstructed from Romance, and, if so, how much? The existence of a form aiutare, for example, mentioned above (Ital. ajutare, Fr. aider, Sp. ayudar, Rum, aiuta) and appearing in all the Romance languages, is indisputable. Between Fr. grolle (" crow "), Lyon. grola, Gascon. agraulo, Tirol. grolo, and (with change of gender) Apul. raulu, Rum. graur, the connexion, both in form and meaning, is so close that one is led to assume a common basis for all these words. This basis is *graulus, -a, and it is safe to assume that such a word goes back to Latin, though remembering that it was not found in the western regions. Rum. afld, Sic. asciari, Sp. hallar, Port. achar, Gris. aflcir, Dalm. aflucir, " to find," all point to afflare, and in this case, too, the change in meaning may be safely ascribed to Latin, only in this case Gaul is not included. Rum. aripei, Fr. aube, Prov. aubo, Sp. alabe," paddle-board," in Rum. meaning also " wing," and in Sp. also " the wickerwork on both sides of a vehicle," in Port. " the wing of a parapet," point to a form *alapa, which meant " wing " and which must have belonged to the vulgar language, even though no trace of it survives in Italy. Many other points could be enumerated, but problems are involved which have as yet hardly been taken up.1 In dealing with the division of this common language into a number of individual languages there are still further points of view to be considered. Before we can touch upon these, we must first take a general survey of these languages. There are altogether nine - Rumanian, Dalmatian, Sardinian, Italian, Raeto-Romanic, French, Provençal, Spanish and Portuguese. Of these nine languages, Dalmatian is now extinct, and even what we learn of it from the ancients is very meagre. On the one hand, Ragusa and the plains of Dalmatia never attained the degree of independence in literature which would have brought about a floruit in the language such as Provençal has to show. Neither, on the other hand, was its political independence stable enough, nor was it sufficiently remote to escape intercourse with the rest of the world, like the Raeto-Romanic dialects. The hordes of Sla y s pressing forward from the inner regions of the hinterland soon put an end to the Romanic civilization, first in the country and then it the towns. And when the Venetians, who were, both in point of culture and of commerce and of politics, on a higher level, regained their power over the Dalmatians by occasional conquests, chiefly over the cities, the result was of course all in favour of the Venetian dialect. On the island of Veglia alone there were still living about the middle of the 19th century a few people who still spoke Old Dalmatian. The last of these is now dead. Our approximate notions of this language are gleaned from the speech of these natives of Veglia, from a few more ancient notes, place-names, proper names and from the Romance elements in the Servo-Croatian dialect of Ragusa.' We may begin by reducing these nine languages to seven groups - Dacian, Dalmatian,. Sardinian, Italic, Raetic, Gallic and Iberian. The most striking peculiarity of the first three of these groups is the absence of Germanic words in the vocabulary. In other words, they were withdrawn from the influence of the general " Average-Latin " before the beginning of the more decided permeation of Latin by Germanic elements. There are other signs of their antiquity. In Central Sardinian c before e, i, and 1 Cf. G. Grober, Archiv. f. lat. Lexicographie, i. 204 ff.

Cf. M. G. Bartoli, " Das Dalmatische " (1906), (Schriften der Balkan-Kommission der K. Akademie der Wissenschaften, linguistische Abteilung, Bd. iv. and v.).

in Dalmatian c before e are always preserved as velars, and in south Sardinian and in Rumanian the palatalization is more recent, and secondary. The preservation of the tenues between vowels as breathed fortes is peculiar to Rumano-Dalmatian, but as north Sardinian used breathed lenes in their place, while the dialect of Nuoro, in Sardinia, preserved the fortes, we have every ground for assuming that central and south Sardinia also possessed either fortes or lenes in earlier times. Moreover, south Italy, Sicily and a large part of central Italy as far as the Apennines replace the old Latin tenues either with breathed fortes or breathed lenes, in marked contrast to the regions of the Po, to Gallic and the Iberian group. All these phenomena may perhaps be explained in conjunction with two historical events. By the abandonment of the province of Dacia (in A.D. 270), Rumanian lost its close touch with the languages of nearest affinity; and the division of the empire under Diocletian and Constantine necessarily entailed a linguistic division. At that epoch the linguistic conditions were roughly as follows: The principal changes in the vowel-system, especially the development of qualitative beside quantitative variations, had been accomplished, but there was still a difference between i and e, i and O. The old future had disappeared, and no tendency to produce a substitute had as yet appeared. The Latin pluperfect subjunctive still maintained its old usage, probably also the imperfect subjunctive and the future perfect. In declensions the type membrum, -a, had begun to spread; but corpus, -ora, was still in existence. Sardinia seems to have been, perhaps owing to its isolation, the first to have detached itself from this group. For it was not content with differentiating e and i, but it also retains -s, whereas the East-Rumanian and an Italian group suppressed -s, and in consequence also the difference between the nominative and the accusative singular. This and the levelling of neuters in -us and masculines in -u made it possible for the types membra and corpora to spread at the expense of the type loci, - a possibility of which South Italian and Rumanian made the fullest use.

On the given basis the various languages carried on their various developments, influenced partly by contiguity of other idioms, partly by causes unknown to us. Among neighbouring idioms, Greek had by right of its degree of civilization and its political power great influence in giving Rumanian and South Italian a similar direction, and that at a time when every trace of a geographical connexion between these two language-groups had long vanished. Thus, the replacing of the construction " I will come " by " I will that I come " took its rise in Greece and was passed on to Rumania and Apulia. The rise of the new future voiu c¢ntd, " I will sing," in Rumanian is probably due to Greek influence. In Latin itself both ille caballus and caballus ille are found, the position depending on the accentual conditions of the sentence. Then the loss of s made room for the form caball[u] ille with a victory for the inverted order. In Rumania alone this was the actual process, under the influence of the surrounding speech - Illyrian or Bulgarian, or perhaps independently of them, in this latter case serving as prototype to these languages. Dalmatian and South Italian, on the other hand, were so closely connected with the languages that preserved s and therefore prefixed the article that in this particular they separated from Rumanian. This is not the place to show how the Rumanian vocabulary and the structure of words was permeated markedly by elements from Slav, less markedly by elements from Turkish, Mod. Greek and Hungarian, which gave the language an alien appearance in point of vocabulary.

In its consonants, and, as far as one can judge, in its morphology, Dalmatian has preserved the stamp of antiquity. But in its vowelsystem there are marked changes, especially in the substitution of diphthongs for close vowels, e.g. changing a to e, u through the stage to oi, i to ei, o to au, e to ai. Diphthongs such as they appear also in Istrian and Abruzzian, so that we must presuppose some sort of connexion.

It may be that Sardinian took another course of development because (A.D. 458) the island was rent from Rome and incorporated in the African empire of Genseric, king of the Vandals. Therefore the sympathies of Sardinia were alienated from Italy, and turned on the one hand towards Africa (and unfortunately we have no information as to the " latinity " of this region), on the other towards the Iberian peninsula. These conditions lasted for a while, but later we find Genoa and Pisa fighting at intervals for supremacy in Sardinia, their organization being in many points identical with that of the island. On the whole, this new combination has not materially affected the language, especially in Logodoro. The vowel system (of great antiquity), as well as the velar pronunciation of c before e, i, remained unchanged, neither did they get as far as to adopt the future-forms current on the mainland; on the contrary, the Sardinians arrived independently and later at their usage of depo cantare or haia a cantar. But the use of ipse as an article in Sardinia, Mallorca, and in the earliest times also in the CatalanianGascon area, clearly proves the linguistic connexion which for a time covered this area, and we may also see some connexion in the fact that the lenes became voiced between vowels. On the whole, and in spite of everything, Sardinian is the most archaic of the Romance languages. Owing to its retaining s, it has failed to extend the membra-tempora types of formation, indeed it has almost rejected them entirely. It has retained the imperfect subjunctive to this day, and as a corollary it has lost the pluperfect of that mood. And though every Romance language has a number of Latin words that are not common to the rest, yet in this language the number of these a ra Xeyo A eva is greater than in others, and it is noteworthy that these have here survived such common expressions as domo, " house," mannu, " great," with other examples.

The East-Rumanian group (coupled with Sardinia) finds its counterpart in the great group based upon the Latinity of Gaul, the Iberian peninsula, and north Italy. This group contains a considerable number of fundamental peculiarities in phonology, morphology and vocabulary which prima facie lead us to assume a fairly long period of contact.

The chief of these peculiarities is the final change of the vowelsystem, i.e. the loss of the distinction between e and i, between o and ii; then the change of breathed plosives and fricatives between vowels into voiced plosives and fricatives respectively; the use of the pluperfect subjunctive instead of the lost imperfect subjunctive (Ital. cantasse, Fr. que je chantasse, Sp. cantase, Port. cantasse), the formation of a new future from the infinitive of the verb and the present, or (as the case may be) the imperfect or perfect of habere, e.g. Ital. cantero, canterei, Fr. je chanterai, chanterais, Sp. cantare, cantaria. If it is safe to assume that this latter formation had its origin in places where we find it most firmly rooted, we are led to assign it to the north of France. For it is only there that both elements in the formation are inseparably connected from the beginning of our record. In the old Provencal the two constituent parts are still separable; in the oldest Spanish and Portuguese their position is not fixed (i.e. the auxiliary may follow or precede the verb). In north Italy we frequently find the form avro cantare instead of cantaro, obviously because this formation is not properly acclimatized. But at any rate it is clear that the change of function from cantare habeo to cantabo belongs, to the time when the three great groups were still in close contact, and the evidence of the Latin texts falls into line with this view, showing this construction well established from the second half of the 4th century.' In the vocabulary we must note, among other things, the introduction of Germanic words, e.g. elmo, Fr. heaume, Sp. yelmo, " helmet "; harpa, " harp," Ital. arpa, Fr. harpe, Sp. and Port. arpa; medus,. " raced," which is found in Antimus and Isidore, but disappears later (cf. O. Fr. mies, " meed "); waidanian, Ital. guadagnare, Fr. gagner, Sp. guadanar, and many more.

The further steps in the process of differentiation were conditioned by the breaking up of the Roman empire by the great migrations. The establishment of the rule of the Franks in north Gaul, of the Visigoths in south Gaul and the Iberian peninsula, loosened old ties, created new nations and in consequence new and independent groups of languages.

The Iberian group was marked primarily by a striking simplicity in its flexions. The three-case system was given up at an early stage, even in prehistoric times, and has left no traces whatever. Owing to the preservation of -s the type membra was doomed to perish, and thus we find, from the beginning of our record and therefore presumably soon after the great cleavage took place, the prevalence in nouns of the following simple rule: sing. -e, -o, -a; plur. -es, -os, -as. The loss of the dative may have some connexion with the fact that the form illui for the 3rd personal pronoun had not yet established itself; and the desire for uniformity may have ousted the nominative of o- stems. There are analogies in the conjugation. The pluperfect indicative was preserved, and even (largely) with a Latin significance, but in the region of flexion much simplification took place, e.g. uniformity of accentuation in the three conjugations, marked reduction of the s- perfect and uperfect forms and a great reduction in the number of uparticiples.

The vocabulary is characterized by certain archaisms, and still more by the fact that a series of common ideas are rendered by new words limited in use to the Iberian peninsula. Thus we have querer (quaerere) instead of velle; quedar (quietare) instead of manere; callar (deriv. uncertain) for tacere; hablar (fabulare), " to speak "; llegar (plicare), " to arrive "; dejar (?) instead of lac are, &c. Further, we may mention the preference of tenere to habere even for the formation of perfect-forms, of which examples are to be found in Orosius, and of magic to plus for expressing comparisons, for which also we may find examples in Latin authors or the Iberian peninsula. The influence of the Goths or Suevi and Vandals on the vocabulary is inconsiderable, and when we trace it it is not easy to explain; e.g. Galician laverca, " lark," is clearly from a western Gothic *lawerka, but it is difficult to see why the name for this bird should have been supplied by the Germanic. To sum up, one may say that the Latin of Iberia was a self-contained language, at first showing little modification by influences from Iberian, or later by those from Germanic; further, that its development was slow, and that it aimed at simplicity.

At the present day there are three great groups, running almost 1 See Thielmann, in Archiv f. lat. Lexikogr. ii. 48 seq.

parallel from N.E. to S.W., e.g. Catalanian on the coast of the Mediterranean, akin to Provencal, Spanish in the centre, GalicianPortuguese on the Atlantic. From the historical point of view one part might be called Gothic-Romance, the other Suevo-Romance. But the national and linguistic history of the times and countries we are dealing with is still very obscure. The difference between the two idioms is chiefly one of phonetics, while in their morphology and vocabulary they do not greatly differ. Spanish may be described as a language which favours vowels at the expense of consonants, and which therefore shows, more than other Romance languages, a weakening even of initial consonants. It changes voiced stops first to fricatives, then to mere noises or " burrs " which finally disappear altogether, and s before a consonant or finally, becomes h (through a middle stage s) and is finally lost. The preferential treatment of vowels, however, entailed not a single change except that e was changed to the diphthong ie, o to ue; all else were preserved, e.g. diet (decem), tiempo (tempus), bueno (bonus), fuerte (fortis); but haver (habere), lid (lite), corona (corona), humo (fumus). The weakness of the initial sound is shown in enero (januaruis), hazer (facere), llamar (clamare with a transitional *clyamar), llaga (plaga), &c. The written language has no sign for voiced plosives between vowels, but -atho or -ao is spread over nearly the whole region.

In contrast to Spanish, Portuguese has a strong pronunciation of initial sounds, and so does not go beyond janeiro, fazer, and changes cl (with transitional form cly, ky), and also p1 (via ply, py) to ch, e.g. chamar, chaga. On the other hand, it has a careless articulation of vowels and consonants, and consequently no diphthongs. The unaccented vowels are weakened, as finals almost to vanishing point. It shows further a fusion of nasals with the preceding vowel, so as to form a nasal vowel, and this new nasality takes the colour of the preceding vowel, e.g. vina becomes vinho, but una becomes uma, otherwise before a vowel the nasal finally disappears; cheio and cheia, from plenus, plena. Similarly l was lost between vowels, e.g. ceo (caelum); before consonants it became I, or u, e.g. outro (alteru), caldo (calidu). Voiced plosives have a weak pronunciation between vowels, and these are sometimes made fricatives. In relation to the somewhat careless articulation we note a marked reaction on accented vowels by the final vowel (e.g. novo has a close vowel, nova an open one), and also by the following consonants: velarizes, s palatalizes preceding sounds, hence estas pronounced istas, " thou art," with reduced i, but devedor (debitor), " debtor," with reduced e. Lastly, the division between words is not sharp - the interaction of initial sounds and finals being very striking. Devedor has a plosive d, a devedor has a fricative; istas has a breathed -s, but istas nos ceus, " thou art in heaven," has a voiced -s; seja, " be," has a reduced a; o nome is pronounced u nome, but seja o nome is pronounced sej o nome, with an open o from a+o, &c.

The separation of Gaul took place likewise in the second half of the 5th century, when the Visigoths had settled down in the south, the Burgundians in the east, and the Franks in the north. The type of language that was evolved here is distinct from Spanish primarily and principally in the loss of final vowels except a, or, when the formation of the word was incompatible with this loss, in a weakening to e. On the other hand, the declension is strongly conservative. Nowhere are the old case-endings so clearly preserved as in this region, e.g. reis, " king," but la rei fille (regi filia), " the king's daughter "; veit le rei, " videt regem "; dunet le rei, " donat (dat) regi "; these are the modes of expression, and they last till far into the literary period. But at an early stage there was a breach between the Franks of the north and the Burgundians of the east on the one hand, and the Visigoths of the south on the other. For while the latter (the Visigoths) retained the old system of accented vowels, the former changed e to a diphthong ie, ó became uo, ue, and moreover e and i became ei, o and u became ou; a was changed to a, assuming that these vowels were long in accordance with the later Latin pronunciation, e.g.

Lat. debere nepote pede mola pratu North Fr. deveir nevout piet muele pret South Fr. dever nebot pe mola prat The northern group, moreover, weakened the consonants still further. D and g, secondary consonants from t and c, disappear like the primary ones, and thus pratellus becomes preau, S. Fr. pradel; advocatus becomes avoue, S. Fr. avogat; a secondary p (from b) becomes v, as we see by the form which replaces nepos 'above. If we are right in ascribing this to the effort to stress the accented vowel at the expense of the other constituents of the word, we may take this to be connected with the weakening of a where final, and between two accented syllables, e.g. N. Fr. aime from amat, as against S. Fr. ama; or in one case armeure (Mod. Fr. armure), in the other armadura, from armatura. Parallel to the preservation of -s on the one hand, and the close following of the old flexions on the other, we find the type membra preserved at first, though not spreading, whereas the tempora-type is abandoned. In the verb the variety in Latin perfect forms is still fairly well preserved, though there is a distinct extension of the u-perfect and the dedi-perfect. As we might expect, the vocabulary seems to be strongly coloured by Germanic elements of Frankish, Burgundian and Gothic origin.

The Raetic dialects, in their prehistoric phase, are less clear than others. Their contact, at an age nearing the Carolingian, with the French of the south-east in Valais seems to have caused a similar process of growth, especially as they change e and o into the diphthongs ei and ou, leaving at the same time the consonants more intact. At an early stage the inroads of the migrating nations cut off Raetia from the Po valley, and the pressure of the German tribes severed its union with the Romance-speaking nations of the west. Thus isolated it was free to follow its own course. This language also preserved at first the three cases and the type membra, the latter being developed later freely in use as a collective plural. But its further development was checked by the Lombards and Venetians.

But the most difficult problems are those that arise in Italy. Though one may say generally that the dialects of the region of the Po, and those of Liguria, belong to the types of north and western Romance, that is to say that the breathed plosives between vowels became voiced, yet they approach the typically Italian groups by their loss of -s. This means that when the whole Italian peninsula was separated from Gaul as well as from Iberia (after the close of the 5th century) and became again one homogeneous whole, the forms without s found their way into the north of Italy only slowly, so that s has remained in the west, i.e. in Piedmont, in monosyllabic words to this day, e.g. as, " thou hast," ses, " thou art "; the same rule prevailed in older times in the east, in Venice, and there the s was also preserved (in questions) in polysyllabic words, e.g. venis-tu, " comest thou? "; and the old form maintained itself in Milanese in the single form sistu, " art thou ? " To the loss of s we trace the extinction of declensions, but as its action began to take effect later, the membra-type gained little footing, the tempora-type none at all. In the vocabulary the Lombard elements are numerous, extending, like the supremacy of the Lombards, over the whole peninsula. It may be that s was lost under the influence of central Italy acting on the north. If so, we may surmise that a similar influence has changed cl, p1, and fl to chi, pi, fi (chiamare, pianta, fiamma). For it is precisely this point that differentiates both the Raetic dialects and Provencal from the contiguous Italian dialects, and the change certainly took place only after the latter were completely detached. On the other hand the Italian vocabulary has been strongly influenced by the north, especially in Tuscany.

The rise and development of the Romance languages, in its large outline, appeals to the imagination as a vast historical phenomenon closely bound up with the fate of nations. One other element must not be overlooked on which we have touched more than once in the above sketch, for it bears so directly on the Romance vocabulary as to deserve the tribute of a general survey: this is the Germanic.

When mercenaries of Germanic origin pervaded the Roman armies, Germanic words found their way first into the language of the camp, and thence into the vulgar language generally. And at that stage perhaps many words may actually have been imported which were, partly at any rate, lost again later. Roman and Greek authors admit a considerable number of Germanic words, including terms belonging to warfare, e.g. bandum, " standard," used by Procopius, which still continues in the form of O. Fr. ban, Ital. bandiera, Sp. bandera, &c. Brutis, " bride," " daughter-in-law," which occurs frequently in inscriptions, may date from the period of camp life, but for the rest it is retained only in Fr. bru, and in Friuli and Dalmatia. On the other hand, companio is clearly a Latinization of Gothic ga-hlaifa, the meaning of which carries us back to the same sphere. Other old words express ideas of culture, or names of animals which the Romans learned to know in the German-speaking north, e.g. ganta, " wild goose " (in Pliny), O. Fr. gante, Prov. ganta; or taxo, "badger," Ital. tassone, Fr. taisson, Sp. tejon. But the impression made was not pronounced until the age of the Germanic invasions, and then we find a great variety in the various Romance countries. In Italy we have two invasions to consider - by the Goths, and by the Lombards. But the destruction of the rule of the Lombards by Charlemagne, and the introduction of Frankish elements consequent upon it, should not be considered under the same head, since these Franks may themselves have been a Romance-speaking tribe. Goths as well as Lombards have left a trail as noticeable in the language as elsewhere. Thus we find in several instances some uncertainty as between b and p as an initial sound in Italian words borrowed from Germanic, e.g. banca and panca, balla and palla, the forms with b being Gothic, those with p Lombardic. Or again recare, " to bring up," goes back to Gothic rikan, " heap up," " collect "; ricco, " rich," to Lomb. rihhi, &c. Whereas the vocabulary shows impartially an impress of both nationalities, the Lombards have left their stamp unmistakably on the proper names. Speaking generally, Italy as well as the other Romance countries follows the rule that medieval names of persons are either " Christian " (in the strict sense) and therefore of Hebrew or Graeco-Roman origin, or on the other hand Germanic. Roman names that are not also Christian seem to have survived only in south Italy in any great number, while on the contrary the Germanic are not represented at all in Dalmatia. One of the characteristics of Gothic is the change of e to i, so that it has names ending in -mir. Of these we find no trace whatever in Italy, on the contrary we find Gundimar, Ildimar, &c. Then we have abbreviated forms in izzo, e.g. Gaudizzo, Albizzo, &c., which are distinctly Lombardic; but not Gothic ones in -ila. There is no parallel to all this in the Iberian peninsula. As we have already said, the Gothic contribution to the vocabulary is very slight. But on the other hand in the th century the great majority of proper names is Gothic, e.g. Alfonsus (Hadufonsus), Gundomirus, Recimirus, &c.; or Recila, Fafila, or Elvira, O. Port. Gelvira, Goth. *Gailavira, and scores of others, all proving the great influence of Gothic.

And lastly, France possesses the largest number of Germanic elements in its vocabulary, Gothic in the south, Frankish in the north (though it is often impossible to ascertain to which class they belong). But beside these there are many Old High German words, and again Anglo-Saxon and northern ones, more particularly those connected with shipping and the sea. These Germanic elements cover nearly all branches of human activity. Thus bat, Fr. bettir, " to build," from *bastyan, " to bind together with bast," " to plait "; hourder," to cover with boards," from hurdi," hurdle "; mason, " the mason," in Isidore makjo (Frankish rather than Gothic) refer to house-building; guacher from waskyan, broder from *brusdan, point to the occupations of women, and danser from dinsan and O. Fr. treschier, " to dance," from treskan, " to thresh," to their amusements. Women's work is probably denoted further in rouir, rotjan, and E. Frank. naisier, natjan, " to net "; the same remark applies to the dyeing of cloths (Fr. touaille, Engl. " towel," from thwahila), and ribbons (bande from binda) with guede, " woad," and other colouring matters, whence we have, e.g., brun, bleu, blond, blanc. But while the vocabulary has had its accessions drawn from various races, the proper names show the same rules as in Italian, i.e. Frankish gains the sole supremacy. We find, it must be admitted, some Gothic names in -mir in the south early in the middle ages, but they were not maintained as late as the Romance period, such was the influence of the victorious northern race.

Even after political and literary independence had enabled the individual Romance languages to grow as separate units on their own basis, they retained their interconnexion and were open to mutual influence. But this influence is only partial, i.e. it affects nothing but the vocabulary, and has a certain relation to various tendencies in the developments of civilization. And under this head the most important point is the really enormous influence which France (both south and north) has exercised on all the Romance countries, just as she has on the Germanic - an influence which has hitherto not been duly recognized. The first traces go back to the invasions of Charlemagne already mentioned. To instance only one, we have schiavino, " justice, alderman," which cannot be derived directly from the Germanic, as is shown by the v. The second important period is the age of chivalry and the literary tendencies centring round it. A word like budriere, " baldric," is derived from Fr. baudrier, not directly from Germanic Balderich; Ital. banda goes back to O. Fr. bande, and this again to binda; Ital. giallo is not from galbinus but from O. Fr. jalne (Mod. Fr. jaune), derived from that word, &c. But it seems that in one of the prehistoric periods the Tuscan vocabulary was strongly affected by that of the Gallo-Romanic. Whereas in the Iberian peninsula, in Sardinia, in south Italy, Rumania and Rhaetia dies survives, in O. Fr. di has been almost completely ousted by jour, but in Tuscan and the Italian literary language we find giorno and di side by side. Thus trouver, Prov. trobar, spreading from France into Italy, drove the old aflare more and more back towards the south. The most recent layer was introduced during the reign of the house of Anjou chiefly in south Italy and Sicily, and kept its hold to the present day in spite of the Sicilian Vespers, e.g. Sic. vuccieri, " butcher," from Fr. boucher. The Iberian peninsula can likewise bear witness as to French influence, e.g. O. Sp. fonta, " shame," is not from Goth, *haunitha, but from Fr. honte; O. Port. saluer not from Lat. salutare, but O. Fr. saluer. On the whole, Portuguese seems to possess more of these Gallicisms than Spanish, history supplying a simple explanation.

Italy too yielded its contributions, especially in the 15th and 16th centuries, many military terms (noble and ignoble), e.g. French carogne and canaille; poignard, " dagger," from Ital. pugnale, instead of O. Fr. poigniel; but also panache, " plume," from pennacchio, and many others that have become common property. But the influence of the Iberian peninsula on the contrary was not so strong as to be more than sporadic; the Sicilian and Neapolitan vocabularies alone are more closely akin to Spanish, and this is easily explained on the ground of their political and commercial relations.

As to the Romance languages beyond Europe we have but little to say. There is a distinction to be made between Creole and genuine Romance. Belonging to the latter we have the French of Canada, the Spanish of Central and South America, the Portuguese of the Brazils. Speaking generally we may say that the particular languages retained the form of the language in the 16th and 17th centuries, that is to say that of the time of the immigration, and that they developed along the lines already established.

Thus in Mexican Spanish the loss of d, g, between vowels, of s before consonants and as a final, has been carried further than in the mother-country. There are no proved traces of any noticeable influence from the languages of the natives.

Literature. - The real founder of scientific Romance philology and linguistics is Friedrich Diez, in his Grammatik der romanischen Sprachen (3 vols., Bonn, 1836-42), and Etymologisches Worterbuch der romanischen Sprachen (2 vols., 1852). All questions concerning Romance philology and the historic grammar of the different Romance languages are treated in G. Grober's Grundriss der romanischen Philologie (2nd ed., Strassburg, 1906), and in W. Meyer-Liibke's Grammatik der romanischen Sprachen (4 vols., Leipzig, 1890-1900); Einfiihrung in die romanische Sprachwissenschaft (2nd ed., Heidelberg, 1909). The principal magazines devoted to the subject are Zeitschrift fiir romanische Philologie (ed. Grober; since 1877); Zeitschrift fiir neufranzosische Sprache and Literatur (ed. Behrens; since 1879); Romanische Forschungen (ed. Vollmoller; since 1885); Archiv fiir das Studium der neueren Sprachen (since 1846); Romania (ed. G. Paris and P. Meyer; since 1812); Archivio glottologico italiano (ed. G. I. Ascoli; since 1873). The great development of Romanic philology after Diez is due principally to A. Tobler, G. Grober, W. Forster and H. Suchier in Germany; A. Mussafia (d. 1905), H. Schuchardt in Austria; G. Paris (d. 1905), P. Meyer in France; G. I. Ascoli (d. 1907), and F. d'Ovidio in Italy.

(W. M.-L.)

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Simple English

Lighter colors mean that the language is not official, but important]]

The Romance languages are a language family in the Indo-European languages. They started from Vulgar Latin. The biggest Romance languages are Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Romanian.



[[File:|right|thumb|200px|Percentage of speakers of each Romance language, out of the total speakers of all the Romance languages]] The Romance language family is one of the biggest in the world, and in total there are 690 million speakers.

Spanish is the biggest Romance language, then Portuguese, and then French.

Spanish is mainly spoken in Spain and Latin America. Portuguese is mostly in Portugal and Latin America. French is spoken in France, Canada, and a lot of Africa.

List of Romance languages

Eastern Romance

Italo-Western Romance


Western Romance languages

Gallo-Iberian languages
Gallo-Romance languages
Iberian Romance languages
Pyrenean-Mozarabic languages

Southern Romance


Family tree of Romance languages

Classical Latin
Vulgar Latin
Continental Romance
Sardinian dialects
Italo-Western Romance
Eastern Romance
Western Romance
Balkan Romance
Albanian words
Occitano Romance


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