* Steppe cultures
* Bug-Dniester * Sredny Stog * Dnieper-Donets * Samara * Khvalynsk
* Usatovo * Cernavodă * Cucuteni
* Corded ware
* Baden * Middle Dnieper
------------------------- Bronze Age
* Chariot * Yamna * Catacomb * Multi-cordoned ware * Poltavka * Srubna
* Beaker * Globular Amphora * Corded ware * Tumulus * Unetice * Urnfield * Lusatian * Nordic Bronze Age * Terramare * Trzciniec
* BMAC * Yaz * Gandhara grave
------------------------- Iron Age
* Thraco-Cimmerian * Hallstatt * Jastorf
* Painted Grey Ware * Northern Black Polished Ware
Peoples and societies Bronze Age
Religion and mythology Reconstructed
* Yazidism * Yarsanism
* Irish * Scottish * Breton * Welsh * Cornish
* Anglo-Saxon * Continental * Norse
* Latvian * Lithuanian
* Slavic * Albanian
Indo-European studies Scholars
* v * t * e
The ROMANCE LANGUAGES (sometimes called the ROMANIC LANGUAGES, LATIN LANGUAGES, or NEO-LATIN LANGUAGES) are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the sixth and ninth centuries and that thus form a branch of the Italic languages within the Indo-European language family .
Today, around 800 million people are native speakers worldwide,
The five most widely spoken
Because of the difficulty of imposing boundaries on a continuum,
various counts of the modern
* Iberian Romance : Portuguese , Galician ,
* 1 Origins * 2 Name * 3 Samples
* 4 History
* 5 Modern status
* 6 Classification and related languages
* 6.1 Proposed divisions
* 6.1.1 Italo-Western vs. Eastern vs. Sardinian * 6.1.2 Gallo-Romance languages
* 6.2 Pidgins, creoles, and mixed languages * 6.3 Auxiliary and constructed languages
* 7 Linguistic features
* 7.1 Basic features * 7.2 Changes from Classical Latin
* 7.3 Phonology
* 7.3.1 Vowels * 7.3.2 Consonants * 7.3.3 Lexical stress
* 7.4 Nominal morphology
* 7.4.1 Number * 7.4.2 Gender * 7.4.3 Case
* 7.5 Pronouns, determiners
* 7.5.1 Personal pronouns
* 7.5.2 Articles
* 7.6 Verbal morphology
* 7.7.1 Loanwords * 7.7.2 Lexical innovation * 7.7.3 Latinisms
* 8 Sound changes
* 8.1 Consonants
* 8.2 Stressed vowels
* 8.2.1 Loss of vowel length, reorientation * 8.2.2 Latin diphthongs
* 8.2.3 Further developments
* 8.2.4 Front-rounded vowels
* 8.3 Unstressed vowels * 8.4 Intertonic vowels
* 9 Writing systems
* 9.1 Letters
* 9.2 Digraphs and trigraphs
* 9.2.1 Double consonants
* 10 Vocabulary comparison * 11 See also * 12 Notes * 13 References * 14 External links
During the Empire's decline, and after its fragmentation and collapse
in the fifth century, varieties of
Latin began to diverge within each
local area at an accelerated rate and eventually evolved into a
continuum of recognizably different typologies. The colonial empires
Despite other influences (e.g. substratum from pre-Roman languages,
Celtic languages ; and superstratum from later
Germanic or Slavic invasions), the phonology , morphology , and
lexicon of all
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 living outside the Roman Empire ). 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 in various Romance lects :
English: She always CLOSES the window before she DINES / before DINING.
Latin (Ea) semper antequam cenat fenestram claudit.
Vulgar Latin (Ea) claudi semper illa fenestra antequam 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.
Bolognese (Lî) la sèra sänper la fnèstra prémma ed dsnèr.
Catalan (Ella) sempre tanca/clou la finestra abans de sopar.
Northern Corsican Ella chjode/chjude sempre u purtellu nanzu di cenà.
Southern Corsican Edda/Idda sarra sempri u purteddu nanzu/prima di cinà.
Emilian (Lē) la sèra sèmpar sù la fnèstra prima ad snàr.
Extremaduran (Ella) afecha siempri la ventana antis de cenal.
Franco-Provençal (Le) sarre toltin/tojor la fenétra avan de goutâ/dinar/sopar.
French Elle ferme toujours la fenêtre avant de dîner/souper.
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 sempre la finestra prima di cenare.
Judaeo-Spanish .אֵלייה סֵירּה סײֵמפּרֵי לה בֵֿינטאנה אנטֵיס דֵי סֵינאר; Ella cerra siempre la ventana antes de cenar.
Ladin (Ëra) stlüj dagnora la finestra impröma de cenè. (badiot) (Ëila) stluj for l viere dan maië da cëina. (gherdëina)
Centro Cadore: La sera sempre la fenestra gnante de disna. Auronzo di Cadore: La sera sempro la fenestra davoi de disnà.
Leonese (Eilla) pecha siempre la ventana primeiru de cenare.
Ligurian (Le) a saera sempre u barcun primma de cenà.
Lombard (east.) (Bergamasque) (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.
Milanese (Le) la sara semper sü la finestra prima de disnà.
Mozarabic إليا كلودت سامبرا لا فينسترا أبنتا دا جنارا. (reconstructed)
Mozarabic Ella cloudet sempre la fainestra abante da cenare. (reconstructed)
Neapolitan Essa 'nzerra sempe 'a fenesta primma 'e cenà.
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.
Southern Sardinian Issa serrat semp(i)ri sa bentana in antis de cenai
Northern Sardinian Issa serrat semper sa bentana in antis de chenàre.
Sassarese Edda sarra sempri lu balchoni primma di zinà.
Sicilian Iḍḍa chiui sempri la finesṭṛa anti ca pistìa/mancia.
Spanish (Ella) siempre cierra la ventana antes de cenar.
Tuscan Lei serra sempre la finestra avanti cena.
Umbrian Essa chjude sempre la finestra prima de cena'.
Venetian Eła ła sara/sera sempre ła fenestra vanti de xenàr/disnar.
Walloon Ele sere todi li finiesse divant di soper.
ROMANCE-BASED CREOLES AND PIDGINS
Haitian Creole Li toujou' fèmen fenêt'-la avant li manger.
Mauritian Creole Li touzour pou ferm lafnet la avan (li) manze.
Seychellois Creole Y pou touzour ferm lafnet aven y manze.
Chavacano Ta cerrá él con el puerta antes de cená.
Papiamento E muhe closes e porta promé na dine.
Cape Verdean Creole Êl fechâ porta antes de jantâ.
Some of the divergence comes from semantic change : where the same root word has 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
Sardinian balcone (alternative for ventàna/bentàna) comes from Old
Italian and is similar to other
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 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/, /g/, and /t/.
To some scholars, this suggests the form of
Vulgar Latin that evolved
FALL OF THE WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE
During the political decline of the Western
African Romance , the forms of
Vulgar Latin used in
southeastern Britain and the Roman province of
Over the course of the fourth to eighth centuries, Vulgar Latin, by
this time highly dialectalized, broke up into discrete languages that
were no longer mutually intelligible. :5 Clear evidence of Latin
change comes from the
Reichenau Glosses , an eighth-century
compilation of about 1,200 words from the fourth-century
ENGLISH Classical / 4th cent. (Vulgate) 8th cent. (Reichenau) FRANCO-PROVENçAL FRENCH ROMANSH ITALIAN SPANISH PORTUGUESE ROMANIAN CATALAN SARDINIAN
once semel una vice una fês une fois (ina giada) (una volta) una vez uma vez (odată) una vegada (un cop, una volta) (una borta)
children liberi infantes enfants enfants unfants (bambini) / infanti (niños) / infantes (crianças) (copii) (nens, etc.) / infants (pipius) / (pitzinnos)
to blow flare suflare soflar souffler suflar soffiare soplar soprar (a) sufla (bufar) sulai / sulare
to sing canere cantare çhantar chanter chantar cantare cantar cantar (a) cânta cantar cantai / cantare
the best (plur.) melior meliores los mèljörs les meilleurs ils megliers i migliori los mejores os melhores (optimi, cei mai buni) els millors is mellus / sos menzus
beautiful pulchra bella bèla belle bella bella (hermosa, bonita) / bella bela / (formosa/bonita) frumoasă (bonica) / bella bella
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
winter hiems hibernus hìvern hiver inviern inverno invierno inverno iarnă hivern ierru / iberru
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; but if so, they must 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
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
UNIFORMIZATION AND STANDARDIZATION
The invention of the printing press brought a tendency towards
greater uniformity of standard languages within political boundaries,
at the expense of other
Main articles: Romance-speaking
The Romance language most widely spoken natively today is Spanish
(Castilian), followed by Portuguese , French , Italian and Romanian ,
which together cover a vast territory in
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
Portuguese, in its original homeland,
Outside Europe, French is spoken natively most in the Canadian
The total native speakers of
* Spanish ( Hispanosphere ) 49% (2nd ) * Portuguese ( Lusosphere ) 26% (6th ) * French ( Francophonie ) 8.6% (18th ) * Italian 7.7% (23rd ) * Romanian 3.0% (49th ) * Catalan 0.9% (not in the top 100 ) * Others 3.6%
Catalan is the official language of
CLASSIFICATION AND RELATED LANGUAGES
The classification of the
Extent of variation in development (very conservative to very innovative) Form ("to sing") LATIN Nuorese Sardinian ITALIAN SPANISH PORTUGUESE Central Catalan ROMANIAN FRENCH
Infinitive cantāre cantare cantare cantar cantar 1 cantar cânta(re) chanter
Past part. cantātum cantatu cantato cantado cantado cantat cântat chanté
Gerund cantandum cantande cantando cantando cantando cantant cântând chantant
1s indic. cantō canto canto canto canto canto cânt chante
2s indic. cantās cantas canti cantas cantas cantes cânți chantes
3s indic. cantat cantat canta canta canta canta cântă chante
1p indic. cantāmus cantamus cantiamo cantamos cantamos cantem cântăm chantons
2p indic. cantātis cantates cantate cantáis cantais canteu cântați chantez
3p indic. cantant cantant cantano cantan cantam canten cântă chantent
1s sbjv cantem cante canti cante cante canti cânt chante
2s sbjv cantēs cantes canti cantes cantes cantis cânți chantes
3s sbjv cantet cantet canti cante cante canti cânte chante
1p sbjv cantēmus cantemus cantiamo cantemos cantemos cantem cântăm chantions
2p sbjv cantētis cantetis cantiate cantéis canteis canteu cântați chantiez
3p sbjv cantent cantent cantino canten cantem cantin cânte chantent
2s impv. cantā canta canta canta canta canta cântă chante
2p impv. cantāte cantate cantate cantad cantai canteu cântați chantez
1 Also are all possible allophones of in this position.
There are various schemes used to subdivide the Romance languages. Three of the most common schemes are as follows:
* Italo-Western vs. Eastern vs. Southern. This is the scheme
Ethnologue , and is based primarily on the outcome of the
ten monophthong vowels in Classical Latin. This is discussed more
* West vs. East. This scheme divides the various languages along the
La Spezia–Rimini Line , which runs across north-central
Italo-Western Vs. Eastern Vs. Sardinian
* Italo-Western , the largest group, which includes languages such
as Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and French.
Eastern Romance , which includes the
This controversial three-way division is made primarily based on the outcome of Vulgar Latin (Proto-Romance) vowels:
Outcome of Classical Latin vowels CLASSICAL LATIN PROTO-ROMANCE SARDINIAN EASTERN ROMANCE ITALO-WESTERN
short A /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/
short E /ɛ/ /e/ /ɛ/ /ɛ/
long E /e/ /e/ /e/
short I /ɪ/ /i/
long I /i/ /i/ /i/
short O /ɔ/ /o/ /o/ /ɔ/
long O /o/ /o/
short U /ʊ/ /u/ /u/
long U /u/ /u/
Italo-Western is in turn split along the so-called La Spezia–Rimini Line in northern Italy, which divides the central and southern Italian languages from the so-called Western Romance languages to the north and west. The primary characteristics dividing the two are:
* Phonemic lenition of intervocalic stops, which happens to the northwest but not to the southeast. * Degemination of geminate stops (producing new intervocalic single voiceless stops, after the old ones were lenited), which again happens to the northwest but not to the southeast. * Deletion of intertonic vowels (between the stressed syllable and either the first or last syllable), again in the northwest but not the southeast. * Use of plurals in /s/ in the northwest vs. plurals using vowel change in the southeast. * Development of palatalized /k/ before /e,i/ to /(t)s/ in the northwest vs. /tʃ/ in the southeast. * Development of /kt/, which develops to /xt/ > /it/ (sometimes progressing further to /tʃ/) in the northwest but /tt/ in the southeast.
In fact, the reality is somewhat more complex. All of the "southeast" characteristics apply to all languages southeast of the line, and all of the "northwest" characteristics apply to all languages in France and (most of) Spain. However, the Gallo- Italic languages are somewhere in between. All of these languages do have the "northwest" characteristics of lenition and loss of gemination. However:
* The Gallo‒
Italic languages have vowel-changing plurals rather
than /s/ plurals.
Lombard language in north-central
On top of this, the ancient
Mozarabic language in southern Spain, at
the far end of the "northwest" group, had the "southeast"
characteristics of lack of lenition and palatalization of /k/ to
/tʃ/. Certain languages around the
The usual solution to these issues is to create various nested
Western Romance is split into the Gallo-Iberian languages,
in which lenition happens and which include nearly all the Western
Romance languages, and the Pyrenean-Mozarabic group, which includes
the remaining languages without lenition (and is unlikely to be a
valid clade ; probably at least two clades, one for Mozarabic and one
for Pyrenean). Gallo-Iberian is split in turn into the Iberian
languages (e.g. Spanish and Portuguese ), and the larger Gallo-Romance
languages (stretching from eastern
Probably a more accurate description, however, would be to say that
there was a focal point of innovation located in central France, from
which a series of innovations spread out as areal changes . The La
Spezia–Rimini Line represents the farthest point to the southeast
that these innovations reached, corresponding to the northern chain of
Apennine Mountains , which cuts straight across northern
This would explain why some of the "northwest" features (almost all
of which can be characterized as innovations) end at differing points
in northern Italy, and why some of the languages in geographically
remote parts of
Many of the "southeast" features also apply to the Eastern Romance languages (particularly, Romanian), despite the geographic discontinuity. Examples are lack of lenition, maintenance of intertonic vowels, use of vowel-changing plurals, and palatalization of /k/ to /tʃ/. (Gemination is missing, which may be an independent development, and /kt/ develops into /pt/ rather than either of the normal Italo-Western developments.) This has led some researchers to postulate a basic two-way East-West division, with the "Eastern" languages including Romanian and central and southern Italian.
Despite being the first romance language to evolve from Vulgar Latin,
Sardinian does not fit well at all into this sort of division. It is
clear that Sardinian became linguistically independent from the
remainder of the
Main article: Gallo-Romance languages
Gallo-Romance can be divided into the following subgroups:
* The Langues d\'oïl , including French and closely related
The following groups are also sometimes considered part of Gallo-Romance:
* The Occitano-Romance languages of southern France namely, Occitan and Gascon .
* The Catalan language of eastern Iberia is also sometimes included in Gallo-romance. This is however disputed by some linguists who prefer to group it with Iberian Romance , since although Old Catalan is close to Old Occitan, it later adjusted its lexicon to some degree to align with Spanish. In general however, modern Catalan, especially grammatically, remains closer to modern Occitan than to either Spanish or Portuguese.
The Gallo-Romance languages are generally considered the most innovative (least conservative) among the Romance languages. Characteristic Gallo-Romance features generally developed earliest and appear in their most extreme manifestation in the Langue d\'oïl , gradually spreading out along riverways and transalpine roads.
In some ways, however, the Gallo-Romance languages are conservative. The older stages of many of the languages preserved a two-case system consisting of nominative and oblique, fully marked on nouns, adjectives and determiners, inherited almost directly from the Latin nominative and accusative and preserving a number of different declensional classes and irregular forms. The languages closest to the oïl epicenter preserve the case system the best, while languages at the periphery lose it early.
Notable characteristics of the Gallo-Romance languages are:
* Early loss of unstressed final vowels other than /a/—a defining characteristic of the group.
* Further reductions of final vowels in Langue d\'oïl and many Gallo- Italic languages , with the feminine /a/ and prop vowel /e/ merging into /ə/, which is often subsequently dropped.
* Early, heavy reduction of unstressed vowels in the interior of a word (another defining characteristic). * Loss of final vowels phonemicized the long vowels that used to be automatic concomitants of stressed open syllables. These phonemic long vowels are maintained directly in many Northern Italian dialects; elsewhere, phonemic length was lost, but in the meantime many of the long vowels diphthongized, resulting in a maintenance of the original distinction. The langue d'oïl branch is again at the forefront of innovation, with no less than five of the seven long vowels diphthongizing (only high vowels were spared). * Front rounded vowels are present in all four branches. /u/ usually fronts to /y/, and secondary mid front rounded vowels often develop from long /oː/ or /ɔː/. * Extreme lenition (i.e. multiple rounds of lenition) occurs in many languages especially in Langue d\'oïl and many Gallo-Italian languages . * The Langue d\'oïl , Swiss Rhaeto-Romance languages and many of the northern dialects of Occitan have a secondary palatalization of /k/ and /ɡ/ before /a/, producing different results from the primary Romance palatalization: e.g. centum "hundred" > cent /sɑ̃/, cantum "song" > chant /ʃɑ̃/. * Other than the Occitano-Romance languages , most Gallo-Romance languages are subject-obligatory (whereas all the rest of the Romance languages are pro-drop languages). This is a late development triggered by progressive phonetic erosion: Old French was still a null-subject language, and this only changed upon loss of secondarily final consonants in Middle French.
PIDGINS, CREOLES, AND MIXED LANGUAGES
CREOLES OF FRENCH:
* Antillean (
French Antilles , Saint Lucia , Dominica )
* Haitian (one of
CREOLES OF SPANISH:
CREOLES OF PORTUGUESE:
* Angolar (regional language in São Tomé and Principe) * Cape Verdean (Cape Verde's national language; includes several distinct languages) * Forro (regional language in São Tomé and Príncipe) * Kristang (Malaysia) * Macanese (Macau) * Papiamento (Dutch Antilles official language) * Upper Guinea (Guinea-Bissau's national language)
AUXILIARY AND CONSTRUCTED LANGUAGES
Main articles: Constructed language and International auxiliary language
The concept was first developed in 1903 by Italian mathematician
Other languages developed since include
Idiom Neutral , Occidental ,
Lingua Franca Nova
There are also languages created for artistic purposes only, such as
Talossan . Because
Latin is a very well attested ancient language,
some amateur linguists have even constructed
CHANGES FROM CLASSICAL LATIN
Loss of the case system
The most significant changes between Classical Latin and Proto-Romance (and hence all the modern Romance languages) relate to the reduction or loss of the Latin case system , and the corresponding syntactic changes that were triggered.
The case system was drastically reduced from the vigorous six-case
system of Latin. Although four cases can be constructed for
Proto-Romance nouns (nominative, accusative, combined genitive/dative,
and vocative), the vocative is marginal and present only in Romanian
(where it may be an outright innovation), and of the remaining cases,
no more than two are present in any one language. Romanian is the only
modern Romance language with case marking on nouns, with a two-way
opposition between nominative/accusative and genitive/dative. Some of
Gallo-Romance languages (in particular,
Old French , Old
Occitan , Old
Sursilvan and Old Friulian , and in traces Old Catalan
and Old Venetian ) had an opposition between nominative and general
oblique, and in
Concomitant with the loss of cases, freedom of word order was greatly
Latin had a generally verb-final (SOV) but overall
quite free word order, with a significant amount of word scrambling
and mixing of left-branching and right-branching constructions. The
This was the pattern followed by the Romance languages: In the
Latin had a large number of syntactic constructions expressed through
infinitives, participles, and similar nominal constructs. Examples are
the ablative absolute , the accusative-plus-infinitive construction
used for reported speech , gerundive constructions, and the common use
of reduced relative clauses expressed through participles. All of
these are replaced in the
* Loss of phonemic vowel length , and change into a free-stressed
Latin had an automatically determined stress on
the second or third syllable from the end, conditioned by vowel
length; once vowel length was neutralized, stress was no longer
predictable so long as it remained where it was (which it mostly did).
* Development of a series of palatal consonants as a result of
* Loss of most traces of the neuter gender.
* Development of a series of analytic perfect tenses , comparable to
English "I have done, I had done, I will have done".
* Loss of the
Latin synthetic passive voice, replaced by an analytic
construction comparable to English "it is/was done".
* Loss of deponent verbs , replaced by active-voice verbs.
* Replacement of the
Latin future tense with a new tense formed
(usually) by a periphrasis of infinitive + present tense of habēre
"have", which usually contracts into a new synthetic tense. A
corresponding conditional tense is formed in the same way but using
one of the past-tense forms of habēre.
* Numerous lexical changes. A number of words were borrowed from the
Every language has a different set of vowels from every other. Common characteristics are as follows:
* Most languages have at least five monophthongs /a e i o u/. The
parent language of most of the Italo-
Western Romance languages (which
includes the vast majority) actually had a seven-vowel system /a ɛ e
i ɔ o u/, which is kept in most Italo-Western languages. In some
languages, like Spanish and Romanian, the phonemic status and
difference between open-mid and close-mid vowels was lost. French has
probably the largest inventory of monophthongs, with conservative
varieties having 12 oral vowels /a ɑ ɛ e i ɔ o u œ ø y ə/ and 4
nasal vowels /ɑ̃ ɛ̃ ɔ̃ œ̃/.
European Portuguese also has a
large inventory, with 9 oral monophthongs /a ɐ ɛ e i ɔ o u ɨ/, 5
nasal monophthongs /ɐ̃ ẽ ĩ õ ũ/, and a large number of oral and
nasal diphthongs (see below). (The phonemic status of /ɐ ɨ/ is
somewhat doubtful, however, and neither phoneme exists in Brazilian
* Some languages have a large inventory of falling diphthongs .
These may or may not be considered as phonemic units (rather than
sequences of vowel+glide or vowel+vowel), depending on their behavior.
As an example, French, Spanish and Italian have occasional instances
of putative falling diphthongs formed from a vowel plus a non-syllabic
/i/ or /u/ (e.g. Spanish veinte "twenty", deuda "debt"; French
paille "straw", caoutchouc "rubber"; Italian lui "he", potei "I
could"), but these are normally analyzed as sequences of vowel and
glide. The diphthongs in Romanian, Portuguese, Catalan and Occitan,
however, have various properties suggesting that they are better
analyzed as unit phonemes. Portuguese, for example, has the diphthongs
/aj ɐj ɛj ej ɔj oj uj aw ɛw ew iw (ow)/, where /ow/ (and to a
lesser extent /ej/) appear only in some dialects. All except /aw ɛw/
appear frequently in verb or noun inflections. (Portuguese also has
nasal diphthongs; see below.)
* Among the major Romance languages, Portuguese and French have
nasal vowel phonemes, stemming from nasalization before a nasal
consonant followed by loss of the consonant (this occurred especially
when the nasal consonant was not directly followed by a vowel).
Originally, vowels in both languages were nasalized before all nasal
consonants, but have subsequently become denasalized before nasal
consonants that still remain (except in
Brazilian Portuguese , where
the pre-nasal vowels in words such as cama "bed", menos "less" remain
highly nasalized). In Portuguese, nasal vowels are sometimes analyzed
as phonemic sequences of oral vowels plus an underlying nasal
consonant, but such an analysis is difficult in French because of the
existence of minimal pairs such as bon /bɔ̃/ "good (masc.)", bonne
/bɔn/ "good (fem.)". In both languages, there are fewer nasal than
oral vowels. Nasalization triggered vowel lowering in French,
producing the 4 nasal vowels /ɑ̃ ɛ̃ ɔ̃ œ̃/ (although most
speakers in France nowadays pronounce /œ̃/ as /ɛ̃/).
* BOLD: Appears in all 5 languages. * italic: Appears in 3–4 languages. * (parentheses): Appears in 2 languages. * ((double parentheses)): Appears in only 1 language.
* Spanish has no phonemic voiced fricatives (however, occur as allophones of /b d ɡ/ after a vowel and after certain consonants). The equivalent of /v/ merged with /b/, and all the rest became voiceless. It also lost /ʃ/, which became /x/ or /h/ in some other dialects. * The western languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese) all used to have the affricates /ts/, /dz/, /tʃ/, /dʒ/. By the fourteenth century or so, these all turned into fricatives except for Spanish and dialectal Portuguese /tʃ/. (Spanish /ts/ ended up becoming /θ/, at least in Northern and Central Spain; elsewhere, it merged with /s/, as in the other languages.) Romanian /dz/ likewise became /z/. * French, and most varieties of Spanish, have lost /ʎ/ (which merged with /j/). Romanian merged both /ʎ/ and /ɲ/ into /j/. * Romanian was influenced by Slavic phonology, mostly the palatalization of consonants in the plural form (for example pom-pomi and lup-lupi, pronounced and ) and changing of /l/ to /r/, for instance Latin schola/scola > Slav. школа, școla > modern Romanian școală "school".
Most instances of most of the sounds below that occur (or used to occur, as described above) in all of the languages are cognate. However:
* Although all of the languages have or used to have /tʃ/, almost none of these sounds are cognate between pairs of languages. The only real exception is many /tʃ/ between Italian and Romanian, stemming from Latin C- before E or I. Italian also has /tʃ/ from Vulgar Latin -CY-, and from -TY- following a consonant (elsewhere /ts/). Former French /tʃ/ is from Latin C- before A, either word-initial or following a consonant; Spanish /tʃ/ is from Latin -CT-, or from PL, CL following a consonant; former Portuguese /tʃ/ is from Latin PL, CL, FL, either word-initial or following a consonant. * Italian and former Romanian /dz/ (from some instances of Vulgar Latin -DY-) are not cognate with former western /dz/ (from lenition of /ts/).
BILABIAL Labio- dental INTERDENTAL Dental / Alveolar Post- alveolar PALATAL Velar / Uvular GLOTTAL
VOICELESS VOICED VOICELESS VOICED VOICELESS VOICED VOICELESS VOICED VOICELESS VOICED VOICELESS VOICED VOICELESS VOICED VOICELESS
PLOSIVE P B
(ts) ((dz)) tʃ (dʒ)
F v ((θ))
S z ʃ ʒ
Word stress was rigorously predictable in classical Latin except in a very few exceptional cases, either on the penultimate syllable (second from last) or antepenultimate syllable (third from last), according to the syllable weight of the penultimate syllable. Stress in the Romance Languages mostly remains on the same syllable as in Latin, but various sound changes have made it no longer so predictable. Minimal pairs distinguished only by stress exist in some languages, e.g. Italian Papa "Pope" vs. papà "daddy", or Spanish límite " limit", present subjunctive limite " limit" and preterite limité " limited".
Erosion of unstressed syllables following the stress has caused most Spanish and Portuguese words to have either penultimate or ultimate stress: e.g. Latin trēdecim "thirteen" > Spanish trece, Portuguese treze; Latin amāre "to love" > Spanish/Portuguese amar. Most words with antepenultimate stress are learned borrowings from Latin, e.g. Spanish/Portuguese fábrica "factory" (the corresponding inherited word is Spanish fragua, Portuguese frágua "forge"). This process has gone even farther in French, with deletion of all post-stressed vowels, leading to consistent, predictable stress on the last syllable: e.g. Latin Stephanum "Stephen" > Old French Estievne > French Étienne /e.ˈtjɛn/; Latin juvenis "young" > Old French juevne > French jeune /ʒœn/. This applies even to borrowings: e.g. Latin fabrica > French borrowing fabrique /fa.ˈbʀik/ (the inherited word in this case being monosyllabic forge < Pre-French *fauriga).
Other than French (with consistent final stress), the position of the stressed syllable generally falls on one of the last three syllables. Exceptions may be caused by clitics or (in Italian) certain verb endings, e.g. Italian telefonano "they telephone"; Spanish entregándomelo "delivering it to me"; Italian mettiamocene "let's put some of it in there"; Portuguese dávamo-vo-lo "we were giving it to you". Stress on verbs is almost completely predictable in Spanish and Portuguese, but less so in Italian.
Nouns, adjectives, and pronouns can be marked for gender , number and case . Adjectives and pronouns must agree in all features with the noun they are bound to.
Although Latin had a third gender (neuter), there is little trace of this in most languages. The biggest exception is Romanian , where there is a productive class of "neuter" nouns, which include the descendants of many Latin neuter nouns and which behave like masculines in the singular and feminines in the plural, both in the endings used and in the agreement of adjectives and pronouns (e.g. un deget "one finger" vs. două degete "two fingers", cf. Latin digitus, pl. digiti).
Such nouns arose because of the identity of the Latin neuter singular -um with the masculine singular, and the identity of the Latin neuter plural -a with the feminine singular. A similar class exists in Italian, although it is no longer productive (e.g. il dito "the finger" vs. le dita "the fingers", l'uovo "the egg" vs. le uova "the eggs"). A similar phenomenon may be observed in Albanian (which is heavily Romance-influenced), and the category remains highly productive with a number of new words loaned or coined in the neuter ((një) hotel one hotel(m) vs. (tri) hotele three hotels (f)). (A few isolated nouns in Latin had different genders in the singular and plural, but this was an unrelated phenomenon; this is similarly the case with a few French nouns, such as amour, délice, orgue.)
Spanish also has vestiges of the neuter in the demonstrative adjectives: esto, eso, aquello, the pronoun ello (meaning "it") and the article lo (used to intensify adjectives). Portuguese also has neuter demonstrative adjectives: "isto", "isso", "aquilo" (meaning "this ", "this/that ", "that ").
Remnants of the neuter, interpretable now as "a sub-class of the
non-feminine gender" (Haase 2000:233), are vigorous in
Latin had an extensive case system, where all nouns were declined in six cases (nominative , vocative , accusative , dative , genitive , and ablative ) and two numbers. Many adjectives were additionally declined in three genders, leading to a possible 6 × 2 × 3 = 36 endings per adjective (although this was rarely the case). In practice, some category combinations had identical endings to other combinations, but a basic adjective like bonus "good" still had 14 distinct endings.
Spanish pronoun inflections CASE "I" "THOU" "ONESELF" "HE" "SHE" "WE" "YE" "THEY"
NOMINATIVE yo tú — él ella nosotros nosotras vosotros vosotras ellos ellas
DISJUNCTIVE mí ti sí
ACCUSATIVE me te se lo la nos os los las
DATIVE le les
GENITIVE mío tuyo suyo suyo; de él suyo; de ella nuestro vuestro suyo; de ellos suyo; de ellas
POSSESSIVE mi tu su su
WITH CON conmigo contigo consigo con él con ella con nosotros (archaic connosco) con nosotras (archaic connosco) con vosotros (archaic convosco) con vosotras (archaic convosco) con ellos con ellas
In all Romance languages, this system was drastically reduced. In most modern Romance languages, in fact, case is no longer marked at all on nouns, adjectives and determiners, and most forms are derived from the Latin accusative case. Much like English, however, case has survived somewhat better on pronouns.
Most pronouns have distinct nominative, accusative, genitive and possessive forms (cf. English "I, me, mine, my"). Many also have a separate dative form, a disjunctive form used after prepositions, and (in some languages) a special form used with the preposition con "with" (a conservative feature inherited from Latin forms such as mēcum, tēcum, nōbīscum).
Spanish inflectional classes
"BOY" "GIRL" "MAN" "WOMAN"
SINGULAR chico chica hombre mujer
PLURAL chicos chicas hombres mujeres
The system of inflectional classes is also drastically reduced. The basic system is most clearly indicated in Spanish, where there are only three classes, corresponding to the first, second and third declensions in Latin: plural in -as (feminine), plural in -os (masculine), plural in -es (either masculine or feminine). The singular endings exactly track the plural, except the singular -e is dropped after certain consonants.
The same system underlines many other modern Romance languages, such as Portuguese, French and Catalan. In these languages, however, further sound changes have resulted in various irregularities. In Portuguese, for example, loss of /l/ and /n/ between vowels (with nasalization in the latter case) produces various irregular plurals (nação – nações "nation(s)"; hotel – hotéis "hotel(s)").
In French and Catalan, loss of /o/ and /e/ in most unstressed final syllables has caused the -os and -es classes to merge. In French, merger of remaining /e/ with final /a/ into , and its subsequent loss, has completely obscured the original Romance system, and loss of final /s/ has caused most nouns to have identical pronunciation in singular and plural, although they are still marked differently in spelling (e.g. femme – femmes "woman – women", both pronounced /fam/).
Romanian noun inflections DEFINITENESS CASE "BOY" "GIRL"
SINGULAR PLURAL SINGULAR PLURAL
INDEFINITE Nominative Accusative băiat băieți fată fete
Genitive Dative fete
VOCATIVE băiatule, băiete băietilor fato (fată) fetelor
DEFINITE Nominative Accusative băiatul băieții fata fetele
Genitive Dative băiatului băieților fetei fetelor
Noun inflection has survived in Romanian somewhat better than elsewhere. :399 Determiners are still marked for two cases (nominative/accusative and genitive/dative) in both singular and plural, and feminine singular nouns have separate endings for the two cases. In addition, there is a separate vocative case, enriched with native development and Slavic borrowings (see some examples here ) and the combination of noun with a following clitic definite article produces a separate set of "definite" inflections for nouns.
The inflectional classes of Latin have also survived more in Romanian than elsewhere, e.g. om – oameni "man – men" ( Latin homo – homines); corp – corpuri "body – bodies" ( Latin corpus – corpora). (Many other exceptional forms, however, are due to later sound changes or analogy, e.g. casă – case "house(s)" vs. lună – luni "moon(s)"; frate – fraţi "brother(s)" vs. carte – cărţi "book(s)" vs. vale – văi "valley(s)".)
In Italian, the situation is somewhere in between Spanish and Romanian. There are no case endings and relatively few classes, as in Spanish, but noun endings are generally formed with vowels instead of /s/, as in Romanian: amico – amici "friend(s) (masc.)", amica – amiche "friend(s) (fem.)"; cane – cani "dog(s)". The masculine plural amici is thought to reflect the Latin nominative plural -ī rather than accusative plural -ōs (Spanish -os); however, the other plurals are thought to stem from special developments of Latin -ās and -ēs.
CASE LATIN SPANISH OLD FRENCH :100 OLD SURSILVAN :367 ROMANIAN :402
MASCULINE SINGULAR NOMINATIVE bonus bueno buens buns bun
ACCUSATIVE bonum buen biVn
MASCULINE PLURAL NOMINATIVE bonī buenos buen biVni buni
ACCUSATIVE bonōs buens buns
FEMININE SINGULAR NOMINATIVE bona buena buene buna bună
GENITIVE bonae bune
FEMININE PLURAL NOMINATIVE bonae buenas buenes bunas bune
A different type of noun inflection survived into the medieval period
in a number of western
The oblique case in these languages generally inherits from the Latin accusative; as a result, masculine nouns have distinct endings in the two cases while most feminine nouns do not.
A number of different inflectional classes are still represented at this stage. For example, the difference in the nominative case between masculine li voisins "the neighbor" and li pere "the father", and feminine la riens "the thing" vs. la fame "the woman", faithfully reflects the corresponding Latin inflectional differences (vicīnus vs. pater, fēmina vs. rēs).
A number of synchronically quite irregular differences between nominative and oblique reflect direct inheritances of Latin third-declension nouns with two different stems (one for the nominative singular, one for all other forms), most with of which had a stress shift between nominative and the other forms: li ber – le baron "baron" (barō – barōnem); la suer – la seror "sister" (soror – sorōrem); li prestre – le prevoire "priest" (presbyter – presbyterem); li sire – le seigneur "lord" (senior – seniōrem); li enfes – l'enfant "child" (infāns – infantem). :36–39
A few of these multi-stem nouns derive from Latin forms without stress shift, e.g. li om – le ome "man" (homō – hominem). All of these multi-stem nouns refer to people; other nouns with stress shift in Latin (e.g. amor – amōrem "love") have not survived. Some of the same nouns with multiple stems in Old French or Old Occitan have come down in Italian in the nominative rather than the accusative (e.g. uomo "man" < homō, moglie "wife" < mulier), suggesting that a similar system existed in pre-literary Italian.
The modern situation in Sursilvan (one of the Rhaeto-Romance languages ) is unique in that the original nominative/oblique distinction has been reinterpreted as a predicative/attributive distinction: :381
* il hotel ej vɛɲiws natsionalizaws "the hotel has been nationalized" * il hotel natsionalizaw "the nationalized hotel"
As described above, case marking on pronouns is much more extensive than for nouns. Determiners (e.g. words such as "a", "the", "this") are also marked for case in Romanian.
* Personal pronouns , in three persons and two genders. * A reflexive pronoun , used when the object is the same as the subject. This approximately corresponds to English "-self", but separate forms exist only in the third person, with no number marking. * Definite and indefinite articles , and in some languages, a partitive article that expresses the concept of "some". * A two-way or three-way distinction among demonstratives . Many languages have a three-way distinction of distance (near me, near you, near him) which, though not paralleled in current English, used to be present as "this/that/yon". * Relative pronouns and interrogatives , with the same forms used for both (similar to English "who" and "which"). * Various indefinite pronouns and determiners (e.g. Spanish algún "some", alguien "someone", algo "something"; ningún "no", nadie "no one"; todo "every"; cada "each"; mucho "much/many/a lot", poco "few/little"; otro "other/another"; etc.).
Unlike in English, a separate neuter personal pronoun ("it") generally does not exist, but the third-person singular and plural both distinguish masculine from feminine. Also, as described above, case is marked on pronouns even though it is not usually on nouns, similar to English. As in English, there are forms for nominative case (subject pronouns ), oblique case (object pronouns ), and genitive case (possessive pronouns ); in addition, third-person pronouns distinguish accusative and dative. There is also an additional set of possessive determiners, distinct from the genitive case of the personal pronoun; this corresponds to the English difference between "my, your" and "mine, yours".
Development From Latin
Similarly, in place of the genitive of the
Latin pronouns, most
The gender of the possessor needs to be made clear by a collocation such as French la voiture à lui/elle, Portuguese o carro dele/dela, literally "the car of him/her". (In spoken Brazilian Portuguese , these collocations are the usual way of expressing the third-person possessive, since the former possessive seu carro now has the meaning "your car".)
The same demonstrative ille was borrowed to create the definite article (see below), which explains the similarity in form between personal pronoun and definite article. When the two are different, it is usually because of differing degrees of phonetic reduction. Generally, the personal pronoun is unreduced (beyond normal sound change), while the article has suffered various amounts of reduction, e.g. Spanish ella "she" < illa vs. la "the (fem.)" < -la < illa.
Object pronouns in Latin were normal words, but in the Romance languages they have become clitic forms, which must stand adjacent to a verb and merge phonologically with it. Originally, object pronouns could come either before or after the verb; sound change would often produce different forms in these two cases, with numerous additional complications and contracted forms when multiple clitic pronouns cooccurred.
Catalan still largely maintains this system with a highly complex clitic pronoun system . Most languages, however, have simplified this system by undoing some of the clitic mergers and requiring clitics to stand in a particular position relative to the verb (usually after imperatives, before other finite forms, and either before or after non-finite forms depending on the language).
When a pronoun cannot serve as a clitic, a separate disjunctive form is used. These result from dative object pronouns pronounced with stress (which causes them to develop differently from the equivalent unstressed pronouns), or from subject pronouns.
In medieval times, most
Many languages, however, innovated further in developing an even more polite pronoun, generally composed of a noun phrase (e.g. Portuguese vossa mercê "your mercy", progressively reduced to vossemecê, vosmecê and finally você) and taking third-person singular agreement. A plural equivalent was created at the same time or soon after (Portuguese vossas mercês, reduced to vocês), taking third-person plural agreement. Spanish innovated similarly, with usted(es) from earlier vuestra(s) merced(es).
In Portuguese and Spanish (as in other languages with similar forms), the "extra-polite" forms in time came to be the normal polite forms, and the former polite (or plural) second-person vos knocked down to a familiar form, either becoming a familiar plural (as in European Spanish) or a familiar singular (as in many varieties of Latin American Spanish). In the latter case, it either competes with the original familiar singular tu (as in Guatemala), displaces it entirely (as in Argentina), or is itself displaced (as in Mexico, except in Chiapas). In American Spanish, the gap created by the loss of familiar plural vos was filled by originally polite ustedes, with the result that there is no familiar/polite distinction in the plural, just as in the original tu/vos system.
A similar path was followed by Italian and Romanian. Romanian uses
dumneavoastră "your lordship", while Italian the former polite phrase
sua eccellenza "your excellency" has simply been supplanted by the
corresponding pronoun Ella or Lei (literally "she", but capitalized
when meaning "you"). As in European Spanish, the original
second-person plural voi serves as familiar plural. (In Italy, during
fascist times leading up to
World War II
Portuguese innovated again in developing a new extra-polite pronoun o senhor "the sir", which in turn downgraded você. Hence, modern European Portuguese has a three-way distinction between "familiar" tu, "equalizing" você and "polite" o senhor. (The original second-person plural vós was discarded centuries ago in speech, and is used today only in translations of the Bible, where tu and vós serve as universal singular and plural pronouns, respectively.)
Brazilian Portuguese , however, has diverged from this system, and most dialects simply use você (and plural vocês) as a general-purpose second-person pronoun, combined with te (from tu) as the clitic object pronoun. The form o senhor (and feminine a senhora) is sometimes used in speech, but only in situations where an English speaker would say "sir" or "ma'am". The result is that second-person verb forms have disappeared, and the whole pronoun system has been radically realigned. However that is the case only in the spoken language of central and northern Brazil, with the northeastern and southern areas of the country still largely preserving the second-person verb form and the "tu" and "você" distinction.
Latin had no articles as such. The closest definite article was the non-specific demonstrative is, ea, id meaning approximately "this/that/the". The closest indefinite articles were the indefinite determiners aliquī, aliqua, aliquod "some (non-specific)" and certus "a certain".
Some languages, e.g. French and Italian, have a partitive article that approximately translates as "some". This is used either with mass nouns or with plural nouns—both cases where the indefinite article cannot occur. A partitive article is used (and in French, required) whenever a bare noun refers to specific (but unspecified or unknown) quantity of the noun, but not when a bare noun refers to a class in general. For example, the partitive would be used in both of the following sentences:
* I want milk. * Men arrived today.
But neither of these:
* Milk is good for you. * I hate men.
The sentence "Men arrived today", however, (presumably) means "some specific men arrived today" rather than "men, as a general class, arrived today" (which would mean that there were no men before today). On the other hand, "I hate men" does mean "I hate men, as a general class" rather than "I hate some specific men".
As in many other cases, French has developed the farthest from Latin in its use of articles. In French, nearly all nouns, singular and plural, must be accompanied by an article (either indefinite, definite, or partitive) or demonstrative pronoun.
Due to pervasive sound changes in French, most nouns are pronounced identically in the singular and plural, and there is often heavy homophony between nouns and identically pronounced words of other classes. For example, all of the following are pronounced /sɛ̃/: sain "healthy"; saint "saint, holy"; sein "breast"; ceins "(you) put on, gird"; ceint "(he) puts on, girds"; ceint "put on, girded"; and the equivalent noun and adjective plural forms sains, saints, seins, ceints. The article helps identify the noun forms saint or sein, and distinguish singular from plural; likewise, the mandatory subject of verbs helps identify the verb ceint. In more conservative Romance languages, neither articles nor subject pronouns are necessary, since all of the above words are pronounced differently. In Italian, for example, the equivalents are sano, santo, seno, cingi, cinge, cinto, sani, santi, seni, cinti, where all vowels and consonants are pronounced as written, and ⟨s⟩ /s/ and ⟨c⟩ /t͡ʃ/ are clearly distinct from each other.
Latin, at least originally, had a three-way distinction among
demonstrative pronouns distinguished by distal value: hic 'this', iste
'that (near you)', ille 'that (over there)', similar to the
distinction that used to exist in English as "this" vs. "that" vs.
"yon(der)". In urban
Latin of Rome, iste came to have a specifically
derogatory meaning, but this innovation apparently did not reach the
provinces and is not reflected in the modern Romance languages. A
number of these languages still have such a three-way distinction,
although hic has been lost and the other pronouns have shifted
somewhat in meaning. For example, Spanish has este "this" vs. ese
"that (near you)" vs. aquel (fem. aquella) "that (over yonder)". The
Spanish pronouns derive, respectively, from
Latin iste ipse accu-ille,
where accu- is an emphatic prefix derived from eccum "behold (it!)"
(still vigorous in
Reinforced demonstratives such as accu-ille arose as ille came to be used as an article as well as a demonstrative. Such forms were often created even when not strictly needed to distinguish otherwise ambiguous forms. Italian, for example, has both questo "this" (eccu-istum) and quello "that" (eccu-illum), in addition to dialectal codesto "that (near you)" (*eccu-tē-istum). French generally prefers forms derived from bare ecce "behold", as in the pronoun ce "this one/that one" (earlier ço, from ecce-hoc; cf. Italian ciò 'that') and the determiner ce/cet "this/that" (earlier cest, from ecce-istum).
Reinforced forms are likewise common in locative adverbs (words such as English here and there), based on related Latin forms such as hic "this" vs. hīc "here", hāc "this way", and ille "that" vs. illīc "there", illāc "that way". Here again French prefers bare ecce while Spanish and Italian prefer eccum (French ici "here" vs. Spanish aquí, Italian qui). In western languages such as Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan, doublets and triplets arose such as Portuguese aqui, acá, cá "(to) here" (accu-hīc, accu-hāc, eccu-hāc). From these, a prefix a- was extracted, from which forms like aí "there (near you)" (a-(i)bi) and ali "there (over yonder)" (a-(i)llīc) were created; compare Catalan neuter pronouns açò (acce-hoc) "this", això (a-(i)psum-hoc) "that (near you)", allò (a-(i)llum-hoc) "that (yonder)".
Subsequent changes often reduced the number of demonstrative distinctions. Standard Italian, for example, has only a two-way distinction "this" vs. "that", as in English, with second-person and third-person demonstratives combined. In Catalan, however, a former three-way distinction aquest, aqueix, aquell has been reduced differently, with first-person and second-person demonstratives combined. Hence aquest means either "this" or "that (near you)"; on the phone, aquest is used to refer both to speaker and addressee.
Old French had a similar distinction to Italian (cist/cest vs. cil/cel), both of which could function as either adjectives or pronouns. Modern French, however, has no distinction between "this" and "that": ce/cet, cette < cest, ceste is only an adjective, and celui, celle < cel lui, celle is only a pronoun, and both forms indifferently mean either "this" or "that". (The distinction between "this" and "that" can be made, if necessary, by adding the suffixes -ci "here" or -là "there", e.g. cette femme-ci "this woman" vs. cette femme-là "that woman", but this is rarely done except when specifically necessary to distinguish two entities from each other.)
See also: Romance verbs
Correspondence between Latin and Romance tenses LATIN PORTUGUESE SPANISH CATALAN OCCITAN FRENCH RHAETO-ROMANCE ITALIAN ROMANIAN SARDINIAN
PRESENT INDICATIVE Present indicative
PRESENT SUBJUNCTIVE Present subjunctive
IMPERFECT INDICATIVE Imperfect indicative
IMPERFECT SUBJUNCTIVE Personal infinitive — — — — — — — Imperfect subjunctive / Personal infinitive
FUTURE INDICATIVE — eres ("you are") — — future of "to be" in Old French — — — —
PERFECT INDICATIVE Preterite Simple preterite (literary except in Valencian ) Preterite Simple past (literary) — Preterite (Tuscan Standard Italian); Literary Remote Past (Regional Standard Italian in North); Preterite/Perfect (Regional Standard Italian in South) Simple past (literary except in the Oltenian dialect) In Old Sardinian ; only traces in modern lang
PERFECT SUBJUNCTIVE —
Imperfect subjunctive (-ra form)
Occitan Second preterite
in very early
Sequence of Saint Eulalia
(very much in use) Future subjunctive
possible traces of
possible traces of
NEW FUTURE infinitive+habeo voleo+infinitive habeo+infinitive
NEW CONDITIONAL infinitive+habebam infinitive+habuisset infinitive+habuit habeo+infinitive (split apart from infinitive+habeo in 18th-century Romanian) habebam+infinitive
Preterite vs. present perfect (in speech) preterite only (present perfect exists, but has different meaning) both both (but usually an analytic preterite vado+infinitive is used) ? present perfect only present perfect only both (Tuscan Standard Italian); present perfect only (Regional Standard Italian in North); preference for preterite (Regional Standard Italian in South) present perfect only present perfect only
Verbs have many conjugations , including in most languages:
* A present tense , a preterite , an imperfect , a pluperfect , a future tense and a future perfect 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). Portuguese and Spanish also have future and future perfect subjunctives, which have no equivalent in Latin. * 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 . * Note that, although these categories are largely inherited from Classical Latin, many of the forms are either newly constructed or inherited from different categories (e.g. the Romance imperfect subjunctive most commonly is derived from the Latin pluperfect subjunctive, while the Romance pluperfect subjunctive is derived from a new present perfect tense with the auxiliary verb placed in the imperfect subjunctive).
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 dicir diz dició deciba/diciba diga diz
ASTURIAN dicir diz dixo dicía diga di
CATALAN dir diu/dit digué/va dir/dit deia digui/diga digues
CORSICAN dì dice/dici disse/dissi dicia dica/dichi dì
EMILIAN dîr dîs l'à détt / dgé dgeva dégga dì
FRANCO-PROVENçAL dire di dè djéve dijisse/dzéze dète
FRENCH dire1 dit dit disait dise dis
GALICIAN dicir di dixo dicía diga di
ITALIAN di(ce)re dice disse diceva dica dì
JUDAEO-SPANISH (LADINO) dezir dize disho dezía diga dezí
LEONESE dicire diz dixu dicía diga di
LOMBARD dì dis ha dii diseva disa dì
MIRANDESE dir diś à dit dgiva diga dì
NEAPOLITAN dicere dice dicette diceva diche dije
OCCITAN díser/dire ditz diguèt disiá diga diga
PICARD dire dit – disoait diche –
PIEDMONTESE dì dis dìsser2, l'ha dit disìa disa dis
PORTUGUESE dizer diz disse dizia diga diz3
ROMANIAN a zice, zicere4 zice zise/a zis zicea zică zi
ROMANSH dir di ha ditg discheva5 dia di
CAMPIDANESE SARDINIAN nai/narri narat at narau naràt nergiat nara
LOGUDORESE SARDINIAN narrer6 narat at naradu naraiat/nabat nerzat/niet nara
SICILIAN dìciri dici dissi dicìa dica7 dici
SPANISH decir dice dijo decía diga di
VENETIAN dir dise – disea diga dì/disi
WALLOON dire dit a dit dijheut dixhe di
BASIC MEANING to say he says he said he was saying he says say
1The spelling is conservative. Note the pronunciations: dire /diʁ/, dit /di/, disait /dizɛ/, dise /diz/, dis /di/. 2Until the eighteenth century. 3With the disused variant dize. 4long infinitive 5In modern times, scheva. 6Derived from the unrelated Latin verb narrāre "to tell (a story)". Note also the pronunciations: narrer /ˈnarrere/, narat /ˈnarada/, at naradu /a nnaˈradu/, naraiat /narˈaiada/, nabat /ˈnabata/, nerzat /ˈnertsada/, niet /ˈniete/, nara /ˈnara/. 7Sicilian now uses imperfect subjunctive dicissi in place of present subjunctive.
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.
* 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.
For a more detailed illustration of how the verbs have changed with respect to classical Latin, see Romance verbs .
* During the
Renaissance , Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and a few
* preterite only: Galician, Asturian, Sicilian, Leonese, Portuguese, some dialects of Spanish; * preterite and present perfect: Catalan, Occitan, standard Spanish; * present perfect predominant, preterite now literary: French, Romanian, several dialects of Italian, some dialects of Spanish; * present perfect only: Romansh
Note that in Catalan , the synthetic preterite is predominantly a literary tense, except in Valencian ; but an analytic preterite (formed using an auxiliary vadō, which in other languages signals the future) persists in speech, with the same meaning. In Portuguese , a morphological present perfect does exist but has a different meaning (closer to "I have been doing").
* Adjectives generally follow the noun they modify. * The normal clause structure is SVO , rather than SOV , and is much less flexible than in Latin. * 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. ciò fatto.
Many basic nouns and verbs, especially those that were short or had irregular morphology, were replaced by longer derived forms with regular morphology. Nouns, and sometimes adjectives, were often replaced by diminutives , e.g. auris "ear" > auricula (orig. "outer ear") > oricla (Sardinian origra, Italian orecchia/o, Portuguese orelha, etc.); avis "bird" > avicellus (orig. "chick, nestling") > aucellu ( Occitan aucèl, Friulan ucel, French oiseau, etc.); caput "head" > capitium (Portuguese cabeça, Spanish cabeza, French chevet "headboard"; but reflexes of caput were retained also, sometimes without change of meaning, as in Italian capo "head", alongside testa); vetus "old" > vetulus > veclus (Dalmatian vieklo, Italian vecchio, Portuguese velho, etc.). Sometimes augmentative constructions were used instead: piscis "fish" > Old French peis > peisson (orig. "big fish") > French poisson. Verbs were often replaced by frequentative constructions: canere "to sing" > cantāre; iacere "to throw" > iactāre > *iectāre (Italian gettare, Portuguese jeitar, Spanish echar, etc.); iuvāre > adiūtāre (Italian aiutare, Spanish ayudar, French aider, etc., meaning "help", alongside e.g. iuvāre > Italian giovare "to be of use"); vēnārī "hunt" (Romanian "vâna", Aromanian "avin, avinari") > replaced by *captiāre "to hunt", frequentative of capere "to seize" (Italian cacciare, Portuguese caçar, Romansh catschar, French chasser, etc.).
Latin words became archaic or poetic and were replaced
by more colloquial terms: equus "horse" > caballus (orig. "nag") (but
equa "mare" remains, cf. Spanish yegua, Portuguese égua, Sardinian
ebba, Romanian iapă); domus "house" > casa (orig. "hut"); ignis
"fire" > focus (orig. "hearth"); strāta "street" > rūga (orig.
"furrow") or callis (orig. "footpath") (but strāta is continued in
Italian strada, Romanian stradă and secondarily in e.g.
Spanish/Portuguese estrada "causeway, paved road"). In some cases,
terms from common occupations became generalized: invenīre "to find"
Many prepositions were used as verbal particles to make new roots and verb stems, e.g. Italian estrarre, Aromanian astragu, astradziri "to extract" from Latin ex- "out of" and trahere "to pull" (Italian trarre "draw, pull"), or to augment already existing words, e.g. French coudre, Italian cucire, Portuguese coser "to sew", from cōnsuere "to sew up", from suere "to sew", with total loss of the bare stem. Many prepositions and commonly became compounded, e.g. de ex > French dès "as of", ab ante > Italian avanti "forward". Some words derived from phrases, e.g. Portuguese agora, Spanish ahora "now" < hāc hōrā "at this hour"; French avec "with" (prep.) < Old French avuec (adv.) < apud hoc ("near that"); Spanish tamaño, Portuguese tamanho "size" < tam magnum "so big"; Italian codesto "this, that" (near you) < Old Italian cotevesto < eccum tibi istum approx. "here's that thing of yours"; Portuguese você "you" < vosmecê < vossemecê < Galician-Portuguese vossa mercee "your mercy".
A number of common
Latin words that have disappeared in many or most
During the Middle Ages, scores of words were borrowed directly from Classical Latin (so-called Latinisms ), either in their original form (learned loans) or in a somewhat nativized form (semi-learned loans). These resulted in many doublets —pairs of inherited and learned words—such as those in the table below:
LATIN ROMANCE INHERITED LATINISM
fragilis "fragile" French frêle "frail" fragile "fragile"
fabrica "craft, manufacture" French forge "forge" fabrique "factory"
fabrica Spanish fragua "forge" fábrica "factory"
fabrica Romanian făură "blacksmith (archaic)" fabrică "factory"
lēgālis "legal" French loyal "loyal" légal "legal"
lēgālis Spanish leal "loyal" legal "legal"
advōcātus "advocate (noun)" French avoué "solicitor (attorney)" avocat "barrister (attorney)"
polīre "to polish" Portuguese puir "to wear thin" polir "to polish"
Sometimes triplets arise: Latin articulus "joint" > Portuguese artículo "joint, knuckle" (learned), artigo "article" (semi-learned), artelho "ankle" (inherited; archaic and dialectal). In many cases, the learned word simply displaced the original popular word: e.g. Spanish crudo "crude, raw" ( Old Spanish cruo); French légume "vegetable" (Old French leüm); Portuguese flor "flower" ( Galician-Portuguese chor). The learned loan always looks more like the original than the inherited word does, because regular sound change has been bypassed; and likewise, the learned word usually has a meaning closer to that of the original. In French, however, the stress of the learned loan may be on the "wrong" syllable, whereas the stress of the inherited word always corresponds to the Latin stress: e.g. Latin vipera vs. French vipère, learned loan, and guivre/vouivre, inherited.
Borrowing from Classical Latin has produced a large number of suffix doublets. Examples from Spanish (learned form first): -ción vs. -zon; -cia vs. -za; -ificar vs. -iguar; -izar vs. -ear; -mento vs. -miento; -tud (< nominative -tūdō) vs. -dumbre (< accusative -tūdine); -ículo vs. -ejo; etc. Similar examples can be found in all the other Romance languages.
This borrowing also introduced large numbers of classical prefixes in their original form (dis-, ex-, post-, trans-) and reinforced many others (re-, popular Spanish/Portuguese des- < dis-, popular French dé- < dis-, popular Italian s- < ex-). Many Greek prefixes and suffixes (hellenisms ) also found their way into the lexicon: tele-, poli-/poly-, meta-, pseudo-, -scope/scopo, -logie/logia/logía, etc.
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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
As a result, only the following final consonants occurred in Vulgar Latin:
* Final -t in third-person singular verb forms, and -nt (later reduced in many languages to -n) in third-person plural verb forms. * Final -s (including -x) in a large number of morphological endings (verb endings -ās/-ēs/-īs/-is, -mus, -tis; nominative singular -us/-is; plural -ās/-ōs/-ēs) and certain other words (trēs "three", sex "six", crās "tomorrow", etc.). * Final -n in some monosyllables (from earlier -m). * Final -r, -d in some prepositions (e.g. ad, per), which were clitics that attached phonologically to the following word. * Very occasionally, final -c, e.g. Occitan oc "yes" < hoc, Old French avuec "with" < apud hoc (although these instances were possibly protected by a final epenthetic vowel at one point).
Final -t was eventually dropped 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 dropped or protected by an epenthetic
vowel, except in clitic forms (e.g. prepositions con, per). Modern
Standard Italian still has almost no 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
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/, /ʒ/, /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, except labial consonants /ttʃʲ~ttsʲ/ < /kj/, /jj~ddʒʲ/ < /ɡj/, /ɲɲ/, /ʎʎ/, /Cʲ/ all except Sardinian
3 before /i/ /k/, /ɡ/ /tʃʲ~tsʲ/, /j~dʒʲ/
4 before /e/ all except Sardinian and Dalmatian
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 with an initial , became Italian cielo , Romanian cer , Spanish cielo /, French ciel , Catalan cel , and Portuguese céu .
The outcome of palatalized /d/ and /ɡ/ is less clear:
* Original /j/ has the same outcome as palatalized /ɡ/ everywhere. * Romanian fairly consistently has /z/ < /dz/ from palatalized /d/, but /dʒ/ from palatalized /ɡ/. * Italian inconsistently has /ddz~ddʒ/ from palatalized /d/, and /ddʒ/ from palatalized /ɡ/. * Most other languages have the same results for palatalized /d/ and /ɡ/: consistent /dʒ/ initially, but either /j/ or /dʒ/ medially (depending on language and exact context). But Spanish has /j/ (phonetically ) initially except before /o/, /u/; nearby Gascon is similar.
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
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 in most situations, but a "soft" pronunciation (e.g. French/Portuguese , Italian/Romanian ) 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 .) 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 and to represent /k/ and /g/ before written results in similar orthographic alternations, such as dimentico 'I forget', dimentichi 'you forget', baco 'worm', bachi 'worms' with or pago 'I pay', paghi 'you pay' and lago 'lake', laghi 'lakes' with . The use in Italian of and to represent /tʃ/ or /dʒ/ before vowels written neatly distinguishes dico 'I say' with /k/ from dici 'you say' with /tʃ/ or ghiro 'dormouse' /g/ and giro 'turn, revolution' /dʒ/, but with orthographic and 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 in camicia 'shirt' represents a single unstressed syllable /tʃa/ with no /i/ at any level (/kaˈmitʃa/ → ~ ), but that underlying the same spelling in farmacia 'pharmacy' is a bisyllabic sequence of /tʃ/ and stressed /i/ (/farmaˈtʃia/ → ~ ).
Stop consonants shifted by lenition in Vulgar Latin.
The voiced labial consonants /b/ and /w/ (represented by ⟨b⟩ and
⟨v⟩, respectively) both developed a fricative 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
Several other consonants were "softened" in intervocalic position in
Western Romance (Spanish, Portuguese, French, Northern Italian), but
normally not phonemically in the rest of
Single voiceless plosives became voiced : -p-, -t-, -c- > -b-, -d-, -g-. Subsequently, in some languages they were further weakened, either becoming fricatives or approximants , , , (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 , Portuguese vida ( European Portuguese ), Spanish vida (Southern Peninsular Spanish ), and French vie . Some have speculated that these sound changes may be due in part to the influence of Continental Celtic languages .
* The voiced plosives /d/ and /ɡ/ tended to disappear. * The plain sibilant -s- was also voiced to between vowels, although in many languages its spelling has not changed. (In Spanish, intervocalic was later devoiced back to ; is only found as an allophone of /s/ before voiced consonants in Modern Spanish.) * The double plosives became single: -pp-, -tt-, -cc-, -bb-, -dd-, -gg- > -p-, -t-, -c-, -b-, -d-, -g- in most languages. In French spelling, double consonants are merely etymological, except for -ll- after -i (pronounced ), in most cases. * The double sibilant -ss- also became phonetically single , although in many languages its spelling has not changed.
Consonant length is no longer phonemically distinctive in most
Romance languages. However some languages of
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 ŀl (Catalan) or ll (Occitan), but it is usually pronounced as a simple sound in colloquial (and even some formal) speech in both languages.
In Western Romance , an epenthetic or prosthetic vowel was inserted at the beginning of any word that began with /s/ and another consonant: spatha "sword" > Spanish/Portuguese espada, Catalan espasa, Old French espeḍe > modern épée; Stephanum "Stephen" > Spanish Esteban, Catalan Esteve, Portuguese Estêvão, Old French Estievne > modern Étienne; status "state" > Spanish/Portuguese estado, Catalan estat, Old French estat > modern état; spiritus "spirit" > Spanish espíritu, Portuguese espírito, Catalan esperit, French esprit. Epenthetic /e/ in Western Romance languages was also probably influenced by Continental Celtic languages. While Western Romance words undergo word-initial epenthesis (prothesis), cognates in Italian do not: spatha > spada, Stephanum > Stefano, status > stato, spiritus > spirito. 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 an epenthetic /i/ if a consonant preceded such clusters, so that 'in Switzerland' was in Svizzera. Some speakers still use the prothetic productively, and it is fossilized in a few set phrases as per iscritto 'in writing' (although in this case its survival may be due partly to the influence of the separate word iscritto < Latin īnscrīptus).
EVOLUTION OF THE STRESSED VOWELS IN EARLY ROMANCE
CLASSICAL Proto- Romance Western Romance Balkan Romance SARDINIAN SICILIAN
ī long i /iː/ /i/ I /i/ /i/ /i/
ȳ long y /yː/
I (ĭ) short i /i/ /ɪ/ ẹ /e/
Y (Y̆) short y /y/
ē long e /eː/ /e/ /e/
œ oe /oj/ > /eː/
E (ĕ) short e /e/ /ɛ/ ę /ɛ/ /ɛ/
æ ae /aj/ >
ā long a /aː/ /a/ A /a/
A (ă) short a /a/
O (ŏ) short o /o/ /ɔ/ ǫ /ɔ/ /o/ /ɔ/
ō long o /oː/ /o/ ọ /o/ /u/
au (a few words) au /aw/ > /oː/
U (ŭ) short u /u/ /ʊ/ /u/
ū long u /uː/ /u/ U /u/
au (most words) au /aw/ AU /aw/
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 "he falls" vs. cadde "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:
* The simplest outcome was in Sardinian , where the former long and short vowels in Latin simply coalesced, e.g. /ĕ ē/ > /e/, /ĭ ī/ > /i/: This produced a simple five-vowel system /a e i o u/. * In most areas, however (technically, the Italo-Western languages ), the near-close vowels /ɪ ʊ/ lowered and merged into the high-mid vowels /e o/. As a result, Latin pira "pear" and vēra "true", came to rhyme (e.g. Italian and Spanish pera, vera, and Old French poire, voire). Similarly, Latin nucem (from nux "nut") and vōcem (from vōx "voice") become Italian noce, voce, Portuguese noz, voz, and French noix, voix. This produced a seven-vowel system /a ɛ e i ɔ o u/, still maintained in conservative languages such as Italian and Portuguese, and lightly transformed in Spanish (where /ɛ/ > /je/, /ɔ/ > /we/). * In the Eastern Romance languages (particularly, Romanian ), the front vowels /ĕ ē ĭ ī/ evolved as in the majority of languages, but the back vowels /ŏ ō ŭ ū/ evolved as in Sardinian. This produced an unbalanced six-vowel system: /a ɛ e i o u/. In modern Romanian, this system has been significantly transformed, with /ɛ/ > /je/ and with new vowels /ə ɨ/ evolving, leading to a balanced seven-vowel system with central as well as front and back vowels: /a e i ə ɨ o u/. * Sicilian is sometimes described as having its own distinct vowel system. In fact, Sicilian passed through the same developments as the main bulk of Italo-Western languages. Subsequently, however, high-mid vowels (but not low-mid vowels) were raised in all syllables, stressed and unstressed; i.e. /e o/ > /i u/. The result is a five-vowel /a ɛ i ɔ u/.
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. Friulan ) 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 was eventually lost by around AD 1700, but the former long vowels are still marked with a circumflex. 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 > 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.
Main article: Metaphony (Romance languages)
An early process that operated in all
Servigliano in the
A number of languages diphthongized some of the free vowels, especially the open-mid vowels /ɛ ɔ/:
* Spanish consistently diphthongized all open-mid vowels /ɛ ɔ/ > /je we/ except for before certain palatal consonants (which raised the vowels to close-mid before diphthongization took place). * Romanian similarly diphthongized /ɛ/ to /je/ (the corresponding vowel /ɔ/ did not develop from Proto-Romance). * Italian diphthongized /ɛ/ > /jɛ/ and /ɔ/ > /wɔ/ in open syllables (in the situations where vowels were lengthened in Proto-Romance), the most salient exception being /ˈbɛne/ bene 'well', perhaps due to the high frequency of apocopated ben (e.g. ben difficile 'quite difficult', ben fatto 'well made', ben due 'a good two', etc.). * French similarly diphthongized /ɛ ɔ/ in open syllables (when lengthened), along with /a e o/: /aː ɛː eː ɔː oː/ > /aɛ iɛ ei uɔ ou/ > middle OF /e je ɔi we eu/ > modern /e je wa œ ~ ø œ ~ ø/. * French also diphthongized /ɛ ɔ/ before palatalized consonants, especially /j/. Further development was as follows: /ɛj/ > /iej/ > /i/; /ɔj/ > /uoj/ > early OF /uj/ > modern /ɥi/. * Catalan diphthongized /ɛ ɔ/ before /j/ from palatalized consonants, just like French, with similar results: /ɛj/ > /i/, /ɔj/ > /uj/.
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 and occur allophonically, with the close-mid vowels in open syllables and the open-mid vowels in closed syllables . This is still the situation in modern Spanish, for example. In French, however, both and 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/ 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 > beaus . 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 diphthongized, and were dramatically lowered: fīnem "end" > fin /fɛ̃/ (often pronounced ); 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). In
Portugal, vowels before a nasal consonant have become denasalized, but
Characteristic of the
Gallo-Romance languages 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
Occitan /ˈlyno/. Many of the languages in Switzerland and
Evolution of unstressed vowels in early Italo- Western Romance LATIN Proto- Romance STRESSED Non-final unstressed FINAL-UNSTRESSED
ORIGINAL Later Italo- Romance Later Western- Romance Gallo- Romance Primitive French
A,ā /a/ A /a/ /a/ /ə/
E,AE /ɛ/ ę /ɛ/ /e/ /e/ /e/ ∅; /e/ (prop) ∅; /ə/ (prop)
ē,OE /e/ ẹ /e/
ī,ȳ /i/ I /i/ /i/
O /ɔ/ ǫ /ɔ/ /o/ /o/ /o/
ō,(AU) /o/ ọ /o/
U /ʊ/ /u/
ū /u/ U /u/
au (most words) /aw/ AU /aw/ N/A
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
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/.
Examples of evolution of final unstressed vowels: From least- to most-changed languages ENGLISH LATIN PROTO-ITALO-WESTERN1 Conservative Central Italian1 ITALIAN SPANISH CATALAN OLD FRENCH
A, E, I, O, U A, E, I, O, U A, E, I, O A, E/-, O A, -/E E, -/E
one (fem.) ūnam ˈuna una una una una une
door portam ˈpɔrta pɔrta porta puerta porta porte
seven septem ˈsɛtte sɛtte sette siete set set
sea mare ˈmare mare mare mar mar mer
peace pācem ˈpatʃe pace pace paz pau paiz
part partem ˈparte parte parte parte part part
mother mātrem ˈmatre matre madre madre mare meḍre
twenty vīgintī veˈenti vinti venti veinte vint vint
four quattuor ˈkwattro quattro quattro cuatro quatre quatre
eight octō ˈɔkto ɔtto otto ocho vuit huit
when quandō ˈkwando quando quando cuando quan quant
fourth quartum ˈkwartu quartu quarto cuarto quart quart
one (masc.) ūnum ˈunu unu uno uno un un
port portum ˈpɔrtu portu porto puerto port port
1 These columns use IPA symbols /ɔ, ɛ/ to indicate open-mid vowels.
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:
* In Tuscan (including standard Italian), final /u/ merged into /o/.
* In the
Western Romance languages , final /i/ eventually merged
into /e/ (although final /i/ triggered metaphony before that, e.g.
Spanish hice, Portuguese fiz "I did" < *fize <
Conservative languages like Spanish largely maintain that system, but
drop final /e/ after certain single consonants, e.g. /r/, /l/, /n/,
/d/, /z/ (< palatalized c).
* In the
Gallo-Romance languages (part of Western Romance), final
/o/ and /e/ were dropped entirely unless that produced an impossible
final cluster (e.g. /tr/), in which case a "prop vowel" /e/ was added.
This left only two final vowels: /a/ and prop vowel /e/. Catalan
preserves this system.
* Loss of final stressless vowels in Venetian shows a pattern
Various later changes happened in individual languages, e.g.:
* In French, most final consonants were dropped, and then final /ə/ was also dropped. The /ə/ is still preserved in spelling as a final silent -e, whose main purpose is to signal that the previous consonant is pronounced, e.g. port "port" /pɔʁ/ vs. porte "door" /pɔʁt/. These changes also eliminated the difference between singular and plural in most words: ports "ports" (still /pɔʁ/), portes "doors" (still /pɔʁt/). Final consonants reappear in liaison contexts (in close connection with a following vowel-initial word), e.g. nous "we" vs. nous avons "we have", il fait "he does" vs. fait-il ? "does he?". * In Portuguese, final unstressed /o/ and /u/ were apparently preserved intact for a while, since final unstressed /u/, but not /o/ or /os/, triggered metaphony (see above). Final-syllable unstressed /o/ was raised in preliterary times to /u/, but always still written ⟨o⟩. At some point (perhaps in late Galician-Portuguese), final-syllable unstressed /e/ was raised to /i/ (but still written ⟨e⟩); this remains in Brazilian Portuguese , but has developed to /ɨ/ in European Portuguese . * In Catalan, final unstressed /as/ > /es/. In many dialects, unstressed /o/ and /u/ merge into /u/ as in Portuguese, and unstressed /a/ and /e/ merge into /ə/. However, some dialects preserve the original five-vowel system, most notably standard Valencian .
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:
* septimā́nam "week" > Italian settimana, Romanian săptămână vs. Spanish/Portuguese semana, French semaine, Occitan/Catalan setmana, Piedmontese sman-a * quattuórdecim "fourteen" > Italian quattordici, Venetian cuatòrdexe, Lombard/ Piedmontese quatòrdes, vs. Spanish catorce, Portuguese/French quatorze * metipsissimus > medipsimus /medíssimos/ ~ /medéssimos/ "self" > Italian medésimo vs. Venetian medemo, Lombard medemm, Old Spanish meísmo, meesmo (> modern mismo), Galician-Portuguese meesmo (> modern mesmo), Old French meḍisme (> later meïsme > MF mesme > modern même) * bonitā́tem "goodness" > Italian bonità ~ bontà, Romanian bunătate but Spanish bondad, Portuguese bondade, French bonté * collocā́re "to position, arrange" > Italian coricare vs. Spanish colgar "to hang", Romanian culca "to lie down", French coucher "to lay sth on its side; put s.o. to bed" * commūnicā́re "to take communion" > Romanian cumineca vs. Portuguese comungar, Spanish comulgar, Old French comungier * carricā́re "to load (onto a wagon, cart)" > Portuguese/Catalan carregar vs. Spanish/ Occitan cargar "to load", French charger, Lombard cargà/caregà, Venetian carigar/cargar(e) "to load" * fábricam "forge" > /*fawrɡa/ > Spanish fragua, Portuguese frágua, Occitan/Catalan farga, French forge * disjējūnā́re "to break a fast" > *disjūnā́re > Old French disner "to have lunch" > French dîner "to dine" (but *disjū́nat > Old French desjune "he has lunch" > French (il) déjeune "he has lunch") * adjūtā́re "to help" > Italian aiutare, Romanian ajuta but French aider, Lombard aidà/aiuttà (Spanish ayudar, Portuguese ajudar based on stressed forms, e.g. ayuda/ajuda "he helps"; cf. Old French aidier "to help" vs. aiue "he helps")
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
Spelling of results of palatalization and related sounds SOUND SPANISH PORTUGUESE FRENCH ITALIAN ROMANIAN
/k/, not + ⟨e, i, y⟩ ⟨c⟩
palatalized /k/ (/tʃ/~/s/~/θ/), + ⟨e, i, y⟩ ⟨c⟩
palatalized /k/ (/tʃ/~/s/~/θ/), not + ⟨e, i, y⟩ ⟨z⟩ ⟨ç⟩ ⟨ci⟩
/kw/, not + ⟨e, i, y⟩ ⟨cu⟩ ⟨qu⟩ —
/k/ + ⟨e, i⟩ (inherited) ⟨qu⟩ ⟨ch⟩
/kw/ + ⟨e, i⟩ (learned) ⟨cu⟩ ⟨qu⟩ —
/g/, not + ⟨e, i, y⟩ ⟨g⟩
palatalized /k, g/ (/dʒ/~/ʒ/~/x/), + ⟨e, i, y⟩ ⟨g⟩
palatalized /k, g/ (/dʒ/~/ʒ/~/x/), not + ⟨e, i, y⟩ ⟨j⟩ ⟨g(e)⟩ ⟨gi⟩
/gw/, not + ⟨e ,i⟩ ⟨gu⟩
/g/ + ⟨e, i⟩ (inherited) ⟨gu⟩ ⟨gh⟩
/gw/ + ⟨e, i⟩ (learned) ⟨gü⟩ ⟨gu⟩
(former) /ʎ/ ⟨ll⟩ ⟨lh⟩ ⟨il(l)⟩ ⟨gli⟩ —
/ɲ/ ⟨ñ⟩ ⟨nh⟩ ⟨gn⟩ —
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
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.
DIGRAPHS AND TRIGRAPHS
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
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 () and Spanish ñ ().
The following are the most common use of diacritics in Romance languages.
* VOWEL QUALITY: the system of marking close-mid vowels with an
acute accent , é, and open-mid vowels with a grave accent , è, is
widely used (e.g. Catalan, French, Italian). Portuguese, however, uses
the circumflex (ê) for the former, and the acute (é), for the
latter. Some minority
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 fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
In particular, all
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. 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.)
Sardinian (Nuorese) ROMANIAN SICILIAN ITALIAN VENETIAN EMILIAN LOMBARD PIEDMONTESE FRIULIAN ROMANSH FRENCH OCCITAN CATALAN ARAGONESE SPANISH ASTURIAN PORTUGUESE
man homō, hominem ómine om omu uomo om(en)o òm(en) om(en) òm om um homme /ɔm/ òme home om(br)e hombre home homem
woman, wife mulier, mulierem muzère muiere mugghieri moglie mojer mujér miee/fomna fomna muîr muglier OF moillier OOc mólher (nom. ) / molhér (obj. ) muller muller mujer muyer mulher
son fīlium fìzu fiu figghiu figlio fiol fiōl fiö/bagaj fieul fi figl, fegl fils /fis/ filh fill fillo hijo fíu filho
water aquam àbba apă acqua acqua acua aqua acqua/agua/ova/eiva eva aghe aua eau /o/ aiga aigua aigua, augua agua agua água
fire focum fócu foc focu fuoco fogo foeugh fögh feu fûc fieu feu /fø/ fuòc foc fuego fuego fueu fogo
rain pluviam próida ploaie chiuvuta pioggia pióva pioeuva piöa pieuva ploe plievgia pluie /plɥi/ pluèja pluja plebia lluvia lluvia chuva
land terram tèrra ţară terra terra tera tera tera tèra tiere terra/tiara terre /tɛʁ/ tèrra terra tierra tierra tierra terra
sky caelum chélu cer celu cielo çiél cēl cel/sel cel cîl tschiel ciel /sjɛl/ cèl cel zielo cielo cielu céu
high altum àrtu înalt autu alto alto élt volt/ot àut alt aut haut /o/ n-aut alt alto alto altu alto
new novum nóbu nou novu nuovo nóvo noeuv nöf/noeuv neuv gnove nov neuf /nœf/ nòu nou nuebo nuevo nuevu novo
horse caballum càdhu cal cavaddu cavallo cavało cavàl cavâl/caàl caval ĉhaval chaval cheval /ʃ(ǝ)val/ caval cavall caballo caballo caballu cavalo
dog canem cane câine cani cane can can ca(n) can cjan chaun chien /ʃjɛ̃/ can ca can can can cão
do facere fàchere face(re) fari/fàciri fare far far fà fé fâ far faire /fɛʁ/ far/fàser fer fer hacer facer fazer
milk lactem làte lapte latti latte late latt lacc/lat làit lat latg lait /lɛ/ lach llet leit leche lleche leite
eye oculum > *oclum ócru ochi occhiu occhio ocio òć ögg/oeucc euj (Western Piedmontese), eugg (Eastern Piedmontese) voli egl œil /œj/ uèlh ull güello ojo güeyu olho
ear auriculam > *oriclam orícra ureche auricchia orecchio orécia uréć orèggia/ureja orija orele ureglia oreille /ɔʁɛj/ aurelha orella orella oreja oreya orelha
tongue/ language linguam límba limbǎ lingua lingua léngua léngua lengua lenga lenghe lingua langue /lɑ̃ɡ/ lenga llengua luenga lengua llingua língua
hand manum manu mână manu mano man man man man man maun main /mɛ̃/ man mà man mano mano mão
skin pellem pèdhe piele peddi pelle pełe pèl pel pel piel pel peau /po/ pèl pell piel piel piel pele
I ego (d)ègo eu eu/jè/ju io (mi) (mì/mè) (mi/mé) i(/mi) jo jau je /ʒǝ/ ieu/jo jo yo yo yo eu
our nostrum nóstru nostru nostru nostro nostro noster nòst nòst nestri noss notre /nɔtʁ/ nòstre nostre nuestro nuestro nuesu, nuestru nosso
three trēs tres trei tri tre tre trii trii (m )/ tre (f ) trè tre trais trois /tʁwa/ tres tres tres tres trés três
four quattuor > *quattro bàttor patru quattru quattro cuatro quàtar quater quatr cuatri quat(t)er quatre /katʁ/ quatre quatre cuatre, cuatro cuatro cuatro quatro
five quīnque > *cīnque chímbe cinci cincu cinque çincue sinc cinch/si(n)ch sinch cinc tschintg cinq /sɛ̃k/ cinc cinc zinco, zingo cinco cinco, cincu cinco
six sex ses şase sia sei sìe siē ses ses sîs sis six /sis/ sièis sis seis/sais seis seis seis
seven septem sète şapte setti sette sete sèt set set siet se(a)t, siat sept /sɛt/ sèt set siet(e) siete siete sete
eight octō òto opt ottu otto oto òt vot eut vot ot(g), och huit /ɥit/ uèch vuit güeito, ueito ocho ocho oito
nine novem nòbe nouă novi nove nove nóv nöf neuv nûv no(u)v neuf /nœf/ nòu nou nueu nueve nueve nove
ten decem dèche zece deci dieci diéxe déś des/dis des dîs diesch dix /dis/ dètz deu diez diez diez dez
ENGLISH LATIN SARDINIAN ROMANIAN SICILIAN ITALIAN VENETIAN EMILIAN LOMBARD PIEDMONTESE FRIULIAN ROMANSH FRENCH OCCITAN CATALAN ARAGONESE SPANISH ASTURIAN PORTUGUESE
* Legacy of the
* ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds.
Glottolog 3.0 . Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute
for the Science of Human History.
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* Boyd-Bowman, Peter (1980). From
Latin to Romance in Sound Charts.
Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
* Cravens, Thomas D. Comparative Historical Dialectology:
Italo-Romance Clues to
* Price, Glanville (1971). The French language: present and past.
* Kibler, William W. (1984). An introduction to Old French. New
York: Modern Language Association of America.
* Lodge, R. Anthony (1993). French: From
* Williams, Edwin B. (1968). From Latin to Portuguese, Historical Phonology and Morphology of the Portuguese Language (2nd ed.). University of Pennsylvania. * Wetzels, W. Leo; Menuzzi, Sergio; Costa, João (2016). The Handbook of Portuguese Linguistics. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.
* Penny, Ralph (2002). A History of the Spanish Language (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. * Lapesa, Rafael (1981). Historia de la Lengua Española. Madrid: Editorial Gredos. * Pharies, David (2007). A Brief History History of the Spanish Language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. * Zamora Vicente, Alonso (1967). Dialectología Española (2nd ed.). Madrid: Editorial Gredos.
* Devoto, Giacomo; Giacomelli, Gabriella (2002). I Dialetti delle Regioni d'Italia (3rd ed.). Milano: RCS Libri (Tascabili Bompiani). * Devoto, Giacomo (1999). Il Linguaggio d'Italia. Milano: RCS Libri (Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli). * Maiden, Martin (1995). A Linguistic History of Italian. London: Longman.
* John Haiman ;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v
* t * e
* dialects * EUROPEAN * BRAZILIAN * Uruguayan * AFRICAN * Asian * Creoles
* Eonavian/ Galician-Asturian * Fala
* Judaeo-Portuguese * Caló
* dialects * LATIN AMERICAN * Philippine * Equatoguinean * EUROPEAN * Creoles
* Aragonese * Judaeo-Aragonese
* Judaeo-Catalan * Caló
* Languedocien * Limousin
* Niçard * Mentonasc
* Vivaro-Alpine * Old Provençal * Judaeo-Provençal * Caló
* Burgundian * Champenois * Franc-Comtois
* Gallo * Lorrain
* Arpitan/ Franco-Provençal
* Valdôtain * Savoyard
NORTH ITALIAN DIALECTS
* Brigasc * Genoese * Intemelio * Monégasque
* Western * Eastern
* Bolognese * Parmigiano
* Judaeo- Piedmontese
* Fiuman * Talian * Triestine
* Friulian * Ladin * Romansh
CENTRAL , SARDINIAN AND EASTERN
* CENTRAL * Tuscan
* Sassarese * Judaeo-Italian
* Northern Calabrese
* Southern Calabrese
* Dalmatian * Istriot
* Campidanese * Logudorese
* Moldovan * Vlach
* Aromanian * Istro-Romanian * Megleno-Romanian
* Italics indicate extinct languages * BOLD indicates languages with more than 5 million speakers * Languages between parentheses are varieties of the language on their left.
* GND : 4115788-6 * SUDOC : 027471187 * NDL : 00569674
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