The Info List - Vulgar Latin

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Vulgar Latin
or Sermō Vulgāris ("common speech") was a nonstandard form of 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 Vulgar Latin
that the Romance languages
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 orthography. Vulgar Latin
is sometimes also called colloquial Latin,[1] or Common Romance (particularly in the late stage). In Renaissance Latin, Vulgar Latin
was called vulgare Latinum or Latinum vulgare.[citation needed] 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 Classical Latin.

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.[2]

The language called Proto-Romance developed during the governance of Germanic rulers.[3] Similarly in the Eastern Roman Empire
Roman Empire
as Latin faded as the Court language in the course of the 5th century. The Vulgar 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.[4][5] Vulgar Latin
diverged into distinct languages beginning in the 9th century.


1 Origin of the term 2 Sources 3 History 4 Vocabulary 5 Phonology

5.1 Evidence of changes 5.2 Consonant development

5.2.1 Loss of final consonants 5.2.2 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/ 5.2.6 Consonant cluster simplification

5.3 Vowel development

5.3.1 System in Classical Latin 5.3.2 Monophthongization 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 Grammar

6.1 Romance articles 6.2 Loss of neutral gender 6.3 Loss of oblique cases 6.4 Wider use of prepositions 6.5 Pronouns 6.6 Adverbs 6.7 Verbs

6.7.1 Copula

6.8 Supine 6.9 Word order typology

7 See also

7.1 History of specific Romance languages

8 Notes 9 References

9.1 General 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[edit] 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 mainly by Italo-Celtic
populations governed by the Roman Republic
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 Classical 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 philology: 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 that the Romance languages
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 speaking Romance languages
Romance languages
meant "nothing more or less than the vulgar speech as opposed to literary or grammatical Latin."[6] Diez, the principal founder of Romance-language philology, impressed by the comparative methods of Jakob Grimm
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
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.[7] 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
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".[8] 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.[9] 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 the unabridged 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 called classical 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 spoken Latin
into the early Romance languages
Romance languages
the only representative of the 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. Sources[edit] Vulgar 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:[10]

Solecisms, especially in Late Latin
texts. 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 languages descended. 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
Cena Trimalchionis
by Petronius


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
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. The vulgar 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
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 Europe.[11] Soon Classical 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 generation, the Oaths of Strasbourg
Oaths of Strasbourg
(842), a treaty between Charlemagne's grandsons 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 religious texts.[12]

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
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). The 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
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

Gallo-Romance, AD 842 [13] Vulgar Latin
of Paris, circa 5th c. AD, for comparison[14] English Translation

"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 2015)

Main article: Vulgar Latin
vocabulary Further information: Reichenau Glosses Vulgar Latin
featured a large vocabulary of words that were productive in Romance. Phonology[edit] See also: Latin
spelling and pronunciation and Latin
regional pronunciation 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
Romance languages
for more information. Evidence of changes[edit]

has original text related to this article: Appendix Probi

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 paupera mulier"); 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 non formunsus"); 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'. Consonant development[edit] See also: Romance languages
Romance languages
§ Consonants The most significant consonant changes affecting Vulgar Latin
were 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 consonants. Loss of final consonants[edit] 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 in Classical Latin
would read quisquis amat valeat ("may whoever loves be strong/do well").[15] (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
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[edit] 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 ("wheel tax").[16] Simplification of geminates[edit] 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 meter. Loss of word-final m[edit] 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/[edit] 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.[17] 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[edit] 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").[16] Descendants of mensis include Portuguese mês, Spanish and Catalan mes, Old French meis (Modern French mois), Italian mese.[16] In some areas (including much of Italy), the clusters [mn], [kt] ⟨ct⟩, [ks] ⟨x⟩ were assimilated to the second element: [nn], [tt], [ss].[16] Thus, some inscriptions have omnibus > onibus ("all [dative plural]"), indictione > inditione ("indiction"), vixit > bissit ("lived").[16] Also, three-consonant clusters usually lost the middle element. For example: emptores > imtores ("buyers") [16] 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).[16] 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) [18] 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
Old French
pareid).[18] 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.[18] However, [kw] has survived in front of [a] in most areas, although not in French; hence Latin
quattuor yields Spanish cuatro (/kwatro/), Portuguese quatro (/kwatru/), and Italian quattro (/kwattro/), but French quatre (/katʀ/), where the qu- spelling is purely etymological.[18] 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, reflecting Vulgar 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. Vowel development[edit] See also: Romance languages
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[edit] Classical 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 changes started. 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.[19][20] 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

Spelling 1st cent. 2nd cent. 3rd cent. 4th cent.

ă /a/ /a/

ā /aː/

ĕ /ɛ/

ē /eː/ /e/ /e/

ĭ /ɪ/

ī /iː/ /i/

ŏ /ɔ/

ō /oː/ /o/ /o/

ŭ /ʊ/

ū /uː/ /u/

Monophthongization[edit] 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.[21] From the 2nd century AD, there are instances of spellings with ⟨ĕ⟩ instead of ⟨ae⟩.[22] ⟨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.[21] 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 languages.[21] Loss of distinctive length and near-close mergers[edit] Length confusions seem to have begun in unstressed vowels, but they were soon generalized.[23] 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.[23] 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 – u/.[24] Also, the near-close vowels /ɪ/ and /ʊ/ became more open in most varieties and merged with /e/ and /o/ respectively.[24] 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.[25] 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,[26] like Romanian. Phonologization of stress[edit] 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[edit] 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/.[27] (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/.[27] In many descendents, several of the long vowels underwent some form of diphthongization, most extensively in Old French
Old French
where five of the seven long vowels were affected by breaking. Grammar[edit] Romance articles[edit] It is difficult to place the point in which the definite article, absent in 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
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
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),[25] 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 force. The Vetus Latina
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.[15] 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.[15] 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 origin of Old French
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[edit]

First and second adjectival declension paradigm in Classical Latin. E.g., altus ("tall")

singular plural

masculine neuter feminine masculine neuter feminine

nominative altus altum alta altī alta altae

accusative altum altam altōs alta altās

dative altō altae altīs

ablative altō altā altīs

genitive altī altae altōrum altārum

The genders

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
Old French
still had -s in the nominative and -Ø in the accusative in both words: murs, ciels [nominative] – mur, ciel [oblique].[28] 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
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 lactem. 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).[25]

Typical Italian endings

Nouns Adjectives and determiners

singular plural singular plural

masculine giardino giardini buono buoni

feminine donna donne buona buone

neuter uovo uova buono buone

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 Merovingian
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 Romanian. 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 masculine appearance. Except for the Italian and Romanian heteroclitic nouns, other major Romance languages
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: good. Loss of oblique cases[edit] The Vulgar Latin
vowel shifts caused the merger of several case endings in the nominal and adjectival declensions.[29] 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).[29] Thus, by the 5th century, the number of case contrasts had been drastically reduced.[29]

Evolution of a 1st declension noun: caepa/cēpa ("onion") (feminine singular)

Classical (c. 1st century) Vulgar[29] (c. 5th cent.) Modern Romanian

nominative caepa, cēpa *cépa ceapă

accusative caepam, cēpam

ablative caepā, cēpā

dative caepae, cēpae *cépe cepe


Evolution of a 2nd declension noun: mūrus ("wall") (masculine singular)

Classical (c. 1st cent.) Vulgar[29] (c. 5th cent.) Old French (c. 11th cent.)

nominative mūrus *múros murs

accusative mūrum *múru mur

ablative mūrō *múro


genitive mūrī *múri

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.[29] 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[citation needed]. 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
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, Pieri.[30] 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 dabo.[30][31] The accusative case developed as a prepositional case, displacing many instances of the ablative.[30] Towards the end of the imperial period, the accusative came to be used more and more as a general oblique case. [32] Despite increasing case mergers, nominative and accusative forms seem to have remained distinct for much longer, since they are rarely confused in inscriptions.[32] 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.[32] Nowadays, Romanian maintains a two-case system, while Old French
Old French
and Old Occitan
Old Occitan
had a two-case subject-oblique system. This Old French
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).

Classical Latin (1st cent.) Old French (11th cent.)

singular nominative vīcīnus (li) veisins

accusative vīcīnum (le) veisin

genitive vīcīnī

dative vīcīnō


plural nominative vīcīnī (li) veisin

accusative vīcīnōs (les) veisins

genitive vīcīnōrum

dative vīcīnīs


Wider use of prepositions[edit] 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, "where", from 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 + post. 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.[33] As 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. Classical Latin:

Marcus patrī librum dat. "Marcus is giving [his] father [a/the] book."

Vulgar Latin:

*Marco da libru a patre. "Marcus is giving [a/the] book to [his] father."

Just as in the disappearing dative case, colloquial Latin
sometimes replaced the disappearing genitive case with the preposition de followed by the ablative. Classical Latin:

Marcus mihi librum patris dat. "Marcus is giving me [his] father's book.

Vulgar Latin:

*Marco mi da libru de patre. "Marcus is giving me [the] book of [his] father."

Pronouns[edit] 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?][34]

Reconstructed pronominal system of Vulgar Latin[34]

1st person 2nd person 3rd person

singular plural singular plural singular plural

Nominative *éo *nọs *tu *vọs

Dative *mi *nọ́be(s) *ti, *tẹ́be *vọ́be(s) *si, *sẹ́be *si, *sẹ́be

Accusative *mẹ *nọs *tẹ *vọs *sẹ *sẹ

Adverbs[edit] Classical 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. Verbs[edit]

The Cantar de Mio Cid
Cantar de Mio Cid
(Song of my Cid) is the earliest Spanish text

Main article: Romance verbs See also: Romance languages
Romance languages
§ Verbal morphology In general, the verbal system in the Romance languages
Romance languages
changed less from Classical 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:

Infinitive 1st sing. 2nd sing. 3rd sing. 1st plur. 2nd plur. 3rd plur. sing. imperative

Second conjugation (Classical) -ēre -eō -ēs -et -ēmus -ētis -ent -ē

Second conjugation (Vulgar) *-ẹ́re *-(j)o *-es *-e(t) *-ẹ́mos *-ẹ́tes *-en(t) *-e

Third conjugation (Vulgar) *-ere *-o *-emos *-etes *-on(t)

Third conjugation (Classical) -ere -ō -is -it -imus -itis -unt -e

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 Latin
amaui, 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/.[25] Another major systemic change was to the future tense, remodelled in Vulgar 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 have"]. Portuguese and Galician: amarei (amar + [h]ei) ← amar ["to love"] + hei ["I have"] Spanish and Catalan: amaré (amar + [h]e) ← amar ["to love"] + he ["I have"]. 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 the imperative. 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 Classical 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 health. Copula[edit] 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 *essre and Old French
Old French
estre as well as Spanish and Portuguese ser (Romanian a fi derives from fieri, which means "to become"). In Vulgar 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 estar and Old French
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 Vulgar 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 actually doing. 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
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 the city"). Supine[edit]

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Word order typology[edit] Classical 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.[citation needed] Fragments of SOV word order still survive through object pronouns (te amo - "I love you"). See also[edit]

Oaths of Strasbourg Romance copula Romance languages Veronese Riddle Proto-Romanian Daco-Roman Thraco-Roman

History of specific Romance languages[edit]

Sicilian Catalan phonology History of French History of Italian History of Portuguese History of the Spanish language Latin
to Romanian sound changes Old French


^ 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. ISBN 0-271-02001-6.  ^ 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 title= (help) ^ 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 of the Latin
Language. Malden: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4051-6209-8. ^ 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, 2011), 112-4. ^ 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.

References[edit] General[edit]

Allen, W. Sidney (2003). Vox Latina – a Guide to the Pronunciation of Classical Latin
(2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37936-9.  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. Heath.  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. ISBN 0-271-02001-6.  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) [1954]. 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) [1931]. 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. Klopp.  Wright, Roger (1982). Late Latin
and Early Romance in Spain and Carolingian France. Liverpool: Francis Cairns. 

Transitions to Romance languages[edit] To Romance in general[edit]

Banniard, Michel (1997). Du latin aux langues romanes. Paris: Nathan.  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 list (link) 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)

To French[edit]

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 York: Routledge.  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. 

To Italian[edit]

Maiden, Martin (1996). A Linguistic History of Italian. New York: Longman. 

To Spanish[edit]

Lloyd, Paul M. (1987). From Latin
to Spanish. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society.  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. 

To Portuguese[edit]

Castro, Ivo (2004). Introdução à História do Português. Lisbon: Edições Colibri.  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. 

To Occitan[edit]

Paden, William D. (1998). An Introduction to Old Occitan. New York: Modern Language Association of America. 

To Sardinian[edit]

Blasco Ferrer, Eduardo (1984). Storia linguistica della Sardegna. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. 

Library resources about Vulgar Latin

Online books Resources in your library Resources in other libraries

Further reading[edit]

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 Vulgar 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
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: 157–222.

External links[edit]

Batzarov, Zdravko (2000). "Orbis Latinus". Retrieved 19 September 2009.  Norberg, Dag; Johnson, R.H. (Translator) (2009) [1980]. " 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. 

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