A romantic affair with Romance languages

romance languages

I personally enjoy learning languages in the Romance language family. They were among the first few languages I’ve learnt when I started to learn multiple languages. After learning French, I became curiosity of what Italian would look like. To my discovery, I noticed the similarities between Italian and French in terms of grammar and vocabulary. I later learned about language families and how French and Italian are both part of the Romance language family.

Because I knew some French and Italian, I then later tried Spanish and once again, I found similarities. These similarities, thanks to the fact that they’re members of the Romance language family, allowed me to get a basic grasp the languages’ grammatical structure and vocabulary cognates. This knowledge can sometimes be used to again when learning another Romance language.

The reason for these similarities is because these languages descended from Vulgar Latin which was the colloquially spoken version of Latin during the Roman Empire, hence the name Romance (Roman).

For now, this is a list of Romances languages in order which starts from my strongest Romance language to my least.

  1. French
  2. Spanish
  3. Catalan
  4. Portuguese (Brazilian)
  5. Italian
  6. Romanian

There are also many other Romance languages which I’ve not learnt yet but would want to: e.g. Galician, Sicilian, Occitan, etc.

Knowing a lot of one language in one language family would allow you to rapidly increase the number of languages you know because there isn’t much need to learn to anything drastically new. Did I mention you also have to be interested in those languages and you want to be a polyglot. I personally thank my strong knowledge of French, because it was the catalyst that

Romance languages and their relationship with English

Even though English is not a Romance language, there are some words in English that have roots from French and Latin. Learning other Romance languages especially French also gave me a better understanding of certain English words. I’m not talking about words like importante (French/Spanish for important), difficile (French/Italian for difficult), scuola (Italian for school) or any actual direct translation.

Here are a few examples of Latin/Romance language words that can be found in English words that are not exactly direct translations:

 Latin French Italian Spanish Catalan Portuguese Romanian English
aqua eau acqua agua aigua água apă water

English words: aquarium, aquatic

 Latin French Italian Spanish Catalan Portuguese Romanian English
facile facile facile fácil fàcil fácil simplu, facil easy

English words: facility, facilitate

 Latin French Italian Spanish Catalan Portuguese Romanian English
communibus commun comune común comú comum comun common

English words: community, communication

 Latin French Italian Spanish Catalan Portuguese Romanian English
scrivere écrire scrivere escribir escriure escrever a scrie to write

English words: scribe, scribble, describe, prescribe

 Latin French Italian Spanish Catalan Portuguese Romanian English
vinum vin vino vino vi vino vin wine

English words: vineyard, vine (grapevine)

 Latin French Italian Spanish Catalan Portuguese Romanian English
habitare habiter abitare habitar habitar habitar a locui to live/dwell

English words: habitat, habit, habitual

If you ever wondered why some of these English words are written as so, it’s not because the English wrote them like that without any influence. These modern words were based of Latin via French during the period of Reformation and Renaissance.

Thanks to Latin, it gave English and especially Romance languages a richer culture within its vocabulary when the Roman Empire spread Latin throughout Europe.

Oh, and another reason why I personally like Romance languages are because they are pleasant to listen to.


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