Latin or Sermō Vulgāris ("common speech") was a nonstandard
Latin (as opposed to Classical Latin, the standard and
literary version of the language) spoken in the Mediterranean region
during and after the classical period of the Roman Empire. It is from
Latin that the
Romance languages developed; the best known are
the national languages Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, and
French. Works written in
Latin during classical times and the earlier
Middle Ages used Classical
Latin rather than Vulgar Latin, with very
few exceptions (most notably sections of Gaius Petronius' Satyricon).
Because of its nonstandard nature, Vulgar
Latin had no official
Latin is sometimes also called colloquial
Latin, or Common Romance (particularly in the late stage). In
Renaissance Latin, Vulgar
Latin was called vulgare Latinum or Latinum
By its nature Vulgar
Latin varied greatly by region and by time
period, though several major divisions can be seen. Vulgar Latin
dialects began to significantly diverge from Classical
Latin in the
third century during the classical period of the Roman Empire.
Nevertheless, throughout the sixth century the most widely spoken
dialects were still similar to and mostly mutually intelligible with
The verb system [...] seems to have remained virtually intact
throughout the fifth century [...] the transformation of the language,
from structures we call
Latin into structures we call Romance, lasted
from the third or fourth century until the eighth; we could say Latin
"died" [ceased to be anybody's natural mother tongue and had to be
learned] in the first part of the eighth century; in Italy the first
signs that people were aware of the difference between the everyday
language they spoke and the written form is in the mid-tenth century.
The period of most rapid change occurred from the second half of the
seventh century. Until then the spoken and written form (though with
many vulgar features) were regarded as one language.
The language called Proto-Romance developed during the governance of
Germanic rulers. Similarly in the Eastern
Roman Empire as Latin
faded as the Court language in the course of the 5th century. The
Latin spoken in the Balkans north of Greece and southern
Bulgaria became heavily influenced by Greek and Slavic and also became
radically different from Classical
Latin and from the proto-Romance of
Western Europe. Vulgar
Latin diverged into distinct languages
beginning in the 9th century.
1 Origin of the term
5.1 Evidence of changes
5.2 Consonant development
5.2.1 Loss of final consonants
Lenition of stops
5.2.3 Simplification of geminates
5.2.4 Loss of word-final m
5.2.5 Neutralization of /b/ and /w/
Consonant cluster simplification
5.3 Vowel development
5.3.1 System in Classical Latin
5.3.3 Loss of distinctive length and near-close mergers
5.3.4 Phonologization of stress
5.3.5 Lengthening of stressed open syllables
6.1 Romance articles
6.2 Loss of neutral gender
6.3 Loss of oblique cases
6.4 Wider use of prepositions
6.9 Word order typology
7 See also
7.1 History of specific Romance languages
9.2 Transitions to Romance languages
9.2.1 To Romance in general
9.2.2 To French
9.2.3 To Italian
9.2.4 To Spanish
9.2.5 To Portuguese
9.2.6 To Occitan
9.2.7 To Sardinian
10 Further reading
11 External links
Origin of the term
The term "common speech" (sermo vulgaris), which later became "Vulgar
Latin", was used by inhabitants of the Roman Empire. Subsequently it
became a technical term from
Latin and Romance-language philology
referring to the unwritten varieties of a Latinised language spoken
Italo-Celtic populations governed by the
Roman Republic and
the Roman Empire.
Traces of their language appear in some inscriptions, such as graffiti
or advertisements. The educated population mainly responsible for
Latin may also have spoken Vulgar
Latin in certain contexts
depending on their socioeconomic background. The term was first used
improperly in that sense by the pioneers of Romance-language
François Juste Marie Raynouard
François Juste Marie Raynouard (1761–1836) and Friedrich
Christian Diez (1794–1876).
In the course of his studies on the lyrics of songs written by the
troubadours of Provence, which had already been studied by Dante
Alighieri and published in De vulgari eloquentia, Raynouard noticed
Romance languages derived in part from lexical,
morphological, and syntactic features that were Latin, but were not
preferred in Classical Latin. He hypothesized an intermediate phase
and identified it with the Romana lingua, a term that in countries
Romance languages meant "nothing more or less than the vulgar
speech as opposed to literary or grammatical Latin."
Diez, the principal founder of Romance-language philology, impressed
by the comparative methods of
Jakob Grimm in Deutsche Grammatik, which
came out in 1819 and was the first to use such methods in philology,
decided to apply them to the
Romance languages and discovered
Raynouard's work, Grammaire comparée des langues de l'Europe latine
dans leurs rapports avec la langue des troubadours, published in 1821.
Describing himself as a pupil of Raynouard, he went on to expand the
concept to all Romance languages, not just the speech of the
troubadours, on a systematic basis, thereby becoming the originator of
a new field of scholarly inquiry.
Diez, in his signal work on the topic, Grammatik der romanischen
Sprachen, "Grammar of the Romance Languages," first published in
1836–1843 and multiple times thereafter, after enumerating six
Romance languages that he compared: Italian and Wallachian (i.e.,
Romanian) (east); Spanish and Portuguese (southwest); and Provençal
and French (northwest), asserts that they had their origin in Latin,
but nicht aus dem classischen Latein, "not from classical Latin,"
rather aus der römischen Volkssprache oder Volksmundart, "from the
Roman popular language or popular dialect". These terms, as he
points out later in the work, are a translation into German of Dante's
vulgare latinum and Latinum vulgare, and the Italian of Boccaccio,
latino volgare. These names in turn are at the end of a tradition
extending to the Roman republic.
The concepts and vocabulary from which vulgare latinum descend were
known in the classical period and are to be found amply represented in
Latin dictionary, starting in the late Roman republic.
Marcus Tullius Cicero, a prolific writer, whose works have survived in
large quantity, and who serves as a standard of Latin, and his
contemporaries in addition to recognizing the lingua Latina also knew
varieties of "speech" under the name sermo.
Latin could be sermo
Latinus, but in addition was a variety known as sermo vulgaris, sermo
vulgi, sermo plebeius and sermo quotidianus. These modifiers inform
post-classical readers that a conversational
Latin existed, which was
used by the masses (vulgus) in daily speaking (quotidianus) and was
perceived as lower-class (plebeius).
These vocabulary items manifest no opposition to the written language.
There was an opposition to higher-class, or family
Latin (good family)
in sermo familiaris and very rarely literature might be termed sermo
nobilis. The supposed "sermo classicus" is a scholarly fiction
unattested in the dictionary. All kinds of sermo were spoken only, not
written. If one wanted to refer to what in post-classical times was
Latin one resorted to the concept of latinitas
("latinity") or latine (adverb).
If one spoke in the lingua or sermo Latinus one merely spoke Latin,
but if one spoke latine or latinius ("more Latinish") one spoke good
Latin, and formal
Latin had latinitas, the quality of good Latin,
about it. After the fall of the empire and the transformation of
Latin into the early
Romance languages the only representative
Latin language was written Latin, which became known as
classicus, "classy" Latin. The original opposition was between formal
or implied good
Latin and informal or Vulgar Latin. The spoken/written
dichotomy is entirely philological.
Latin is a blanket term covering the popular dialects and
sociolects of the
Latin language throughout its range, from the
hypothetical prisca latinitas of unknown or poorly remembered times in
early Latium, to the language spoken around the fall of the empire.
Although making it clear that sermo vulgaris existed, ancient writers
said very little about it. Because it was not transcribed, it can only
be studied indirectly. Knowledge comes from these chief sources:
Solecisms, especially in Late
Mention of it by ancient grammarians, including prescriptive grammar
texts from the Late
Latin period condemning linguistic "errors" that
represent spoken Latin.
The comparative method, which reconstructs Proto-Romance, a
hypothetical vernacular proto-language from which the Romance
Some literary works written in a lower register of
Latin provide a
glimpse into the world of Vulgar
Latin in the classical period: the
dialogues of the plays of
Plautus and Terence, being comedies with
many characters who were slaves, and the speech of freedmen in the
Cena Trimalchionis by
An extract of the Oaths of Strasbourg, the earliest French text.
The original written
Latin language (what is today referred to as
Classical Latin) was adapted from the actual spoken language of the
Latins, with some minor modifications, long before the rise of the
Roman Empire. As with many languages, over time the spoken vulgar
language diverged from the written language with the written language
remaining somewhat static. During the classical period spoken (Vulgar)
Latin still remained largely common across the Empire, some minor
dialectal differences notwithstanding.
The collapse of the Western
Roman Empire rapidly began to change this.
The former western provinces became increasingly isolated from the
Eastern Roman Empire, leading to a rapid divergence in the Latin
spoken on either side. In the West an even more complex transformation
was occurring. A blending of cultures was occurring between the former
Roman citizens who were fluent in the proper
Latin speech (which was
already substantially different from Classical Latin), and the new
Gothic rulers who, though largely Latinised, tended to speak Latin
poorly, speaking what could be considered a pidgin of
Latin and their
Germanic mother tongue, though this changed over time.
Latin language that continued to evolve after the
establishment of the successor kingdoms of the Roman State
incorporated Germanic vocabulary but with minimal influences from
Germanic grammar (
Germanic languages did not displace
Latin except in
northern Belgium, the Rhineland Moselle region and north of the Alps).
For a few centuries this language remained relatively common across
most of Western Europe (hence the fact that Italian, Spanish, French,
etc. are far more similar to each other than to Classical Latin),
though regional dialects were already developing. As early as 722, in
a face to face meeting between Pope Gregory II, born and raised in
Rome, and Saint Boniface, an Anglo-Saxon, Boniface complained that he
found Pope Gregory's
Latin speech difficult to understand, a clear
sign of the transformation of Vulgar
Latin in two regions of western
Latin and Vulgar
Latin came to be viewed as distinct
languages. At the third
Council of Tours in 813, priests were ordered
to preach in the vernacular language – either in the rustica lingua
romanica (Vulgar Latin), or in the Germanic vernaculars – since the
common people could no longer understand formal Latin. Within a
Oaths of Strasbourg
Oaths of Strasbourg (842), a treaty between
Charles the Bald
Charles the Bald and Louis the German, was
proffered and recorded in a language that was already distinct from
Latin. József Herman states:
It seems certain that in the sixth century, and quite likely into the
early parts of the seventh century, people in the main Romanized areas
could still largely understand the biblical and liturgical texts and
the commentaries (of greater or lesser simplicity) that formed part of
the rites and of religious practice, and that even later, throughout
the seventh century, saints' lives written in
Latin could be read
aloud to the congregations with an expectation that they would be
understood. We can also deduce however, that in Gaul, from the central
part of the eighth century onwards, many people, including several of
the clerics, were not able to understand even the most straightforward
By the end of the first millennium, dialects had diverged so far that
some of the more geographically distant ones had become mutually
unintelligible and distinct. With the evolved
Latin vernaculars viewed
as different languages with local norms, specific orthographies would
in time be developed for some. Since all modern Romance varieties are
continuations of this evolution, Vulgar
Latin is not extinct but
survives in variously evolved forms as today's
Romance languages and
dialects. In Romance-speaking Europe, recognition of the common origin
of Romance varieties was replaced by labels recognizing and implicitly
accentuating local differences in linguistic features. Some Romance
languages evolved more than others. In terms of phonological
structures, for example, a clear hierarchy from conservative to
innovative is found in comparing Italian, Spanish and French (e.g.
Latin amica > Italian amica, Spanish amiga, French amie; Latin
caput > Italian capo, Spanish cabo, French chef).
Oaths of Strasbourg
Oaths of Strasbourg offer indications of the state of
Gallo-Romance toward the middle of the 9th century. While the language
cannot be said with any degree of certainty to be
Old French in the
sense of the linear precursor to today's standard French, the
abundance of Gallo-Romance features provides a glimpse of some
particulars of Vulgar Latin's evolution on French soil.
Extract of the Romance part of the
Oaths of Strasbourg
Oaths of Strasbourg (842)
Gallo-Romance, AD 842 
Latin of Paris, circa 5th c. AD, for comparison
"Pro Deo amur et pro christian poblo et nostro commun salvament, d'ist
di in avant, in quant
Deus savir et podir me dunat, si salvarai eo
cist meon fradre Karlo, et in ayudha et in cadhuna cosa si cum om per
dreit son fradra salvar dift, in o quid il mi altresi fazet. Et ab
Ludher nul plaid nunquam prindrai qui meon vol cist meon fradre Karlo
in damno sit."
"Por Deo amore et por chrestyano pob(o)lo et nostro comune salvamento
de esto die en avante en quanto Deos sabere et podere me donat, sic
salvarayo eo eccesto meon fradre Karlo, et en ayuda et en caduna
causa, sic quomo omo per drecto son fradre salvare devet, en o qued
illi me altrosic fatsyat, et ab Ludero nullo plag(i)do nonqua
prendrayo, qui meon volo eccesto meon fradre Karlo en damno seat."
"For the love of God and for Christendom and our common salvation,
from this day onwards, as God will give me the wisdom and power, I
shall protect this brother of mine Charles, with aid or anything else,
as one ought to protect one's brother, so that he may do the same for
me, and I shall never knowingly make any covenant with Lothair that
would harm this brother of mine Charles."
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January
Main article: Vulgar
Further information: Reichenau Glosses
Latin featured a large vocabulary of words that were productive
Latin spelling and pronunciation and
Main article: Romance languages
There was no single pronunciation of Vulgar Latin, and the
pronunciation of Vulgar
Latin in the various Latin-speaking areas is
indistinguishable from the earlier history of the phonology of the
Romance languages. See the article on
Romance languages for more
Evidence of changes
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Evidence of phonological changes can be seen in the late 3rd-century
Appendix Probi, a collection of glosses prescribing correct classical
Latin forms for certain vulgar forms. These glosses describe:
a process of syncope, the loss of unstressed vowels in medial
syllables ("calida non calda");
the merger of unstressed pre-vocalic /e/ and short /i/, probably as
yod /j/ ("vinea non vinia");
the levelling of the distinction between /o/ and /u/ ("coluber non
colober") and /e/ and /i/ ("dimidius non demedius");
regularization of irregular forms ("glis non glirus");
regularization and emphasis of gendered forms ("pauper mulier non
levelling of the distinction between /b/ and /w/ between vowels
("bravium non brabium");
assimilation of plosive consonant clusters ("amycdala non amiddula");
the substitution of diminutives for unmarked words ("auris non oricla,
neptis non nepticla");
the loss of syllable-final nasals before /s/ ("mensa non mesa") or
their inappropriate insertion as a form of hypercorrection ("formosus
the loss of /h/, both initially ("hostiae non ostiae") and within the
word ("adhuc non aduc");
simplification of /kʷ/ ("coqui non coci").
Many of the forms castigated in the
Appendix Probi proved to be the
forms accepted in Romance; e.g., oricla (evolved from the Classical
Latin marked diminutive auricula) is the source of French oreille,
Catalan orella, Spanish oreja, Italian orecchia, Romanian ureche,
Portuguese orelha, Sardinian origra 'ear', not the prescribed auris.
Development of yod from the post-nasal unstressed /e/ of vinea enabled
the palatalization of /n/ that would produce French vigne, Italian
vigna, Spanish viña, Portuguese vinha, Catalan vinya, Occitan vinha,
Friulan vigne, etc., 'vineyard'.
Romance languages § Consonants
The most significant consonant changes affecting Vulgar
palatalization (except in Sardinia); lenition, including
simplification of geminate consonants (in areas north and west of the
La Spezia–Rimini Line, e.g. Spanish digo vs. Italian dico 'I say',
Spanish boca vs. Italian bocca 'mouth')); and loss of final
Loss of final consonants
The loss of final consonants was already under way by the 1st century
AD in some areas. A graffito at
Pompeii reads quisque ama valia, which
Latin would read quisquis amat valeat ("may whoever loves
be strong/do well"). (The change from valeat to valia is also an
early indicator of the development of /j/ (yod), which played such an
important part in the development of palatalization.) On the other
hand, this loss of final /t/ was not general.
Old Spanish and Old
French preserved a reflex of final /t/ up through 1100 AD or so, and
modern French still maintains final /t/ in some liaison environments.
Lenition of stops
Areas north and west of the
La Spezia–Rimini Line
La Spezia–Rimini Line lenited
intervocalic /p, t, k/ to /b, d, ɡ/. This phenomenon is occasionally
attested during the imperial period, but it became frequent by the 7th
century. For example, in
Merovingian documents, rotatico > rodatico
Simplification of geminates
Reduction of bisyllabic clusters of identical consonants to a single
syllable-initial consonant also typifies Romance north and west of La
Spezia-Rimini. The results in Italian and Spanish provide clear
illustrations: siccus > Italian secco, Spanish seco; cippus >
Italian ceppo, Spanish cepo; mittere > Italian mettere, Spanish
Loss of word-final m
The loss of the final m was a process which seems to have begun by the
time of the earliest monuments of the
Latin language. The epitaph of
Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, who died around 150 BC, reads
taurasia cisauna samnio cepit, which in Classical
Latin would be
taurāsiam, cisaunam, samnium cēpit ("He captured Taurasia, Cisauna,
and Samnium"). This however can be explained in a different way, that
the inscription simply fails to note the nasality of the final vowels
(like in the established custom of writing cos. for consul).
Neutralization of /b/ and /w/
Confusions between b and v show that the Classical semivowel /w/, and
intervocalic /b/ partially merged to become a bilabial fricative /β/
(Classical semivowel /w/ became /β/ in Vulgar Latin, while [β]
became an allophone of /b/ in intervocalic position). Already by the
1st century AD, a document by one Eunus writes iobe for iovem and dibi
for divi. In most of the Romance varieties, this sound would
further develop into /v/, with the notable exception of the betacist
varieties of Hispano-Romance: b and v represent the same phoneme /b/
(with allophone [β]) in Modern Spanish, as well as in Galician,
northern Portuguese and the northern dialects of Catalan.
Consonant cluster simplification
In general, many clusters were simplified in Vulgar Latin. For
example, /ns/ reduced to /s/, reflecting the fact that /n/ was no
longer phonetically consonantal. In some inscriptions, mensis >
mesis ("month"), or consul > cosul ("consul"). Descendants of
mensis include Portuguese mês, Spanish and Catalan mes, Old French
meis (Modern French mois), Italian mese. In some areas (including
much of Italy), the clusters [mn], [kt] ⟨ct⟩, [ks] ⟨x⟩ were
assimilated to the second element: [nn], [tt], [ss]. Thus, some
inscriptions have omnibus > onibus ("all [dative plural]"),
indictione > inditione ("indiction"), vixit > bissit
("lived"). Also, three-consonant clusters usually lost the middle
element. For example: emptores > imtores ("buyers") 
Not all areas show the same development of these clusters, however. In
the East, Italian has [kt] > [tt], as in octo > otto ("eight")
or nocte > notte ("night"); while Romanian has [kt] > [pt] (opt,
noapte). By contrast, in the West, the [k] was turned into [j]. In
French and Portuguese, this caused the diphthongization of the
previous vowel (huit, oito; nuit, noite), while in Spanish, the [t]
was palatalized and became [tʃ] (*oito > ocho, *noite > noche)
Also, many clusters including [j] were simplified. Several of these
groups seem to have never been fully stable[clarification needed]
(e.g. facunt for faciunt). This dropping has resulted in the word
parietem ("wall") turning into: Italian parete, Romanian
părete>perete, Portuguese parede, Spanish pared, or French paroi
Old French pareid).
The cluster [kw] ⟨qu⟩ was simplified to [k] in most instances. In
435, one can find the hypercorrective spelling quisquentis for
quiescentis ("of the person who rests here"). Modern languages have
followed this trend, for example
Latin qui ("who") has become Italian
chi and French qui (both /ki/); while quem ("who") became quien
(/kjen/) in Spanish and quem (/kẽj/) in Portuguese. However,
[kw] has survived in front of [a] in most areas, although not in
Latin quattuor yields Spanish cuatro (/kwatro/),
Portuguese quatro (/kwatru/), and Italian quattro (/kwattro/), but
French quatre (/katʀ/), where the qu- spelling is purely
In Spanish, most words with consonant clusters in syllable-final
position are loanwords from Classical Latin, examples are: transporte
[tɾansˈpor.te], transmitir [tɾanz.miˈtir], instalar [ins.taˈlar],
constante [konsˈtante], obstante [oβsˈtante], obstruir
[oβsˈtɾwir], perspectiva [pers.pekˈti.βa], istmo [ˈist.mo]. A
syllable-final position cannot be more than one consonant (one of n,
r, l, s or z) in most (or all) dialects in colloquial speech,
Latin background. Realizations like [trasˈpor.te],
[tɾaz.miˈtir], [is.taˈlar], [kosˈtante], [osˈtante],
[osˈtɾwir], and [ˈiz.mo] are very common, and in many cases, they
are considered acceptable even in formal speech.
Romance languages § Vowels
In general, the ten-vowel system of Classical Latin, which relied on
phonemic vowel length, was newly modelled into one in which vowel
length distinctions lost phonemic importance, and qualitative
distinctions of height became more prominent.
System in Classical Latin
Latin had 10 different vowel phonemes, grouped into five
pairs of short-long, ⟨ă – ā, ĕ – ē, ĭ – ī, ŏ – ō, ŭ
– ū⟩. It also had four diphthongs, ⟨ae, oe, au, eu⟩, and the
rare diphthong ⟨ui⟩. Finally, there were also long and short
⟨y⟩, representing /y/, /yː/ in Greek borrowings, which, however,
probably came to be pronounced /i/, /iː/ even before Romance vowel
At least since the 1st century AD, short vowels (except a) differed by
quality as well as by length from their long counterparts, the short
vowels being lower. Thus the vowel inventory is usually
reconstructed as /a – aː/, /ɛ – eː/, /ɪ – iː/, /ɔ –
oː/, /ʊ – uː/.
General vowel changes in most Vulgar Latin
Many diphthongs had begun their monophthongization very early. It is
presumed that by Republican times, ae had become /ɛː/ in unstressed
syllables, a phenomenon that would spread to stressed positions around
the 1st century AD. From the 2nd century AD, there are instances
of spellings with ⟨ĕ⟩ instead of ⟨ae⟩. ⟨oe⟩ was
always a rare diphthong in Classical
Latin (in Old Latin, oinos
regularly became unus ("one")) and became /eː/ during early Imperial
times. Thus, one can find penam for poenam.
However, ⟨au⟩ lasted much longer. While it was monophthongized to
/o/ in areas of north and central Italy (including Rome), it was
retained in most Vulgar Latin, and it survives in modern Romanian (for
example, aur < aurum). There is evidence in French and Spanish that
the monophthongization of au occurred independently in those
Loss of distinctive length and near-close mergers
Length confusions seem to have begun in unstressed vowels, but they
were soon generalized. In the 3rd century AD, Sacerdos mentions
people's tendency to shorten vowels at the end of a word, while some
poets (like Commodian) show inconsistencies between long and short
vowels in versification. However, the loss of contrastive length
caused only the merger of ă and ā while the rest of pairs remained
distinct in quality: /a/, /ɛ – e/, /ɪ – i/, /ɔ – o/, /ʊ –
Also, the near-close vowels /ɪ/ and /ʊ/ became more open in most
varieties and merged with /e/ and /o/ respectively. As a result,
the reflexes of
Latin pira "pear" and vēra "true" rhyme in most
Romance languages: Italian and Spanish pera, vera. Similarly, Latin
nucem "walnut" and vōcem "voice" become Italian noce, voce,
Portuguese noz, voz.
There was likely some regional variation in pronunciation, as the
Romanian languages and Sardinian evolved differently. In
Sardinian, all corresponding short and long vowels simply merged with
each other, creating a 5-vowel system: /a, e, i, o, u/. In Romanian,
the front vowels ĕ, ĭ, ē, ī evolved like the Western languages,
but the back vowels ŏ, ŭ, ō, ū evolved as in Sardinian. A few
Southern Italian languages, such as southern Corsican, northernmost
Calabrian and southern Lucanian, behave like Sardinian with its
penta-vowel system or, in case of
Vegliote (even if only partially)
and western Lucanian, like Romanian.
Phonologization of stress
The placement of stress did not change from Classical to Vulgar Latin,
and words continued to be stressed on the same syllable they were
before. However, the loss of distinctive length disrupted the
correlation between syllable weight and stress placement that existed
in Classical Latin. Where in Classical
Latin the place of the accent
was predictable from the structure of the word, it was no longer so in
Vulgar Latin. Stress had become a phonological property and could
serve to distinguish forms that were otherwise homophones.
Lengthening of stressed open syllables
After the Classical
Latin vowel length distinctions were lost in favor
of vowel quality, a new system of allophonic vowel quantity appeared
sometime between the 4th and 5th centuries. Around then, stressed
vowels in open syllables came to be pronounced long (but still keeping
height contrasts), and all the rest became short. For example, long
venis /*ˈvɛː.nis/, fori /*fɔː.ri/, cathedra /*ˈkaː.te.dra/; but
short vendo /*ˈven.do/, formas /*ˈfor.mas/. (This allophonic
length distinction persists to this day in Italian.) However, in some
regions of Iberia and Gaul, all stressed vowels came to be pronounced
long: for example, porta /*ˈpɔːr.ta/, tempus /*ˈtɛːm.pus/.
In many descendents, several of the long vowels underwent some form of
diphthongization, most extensively in
Old French where five of the
seven long vowels were affected by breaking.
It is difficult to place the point in which the definite article,
Latin but present in all Romance languages, arose, largely
because the highly colloquial speech in which it arose was seldom
written down until the daughter languages had strongly diverged; most
surviving texts in early Romance show the articles fully developed.
Definite articles evolved from demonstrative pronouns or adjectives
(an analogous development is found in many Indo-European languages,
including Greek, Celtic and Germanic); compare the fate of the Latin
demonstrative adjective ille, illa, illud "that", in the Romance
languages, becoming French le and la (
Old French li, lo, la), Catalan
and Spanish el, la and lo, Portuguese o and a (elision of -l- is a
common feature of Portuguese), and Italian il, lo and la. Sardinian
went its own way here also, forming its article from ipse, ipsa "this"
(su, sa); some Catalan and Occitan dialects have articles from the
same source. While most of the
Romance languages put the article
before the noun, Romanian has its own way, by putting the article
after the noun, e.g. lupul ("the wolf" – from *lupum illum) and omul
("the man" – *homo illum), possibly a result of its membership
in the Balkan sprachbund.
This demonstrative is used in a number of contexts in some early texts
in ways that suggest that the
Latin demonstrative was losing its
Vetus Latina Bible contains a passage Est tamen ille daemon
sodalis peccati ("The devil is a companion of sin"), in a context that
suggests that the word meant little more than an article. The need to
translate sacred texts that were originally in Koine Greek, which had
a definite article, may have given Christian
Latin an incentive to
choose a substitute. Aetheria uses ipse similarly: per mediam vallem
ipsam ("through the middle of the valley"), suggesting that it too was
weakening in force.
Another indication of the weakening of the demonstratives can be
inferred from the fact that at this time, legal and similar texts
begin to swarm with praedictus, supradictus, and so forth (all
meaning, essentially, "aforesaid"), which seem to mean little more
than "this" or "that". Gregory of Tours writes, Erat autem...
beatissimus Anianus in supradicta civitate episcopus ("Blessed Anianus
was bishop in that city.") The original
Latin demonstrative adjectives
were no longer felt to be strong or specific enough.
In less formal speech, reconstructed forms suggest that the inherited
Latin demonstratives were made more forceful by being compounded with
ecce (originally an interjection: "behold!"), which also spawned
Italian ecco through eccum, a contracted form of ecce eum. This is the
Old French cil (*ecce ille), cist (*ecce iste) and ici
(*ecce hic); Italian questo (*eccum istum), quello (*eccum illum) and
(now mainly Tuscan) codesto (*eccum tibi istum), as well as qui (*eccu
hic), qua (*eccum hac); Spanish aquel and Portuguese aquele (*eccum
ille); Spanish acá and Portuguese cá (*eccum hac); Spanish aquí and
Portuguese aqui (*eccum hic); Portuguese acolá (*eccum illac) and
aquém (*eccum inde); Romanian acest (*ecce iste) and acela (*ecce
ille), and many other forms.
On the other hand, even in the Oaths of Strasbourg, no demonstrative
appears even in places where one would clearly be called for in all
the later languages (pro christian poblo – "for the Christian
people"). Using the demonstratives as articles may have still been
considered overly informal for a royal oath in the 9th century.
Considerable variation exists in all of the Romance vernaculars as to
their actual use: in Romanian, the articles are suffixed to the noun
(or an adjective preceding it), as in other members of the Balkan
sprachbund and the North Germanic languages.
The numeral unus, una (one) supplies the indefinite article in all
cases (again, this is a common semantic development across Europe).
This is anticipated in Classical Latin;
Cicero writes cum uno
gladiatore nequissimo ("with a most immoral gladiator"). This suggests
that unus was beginning to supplant quidam in the meaning of "a
certain" or "some" by the 1st century BC.[dubious – discuss]
Loss of neutral gender
First and second adjectival declension paradigm in Classical Latin.
E.g., altus ("tall")
The three grammatical genders of Classical
Latin were replaced by a
two-gender system in most Romance languages.
The neuter gender of classical
Latin was in most cases identical with
the masculine both syntactically and morphologically. The confusion
starts already in Pompeian graffiti, e.g., cadaver mortuus for cadaver
mortuum ("dead body"), and hoc locum for hunc locum ("this place").
The morphological confusion shows primarily in the adoption of the
nominative ending -us (-Ø after -r) in the o-declension.
In Petronius' work, one can find balneus for balneum ("bath"), fatus
for fatum ("fate"), caelus for caelum ("heaven"), amphitheater for
amphitheatrum ("amphitheatre"), vinus for vinum ("wine"), and
conversely, thesaurum for thesaurus ("treasure"). Most of these forms
occur in the speech of one man: Trimalchion, an uneducated, Greek
(i.e., foreign) freedman.
In modern Romance languages, the nominative s-ending has been largely
abandoned, and all substantives of the o-declension have an ending
derived from -um: -u, -o, or -Ø. E.g., masculine murum ("wall"), and
neuter caelum ("sky") have evolved to: Italian muro, cielo; Portuguese
muro, céu; Spanish muro, cielo, Catalan mur, cel; Romanian mur,
cieru>cer; French mur, ciel. However,
Old French still had -s in
the nominative and -Ø in the accusative in both words: murs, ciels
[nominative] – mur, ciel [oblique].
For some neuter nouns of the third declension, the oblique stem became
the productive; for others, the nominative/accusative form, which was
identical in Classical Latin. Evidence suggests that the neuter gender
was under pressure well back into the imperial period. French (le)
lait, Catalan (la) llet, Spanish (la) leche, Portuguese (o) leite,
Italian language (il) latte, Leonese (el) lleche and Romanian
lapte(le) ("milk"), all derive from the non-standard but attested
Latin nominative/accusative neuter lacte or accusative masculine
Note also that in Spanish the word became feminine, while in French,
Portuguese and Italian it became masculine (in Romanian it remained
neuter, lapte/lăpturi). Other neuter forms, however, were preserved
in Romance; Catalan and French nom, Leonese, Portuguese and Italian
nome, Romanian nume ("name") all preserve the Latin
nominative/accusative nomen, rather than the oblique stem form
*nominem (which nevertheless produced Spanish nombre).
Typical Italian endings
Adjectives and determiners
Most neuter nouns had plural forms ending in -A or -IA; some of these
were reanalysed as feminine singulars, such as gaudium ("joy"), plural
gaudia; the plural form lies at the root of the French feminine
singular (la) joie, as well as of Catalan and Occitan (la) joia
(Italian la gioia is a borrowing from French); the same for lignum
("wood stick"), plural ligna, that originated the Catalan feminine
singular noun (la) llenya, and Spanish (la) leña. Some Romance
languages still have a special form derived from the ancient neuter
plural which is treated grammatically as feminine: e.g.,
BRACCHIUM : BRACCHIA "arm(s)" → Italian (il) braccio :
(le) braccia, Romanian braț(ul) : brațe(le). Cf. also
Latin ipsa animalia aliquas mortas fuerant.
Alternations in Italian heteroclitic nouns such as l'uovo fresco ("the
fresh egg") / le uova fresche ("the fresh eggs") are usually analysed
as masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural, with an
irregular plural in -a. However, it is also consistent with their
historical development to say that uovo is simply a regular neuter
noun (ovum, plural ova) and that the characteristic ending for words
agreeing with these nouns is -o in the singular and -e in the plural.
The same alternation in gender exists in certain Romanian nouns, but
is considered regular as it is more common than in Italian. Thus, a
relict neuter gender can arguably be said to persist in Italian and
In Portuguese, traces of the neuter plural can be found in collective
formations and words meant to inform a bigger size or sturdiness.
Thus, one can use ovo/ovos ("egg/eggs") and ova/ovas ("roe", "a
collection of eggs"), bordo/bordos ("section(s) of an edge") and
borda/bordas ("edge/edges"), saco/sacos ("bag/bags") and saca/sacas
("sack/sacks"), manto/mantos ("cloak/cloaks") and manta/mantas
("blanket/blankets"). Other times, it resulted in words whose gender
may be changed more or less arbitrarily, like fruto/fruta ("fruit"),
caldo/calda (broth"), etc.
These formations were especially common when they could be used to
avoid irregular forms. In Latin, the names of trees were usually
feminine, but many were declined in the second declension paradigm,
which was dominated by masculine or neuter nouns.
Latin pirus ("pear
tree"), a feminine noun with a masculine-looking ending, became
masculine in Italian (il) pero and Romanian păr(ul); in French and
Spanish it was replaced by the masculine derivations (le) poirier,
(el) peral; and in Portuguese and Catalan by the feminine derivations
(a) pereira, (la) perera.
As usual, irregularities persisted longest in frequently used forms.
From the fourth declension noun manus ("hand"), another feminine noun
with the ending -us, Italian and Spanish derived (la) mano, Romanian
mânu>mâna pl (reg.)mânule/mânuri, Catalan (la) mà, and
Portuguese (a) mão, which preserve the feminine gender along with the
Except for the Italian and Romanian heteroclitic nouns, other major
Romance languages have no trace of neuter nouns, but still have neuter
pronouns. French celui-ci / celle-ci / ceci ("this"), Spanish éste /
ésta / esto ("this"), Italian: gli / le / ci ("to him" /"to her" /
"to it"), Catalan: ho, açò, això, allò ("it" / this / this-that /
that over there); Portuguese: todo / toda / tudo ("all of him" / "all
of her" / "all of it").
In Spanish, a three-way contrast is also made with the definite
articles el, la, and lo. The last is used with nouns denoting abstract
categories: lo bueno, literally "that which is good", from bueno:
Loss of oblique cases
Latin vowel shifts caused the merger of several case
endings in the nominal and adjectival declensions. Some of the
causes include: the loss of final m, the merger of ă with ā, and the
merger of ŭ with ō (see tables). Thus, by the 5th century, the
number of case contrasts had been drastically reduced.
Evolution of a 1st declension noun:
caepa/cēpa ("onion") (feminine singular)
(c. 1st century)
(c. 5th cent.)
Evolution of a 2nd declension noun:
mūrus ("wall") (masculine singular)
(c. 1st cent.)
(c. 5th cent.)
(c. 11th cent.)
There also seems to be a marked tendency to confuse different forms
even when they have not become homophonous (like in the generally more
distinct plurals), which indicates nominal declension was not only
shaped by phonetic mergers, but also by structural factors. As a
result of the untenability of the noun case system after these
phonetic changes, Vulgar
Latin shifted from a markedly synthetic
language to a more analytic one.
The genitive case died out around the 3rd century AD, according to
Meyer-Lübke, and began to be replaced by de + noun as early as the
2nd century BC. Exceptions of remaining genitive
forms are some pronouns, many fossilized combinations like sayings,
some proper names, and certain terms related to the church. For
example, French jeudi ("Thursday") <
Old French juesdi < Vulgar
Latin jovis diēs; Spanish es menester ("it is necessary") < est
ministeri; terms like angelorum, paganorum; and Italian terremoto
("earthquake") < terrae motu as well as names like Paoli,
The dative case lasted longer than the genitive, even though Plautus,
in the 2nd century BC, already shows some instances of substitution by
the construction ad + accusative. For example, ad carnuficem
The accusative case developed as a prepositional case, displacing many
instances of the ablative. Towards the end of the imperial period,
the accusative came to be used more and more as a general oblique
Despite increasing case mergers, nominative and accusative forms seem
to have remained distinct for much longer, since they are rarely
confused in inscriptions. Even though Gaulish texts from the 7th
century rarely confuse both forms, it is believed that both cases
began to merge in Africa by the end of the empire, and a bit later in
parts of Italy and Iberia. Nowadays, Romanian maintains a two-case
Old French and
Old Occitan had a two-case
Old French system was based largely on whether or not the Latin
case ending contained an "s" or not, with the "s" being retained but
all vowels in the ending being lost (as with veisin below). But since
this meant that it was easy to confuse the singular nominative with
the plural oblique, and the plural nominative with the singular
oblique, along with the final "s" becoming silent, this case system
ultimately collapsed as well, and French adopted one case (usually the
oblique) for all purposes, leaving the Romanian the only one to
survive to the present day.
Evolution of a masculine noun
in Old French: veisin ("neighbor").
(definite article in parentheses).
Wider use of prepositions
Loss of a productive noun case system meant that the syntactic
purposes it formerly served now had to be performed by prepositions
and other paraphrases. These particles increased in number, and many
new ones were formed by compounding old ones. The descendant Romance
languages are full of grammatical particles such as Spanish donde,
Latin de + unde, or French dès, "since", from de + ex,
while the equivalent Spanish and Portuguese desde is de + ex + de.
Spanish después and Portuguese depois, "after", represent de + ex +
Some of these new compounds appear in literary texts during the late
empire; French dehors, Spanish de fuera and Portuguese de fora
("outside") all represent de + foris (Romanian afară – ad + foris),
and we find
Jerome writing stulti, nonne qui fecit, quod de foris est,
etiam id, quod de intus est fecit? (Luke 11.40: "ye fools, did not he,
that made which is without, make that which is within also?"). In some
cases, compounds were created by combining a large number of
particles, such as the Romanian adineauri ("just recently") from ad +
de + in + illa + hora.
Latin was losing its case system, prepositions started to move in
to fill the void. In colloquial Latin, the preposition ad followed by
the accusative was sometimes used as a substitute for the dative case.
Marcus patrī librum dat. "Marcus is giving [his] father [a/the]
*Marco da libru a patre. "Marcus is giving [a/the] book to [his]
Just as in the disappearing dative case, colloquial
replaced the disappearing genitive case with the preposition de
followed by the ablative.
Marcus mihi librum patris dat. "Marcus is giving me [his] father's
*Marco mi da libru de patre. "Marcus is giving me [the] book of [his]
Unlike in the nominal and adjectival inflections, pronouns kept great
part of the case distinctions. However, many changes happened. For
example, the /ɡ/ of ego was lost by the end of the empire, and eo
appears in manuscripts from the 6th century.[which?]
Reconstructed pronominal system of Vulgar Latin
Latin had a number of different suffixes that made adverbs
from adjectives: cārus, "dear", formed cārē, "dearly"; ācriter,
"fiercely", from ācer; crēbrō, "often", from crēber. All of these
derivational suffixes were lost in Vulgar Latin, where adverbs were
invariably formed by a feminine ablative form modifying mente, which
was originally the ablative of mēns, and so meant "with a ... mind".
So vēlōx ("quick") instead of vēlōciter ("quickly") gave veloci
mente (originally "with a quick mind", "quick-mindedly") This explains
the widespread rule for forming adverbs in many Romance languages: add
the suffix -ment(e) to the feminine form of the adjective. The
development illustrates a textbook case of grammaticalization in which
an autonomous form, the noun meaning 'mind', while still in free
lexical use in e.g. Italian venire in mente 'come to mind', becomes a
productive suffix for forming adverbs in Romance such as Italian
chiaramente, Spanish claramente 'clearly', with both its source and
its meaning opaque in that usage other than as adverb formant.
Cantar de Mio Cid
Cantar de Mio Cid (Song of my Cid) is the earliest Spanish text
Main article: Romance verbs
Romance languages § Verbal morphology
In general, the verbal system in the
Romance languages changed less
Latin than did the nominal system.
The four conjugational classes generally survived. The second and
third conjugations already had identical imperfect tense forms in
Latin, and also shared a common present participle. Because of the
merging of short i with long ē in most of Vulgar Latin, these two
conjugations grew even closer together. Several of the most
frequently-used forms became indistinguishable, while others became
distinguished only by stress placement:
Second conjugation (Classical)
Second conjugation (Vulgar)
Third conjugation (Vulgar)
Third conjugation (Classical)
These two conjugations came to be conflated in many of the Romance
languages, often by merging them into a single class while taking
endings from each of the original two conjugations. Which endings
survived was different for each language, although most tended to
favour second conjugation endings over the third conjugation. Spanish,
for example, mostly eliminated the third conjugation forms in favour
of second conjugation forms.
French and Catalan did the same, but tended to generalise the third
conjugation infinitive instead. Catalan in particular almost
completely eliminated the second conjugation ending over time,
reducing it to a small relic class. In Italian, the two infinitive
endings remained separate (but spelled identically), while the
conjugations merged in most other respects much as in the other
languages. However, the third-conjugation third-person plural present
ending survived in favour of the second conjugation version, and was
even extended to the fourth conjugation. Romanian also maintained the
distinction between the second and third conjugation endings.
In the perfect, many languages generalized the -aui ending most
frequently found in the first conjugation. This led to an unusual
development; phonetically, the ending was treated as the diphthong
/au/ rather than containing a semivowel /awi/, and in other cases the
/w/ sound was simply dropped. We know this because it did not
participate in the sound shift from /w/ to /β̞/. Thus
amauit ("I loved; he/she loved") in many areas became proto-Romance
*amai and *amaut, yielding for example Portuguese amei, amou. This
suggests that in the spoken language, these changes in conjugation
preceded the loss of /w/.
Another major systemic change was to the future tense, remodelled in
Latin with auxiliary verbs. A new future was originally formed
with the auxiliary verb habere, *amare habeo, literally "to love I
have" (cf. English "I have to love", which has shades of a future
meaning). This was contracted into a new future suffix in Western
Romance forms, which can be seen in the following modern examples of
"I will love":
French: j'aimerai (je + aimer + ai) ← aimer ["to love"] + ai ["I
Portuguese and Galician: amarei (amar + [h]ei) ← amar ["to love"] +
hei ["I have"]
Spanish and Catalan: amaré (amar + [h]e) ← amar ["to love"] + he
Italian: amerò (amar + [h]o) ← amare ["to love"] + ho ["I have"].
A periphrastic construction of the form 'to have to' (late Latin
habere ad) used as future is characteristic of Sardinian:
Ap'a istàre < apo a istàre 'I will stay'
Ap'a nàrrere < apo a nàrrer 'I will say'
An innovative conditional (distinct from the subjunctive) also
developed in the same way (infinitive + conjugated form of habere).
The fact that the future and conditional endings were originally
independent words is still evident in literary Portuguese, which in
these tenses allows clitic object pronouns to be incorporated between
the root of the verb and its ending: "I will love" (eu) amarei, but "I
will love you" amar-te-ei, from amar + te ["you"] + (eu) hei = amar +
te + [h]ei = amar-te-ei.
In Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, personal pronouns can still be
omitted from verb phrases as in Latin, as the endings are still
distinct enough to convey that information: venio > Sp vengo ("I
come"). In French, however, all the endings are typically homophonous
except the first and second person (and occasionally also third
person) plural, so the pronouns are always used (je viens) except in
Contrary to the millennia-long continuity of much of the active verb
system, which has now survived 6000 years of known evolution, the
synthetic passive voice was utterly lost in Romance, being replaced
with periphrastic verb forms—composed of the verb "to be" plus a
passive participle—or impersonal reflexive forms—composed of a
verb and a passivizing pronoun.
Apart from the grammatical and phonetic developments there were many
cases of verbs merging as complex subtleties in
Latin were reduced to
simplified verbs in Romance. A classic example of this are the verbs
expressing the concept "to go". Consider three particular verbs in
Latin expressing concepts of "going": ire, vadere, and
*ambitare. In Spanish and Portuguese ire and vadere merged into the
verb ir, which derives some conjugated forms from ire and some from
vadere. andar was maintained as a separate verb derived from ambitare.
Italian instead merged vadere and ambitare into the verb andare. At
the extreme French merged three
Latin verbs with, for example, the
present tense deriving from vadere and another verb ambulare (or
something like it) and the future tense deriving from ire. Similarly
the Romance distinction between the
Romance verbs for "to be", essere
and stare, was lost in French as these merged into the verb être. In
Italian, the verb essere inherited both Romance meanings of "being
essentially" and "being temporarily of the quality of", while stare
specialized into a verb denoting location or dwelling, or state of
Main article: Romance copula
The copula (that is, the verb signifying "to be") of Classical Latin
was esse. This evolved to *essere in Vulgar
Latin by attaching the
common infinitive suffix -re to the classical infinitive; this
produced Italian essere and French être through Proto-Gallo-Romance
Old French estre as well as Spanish and Portuguese ser
(Romanian a fi derives from fieri, which means "to become").
Latin a second copula developed utilizing the verb stare,
which originally meant (and is cognate with) "to stand", to denote a
more temporary meaning. That is, *essere signified the essence, while
stare signified the state. Stare evolved to Spanish and Portuguese
Old French ester (both through *estare), while Italian and
Romanian retained the original form.
The semantic shift that underlies this evolution is more or less as
follows: A speaker of Classical
Latin might have said: vir est in
foro, meaning "the man is in/at the marketplace". The same sentence in
Latin could have been *(h)omo stat in foro, "the man stands
in/at the marketplace", replacing the est (from esse) with stat (from
stare), because "standing" was what was perceived as what the man was
The use of stare in this case was still semantically transparent
assuming that it meant "to stand", but soon the shift from esse to
stare became more widespread. In the Iberian peninsula esse ended up
only denoting natural qualities that would not change, while stare was
applied to transient qualities and location. In Italian, stare is used
mainly for location, transitory state of health (sta male 's/he is
ill' but è gracile 's/he is puny') and, as in Spanish, for the
eminently transient quality implied in a verb's progressive form, such
as sto scrivendo to express 'I am writing'.
The historical development of the stare + gerund progressive in those
Romance languages that have it seems to have been a passage from a
usage such as sto pensando 'I stand/stay (here) thinking', in which
the stare form carries the full semantic load of 'stand, stay' to
grammaticalization of the construction as expression of progressive
aspect. The process of reanalysis that took place over time bleached
the semantics of stare so that when used in combination with the
gerund the form became solely a grammatical marker of subject and
tense (e.g. sto = subject first person singular, present; stavo =
subject first person singular, past), no longer a lexical verb with
the semantics of 'stand' (not unlike the auxiliary in compound tenses
that once meant 'have, possess', but is now semantically empty: j'ai
écrit, ho scritto, he escrito, etc.). Whereas sto scappando would
once have been semantically strange at best (?'I stay escaping'), once
grammaticalization was achieved, collocation with a verb of inherent
mobility was no longer contradictory, and sto scappando could and did
become the normal way to express 'I am escaping'. (Although it might
be objected that in sentences like Spanish la catedral está en la
ciudad, "the cathedral is in the city" this is also unlikely to
change, but all locations are expressed through estar in Spanish, as
this usage originally conveyed the sense of "the cathedral stands in
This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (December 2016)
Word order typology
Latin in most cases adopted an SOV word order in ordinary
prose, however other word orders were allowed, such as in poetry, due
to its inflectional nature. However, word order in the modern Romance
languages generally adopted a standard SVO word order. This change may
have been attributed from the Germanic peoples' in the late Imperial
period, since they spoke in the SVO word order.
Fragments of SOV word order still survive through object pronouns (te
amo - "I love you").
Oaths of Strasbourg
History of specific Romance languages
History of French
History of Italian
History of Portuguese
History of the Spanish language
Latin to Romanian sound changes
^ Posner, Rebecca (1996). The Romance Languages. Cambridge, New York:
Cambridge University Press. p. 98.
^ Herman, József; Wright, Roger (Translator) (2000). Vulgar Latin.
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 96-115.
^ Wright, Roger (1991).
Latin and the Romance Languages in the Middle
Ages. Penn State Press. p. 7.
^ Posner, Rebecca; Sala, Marius. "Vulgar Latin". Encyclopedia
Britannica. Retrieved 20 Jun 2017. CS1 maint: Multiple names:
authors list (link)
^ Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological
Association. American Philological Association: 8-9. 1870
https://books.google.com/books?id=oOY5AQAAMAAJ. Missing or empty
^ Meyer (1906), p.239.
^ Meyer (1906), pp. 244–5.
^ Diez (1882), p. 1.
^ Diez (1882), p. 63.
^ Grandigent (1907), p.5.
^ Mann, Horace, The Lives of the Popes in the Early Middle Ages, Vol.
I: The Popes Under the Lombard Rule, Part 2, 657–795 (1903), pg. 158
^ Herman (2000), p.114.
^ Rickard, Peter (April 27, 1989). A History of the French language.
London: Routledge. pp. 21–22. ISBN 041510887X.
^ "Les Serments de Strasbourg". Retrieved February 20, 2016.
^ a b c Harrington et al. (1997).
^ a b c d e f g Herman 2000, p. 47.
^ Horrocks, Geoffrey and James Clackson (2007). The Blackwell History
Latin Language. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.
^ a b c d Herman 2000, p. 48.
^ Allen (2003) states: "There appears to have been no great difference
in quality between long and short a, but in the case of the close and
mid vowels (i and u, e and o) the long appear to have been appreciably
closer than the short." He then goes on to the historical development,
quotations from various authors (from around the 2nd century AD), and
evidence from older inscriptions in which "e" stands for normally
short i, "i" for long e, etc.
^ Grandgent & Moll 1991, p. 11.
^ a b c Palmer 1954, p. 157.
^ Grandgent & Moll 1991, p. 118.
^ a b Herman 2000, p. 28-29.
^ a b Palmer 1954, p. 156.
^ a b c d Vincent (1990).
^ Michele Loporcaro, "Phonological Processes", The Cambridge History
of the Romance Languages: Structures, vol. 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP,
^ a b Grandgent & Moll 1991, p. 125.
^ In a few isolated masculine nouns, the s has been either preserved
or reinstated in the modern languages, for example FILIUS ("son") >
French fils, DEUS ("god") > Spanish dios and Portuguese deus, and
particularly in proper names: Spanish Carlos, Marcos, in the
conservative orthography of French Jacques, Charles, Jules, etc.
(Menéndez Pidal 1968, p. 208; Survivances du cas sujet)
^ a b c d e f Herman 2000, p. 52.
^ a b c Grandgent & Moll 1991, p. 82.
^ Captivi, 1019.
^ a b c Herman 2000, p. 53.
^ Romanian Explanatory Dictionary (DEXOnline.ro)
^ a b Grandgent & Moll 1991, p. 238.
Allen, W. Sidney (2003). Vox Latina – a Guide to the Pronunciation
Latin (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Boyd-Bowman, Peter (1980). From
Latin to Romance in Sound Charts.
Washington DC: Georgetown University Press.
Diez, Friedrich (1882). Grammatik der romanischen Sprachen (in German)
(5th ed.). Bonn: E. Weber.
Grandgent, C.H. (1907). An Introduction to Vulgar Latin. Boston: D.C.
Grandgent, Charles Hall (1882). Introducción al latín vulgar (in
Spanish) (Spanish translation by Francisco de B. Moll ed.). Consejo
Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.
Harrington, K. P.; Pucci, J.; Elliott, A. G. (1997). Medieval Latin
(2nd ed.). University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-31712-9.
Herman, József; Wright, Roger (Translator) (2000). Vulgar Latin.
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.
Lloyd, Paul M. (1979). "On the Definition of "Vulgar Latin": The
Eternal Return". Neuphilologische Mitteilungen. 80 (2): 110–122.
doi:10.2307/43343254. JSTOR 43343254.
Meyer, Paul (1906). "Beginnings and Progress of Romance Philology". In
Rogers, Howard J. Congress of Arts and Sciences: Universal Exposition,
St. Louis, 1904. Volume III. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin
and Company. pp. 237–255.
Palmer, L. R. (1988) . The
Latin Language. University of
Oklahoma. ISBN 0-8061-2136-X.
Pulgram, Ernst (1950). "Spoken and Written Latin". Language. 26 (4):
458–466. doi:10.2307/410397. JSTOR 410397.
Sihler, A. L. (1995). New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin.
Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508345-8.
Tucker, T. G. (1985) . Etymological Dictionary of Latin. Ares
Publishers. ISBN 0-89005-172-0.
Väänänen, Veikko (1981). Introduction au latin vulgaire (3rd ed.).
Paris: Klincksieck. ISBN 2-252-02360-0.
Vincent, Nigel (1990). "Latin". In Harris, M.; Vincent, N. The Romance
Languages. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-520829-3.
von Wartburg, Walther; Chambon, Jean-Pierre (1922–1967).
Französisches etymologisches Wörterbuch: eine Darstellung des
galloromanischen Sprachschatzes (in German and French). Bonn: F.
Wright, Roger (1982). Late
Latin and Early Romance in Spain and
Carolingian France. Liverpool: Francis Cairns.
Transitions to Romance languages
To Romance in general
Banniard, Michel (1997). Du latin aux langues romanes. Paris:
Bonfante, Giuliano (1999). The origin of the Romance languages: Stages
in the development of Latin. Heidelberg: Carl Winter.
Ledgeway, Adam (2012). From
Latin to Romance: Morphosyntactic Typology
and Change. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ledgeway, Adam; Maiden, Martin (eds.) (2016). The Oxford Guide to the
Romance Languages. Part 1: The Making of the Romance Languages.
Oxford: Oxford University Press. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors
Maiden, Martin; Smith, John Charles; Ledgeway, Adam (eds.) (2013). The
Cambridge History of the Romance Languages. Volume II: Contexts.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. CS1 maint: Extra text:
authors list (link) (esp. parts 1 & 2,
Latin and the Making of the
Romance Languages; The Transition from
Latin to the Romance Languages)
Wright, Roger (1982). Late
Latin and Early Romance in Spain and
Carolingian France. Liverpool: Francis Cairns.
Wright, Roger (ed.) (1991).
Latin and the Romance Languages in the
Early Middle ages. London/New York: Routledge. CS1 maint: Extra
text: authors list (link)
Ayres-Bennett, Wendy (1995). A History of the French Language through
Texts. London/New York: Routledge.
Kibler, William W. (1984). An Introduction to Old French. New York:
Modern Language Association of America.
Lodge, R. Anthony (1993). French: From
Dialect to Standard. London/New
Pope, Mildred K. (1934). From
Latin to Modern French with Especial
Consideration of Anglo-Norman Phonology and Morphology. Manchester:
Manchester University Press.
Price, Glanville (1998). The French language: present and past
(Revised ed.). London: Grant and Cutler.
Maiden, Martin (1996). A Linguistic History of Italian. New York:
Lloyd, Paul M. (1987). From
Latin to Spanish. Philadelphia: American
Penny, Ralph (2002). A History of the Spanish Language. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Pharies, David A. (2007). A Brief History of the Spanish Language.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Pountain, Christopher J. (2000). A History of the Spanish Language
Through Texts. London: Routledge.
Castro, Ivo (2004). Introdução à História do Português. Lisbon:
Emiliano, António (2003). Latim e Romance na segunda metade do
século XI. Lisbon: Fundação Gulbenkian.
Williams, Edwin B. (1968). From
Latin to Portuguese: Historical
Phonology and Morphology of the Portuguese Language. Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press.
Paden, William D. (1998). An Introduction to Old Occitan. New York:
Modern Language Association of America.
Blasco Ferrer, Eduardo (1984). Storia linguistica della Sardegna.
Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag.
Library resources about
Resources in your library
Resources in other libraries
Adams, James Noel. 1976. The Text and Language of a Vulgar Latin
Chronicle (Anonymus Valesianus II). London: University of London,
Institute of Classical Studies.
--. 1977. The Vulgar
Latin of the letters of Claudius Terentianus.
Manchester, UK: Manchester Univ. Press.
--. 2013. Social Variation and the
Latin Language. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Burghini, Julia, and Javier Uría. 2015. "Some neglected evidence on
Latin 'glide suppression': Consentius, 27.17.20 N." Glotta;
Zeitschrift Für Griechische Und Lateinische Sprache 91: 15–26.
Herman, József, and Roger Wright. 2000. Vulgar Latin. University
Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.
Jensen, Frede. 1972. From Vulgar
Latin to Old Provençal. Chapel Hill:
University of North Carolina Press.
Lakoff, Robin Tolmach. 2006. "Vulgar Latin: Comparative Castration
(and Comparative Theories of Syntax). Style 40, nos. 1–2: 56–61.
Rohlfs, Gerhard,. 1970. From Vulgar
Latin to Old French: An
Introduction to the Study of the
Old French Language. Detroit: Wayne
State University Press.
Weiss, Michael. 2009. Outline of the historical and comparative
grammar of Latin. Ann Arbor, MI: Beechstave.
Zovic, V. 2015. "Vulgar
Latin in Inscriptions from the Roman Province
of Dalmatia." Vjesnik Za Arheologiju i Povijest Dalmatinsku 108:
Batzarov, Zdravko (2000). "Orbis Latinus". Retrieved 19 September
Norberg, Dag; Johnson, R.H. (Translator) (2009) . "
Latin at the
End of the Imperial Age". Manuel pratique de latin médiéval. New
York: Columbia University Press, Orbis Latinus.
"Corpus Grammaticorum Latinorum". Paris: Laboratoire d'Histoire des
théories linguistiques. 2008. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
Ages of Latin
until 75 BC
75 BC – 200 AD
History of Latin
Latino sine flexione
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum
Ancient Rome topics
historiography of the fall
Tribune of the Plebs
Frontiers and fortifications
Decorations and punishments
Conflict of the Orders
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Younger
Quintus Curtius Rufus
Seneca the Elder
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Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Eusebius of Caesaria
Phlegon of Tralles
Lists and other
Cities and towns
Wars and battles