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What are Romance languages?

Published on 10/10/2022

Proficiency in Romance languages can create more job opportunities and, for a translator opens many doors to new possibilities

Romance languages are among the most translated languages in the world. The best translation companies know that mastering Romance languages is an open door to countless jobs all over the world and related to all kinds of specialities, from medical to legal or academic texts.

Many companies or individuals may need a translation service with a perfect knowledge and mastery of the Romance languages. Today, we want to tell you about the origins of the Romance languages and the most translated languages belonging to this language family in the world.

1. The origin of Romance languages

The origin of the Romance languages is Vulgar Latin which was spoken in the Roman Empire between the 6th and 9th centuries. They formed an Indo-European branch of languages that soon spread and resulted in new derivations. Its name comes from the connection with Rome.

2. Top 4 most widely spoken Romance languages

It is estimated that there are now more than 900 million people who speak Romance languages worldwide, most of them in Europe, America and Africa. However, there are 4 Romance languages that are the most widely spoken languages on the planet and they are the following:

2.1. Spanish:

You should know that approximately 75% of the Spanish vocabulary comes from Latin. Spanish is the most widely spoken Romance language in the world, with more than 300 million speakers spread across all continents. Many of the work of translation companies is related to Spanish, whether in the translation of official documents or other types of texts.

2.2. Portuguese:

The second most widely spoken Romance language is Portuguese. It is very similar to Spanish, and most Portuguese speakers can be found not only in our neighbouring country, but also in Brazil. Around 200 million people speak this language.

2.3. French:

There are around 76 million French speakers in the world. French is very relevant in business and tourism and French speakers praise the richness of expressions and the melodic sense of the language.

2.4. Italian:

It is today the closest language to the original Latin and the fourth most spoken Romance language in terms of number of speakers. More than 60 million people speak Italian on our planet.

3. The extinct Romance languages

Unfortunately, not all Romance languages have been able to stand the test of time, and some of them have gradually ceased to be spoken until they became extinct. Among the Romance languages that have disappeared but for which there is historical evidence of their importance are Dalmatian, the African Romance language and British Latin.

3.1 Dalmatian

This language disappeared in the 19th century and was a language spoken mainly in what is now Croatia. It is considered an intermediate language between Romanian and Italian.

We have fewer documents and references to the African Romance language, but we do know that it was spoken until the 12th or 13th century in the area from the Strait of Gibraltar to Tunisia.

British Latin, was spoken in medieval England and remained alive for two centuries. Historians claim that it was a language very similar to today's Norman dialect, derived from French.

4. Other Romance languages in Spain

We cannot end this article without mentioning the other Romance languages that still exist in in some regions of Spain Catalan, Galician, Extremaduran, Aragonese and Asturian are also very much alive and active Romance languages, highly respected and with a rich tradition and history.

Virginia Pacheco's picture
Virginia Pacheco

Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.

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