The Romance languages (sometimes referred to as Romanic languages, Latin languages or Neo-Latin languages) are all the related languages derived from Vulgar Latin and forming a subgroup of the Italic languages within the Indo-European language family.
The Romance languages developed from Latin in the sixth to ninth centuries. Today, there are more than 800 million native speakers worldwide, mainly in Europe and the Americas and many smaller regions scattered throughout the world, as well as large numbers of non-native speakers, and widespread use as lingua franca. Because of the extreme difficulty and varying methodology of distinguishing among language, variety, and dialect, it is impossible to count the number of Romance languages now in existence, but the standard count places the number of living Romance languages at almost 25. In fact, the number may be slightly larger, and many more existed previously (SIL Ethnologue lists 47 Romance languages).
In 2007 the five most widely spoken Romance languages by number of native speakers were Spanish (385 million), Portuguese (205 million), French (75 million), Italian (60 million), and Romanian (25 million). Many of these languages have large numbers of non-native speakers; this is especially the case for French, in widespread use throughout West Africa.
Other Romance languages include Aragonese, Aromanian, Arpitan, Asturian, Catalan, Corsican, Emiliano-Romagnolo, Friulan, Galician, Ladino, Leonese, Lombard, Mirandese, Neapolitan, Occitan, Piedmontese, Romansh, Sardinian, Sicilian, Venetian and Walloon.
Famous quotes containing the words romance and/or languages:
“A guide book is addressed to those who plan to follow the traveler, doing what he has done, but more selectively. A travel book, in its purest, is addressed to those who do not plan to follow the traveler at all, but who require the exotic or comic anomalies, wonders and scandals of the literary form romance which their own place or time cannot entirely supply.”
—Paul Fussell (b. 1924)
“The very natural tendency to use terms derived from traditional grammar like verb, noun, adjective, passive voice, in describing languages outside of Indo-European is fraught with grave possibilities of misunderstanding.”
—Benjamin Lee Whorf (18971934)