|Originated in Old Latium, Southern, Western and Eastern Europe; now also spoken in a vast majority of the American countries, in parts of Africa and in parts of Southeast Asia and Oceania|
|ISO 639-2 / 5||roa|
European Romance languages
Majority native language
Co-official and majority native language
Official but minority native language
Cultural or secondary language
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The Romance languages, less commonly referred to as Latin languages or Neo-Latin languages, are the various modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the 3rd and 8th centuries. They are the only extant subgroup of the Italic languages in the Indo-European language family. The six most widely spoken Romance languages by number of native speakers are Spanish (489 million), Portuguese (283 million), French (77 million), Italian (67 million), Romanian (24 million), and Catalan (4.5 million). Among all the Romance languages, including national and regional languages, Sardinian, Italian and Spanish are the least differentiated from Latin. The most divergent to Latin is French, which was heavily influenced by Germanic languages; however, all Romance languages are closer to each other than to classical Latin. [better source needed]
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 lingua franca. This is especially true of French, which is in widespread use throughout Central and West Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Djibouti, Lebanon, and the western Maghreb.
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:
The term Romance derives from the Vulgar Latin adverb romanice, "in Roman", 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 living outside the Roman Empire). From this adverb the noun romance originated, which applied initially to anything written romanice, or "in the Roman vernacular".
Lexical and grammatical similarities among the Romance languages, and between Latin and each of them, are apparent from the following examples in various Romance lects, all meaning 'She always closes the window before she dines/before dining'.
|Latin||(Ea) semper antequam cenat fenestram claudit.|
|Vulgar Latin||Illa/ipsa claudit (or in Late Latin, serrat) semper illa fenestra antequa (or later, only in Italy, prima) de cenare|
|Apulian||(Jèdde) akjude sèmbe la fenèstre prime de mangè.|
|Aragonese||(Ella) zarra siempre a finestra antes de cenar.|
|Aromanian||(Ea/Nâsa) ãncljidi/nkidi totna firida/fireastra ninti di tsinã.|
|Asturian||(Ella) pieslla siempres la ventana enantes de cenar.|
|Cantabrian||(Ella) tranca siempri la ventana enantis de cenar.|
|Catalan||(Ella) sempre tanca la finestra abans de sopar.|
|Northern Corsican||Ella chjode/chjude sempre lu/u purtellu avanti/nanzu di cenà.|
|Southern Corsican||Edda/Idda sarra/serra sempri u purteddu nanzu/prima di cinà.|
|Emilian (Reggiano)||(Lē) la sèra sèmpar sù la fnèstra prima ad snàr.|
|Emilian (Bolognese)||(Lî) la sèra sänper la fnèstra prémma ed dṡnèr.|
|Emilian (Piacenza Language)||Ad sira lé la sèra seimpar la finéstra prima da seina.|
|Extremaduran||(Ella) afecha siempri la ventana antis de cenal.|
|Franco-Provençal||(Le) sarre toltin/tojor la fenétra avan de goutâ/dinar/sopar.|
|French||Elle ferme toujours la fenêtre avant de dîner/souper.|
|Friulian||(Jê) e siere simpri il barcon prin di cenâ.|
|Galician||(Ela) pecha/fecha sempre a fiestra/xanela antes de cear.|
|Gallurese||Idda chjude sempri lu balconi primma di cinà.|
|Italian||(Ella/lei) chiude (archaic: serra) sempre la finestra prima (archaic: avanti) di cenare.|
|Judaeo-Spanish||אֵילייה סֵירּה סײֵמפּרֵי לה בֵֿינטאנה אנטֵיס דֵי סֵינאר. Ella cerra siempre la ventana antes de cenar.|
|Ladin||Badiot: Ëra stlüj dagnora la finestra impröma de cenè.|
Centro Cadore: La sera sempre la fenestra gnante de disna.
Auronzo di Cadore: La sera sempro la fenestra davoi de disnà.
Gherdëina: Ëila stluj for l viere dan maië da cëina.
|Leonese||(Eilla) pecha siempre la ventana primeiru de cenare.|
|Ligurian||(Le) a saera sempre u barcun primma de cenà.|
|(Lé) la sèra sèmper sö la finèstra prima de senà.|
|Lombard (west.)||(Lee) la sara sù semper la finestra primma de disnà/scenà.|
|Magoua||(Elle) à fàrm toujour là fnèt àvan k'à manj.|
|Mirandese||(Eilha) cerra siempre la bentana/jinela atrás de jantar.|
|Neapolitan||Essa 'nzerra sempe 'a fenesta primma d'a cena / 'e magnà.|
|Norman||Lli barre tréjous la crouésie devaunt de daîner.|
|Occitan||(Ela) barra/tanca 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.|
|Romagnol||(Lia) la ciud sëmpra la fnèstra prëma ad magnè.|
|Romanian||Ea închide întotdeauna fereastra înainte de a cina.|
|Romansh||Ella clauda/serra adina la fanestra avant ch'ella tschainia.|
|South Sardinian (Campidanese)||Issa serrat semp(i)ri sa bentana in antis de cenai|
|North Sardinian (Logudorese)||Issa serrat semper sa bentana in antis de chenàre.|
|Sassarese||Edda sarra sempri lu balchoni primma di zinà.|
|Sicilian||Iḍḍa ncasa sempri a finesṭṛa prima ’i manciari â sira.|
|Spanish||(Ella) siempre cierra la ventana antes de cenar/comer.|
|Tuscan||Lei chiude sempre la finestra prima di cenà.|
|Umbrian||Lia chiude sempre la finestra prima de cenà.|
|Venetian||Eła ła sara/sera senpre ła fenestra vanti de diznar.|
|Walloon||Èle sere todi l'fignèsse divant d'soper.|
|Haitian Creole||Li toujou fèmen fenèt la avan li mange.|
|Mauritian Creole||Li pou touzour ferm lafnet la avan (li) manze.|
|Seychellois Creole||Y pou touzour ferm lafnet aven y manze.|
|Papiamento||E muhe semper ta sera e bentana promé ku e kome.|
|Kriolu||Êl fechâ sempre janela antes de jantâ.|
|Chavacano||Ta cerrá él siempre con la ventana antes de cená.|
|Palenquero||Ele ta cerrá siempre ventana antes de cená.|
Some of the divergence comes from semantic change: where the same root words have developed different meanings. For example, the Portuguese word fresta is descended from Latin fenestra "window" (and is thus cognate to French fenêtre, Italian finestra, Romanian fereastră and so on), but now means "skylight" and "slit". Cognates may exist but have become rare, such as finiestra in Spanish, or dropped out of use entirely. The Spanish and Portuguese terms defenestrar meaning "to throw through a window" and fenestrado meaning "replete with windows" also have the same root, but are later borrowings 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 jantar (related to archaic Spanish yantar "to eat") because of semantic changes in the 19th century. Galician has both fiestra (from medieval fẽestra, the ancestor of standard Portuguese fresta) and the less frequently used ventá and xanela.
As an alternative to lei (originally the genitive form), Italian has the pronoun ella, a cognate of the other words for "she", but it is hardly ever used in speaking.
Spanish, Asturian, and Leonese ventana and Mirandese and Sardinian bentana come from Latin ventus "wind" (cf. English window, etymologically 'wind eye'), and Portuguese janela, Galician xanela, Mirandese jinela from Latin *ianuella "small opening", a derivative of ianua "door".
Sardinian balcone (alternative for ventàna/bentàna) comes from Old Italian and is similar to other Romance languages such as French balcon (from Italian balcone), Portuguese balcão, Romanian balcon, Spanish balcón, Catalan balcó and Corsican balconi (alternative for purtellu).
The Romance language most widely spoken natively today is Spanish, followed by Portuguese, French, Italian and Romanian, which together cover a vast territory in Europe and beyond, and work as official and national languages in dozens of countries.[citations needed]
French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Romanian are also official languages of the European Union. Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and Catalan were the official languages of the defunct Latin Union; and French and Spanish are two of the six official languages of the United Nations. Outside Europe, French, Portuguese and Spanish are spoken and enjoy official status in various countries that emerged from the respective colonial empires.[citations needed]
Spanish is an official language in Spain and in nine countries of South America, home to about half that continent's population; in six countries of Central America (all except Belize); and in Mexico. In the Caribbean, it is official in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. In all these countries, Latin American Spanish is the vernacular language of the majority of the population, giving Spanish the most native speakers of any Romance language. In Africa it is one of the official languages of Equatorial Guinea.[citations needed].
Portuguese, in its original homeland, Portugal, is spoken by virtually the entire population of 10 million. As the official language of Brazil, it is spoken by more than 200 million people in that country, as well as by neighboring residents of eastern Paraguay and northern Uruguay, accounting for a little more than half the population of South America, thus making Portuguese the most spoken official Romance language in a single country. It is the official language of six African countries (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, and São Tomé and Príncipe), and is spoken as a primary language by perhaps 30 million residents of that continent, most of them second-language speakers. In Asia, Portuguese is co-official with other languages in East Timor and Macau, while most Portuguese-speakers in Asia—some 400,000—are in Japan due to return immigration of Japanese Brazilians. In North America 1,000,000 people speak Portuguese as their home language. In Oceania, Portuguese is the second most spoken Romance language, after French, due mainly to the number of speakers in East Timor. Its closest relative, Galician, has official status in the autonomous community of Galicia in Spain, together with Spanish.
Outside Europe, French is spoken natively most in the Canadian province of Quebec, and in parts of New Brunswick and Ontario. Canada is officially bilingual, with French and English being the official languages. In parts of the Caribbean, such as Haiti, French has official status, but most people speak creoles such as Haitian Creole as their native language. French also has official status in much of Africa, with relatively few native speakers but larger numbers of second language speakers. French is spoken by around 300 to 400 million people in 2022 according to Ethnologue and the OIF. In Europe, French is spoken by 71 million native speakers and nearly 200 million Europeans can speak French, making French, the second most spoken language in Europe after English. French is also the second most studied language in the world behind English, with about 130 million learners in 2017.
Although Italy also had some colonial possessions before World War II, its language did not remain official after the end of the colonial domination. As a result, Italian outside of Italy and Switzerland is now spoken only as a minority language by immigrant communities in North and South America and Australia. In some former Italian colonies in Africa—namely Libya, Eritrea and Somalia—it is spoken by a few educated people in commerce and government.
Romania did not establish a colonial empire, and the native range of Romanian includes not only the former Soviet republic of Moldova, where it is the dominant language and spoken by a majority of the population, but neighboring areas in Serbia (Vojvodina and the Bor District), Bulgaria, Hungary, and Ukraine (Bukovina, Budjak) and in some villages between the Dniester and Bug rivers. As with Italian, Romanian is spoken outside of its ethnic range by immigrant communities, such as other European countries (notably Italy, Spain, and Portugal, where in all three of which Romanian-speakers form about two percent of the population), as well as to Israel by Romanian Jews, where it is the native language of five percent of the population, and is spoken by many more as a secondary language. The Aromanian language is spoken today by Aromanians in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, and Greece.
The total of 880 million native speakers of Romance languages (ca. 2020) are divided as follows:
Catalan is the official language of Andorra. In Spain, it is co-official with Spanish in Catalonia, the Valencian Community (under the name Valencian), and the Balearic Islands, and it is recognized, but not official, in an area of Aragon known as La Franja. In addition, it is spoken by many residents of Alghero, on the island of Sardinia, and it is co-official in that city. Galician, with more than a million native speakers, is official together with Spanish in Galicia, and has legal recognition in neighbouring territories in Castilla y León. A few other languages have official recognition on a regional or otherwise limited level; for instance, Asturian and Aragonese in Spain; Mirandese in Portugal; Friulian, Sardinian and Franco-Provençal in Italy; and Romansh in Switzerland.[citations needed]
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, recognizing them as mere "dialects", or even persecuting them. As a result, all of these languages are considered endangered to varying degrees according to the UNESCO Red Book of Endangered Languages, ranging from "vulnerable" (e.g. Sicilian and Venetian) to "severely endangered" (Franco-Provençal, most of the Occitan varieties). Since the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, increased sensitivity to the rights of minorities has 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.[citations needed]
Romance languages are the continuation of Vulgar Latin, the popular and colloquial sociolect of Latin spoken by soldiers, settlers, and merchants of the Roman Empire, as distinguished from the classical form of the language spoken by the Roman upper classes, the form in which the language was generally written. Between 350 BC and 150 AD, 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, western Germany, Pannonia and the whole Balkans.
During the Empire's decline, and after its fragmentation and the collapse of its Western half in the fifth and sixth centuries, the spoken varieties of Latin became more isolated from each other, with the western dialects coming under heavy Germanic influence (the Goths and Franks in particular) and the eastern dialects coming under Slavic influence. The dialects diverged from classical Latin at an accelerated rate and eventually evolved into a continuum of recognizably different typologies. The colonial empires established by Portugal, Spain, and France from the fifteenth century onward spread their languages to the other continents to such an extent that about two-thirds of all Romance language speakers today live outside Europe.
Despite other influences (e.g. substratum from pre-Roman languages, especially Continental Celtic languages; and superstratum from later Germanic or Slavic invasions), the phonology, morphology, and lexicon of all Romance languages consist mainly of evolved forms of Vulgar Latin. However, some notable differences occur between today's Romance languages and their Roman ancestor. With only one or two exceptions, Romance languages have lost the declension system of Latin and, as a result, have SVO sentence structure and make extensive use of prepositions.[citations needed]
Main article: Vulgar Latin
Documentary evidence is limited about Vulgar Latin for the purposes of comprehensive research, and the literature is often hard to interpret or generalize. Many of its speakers were soldiers, slaves, displaced peoples, and forced resettlers, more likely to be natives of conquered lands than natives of Rome. In Western Europe, Latin gradually replaced Celtic and other Italic languages, which were related to it by a shared Indo-European origin. Commonalities in syntax and vocabulary facilitated the adoption of Latin.
Vulgar Latin is believed to have already had most of the features shared by all Romance languages, which distinguish them from Classical Latin, such as the almost complete loss of the Latin grammatical case system and its replacement by prepositions; the loss of the neuter grammatical gender and 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/, /ɡ/, and /t/.[citations needed]
To some scholars, this suggests the form of Vulgar Latin that evolved into the Romance languages was around during the time of the Roman Empire (from the end of the first century BC), and was spoken alongside the written Classical Latin which was reserved for official and formal occasions. Other scholars argue that the distinctions are more rightly viewed as indicative of sociolinguistic and register differences normally found within any language. Both were mutually intelligible as one and the same language, which was true until very approximately the second half of the 7th century. However, within two hundred years Latin became a dead language since "the Romanized people of Europe could no longer understand texts that were read aloud or recited to them," i.e. Latin had ceased to be a first language and became a foreign language that had to be learned, if the label Latin is constrained to refer to a state of the language frozen in past time and restricted to linguistic features for the most part typical of higher registers.
With the rise of the Roman Empire, Vulgar Latin spread first throughout Italy and then through southern, western, central, and southeastern Europe, and northern Africa along parts of western Asia.: 1
During the political decline of the Western 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 Germanic and Slavic tribes, as well as by Huns. These incursions isolated the Vlachs from the rest of Romance-speaking Europe.[citations needed]
British and African Romance—the forms of Vulgar Latin used in Britain and the Roman province of Africa, where it had been spoken by much of the urban population—disappeared in the Middle Ages (as did Pannonian Romance in what is now Hungary, and Moselle Romance in Germany). But the Germanic tribes that had penetrated Roman Italy, Gaul, and Hispania eventually adopted Latin/Romance and the remnants of the culture of ancient Rome alongside existing inhabitants of those regions, and so Latin remained the dominant language there. In part due to regional dialects of the Latin language and local environments, several languages evolved from it.: 4
Meanwhile, large-scale migrations into the Eastern Roman Empire started with the Goths and continued with Huns, Avars, Bulgars, Slavs, Pechenegs, Hungarians and Cumans. The invasions of Slavs were the most thoroughgoing, and they partially reduced the Romanic element in the Balkans. The invasion of the Turks and conquest of Constantinople in 1453 marked the end of the empire. The Slavs named the Romance-speaking population Vlachs, while the latter called themselves "Rumân" or "Român", from the Latin "Romanus". The Daco-Roman dialect became fully distinct from the three dialects spoken South of the Danube—Aromanian, Istro-Romanian, and Megleno-Romanian—during the ninth and tenth centuries, when the Romanians (sometimes called Vlachs or Wallachians) emerged as a people.
Over the course of the fourth to eighth centuries, local changes in phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon accumulated to the point that the speech of any locale was noticeably different from another. In principle, differences between any two lects increased the more they were separated geographically, reducing easy mutual intelligibility between speakers of distant communities. Clear evidence of some levels of change is found in the Reichenau Glosses, an eighth-century compilation of about 1,200 words from the fourth-century Vulgate of Jerome that had changed in phonological form or were no longer normally used, along with their eighth-century equivalents in proto-Franco-Provençal. The following are some examples with reflexes in several modern Romance languages for comparison:
|English||Classical / 4th cent.
|once||semel||una vice||una fês||une fois||(ina giada)||(una volta)||una vez||uma vez||(o dată)||una vegada
|(una borta)||una fes
|n iede||na vota|
|children/infants||liberi / infantes||infantes||enfants||enfants||unfants||(bambini) /
|infantes (crianças)||(copii)||(nens, etc.) /
|(pipius) / (pitzinnos)||enfants||mutons||criature|
|to blow||flare / sofflare||suflare||soflar||souffler||suflar||soffiare||soplar||soprar||(a) sufla||(bufar)||sulai / sulare||bufar||suflé||sciuscià|
|to sing||canere||cantare||çhantar||chanter||chantar||cantare||cantar||cantar||(a) cânta||cantar||cantai / cantare||cantar||cianté||cantà|
|the best (plur.)||optimi / meliores||meliores||los mèljörs||les meilleurs||ils megliers||i migliori||los mejores||os melhores||(optimi,
cei mai buni)
|els millors||is mellus / sos menzus||Los/lei melhors||i miëures||'e meglie|
|beautiful||pulchra / bella||bella||bèla||belle||bella||bella||(hermosa, bonita, linda) /
(formosa, bonita, linda)
|frumoasă||(bonica, polida) /
|in the mouth||in ore||in bucca||en la boçhe||dans la bouche||in la bucca||nella bocca||en la boca||na boca||(a îmbuca)||a la boca||in sa buca||dins la boca||te la bocia||'n bocca (/ˈmmokkə/)|
|winter||hiems||hibernus||hìvern||hiver||inviern||inverno||invierno||inverno||iarnă||hivern||ierru / iberru||ivèrn||inviern||vierno|
In all of the above examples, the words appearing in the fourth century Vulgate are the same words as would have been used in Classical Latin of c. 50 BC. It is likely that some of these words had already disappeared from casual speech by the time of the Glosses; but if so, they may well have been still widely understood, as there is no recorded evidence that the common people of the time had difficulty understanding the language.
By the 8th century, the situation was very different. During the late 8th century, Charlemagne, holding that "Latin of his age was by classical standards intolerably corrupt",: 6 successfully imposed Classical Latin as an artificial written vernacular for Western Europe. Unfortunately, this meant that parishioners could no longer understand the sermons of their priests, forcing the Council of Tours in 813 to issue an edict that priests needed to translate their speeches into the rustica romana lingua, an explicit acknowledgement of the reality of the Romance languages as separate languages from Latin.: 6
By this time, and possibly as early as the 6th century according to Price (1984),: 6 the Romance lects had split apart enough to be able to speak of separate Gallo-Romance, Ibero-Romance, Italo-Romance and Eastern Romance languages. Some researchers[who?] have postulated that the major divergences in the spoken dialects began or accelerated considerably in the 5th century, as the formerly widespread and efficient communication networks of the Western Roman Empire rapidly broke down, leading to the total disappearance of the Western Roman Empire by the end of the century. The critical period between the 5th–10th centuries AD is poorly documented because little or no writing from the chaotic "Dark Ages" of the 5th–8th centuries has survived, and writing after that time was in consciously classicized Medieval Latin, with vernacular writing only beginning in earnest in the 11th or 12th century. An exception such as the Oaths of Strasbourg is evidence that by the ninth century effective communication with a non-learnèd audience was carried out in evolved Romance.
A language that was closely related to medieval Romanian was spoken during the Dark Ages by Vlachs in the Balkans, Herzegovina, Dalmatia (Morlachs), Ukraine (Hutsuls), Poland (Gorals), Slovakia, and Czech Moravia, but gradually these communities lost their maternal language.
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. Well before that, the vernacular was also used for practical purposes, such as the testimonies in the Placiti Cassinesi, written 960–963.
The invention of the printing press 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.
See also: Vulgar Latin
Significant sound changes affected the consonants of the Romance languages.
There was a tendency to eliminate final consonants in Vulgar Latin, either by dropping them (apocope) or adding a vowel after them (epenthesis).
Many final consonants were rare, occurring only in certain prepositions (e.g. ad "towards", apud "at, near (a person)"), conjunctions (sed "but"), demonstratives (e.g. illud "that (over there)", hoc "this"), and nominative singular noun forms, especially of neuter nouns (e.g. lac "milk", mel "honey", cor "heart"). Many of these prepositions and conjunctions were replaced by others, while the nouns were regularized into forms based on their oblique stems that avoided the final consonants (e.g. *lacte, *mele, *core).
Final -m was dropped in Vulgar Latin. Even in Classical Latin, final -am, -em, -um (inflectional suffixes of the accusative case) were often elided in poetic meter, suggesting the m was weakly pronounced, probably marking the nasalisation of the vowel before it. This nasal vowel lost its nasalization in the Romance languages except in monosyllables, where it became /n/ e.g. Spanish quien < quem "whom", French rien "anything" < rem "thing"; note especially French and Catalan mon < meum "my (m.sg.)" which are derived from monosyllabic /meu̯m/ > */meu̯n/, /mun/, whereas Spanish disyllabic mío and Portuguese and Catalan monosyllabic meu are derived from disyllabic /ˈme.um/ > */ˈmeo/.
As a result, only the following final consonants occurred in Vulgar Latin:
Final -t was eventually lost in many languages, although this often occurred several centuries after the Vulgar Latin period. For example, the reflex of -t was dropped in Old French and Old Spanish only around 1100. In Old French, this occurred only when a vowel still preceded the t (generally /ə/ < Latin a). Hence amat "he loves" > Old French aime but venit "he comes" > Old French vient: the /t/ was never dropped and survives into Modern French in liaison, e.g. vient-il? "is he coming?" /vjɛ̃ti(l)/ (the corresponding /t/ in aime-t-il? is analogical, not inherited). Old French also kept the third-person plural ending -nt intact.
In Italo-Romance and the Eastern Romance languages, eventually all final consonants were either lost or protected by an epenthetic vowel, except for some articles and a few monosyllabic prepositions con, per, in. Modern Standard Italian still has very few consonant-final words, although Romanian has resurfaced them through later loss of final /u/ and /i/. For example, amās "you love" > ame > Italian ami; amant "they love" > *aman > Ital. amano. On the evidence of "sloppily written" Lombardic language documents, however, the loss of final /s/ in northern Italy did not occur until the 7th or 8th century, after the Vulgar Latin period, and the presence of many former final consonants is betrayed by the syntactic gemination (raddoppiamento sintattico) that they trigger. It is also thought that after a long vowel /s/ became /j/ rather than simply disappearing: nōs > noi "we", se(d)ēs > sei "you are", crās > crai "tomorrow" (southern Italy). In unstressed syllables, the resulting diphthongs were simplified: canēs > /ˈkanej/ > cani "dogs"; amīcās > /aˈmikaj/ > amiche /aˈmike/ "(female) friends", where nominative amīcae should produce **amice rather than amiche (note masculine amīcī > amici not **amichi).
Central Western Romance languages eventually regained a large number of final consonants through the general loss of final /e/ and /o/, e.g. Catalan llet "milk" < lactem, foc "fire" < focum, peix "fish" < piscem. In French, most of these secondary final consonants (as well as primary ones) were lost before around 1700, but tertiary final consonants later arose through the loss of /ə/ < -a. Hence masculine frīgidum "cold" > Old French freit /frwεt/ > froid /fʁwa/, feminine frigidam > Old French freide /frwεdə/ > froide /fʁwad/.
For a table of examples of palatalized n and l in the Romance languages, see palatalization (sound change) § Mouillé.
Palatalization was one of the most important processes affecting consonants in Vulgar Latin. This eventually resulted in a whole series of "palatal" and postalveolar consonants in most Romance languages, e.g. Italian /ʃ/, /tʃ/, /dʒ/, /ts/, /dz/, /ɲ/, /ʎ/.
The following historical stages occurred:
|Stage||Environment||Consonants affected||Result||Languages affected|
|1||before /j/ (from e, i in hiatus)||/t/, /d/||/tsʲ/, /jj~dzʲ~ddʒʲ/||all|
|2||all remaining (/n/, /l/, /f, r, s, dz/), except labial consonants||/ɲɲ/, /ʎʎ/, /Cʲ/||all except Sardinian|
|3||/k/, /ɡ/||/ttʃʲ~ttsʲ/, /jj~ddʒʲ~ddzʲ/|
|4||before /i/||/tʃʲ~tsʲ/, /j~dʒʲ~dzʲ/|
|5||before /e/||all except Sardinian and Dalmatian|
|6||before /a/, /au/||/tɕ~tʃʲ/, /dʑ~dʒʲ/||the north-central Gallo-Romance languages (e.g. French, northern Occitan); Rhaeto-Romance|
Note how the environments become progressively less "palatal", and the languages affected become progressively fewer.
The outcomes of palatalization depended on the historical stage, the consonants involved, and the languages involved. The primary division is between the Western Romance languages, with /ts/ resulting from palatalization of /k/, and the remaining languages (Italo-Dalmatian and Eastern Romance), with /tʃ/ resulting. It is often suggested that /tʃ/ was the original result in all languages, with /tʃ/ > /ts/ a later innovation in the Western Romance languages. Evidence of this is the fact that Italian has both /ttʃ/ and /tts/ as outcomes of palatalization in different environments, while Western Romance has only /(t)ts/. Even more suggestive is the fact that the Mozarabic language in al-Andalus (modern southern Spain) had /tʃ/ as the outcome despite being in the "Western Romance" area and geographically disconnected from the remaining /tʃ/ areas; this suggests that Mozarabic was an outlying "relic" area where the change /tʃ/ > /ts/ failed to reach. (Northern French dialects, such as Norman and Picard, also had /tʃ/, but this may be a secondary development, i.e. due to a later sound change /ts/ > /tʃ/.) Note that /ts, dz, dʒ/ eventually became /s, z, ʒ/ in most Western Romance languages. Thus Latin caelum (sky, heaven), pronounced [ˈkai̯lu(m)] with an initial [k], became Italian cielo [ˈtʃɛːlo], Romanian cer [tʃer], Spanish cielo [ˈθjelo]/[ˈsjelo], French ciel [sjɛl], Catalan cel [ˈsɛɫ], and Portuguese céu [ˈsɛw].
The outcome of palatalized /d/ and /ɡ/ is less clear:
This suggests that palatalized /d/ > /dʲ/ > either /j/ or /dz/ depending on location, while palatalized /ɡ/ > /j/; after this, /j/ > /(d)dʒ/ in most areas, but Spanish and Gascon (originating from isolated districts behind the western Pyrenees) were relic areas unaffected by this change.
In French, the outcomes of /k, ɡ/ palatalized by /e, i, j/ and by /a, au/ were different: centum "hundred" > cent /sɑ̃/ but cantum "song" > chant /ʃɑ̃/. French also underwent palatalization of labials before /j/: Vulgar Latin /pj, bj~vj, mj/ > Old French /tʃ, dʒ, ndʒ/ (sēpia "cuttlefish" > seiche, rubeus "red" > rouge, sīmia "monkey" > singe).
The original outcomes of palatalization must have continued to be phonetically palatalized even after they had developed into alveolar/postalveolar/etc. consonants. This is clear from French, where all originally palatalized consonants triggered the development of a following glide /j/ in certain circumstances (most visible in the endings -āre, -ātum/ātam). In some cases this /j/ came from a consonant palatalized by an adjoining consonant after the late loss of a separating vowel. For example, mansiōnātam > /masʲoˈnata/ > masʲˈnada/ > /masʲˈnʲæðə/ > early Old French maisnieḍe /maisˈniɛðə/ "household". Similarly, mediētātem > /mejeˈtate/ > /mejˈtade/ > /mejˈtæðe/ > early Old French meitieḍ /mejˈtʲɛθ/ > modern French moitié /mwaˈtje/ "half". In both cases, phonetic palatalization must have remained in primitive Old French at least through the time when unstressed intertonic vowels were lost (?c.8th century), well after the fragmentation of the Romance languages.
The effect of palatalization is indicated in the writing systems of almost all Romance languages, where the letters have the "hard" pronunciation [k, ɡ] in most situations, but a "soft" pronunciation (e.g. French/Portuguese [s, ʒ], Italian/Romanian [tʃ, dʒ]) before ⟨e, i, y⟩. (This orthographic trait has passed into Modern English through Norman French-speaking scribes writing Middle English; this replaced the earlier system of Old English, which had developed its own hard-soft distinction with the soft ⟨c, g⟩ representing [tʃ, j~dʒ].) This has the effect of keeping the modern spelling similar to the original Latin spelling, but complicates the relationship between sound and letter. In particular, the hard sounds must be written differently before ⟨e, i, y⟩ (e.g. Italian ⟨ch, gh⟩, Portuguese ⟨qu, gu⟩), and likewise for the soft sounds when not before these letters (e.g. Italian ⟨ci, gi⟩, Portuguese ⟨ç, j⟩). Furthermore, in Spanish, Catalan, Occitan and Brazilian Portuguese, the use of digraphs containing ⟨u⟩ to signal the hard pronunciation before ⟨e, i, y⟩ means that a different spelling is also needed to signal the sounds /kw, ɡw/ before these vowels (Spanish ⟨cu, gü⟩, Catalan, Occitan and Brazilian Portuguese ⟨qü, gü⟩). This produces a number of orthographic alternations in verbs whose pronunciation is entirely regular. The following are examples of corresponding first-person plural indicative and subjunctive in a number of regular Portuguese verbs: marcamos, marquemos "we mark"; caçamos, cacemos "we hunt"; chegamos, cheguemos "we arrive"; averiguamos, averigüemos "we verify"; adequamos, adeqüemos "we adapt"; oferecemos, ofereçamos "we offer"; dirigimos, dirijamos "we drive" erguemos, ergamos "we raise"; delinquimos, delincamos "we commit a crime". In the case of Italian, the convention of digraphs <ch> and <gh> to represent /k/ and /ɡ/ before written <e, i> results in similar orthographic alternations, such as dimentico 'I forget', dimentichi 'you forget', baco 'worm', bachi 'worms' with [k] or pago 'I pay', paghi 'you pay' and lago 'lake', laghi 'lakes' with [ɡ]. The use in Italian of <ci> and <gi> to represent /tʃ/ or /dʒ/ before vowels written <a,o,u> neatly distinguishes dico 'I say' with /k/ from dici 'you say' with /tʃ/ or ghiro 'dormouse' /ɡ/ and giro 'turn, revolution' /dʒ/, but with orthographic <ci> and <gi> also representing the sequence of /tʃ/ or /dʒ/ and the actual vowel /i/ (/ditʃi/ dici, /dʒiro/ giro), and no generally observed convention of indicating stress position, the status of i when followed by another vowel in spelling can be unrecognizable. For example, the written forms offer no indication that <cia> in camicia 'shirt' represents a single unstressed syllable /tʃa/ with no /i/ at any level (/kaˈmitʃa/ → [kaˈmiːtʃa] ~ [kaˈmiːʃa]), but that underlying the same spelling <cia> in farmacia 'pharmacy' is a bisyllabic sequence consisting of the stressed syllable /tʃi/ and syllabic /a/ (/farmaˈtʃi.a/ → [farmaˈtʃiːa] ~ [farmaˈʃiːa]).
Stop consonants shifted by lenition in Vulgar Latin in some areas.
The voiced labial consonants /b/ and /w/ (represented by ⟨b⟩ and ⟨v⟩, respectively) both developed a fricative [β] as an intervocalic allophone. This is clear from the orthography; in medieval times, the spelling of a consonantal ⟨v⟩ is often used for what had been a ⟨b⟩ in Classical Latin, or the two spellings were used interchangeably. In many Romance languages (Italian, French, Portuguese, Romanian, etc.), this fricative later developed into a /v/; but in others (Spanish, Galician, some Catalan and Occitan dialects, etc.) reflexes of /b/ and /w/ simply merged into a single phoneme.
Several other consonants were "softened" in intervocalic position in Western Romance (Spanish, Portuguese, French, Northern Italian), but normally not phonemically in the rest of Italy (except some cases of "elegant" or Ecclesiastical words), nor apparently at all in Romanian. The dividing line between the two sets of dialects is called the La Spezia–Rimini Line and is one of the most important isoglosses of the Romance dialects. The changes (instances of diachronic lenition resulting in phonological restructuring) are as follows: Single voiceless plosives became voiced: -p-, -t-, -c- > -b-, -d-, -g-. Subsequently, in some languages they were further weakened, either becoming fricatives or approximants, [β̞], [ð̞], [ɣ˕] (as in Spanish) or disappearing entirely (as /t/ and /k/, but not /p/, in French). The following example shows progressive weakening of original /t/: e.g. vītam > Italian vita [ˈviːta], Portuguese vida [ˈvidɐ] (European Portuguese [ˈviðɐ]), Spanish vida [ˈbiða] (Southern Peninsular Spanish [ˈbi.a]), and French vie [vi]. Some scholars once speculated that these sound changes may be due in part to the influence of Continental Celtic languages, but scholarship of the past few decades challenges that hypothesis.
The sound /h/ was usually lost, except in Romanian. Some Romance languages re-developed /h/, however, notably Spanish (from /ʃ/, /ʒ/, or /ks/, and spelled as either "j" or soft "g", also syllable-final /s/) and Brazilian Portuguese (from /r/).
Consonant length is no longer phonemically distinctive in most Romance languages. However some languages of Italy (Italian, Sardinian, Sicilian, and numerous other varieties of central and southern Italy) do have long consonants like /bb/, /dd/, /ɡɡ/, /pp/, /tt/, /kk/, /ll/, /mm/, /nn/, /rr/, /ss/, etc., where the doubling indicates either actual length or, in the case of plosives and affricates, a short hold before the consonant is released, in many cases with distinctive lexical value: e.g. note /ˈnɔte/ (notes) vs. notte /ˈnɔtte/ (night), cade /ˈkade/ (s/he, it falls) vs. cadde /ˈkadde/ (s/he, it fell), caro /ˈkaro/ (dear, expensive) vs. carro /ˈkarro/ (cart, car). They may even occur at the beginning of words in Romanesco, Neapolitan, Sicilian and other southern varieties, 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|[dubious ] is realised as a trill /r/ in the same position. In much of central and southern Italy, the affricates /tʃ/ and /dʒ/ weaken synchronically to fricative [ʃ] and [ʒ] between vowels, while their geminate congeners do not, e.g. cacio /ˈkatʃo/ → [ˈkaːʃo] (cheese) vs. caccio /ˈkattʃo/ → [ˈkattʃo] (I chase). In Italian the geminates /ʃʃ/, /ɲɲ/, and /ʎʎ/ are pronounced as long [ʃʃ], [ɲɲ], and [ʎʎ] between vowels, but normally reduced to short following pause: lasciare 'let, leave' or la sciarpa 'the scarf' with [ʃʃ], but post-pausal sciarpa with [ʃ].
A few languages have regained secondary geminate consonants. The double consonants of Piedmontese exist only after stressed /ə/, written ë, and are not etymological: vëdde (Latin vidēre, to see), sëcca (Latin sicca, dry, feminine of sech). In standard Catalan and Occitan, there exists a geminate sound /lː/ written l·l (Catalan) or ll (Occitan), but it is usually pronounced as a simple sound in colloquial (and even some formal) speech in both languages.
In Late Latin a prosthetic vowel /i/ (lowered to /e/ in most languages) was inserted at the beginning of any word that began with /s/ (referred to as s impura) and a voiceless consonant (#sC- > isC-):
While Western Romance words fused the prosthetic vowel with the word, cognates in Balkan Romance and southern Italo-Romance did not, e.g. Italian scrivere, spada, spirito, Stefano, and stato. In Italian, syllabification rules were preserved instead by vowel-final articles, thus feminine spada as la spada, but instead of rendering the masculine *il spaghetto, lo spaghetto came to be the norm. Though receding at present, Italian once had a prosthetic /i/ maintaining /s/ syllable-final if a consonant preceded such clusters, so that 'in Switzerland' was in [i]Svizzera. Some speakers still use the prothetic [i] productively, and it is fossilized in a few set locutions such as in ispecie 'especially' or per iscritto 'in writing' (a form whose survival may have been buttressed in part by the word iscritto < Latin īnscrīptus); this is because in Italian, a syllable-final position cannot be more than 1 consonant in all native words. The association of /i/ ~ /j/ and /s/ also led to the vocalization of word-final -s in Italian, Romanian, certain Occitan dialects, and the Spanish dialect of Chocó in Colombia.[dubious ]
|Sicilian||Balkan Romance||Western Romance|
|ī||long i||/iː/||/i/||i||/iː/ [i]||/i/||/i/||/i/|
|i (ĭ)||short i||/i/||ẹ||/i/ [ɪ]||/e/||/e/|
|y (y̆)||short y||/y/|
|ē||long e||/eː/ [ɛː]||/e/||/e(ː)/ [e]|
|oe (œ)||oe||/oj/ > /eː/|
|e (ĕ)||short e||/e/ [ɛ]||ę||/ɛ(ː)/ [ɛ]||/ɛ/||/ɛ/||/ɛ/|
|ae (æ)||ae||/aj/ > /ɛː/|
|ā||long a||/aː/||/a/||a||/a(ː)/ [a]||/a/||/a/||/a/|
|a (ă)||short a||/a/|
|o (ŏ)||short o||/o/ [ɔ]||/o/||ǫ||/ɔ(ː)/ [ɔ]||/ɔ/||/o/||/ɔ/|
|ō||long o||/oː/ [ɔː]||ọ||/o(ː)/ [o]||/u/||/o/|
(a few words)
|au||/aw/ > /oː/|
|u (ŭ)||short u||/u/||/u/||/u/ [ʊ]||/u/|
|ū||long u||/uː/||u||/uː/ [u]||/u/|
|1 Traditional academic transcription in Latin and Romance studies, respectively.|
One profound change that affected Vulgar Latin was the reorganisation of its vowel system. Classical Latin had five short vowels, ă, ĕ, ĭ, ŏ, ŭ, and five long vowels, ā, ē, ī, ō, ū, each of which was an individual phoneme (see the table in the right, for their likely pronunciation in IPA), and four diphthongs, ae, oe, au and eu (five according to some authors, including ui). There were also long and short versions of y, representing the rounded vowel /y(ː)/ in Greek borrowings, which however probably came to be pronounced /i(ː)/ even before Romance vowel changes started.
There is evidence that in the imperial period all the short vowels except a differed by quality as well as by length from their long counterparts. So, for example ē was pronounced close-mid /eː/ while ĕ was pronounced open-mid /ɛ/, and ī was pronounced close /iː/ while ĭ was pronounced near-close /ɪ/.
During the Proto-Romance period, phonemic length distinctions were lost. Vowels came to be automatically pronounced long in stressed, open syllables (i.e. when followed by only one consonant), and pronounced short everywhere else. This situation is still maintained in modern Italian: cade [ˈkaːde] "he falls" vs. cadde [ˈkadde] "he fell".
The Proto-Romance loss of phonemic length originally produced a system with nine different quality distinctions in monophthongs, where only original /ă ā/ had merged. Soon, however, many of these vowels coalesced:
Further variants are found in southern Italy and Corsica, which also boasts a completely distinct system (see above).
The Proto-Romance allophonic vowel-length system was rephonemicized in the Gallo-Romance languages as a result of the loss of many final vowels. Some northern Italian languages (e.g. Friulian) still maintain this secondary phonemic length, but most languages dropped it by either diphthongizing or shortening the new long vowels.
French phonemicized a third vowel length system around AD 1300 as a result of the sound change /VsC/ > /VhC/ > /VːC/ (where V is any vowel and C any consonant). This vowel length began to be lost in Early Modern French, but the long vowels are still usually marked with a circumflex (and continue to be distinguished regionally, chiefly in Belgium). A fourth vowel length system, still non-phonemic, has now arisen: All nasal vowels as well as the oral vowels /ɑ o ø/ (which mostly derive from former long vowels) are pronounced long in all stressed closed syllables, and all vowels are pronounced long in syllables closed by the voiced fricatives /v z ʒ ʁ vʁ/. This system in turn has been phonemicized in some non-standard dialects (e.g. Haitian Creole), as a result of the loss of final /ʁ/.
The Latin diphthongs ae and oe, pronounced /ai/ and /oi/ in earlier Latin, were early on monophthongized.
ae became /ɛː/ by the 1st century a.d. at the latest. Although this sound was still distinct from all existing vowels, the neutralization of Latin vowel length eventually caused its merger with /ɛ/ < short e: e.g. caelum "sky" > French ciel, Spanish/Italian cielo, Portuguese céu /sɛw/, with the same vowel as in mele "honey" > French/Spanish miel, Italian miele, Portuguese mel /mɛl/. Some words show an early merger of ae with /eː/, as in praeda "booty" > *prēda /preːda/ > French proie (vs. expected **priée), Italian preda (not **prieda) "prey"; or faenum "hay" > *fēnum [feːnũ] > Spanish heno, French foin (but Italian fieno /fjɛno/).
oe generally merged with /eː/: poenam "punishment" > Romance */pena/ > Spanish/Italian pena, French peine; foedus "ugly" > Romance */fedo/ > Spanish feo, Portuguese feio. There are relatively few such outcomes, since oe was rare in Classical Latin (most original instances had become Classical ū, as in Old Latin oinos "one" > Classical ūnus) and so oe was mostly limited to Greek loanwords, which were typically learned (high-register) terms.
au merged with ō /oː/ in the popular speech of Rome already by the 1st century b.c. A number of authors remarked on this explicitly, e.g. Cicero's taunt that the populist politician Publius Clodius Pulcher had changed his name from Claudius to ingratiate himself with the masses. This change never penetrated far from Rome, however, and the pronunciation /au/ was maintained for centuries in the vast majority of Latin-speaking areas, although it eventually developed into some variety of o in many languages. For example, Italian and French have /ɔ/ as the usual reflex, but this post-dates diphthongization of /ɔ/ and the French-specific palatalization /ka/ > /tʃa/ (hence causa > French chose, Italian cosa /kɔza/ not **cuosa). Spanish has /o/, but Portuguese spelling maintains ⟨ou⟩, which has developed to /o/ (and still remains as /ou/ in some dialects, and /oi/ in others). Occitan, Romanian, southern Italian languages, and many other minority Romance languages still have /au/. A few common words, however, show an early merger with ō /oː/, evidently reflecting a generalization of the popular Roman pronunciation: e.g. French queue, Italian coda /koda/, Occitan co(d)a, Romanian coadă (all meaning "tail") must all derive from cōda rather than Classical cauda (but notice Portuguese cauda). Similarly, Spanish oreja, Portuguese orelha, French oreille, Romanian ureche, and Sardinian olícra, orícla "ear" must derive from ōric(u)la rather than Classical auris (Occitan aurelha was probably influenced by the unrelated ausir < audīre "to hear"), and the form oricla is in fact reflected in the Appendix Probi.
Main article: Metaphony (Romance languages)
An early process that operated in all Romance languages to varying degrees was metaphony (vowel mutation), conceptually similar to the umlaut process so characteristic of the Germanic languages. Depending on the language, certain stressed vowels were raised (or sometimes diphthongized) either by a final /i/ or /u/ or by a directly following /j/. Metaphony is most extensive in the Italo-Romance languages, and applies to nearly all languages in Italy; however, it is absent from Tuscan, and hence from standard Italian. In many languages affected by metaphony, a distinction exists between final /u/ (from most cases of Latin -um) and final /o/ (from Latin -ō, -ud and some cases of -um, esp. masculine "mass" nouns), and only the former triggers metaphony.
A number of languages diphthongized some of the free vowels, especially the open-mid vowels /ɛ ɔ/:
These diphthongizations had the effect of reducing or eliminating the distinctions between open-mid and close-mid vowels in many languages. In Spanish and Romanian, all open-mid vowels were diphthongized, and the distinction disappeared entirely. Portuguese is the most conservative in this respect, keeping the seven-vowel system more or less unchanged (but with changes in particular circumstances, e.g. due to metaphony). Other than before palatalized consonants, Catalan keeps /ɔ o/ intact, but /ɛ e/ split in a complex fashion into /ɛ e ə/ and then coalesced again in the standard dialect (Eastern Catalan) in such a way that most original /ɛ e/ have reversed their quality to become /e ɛ/.
In French and Italian, the distinction between open-mid and close-mid vowels occurred only in closed syllables. Standard Italian more or less maintains this. In French, /e/ and /ɛ/ merged by the twelfth century or so, and the distinction between /ɔ/ and /o/ was eliminated without merging by the sound changes /u/ > /y/, /o/ > /u/. Generally this led to a situation where both [e,o] and [ɛ,ɔ] occur allophonically, with the close-mid vowels in open syllables and the open-mid vowels in closed syllables. In French, both [e/ɛ] and [o/ɔ] were partly rephonemicized: Both /e/ and /ɛ/ occur in open syllables as a result of /aj/ > /ɛ/, and both /o/ and /ɔ/ occur in closed syllables as a result of /al/ > /au/ > /o/.
Old French also had numerous falling diphthongs resulting from diphthongization before palatal consonants or from a fronted /j/ originally following palatal consonants in Proto-Romance or later: e.g. pācem /patsʲe/ "peace" > PWR */padzʲe/ (lenition) > OF paiz /pajts/; *punctum "point" > Gallo-Romance */ponʲto/ > */pojɲto/ (fronting) > OF point /põjnt/. During the Old French period, preconsonantal /l/ [ɫ] vocalized to /w/, producing many new falling diphthongs: e.g. dulcem "sweet" > PWR */doltsʲe/ > OF dolz /duɫts/ > douz /duts/; fallet "fails, is deficient" > OF falt > faut "is needed"; bellus "beautiful" > OF bels [bɛɫs] > beaus [bɛaws]. By the end of the Middle French period, all falling diphthongs either monophthongized or switched to rising diphthongs: proto-OF /aj ɛj jɛj ej jej wɔj oj uj al ɛl el il ɔl ol ul/ > early OF /aj ɛj i ej yj oj yj aw ɛaw ew i ɔw ow y/ > modern spelling ⟨ai ei i oi ui oi ui au eau eu i ou ou u⟩ > mod. French /ɛ ɛ i wa ɥi wa ɥi o o ø i u u y/.
In both French and Portuguese, nasal vowels eventually developed from sequences of a vowel followed by a nasal consonant (/m/ or /n/). Originally, all vowels in both languages were nasalized before any nasal consonants, and nasal consonants not immediately followed by a vowel were eventually dropped. In French, nasal vowels before remaining nasal consonants were subsequently denasalized, but not before causing the vowels to lower somewhat, e.g. dōnat "he gives" > OF dune /dunə/ > donne /dɔn/, fēminam > femme /fam/. Other vowels remained nasalized, and were dramatically lowered: fīnem "end" > fin /fɛ̃/ (often pronounced [fæ̃]); linguam "tongue" > langue /lɑ̃ɡ/; ūnum "one" > un /œ̃/, /ɛ̃/.
In Portuguese, /n/ between vowels was dropped, and the resulting hiatus eliminated through vowel contraction of various sorts, often producing diphthongs: manum, *manōs > PWR *manu, ˈmanos "hand(s)" > mão, mãos /mɐ̃w̃, mɐ̃w̃s/; canem, canēs "dog(s)" > PWR *kane, ˈkanes > *can, ˈcanes > cão, cães /kɐ̃w̃, kɐ̃j̃s/; ratiōnem, ratiōnēs "reason(s)" > PWR *raˈdʲzʲone, raˈdʲzʲones > *raˈdzon, raˈdzones > razão, razões /χaˈzɐ̃w̃, χaˈzõj̃s/ (Brazil), /ʁaˈzɐ̃ũ, ʁɐˈzõj̃ʃ/ (Portugal). Sometimes the nasalization was eliminated: lūna "moon" > Galician-Portuguese lũa > lua; vēna "vein" > Galician-Portuguese vẽa > veia. Nasal vowels that remained actually tend to be raised (rather than lowered, as in French): fīnem "end" > fim /fĩ/; centum "hundred" > PWR tʲsʲɛnto > cento /ˈsẽtu/; pontem "bridge" > PWR pɔnte > ponte /ˈpõtʃi/ (Brazil), /ˈpõtɨ/ (Portugal).
Characteristic of the Gallo-Romance and Rhaeto-Romance languages are the front rounded vowels /y ø œ/. All of these languages show an unconditional change /u/ > /y/, e.g. lūnam > French lune /lyn/, Occitan /ˈlyno/. Many of the languages in Switzerland and Italy show the further change /y/ > /i/. Also very common is some variation of the French development /ɔː oː/ (lengthened in open syllables) > /we ew/ > /œ œ/, with mid back vowels diphthongizing in some circumstances and then re-monophthongizing into mid-front rounded vowels. (French has both /ø/ and /œ/, with /ø/ developing from /œ/ in certain circumstances.)
|e,ae||/ɛ/||ę||/ɛ/||/e/||/e/||/e/||/e/||∅; /e/ (prop)||∅; /ə/ (prop)|
|1 Traditional academic transcription in Romance studies.|
There was more variability in the result of the unstressed vowels. Originally in Proto-Romance, the same nine vowels developed in unstressed as stressed syllables, and in Sardinian, they coalesced into the same five vowels in the same way.
In Italo-Western Romance, however, vowels in unstressed syllables were significantly different from stressed vowels, with yet a third outcome for final unstressed syllables. In non-final unstressed syllables, the seven-vowel system of stressed syllables developed, but then the low-mid vowels /ɛ ɔ/ merged into the high-mid vowels /e o/. This system is still preserved, largely or completely, in all of the conservative Romance languages (e.g. Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan).
In final unstressed syllables, results were somewhat complex. One of the more difficult issues is the development of final short -u, which appears to have been raised to /u/ rather than lowered to /o/, as happened in all other syllables. However, it is possible that in reality, final /u/ comes from long *-ū < -um, where original final -m caused vowel lengthening as well as nasalization. Evidence of this comes from Rhaeto-Romance, in particular Sursilvan, which preserves reflexes of both final -us and -um, and where the latter, but not the former, triggers metaphony. This suggests the development -us > /ʊs/ > /os/, but -um > /ũː/ > /u/.
The original five-vowel system in final unstressed syllables was preserved as-is in some of the more conservative central Italian languages, but in most languages there was further coalescence:
Various later changes happened in individual languages, e.g.:
|Italian||Portuguese||Spanish||Catalan||Old French||Modern French|
|a, e, i, o, u||a, e, i, o, u||a, e, i, o||a, e/-, o||a, -/e||e, -/e|
The so-called intertonic vowels are word-internal unstressed vowels, i.e. not in the initial, final, or tonic (i.e. stressed) syllable, hence intertonic. Intertonic vowels were the most subject to loss or modification. Already in Vulgar Latin intertonic vowels between a single consonant and a following /r/ or /l/ tended to drop: vétulum "old" > veclum > Dalmatian vieklo, Sicilian vecchiu, Portuguese velho. But many languages ultimately dropped almost all intertonic vowels.
Generally, those languages south and east of the La Spezia–Rimini Line (Romanian and Central-Southern Italian) maintained intertonic vowels, while those to the north and west (Western Romance) dropped all except /a/. Standard Italian generally maintained intertonic vowels, but typically raised unstressed /e/ > /i/. Examples:
Portuguese is more conservative in maintaining some intertonic vowels other than /a/: e.g. *offerḗscere "to offer" > Portuguese oferecer vs. Spanish ofrecer, French offrir (< *offerīre). French, on the other hand, drops even intertonic /a/ after the stress: Stéphanum "Stephen" > Spanish Esteban but Old French Estievne > French Étienne. Many cases of /a/ before the stress also ultimately dropped in French: sacraméntum "sacrament" > Old French sairement > French serment "oath".
Main article: Latin script
The Romance languages for the most part have kept the writing system of Latin, adapting it to their evolution. One exception was Romanian before the nineteenth century, where, after the Roman retreat, literacy was reintroduced through the Romanian Cyrillic alphabet, a Slavic influence. A Cyrillic alphabet was also used for Romanian (then called Moldovan) in the USSR. The non-Christian populations of Spain also used the scripts of their religions (Arabic and Hebrew) to write Romance languages such as Ladino and Mozarabic in aljamiado.
not + ⟨e, i, y, ae, oe⟩
+ ⟨e, i, y, ae, oe⟩
not + ⟨e, i, y, ae, oe⟩
not + ⟨e, i, y, ae, oe⟩
+ ⟨e, i, y, ae, oe⟩ (inherited)
not + ⟨e, i, y, ae, oe⟩
+ ⟨e, i, y, ae, oe⟩, + ⟨e, i, y, ae, oe⟩
not + ⟨e, i, y, ae, oe⟩
not + ⟨e, i, y, ae, oe⟩
+ ⟨e, i, y, ae, oe⟩ (inherited)
not + ⟨e, i, y, ae, oe⟩ (inherited)
+ ⟨e, i, y, ae, oe⟩ (inherited)
|soft ⟨ti⟩ (learned)||⟨ci⟩||⟨ti⟩||⟨ci⟩||⟨zi⟩||⟨ți⟩|
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. Indeed, in Italian prose kilometro is properly chilometro. Portuguese and Catalan eschew importation of "foreign" letters more than most languages. Thus Wikipedia is Viquipèdia in Catalan but Wikipedia in Spanish; chikungunya, sandwich, kiwi are chicungunha, sanduíche, quiuí in Portuguese but chikunguña, sándwich, kiwi in Spanish.
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 auxiliary marks (diacritics) to some letters, for these and other purposes.
The spelling rules of most Romance languages are fairly simple, and consistent within any language. Since the spelling systems are based on phonemic structures rather than phonetics, however, the actual pronunciation of what is represented in standard orthography can be subject to considerable regional variation, as well as to allophonic differentiation by position in the word or utterance. Among the letters representing the most conspicuous phonological variations, between Romance languages or with respect to Latin, are the following:
Otherwise, letters that are not combined as digraphs generally represent the same phonemes as suggested by the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), whose design was, in fact, greatly influenced by Romance spelling systems.
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 phonemic value. The concept (but not the actual combinations) is derived 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:
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.
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 phonemic contrast between geminate and single consonants is widespread in Italian, and normally indicated in the traditional orthography: fatto /fatto/ 'done' vs. fato /fato/ 'fate, destiny'; cadde /kadde/ 's/he, it fell' vs. cade /kade/ 's/he, it falls'. The double consonants in French orthography, however, are merely etymological. In Catalan, the gemination of 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.
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 fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
In particular, all Romance languages 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, 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.
The tables below provide a vocabulary comparison that illustrates a number of examples of sound shifts that have occurred between Latin and Romance languages. Words are given in their conventional spellings. In addition, for French the actual pronunciation is given, due to the dramatic differences between spelling and pronunciation. (French spelling approximately reflects the pronunciation of Old French, c. 1200 AD.)
|man||homō, hominem||ómine||om||omu [ˈɔmʊ]||ommo [ˈɔmːə]||omu||uomo [ˈwɔmo]||òm(en~an)o [ˈɔm(en~an)o]; òm [ˈɔŋ]||òmmo [ɔmu]||òm(en)||òm(en) [ˈɔmɐn]||òm [ˈɔm]||om||um||homo||homme /ɔm/||òme [ˈɔme]||home||om(br)e||hombre||home||homem||home|
|woman, wife||Domina, femina, mulier, mulierem||Fémina, muzère||femeie, muiere||mugghieri
|femmena, [femːənə] mugliera
|donna, moglie||donna [dɔnːa]||dòna [ˈdɔna]; fémena [ˈfemena]; mujer [muˈjer]||mogê/dònna||mujér||dòna [dɔnɐ] /femna,[femnɐ] /
OOc mólher (nom.) /
|son||fīlium||fízu||fiu||figghiu [ˈfɪgːi̯ʊ]||figlio [ˈfiʎə]||figliu/figliolu||figlio [ˈfiʎːo]||fïo [ˈfi.o]; fiòƚo [ˈfi̯ɔ.e̯o]; fiol [ˈfi̯ɔl~ˈfi̯ol]||figeu [fidʒø]||fiōl||fiœl [ˈfi̯ø]||fieul [ˈfi̯øl]||fi||figl, fegl [fiʎ]||fily, fely||fils /fis/||filh [fiʎ]||fill||fillo||hijo||fíu||filho||fillo|
|water||aquam||àbba||apă||acqua [ˈakːua]||acqua [akːu̯ə]||acqua||acqua [akːwa]||aqua~aqoa [ˈaku̯a~ˈakoa];
aba~aiva [ˈaba~ˈai̯va]; buba [ˈbuba]; łénça [ˈensa~ˈlensa]
|ægoa [ɛgu̯a]||aqua||aqua/ova/eiva||eva [ˈevɑ]||aghe||aua||égoua||eau /o/||aiga [ˈai̯ga]||aigua||aigua, augua||agua||agua||água||auga|
|fire||focum||fócu||foc||focu [ˈfɔkʊ]||foco/(pere, from Greek "πυρ")||focu||fuoco [fu̯ɔko]||fógo [ˈfogo]; hógo [ˈhogo]||fêugo [føgu]||foeugh||fœg [ˈføk]||feu [ˈfø]||fûc||fieu||fuè||feu /fø/||fuòc [ˈfu̯ɔk]||foc||fuego||fuego||fueu||fogo||fogo|
|rain||pluviam||próida||ploaie||chiuvuta [ki̯ʊˈvʊta]||chiuvuta||pioggia||pioggia [pi̯ɔdʒːa]||piova [ˈpi̯ɔva~ˈpi̯ova]||ciêuva [tʃøva]||pioeuva||piœva [ˈpi̯øvɐ]||pieuva [ˈpi̯øvɑ]||ploe||plievgia||pllove||pluie /plɥi/||pluèja [pluɛjɔ]||pluja||plebia||lluvia||lluvia||chuva||choiva|
|land||terram||tèrra||țară||terra [tɛˈrːa]||terra [tɛrːə]||terra||terra [tɛrːa]||tèra [ˈtɛra]||tæra [tɛɾa]||tera||terra [ˈtɛɾɐ]||tèra [ˈtɛɾɑ]||tiere||terra/tiara||tèrra||terre /tɛʁ/||tèrra [ˈtɛrːo]||terra||tierra||tierra||tierra||terra||terra|
|stone||petra||pedra||piatră||petra [ˈpetra]||preta [ˈpɾɛtə]||petra||pietra [pi̯etra]||piera [ˈpi̯ɛra~ˈpi̯era]; prïa~prèa [ˈpri.a~ˈprɛ.a]||pria [pɾi̯a]||preda||preda/preja||pera/pria/preja||piere||crapa||piérra||pierre||pèira [pɛi̯ɾɔ]||pedra||piedra||piedra||piedra||pedra||pedra|
|sky||caelum||chélu||cer||celu [ˈtʃɛlʊ]||cielo [ˈtʃi̯elə]||celu||cielo [ˈtʃ(i̯)ɛlo]||çiél [ˈsi̯el~ˈtsi̯el] ~ çiélo [ˈθi̯elo]||çê [se]||cēl||cel [ˈtɕel]||cel/sel [ˈtɕel] / [ˈsel]||cîl||tschiel [ˈtʃ̯i̯ɛl]||cièl||ciel /sjɛl/||cèl [sɛl]||cel||zielo||cielo||cielu||céu||ceo|
|high||altum||àrtu||înalt||autu [ˈawɾʊ]||auto [ɑu̯tə]||altu||alto [ˈalto]||alto [ˈalto]||ato [atu]||élt||alt/(v)olt||àut [ˈɑʊ̯t]||alt||aut [ˈɑʊ̯t]||hiôt||haut /o/||n-aut||alt||alto||alto||altu||alto||alto|
|new||novum||nóbu||nou||novu [ˈnɔvʊ]||nuovo [ˈnu̯ovə]||novu||nuovo [ˈnu̯ɔvo]||nóvo [ˈnovo]||nêuvo [nø̯u]||noeuv||nœv [ˈnøf]||neuv [ˈnø̯w]||gnove||nov [ˈnøf]||nôvo, nôf||neuf /nœf/||nòu [nɔu̯]||nou||nuebo||nuevo||nuevu||novo||novo|
|horse||caballum||càdhu||cal||cavaddu [kaˈvaɖɖʊ]||cavallo [cɐvɑlːə]||cavallu||cavallo [kavalːo]||cavało [kaˈvae̯o] caval [kaˈval]||cavàllo||cavàl||cavall||caval [kaˈvɑl]||ĉhaval||chaval [ˈtʃ̯aval]||chevâl||cheval
|dog||canem||càne/jàgaru||câine||cani [ˈkanɪ]||cane/cacciuttiello||cane||cane [kane]||can [ˈkaŋ]||càn [kaŋ]||can||can/ca [ˈkɑ̃(ŋ)]||can [ˈkaŋ]||cjan||chaun [ˈtʃ̯awn]||chin||chien
|can [ka]||ca, gos||can||can/perro||can||cão||can|
|do||facere||fàchere||face(re)||fàciri [ˈfaʃɪɾɪ]||fà [fɑ]||fà||fare [ˈfaɾe]||far [ˈfar]||fâ [faː]||far||far [ˈfɑ]||fé [ˈfe]||fâ||far [far]||fére, fâr||faire /fɛːʁ/||far/fàser [fa] [faze]||fer||fer||hacer||facer||fazer||facer|
|milk||lactem||làte||lapte||latti [ˈlatːɪ]||latte [ˈlɑtːə]||latte||latte [ˈlatːe]||late [ˈlate]||læte [lɛːte]||latt||lacc/lat [ˈlɑtɕ]||làit/lacc [ˈlɒjt] / [ˈlɑtɕ]||lat||latg [ˈlɑtɕ]||lacél, lat||lait /lɛ/||lach [lats] [latʃ]||llet||leit||leche||lleche||leite||leite|
|eye||oculum > *oclum||ócru||ochi||occhiu [ˈɔkːi̯ʊ]||uocchio [uokːi̯ə]||ochiu/ochju||occhio [ˈɔkːi̯o]||òcio [ˈɔtʃo]||éugio [ødʒu]||òć||œgg [ˈøtɕ]||euj [ˈøj]||voli||egl||uely||œil /œj/||uèlh [u̯ɛʎ]||ull||güello||ojo||güeyu||olho||ollo|
|ear||auriculam > *oriclam||orícra||ureche||auricchia [awˈɾɪkːɪ̯a]||recchia [ɾekːi̯ə]||orecchiu/orechju||orecchio||récia [ˈretʃa]; orécia [ˈoɾetʃa]||oêgia o||uréć||oregia/orecia||orija [ʊɾˈijɑ] / oregia [ʊɾˈed͡ʑɐ]||orele||ureglia||orelye||oreille
|linguam||límba||limbǎ||lingua [lingu̯a]||lengua [mɑnə]||lingua||lingua [ˈliŋɡua]||léngua [ˈleŋgu̯a]||léngoa [leŋgu̯a]||léngua||lengua [lẽgɐ]||lenga [ˈlɛŋɡa]||lenghe||lingua||lengoua||langue /lɑ̃ɡ/||lenga||llengua||luenga||lengua||llingua||língua||lingua|
|hand||manum||mànu||mână||manu [manʊ]||mana [ˈmɑnə]||manu||mano [mano]||man [ˈmaŋ]||màn [maŋ]||man||man/ma [mã]||man [ˈmaŋ]||man||maun||man||main /mɛ̃/||man||mà||man||mano||mano||mão [mɐ̃w̃]||man|
|skin||pellem||pèdhe||piele||peddi [pedːɪ]||pella [pɛlːə]||pelle||pelle [ˈpɛlːe]||pèłe [ˈpɛ.e~ˈpɛle]; pèl [ˈpɛl]||pélle [pele]||pèl||pell [pɛl]||pel [ˈpɛl]||piel||pel||pêl||peau /po/||pèl||pell||piel||piel||piel||pele||pel|
|I||ego||(d)ègo||eu||eu/jè/ju||ije [ijə]||eiu||io||(mi) a||(mi) a||(mì/mè) a||(mi/mé) a||(mi) i/a/e||jo||jau||je||je /ʒə/, moi /mwa/||ieu/jo||jo||yo||yo||yo||eu||eu|
|our||nostrum||nóstru||nostru||nostru [ˈnɔstrʊ]||nuosto [nu̯oʃtə]||nostru||nostro||nòstro [ˈn stro]||nòstro||nòster||nòst/nòster [ˈnɔst(ɐr)]||nòst [ˈnɔst]||nestri||noss||noutron||notre /nɔtʁ/||nòstre||nostre||nuestro||nuestro||nuesu, nuestru||nosso||noso|
|three||trēs||tres||trei||tri [ˈtɹɪ]||tre [trɛ]||tre||tre [tre]||trí~trè [ˈtri~ˈtrɛ]||tréi (m)/
|trè [ˈtɾɛ]||tre||trais||trê||trois /tʁwɑ/||tres||tres||tres||tres||trés||três||tres|
|bàtoro||patru||quattru [ˈku̯aʈɻʊ]||quatto [qu̯ɑtːə]||quattru||quattro||quatro~qoatro [ˈku̯a.tro~ˈkoa.tro]||quàttro||quàtar||quàter [ˈkɑtɐr]||quatr [ˈkɑt]||cuatri||quat(t)er||quatro||quatre /katʁ/||quatre||quatre||cuatre, cuatro||cuatro||cuatro||quatro||catro|
|chímbe||cinci||cincu [ˈtʃɪnkʊ]||cinco [tʃinɡə]||cinque||cinque [ˈtʃinku̯e]||çinque [ˈsiŋku̯e~ˈtsiŋku̯e~ˈθiŋku̯e];
|çìnque||sinc||cinc [sĩk]||sinch [ˈsiŋk]||cinc||tschintg [ˈtʃink]||cinq||cinq /sɛ̃k/||cinc||cinc||zinco, zingo||cinco||cinco, cincu||cinco||cinco|
|six||sex||ses||șase||sia [ˈsi̯a]||seje [sɛjə]||sei||sei [ˈsɛ̯j]||sïe~sié [ˈsi.e~ˈsi̯e]||sêi [se̯j]||siē||sex /ses/||ses [ˈses]||sîs||sis||siéx||six /sis/||sièis||sis||seis/sais||seis||seis||seis||seis|
|seven||septem||sète||șapte||setti [ˈsɛtːɪ]||sette [ˈsɛtːə]||sette||sette [ˈsɛtːe]||sète [ˈsɛte]; sèt [ˈsɛt]||sètte [sɛte]||sèt||set [sɛt]||set [ˈsɛt]||siet||se(a)t, siat [si̯ɛt]||sèpt||sept /sɛt/||sèt||set||siet(e)||siete||siete||sete||sete|
|eight||octō||òto||opt||ottu [ˈɔtːʊ]||otto [otːə]||ottu||otto [ˈɔtːo]||òto [ɔto]||éuto [øtu]||òt||vòt/òt||eut [ˈøt]||vot||ot(g), och [ˈɔtɕ]||huét||huit /ɥit/||uèch||vuit||güeito, ueito||ocho||ocho||oito||oito|
|nine||novem||nòbe||nouă||novi [ˈnɔvɪ]||nove [novə]||nove||nove [ˈnɔve]||nove [nɔve~nove]||nêuve [nø̯e]||nóv||nœv [nøf]||neuv [ˈnøw]||nûv||no(u)v||nôf||neuf /nœf/||nòu||nou||nueu||nueve||nueve||nove||nove|
|ten||decem||dèche||zece||deci [ˈɾeʃɪ]||diece [d̯i̯eʃə]||dece||dieci [ˈdi̯etʃi]||diéxe [di̯eze]; diés [di̯es]||dêxe [ˈdeʒe]||déś||dex /des/||des [ˈdes]||dîs||diesch [di̯eʃ]||diéx||dix /dis/||dètz||deu||diez||diez||diez||dez||dez|
Data from Ethnologue:
If we look at the Romance languages from a morphological, syntactic or content-oriented synchronic perspective, there are several features common to all of them that justify the assumption of a more or less coherent Romance type different from Latin.
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