Romance languages

EthnicityRomance peoples (adopted speakers)
Originated in Mediterranean, Western and Southeastern Europe; now also spoken all over the Americas, much of Africa and in parts of Southeast Asia and Oceania
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Early form
ISO 639-2 / 5roa
Linguasphere51- (phylozone)
World map showing countries where a Romance language is the primary or official language
European Romance languages

The Romance languages (nowadays rarely Romanic languages, Latin languages, Neo-Latin languages) are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the third and eighth centuries.[2] They are a subgroup of the Italic languages in the Indo-European language family.

Today, around 800 million people are native speakers worldwide, mainly in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, but also elsewhere. Additionally, the major Romance languages have many non-native speakers and are in widespread use as lingua francas.[3] This is especially the case for French, which is in widespread use throughout Central and West Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, and the Maghreb.

The five most widely spoken Romance languages by number of native speakers are Spanish (470 million), Portuguese (250 million), French (150 million), Italian (90 million),[4] and Romanian (25 million).[5]

Because of the difficulty of imposing boundaries on a continuum, various counts of the modern Romance languages are given; for example, Dalby lists 23 based on mutual intelligibility.[6] The following, more extensive list[citation needed], includes 35 current, living languages, and one extinct language, Dalmatian:


Romance languages are the continuation of Vulgar Latin, the popular and colloquial sociolect of Latin spoken by soldiers, settlers, and merchants of the Roman Empire, as distinguished from the classical form of the language spoken by the Roman upper classes, the form in which the language was generally written.[7] Between 350 BC and 150 AD, the expansion of the Empire, together with its administrative and educational policies, made Latin the dominant native language in continental Western Europe. Latin also exerted a strong influence in southeastern Britain, the Roman province of Africa, western Germany, Pannonia and the whole Balkans.

During the Empire's decline, and after its fragmentation and the collapse of Western half in the fifth and sixth centuries, the spoken varieties of Latin became more isolated from each other, with the western dialects coming under heavy Germanic influence (the Goths and Franks in particular) and the eastern dialects coming under Slavic influence.[8][9] The dialects diverged from classical Latin at an accelerated rate and eventually evolved into a continuum of recognizably different typologies. The colonial empires established by Portugal, Spain, and France from the fifteenth century onward spread their languages to the other continents to such an extent that about two-thirds of all Romance language speakers today live outside Europe.

Despite other influences (e.g. substratum from pre-Roman languages, especially Continental Celtic languages; and superstratum from later Germanic or Slavic invasions), the phonology, morphology, and lexicon of all Romance languages consist mainly of evolved forms of Vulgar Latin. However, some notable differences occur between today's Romance languages and their Roman ancestor. With only one or two exceptions, Romance languages have lost the declension system of Latin and, as a result, have SVO sentence structure and make extensive use of prepositions.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Romaanse tale
Alemannisch: Romanische Sprachen
العربية: لغات رومنسية
aragonés: Luengas romances
azərbaycanca: Roman dilləri
Bân-lâm-gú: Roman giân-gí
беларуская: Раманскія мовы
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Раманскія мовы
Bikol Central: Mga Latin
български: Романски езици
bosanski: Romanski jezici
brezhoneg: Yezhoù romanek
davvisámegiella: Románalaš gielat
dolnoserbski: Romaniske rěcy
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Languv latén
estremeñu: Luengas romancis
français: Langues romanes
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Roman Ngî-chhu̍k
한국어: 로망스어군
hornjoserbsce: Romaniske rěče
hrvatski: Romanski jezici
Bahasa Indonesia: Rumpun bahasa Roman
interlingua: Linguas romanic
italiano: Lingue romanze
kernowek: Romanek
Kiswahili: Lugha za Kirumi
Kreyòl ayisyen: Lang womàn
Кыргызча: Роман тилдери
latviešu: Romāņu valodas
Lëtzebuergesch: Romanesch Sproochen
lietuvių: Romanų kalbos
Limburgs: Roemaanse tale
Lingua Franca Nova: Linguas romanica
lumbaart: Lenguv Rumanz
македонски: Романски јазици
Malagasy: Fiteny romana
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa-bahasa Romawi
Nāhuatl: Romatlahtolli
Nederlands: Romaanse talen
Napulitano: Lengue neolatine
Nordfriisk: Romaans spriaken
norsk nynorsk: Romanske språk
Nouormand: Laungue romanne
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Roman tillari
Papiamentu: Lenganan romaniko
Piemontèis: Lenghe romanze
română: Limbi romanice
romani čhib: Romanikane chhiba
rumantsch: Linguas romanas
Runa Simi: Romanu rimaykuna
Seeltersk: Romanisk
sicilianu: Lingui rumanzi
Simple English: Romance languages
slovenčina: Románske jazyky
slovenščina: Romanski jeziki
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Романьсци ѩꙁꙑци
српски / srpski: Романски језици
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Romanski jezici
татарча/tatarça: Роман телләре
Türkçe: Romen dilleri
українська: Романські мови
Tiếng Việt: Nhóm ngôn ngữ Rôman
Volapük: Püks romenik
West-Vlams: Romaansche toaln
粵語: 羅曼語族
中文: 罗曼语族