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Romance language

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The Romance languages are a subfamily of the Italic languages, specifically the descendants of the Vulgar Latin dialects spoken by the common people evolving in different areas after the break-up of the Roman Empire.

The modern Romance languages differ from Classical Latin in a number of fundamental respects:

Latin itself is treated as an Italic but not a Romance language.

Grosso modo, from west to east, the Romance variants, or dialects, form a continuum. Portuguese, French, and Romanian are the three extreme deviations, though this does not imply that they are totally distinct. Sardinian is the most isolated and conservative variant. Languedocian Occitan could be tagged as the central "Western Romance by default":

The classification below is largely based on the analysis provided at ethnologue.com. The ISO-639-2 code roa is applied by the ISO for any Romance language that does not have its own code.

The Southern group

  • Sardinian Four versions recognized; all are included in ISO 639-1 code, sc; ISO 639-2 code, srd)
  • Corsican - (SIL Code, COI; ISO 639-1 code, co; ISO 639-2 code, cos)

The Italo-Western group
The Western sub-group
. .Gallo-Iberian division
. . .Ibero-Romance sub-division
. . . .West Iberian section

  • Asturo-Leonese
  • Castilian
    • Spanish - (SIL Code, SPN; ISO 639-1 code, es; ISO 639-2 code, spa)
    • Spanish, Loreto-Ucayali - (SIL Code, SPQ; ISO 639-2 code, roa)
    • Judaeo-Spanish (Ladino) - (SIL Code, SPJ; ISO 639-2 code, lad)
    • Extremaduran - (SIL Code, EXT; ISO 639-2 code, roa)
    • Calˇ[?] - (SIL Code, RMR; ISO 639-2 code, roa)
  • Portuguese-Galician
    • Portuguese - (SIL Code, POR; ISO 639-1 code, pt; ISO 639-2 code, por)
    • Galician - (SIL Code, GLN; ISO 639-1 code, gl; ISO 639-2 code, glg)
    • Fala[?] - (SIL Code, FAX; ISO 639-2 code, roa)
. . . .East Iberian section
. . . .Oc section
. . .Gallo-Romance sub-division
. . . .Gallo-Rhaetian section
  • Rhaetian
    • Friulian[?] - (SIL Code, FRL; ISO 639-2 code, fur)
    • Ladin[?] - (SIL Code, LLD; ISO 639-2 code, roa)
    • Romansh - (SIL Code, RHE; ISO 639-1 code, rm; ISO 639-2 code, roh)
  • Langues d'O´l
    • French (langue d'o´l)
      • Standard French - (SIL Code, FRN; ISO 639-1 code, fr; ISO 639-2(B) code, fre; ISO 639-2(T) code, fra)
      • Cajun French[?] - (SIL Code, FRC; ISO 639-2 code, roa)
      • Picard[?] - (SIL Code, PCD; ISO 639-2 code, roa)
      • Zarphatic[?] - (SIL Code, ZRP; ISO 639-2 code, roa) - extinct
    • Franco-Provenšal[?] - (SIL Code, FRA; ISO 639-2 code, roa)
. . . .Gallo-Italian section . .Pyrenean-Mozarabic division
  • Pyrenean
    • Aragonese - (SIL Code, AXX; ISO 639-1 code, an;ISO 639-2 code, arg)
  • Mozarabic
    • Mozarabic[?] - (SIL Code, MXI; ISO 639-2 code, roa) - Extinct for common speech
The Italo-Dalmatian sub-group The Eastern group
    • Romanian - (SIL Code, RUM; ISO 639-1 code, ro; ISO 639-2(B) code, rum; ISO 639-2(T) code, ron) - Includes Daco-Rumanian.
Also as Moldovan - (ISO 639-1 code, mo; ISO 639-2 code, mol)

Here are some criteria that distinguish subgroups of the Romance languages:

Formation of plurals
Some Romance languages form plurals by adding "s" (derived from Latin accusative case), while others form the plural by changing the final vowel - "o"/"e" to "i", or "a" to "e" (derived from Latin nominative case).

  • Plural in "s": Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, French
  • Vowel change: Italian, Romanian.

Omission of final Latin vowels
Some Romance languages omit the final unstressed vowels from the Latin roots - for example: Latin LUPUS, LUNA become Italian LUPO, LUNA or Spanish LOBO, LUNA but French LOUP, LUNE.

  • Final vowels retained: Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Romanian
  • Final vowels retained in feminine only: Catalan.
  • Final vowels dropped: French.

Word for "more"
Some languages use a version of PLUS, others a version of MAGIS.

  • PLUS-derived: French, Italian
  • MAGIS-derived: Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Romanian

Sedecim vs. Decem-et-sex
In some languages the word for 16 is morphematim "sixteen", like 11-15; in others it is "ten-and-six", like 17-19.

  • Sedecim: Catalan, French, Italian, Romanian.
  • Decem-et-sex: Portuguese, Spanish.

To have and to hold
The words "habere" and "tenere" are used differently for "to hold", "to have", "to have (done)", and "there is".

For instance, in French, je tiens, j'ai, j'ai fait, il y a: these are respectively derived from "tenere", "habere", "habere", "habere". Thus "THHH".

  • TTTT: Portuguese (Brazil).
  • TTTH: Portuguese/Galician.
  • TTHH: Spanish, Catalan.
  • THHH: French.
  • THHB: Romanian, Italian (B for "to be")

To have or to be
Some languages use "have" as an auxiliary verb to form the perfect forms (e.g. French: passÚ composÚ) of all verbs; others use "be" for some verbs, generally those of motion or becoming.

  • "Have" only: Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian.
  • "Have" and "be": Catalan, French, Italian.

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