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Romance languages

Modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

Quick facts: Romance, Geographic distribution, Linguistic ...
Originated in Old Latium, Southern, Western and Eastern Europe; now also spoken in a majority of the countries of the Americas, in parts of Africa and in parts of Southeast Asia and Oceania
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Early forms
ISO 639-2 / 5roa
Linguasphere51- (phylozone)
Romance languages in Europe
Romance languages in the World
  Majority native language
  Co-official and majority native language
  Official but minority native language
  Cultural or secondary language

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

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

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