Branch of the Indo-European language family including all languages descended from Latin.

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Why are Latin descendants SVO?

Latin was a language which predominant order was Subject-Object-Verb, as in the example proverb Errare Humanum Est So, why all its modern descendents are predominantly Subject-Verb-Object order? Or ...
18
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7answers
2k views

Why is English classified as a Germanic rather than Romance language?

I am not a linguist. I do not know German nor French. The majority of English vocabulary is derived from Romance languages. Given these facts, I ask for a simple and convincing demonstration (using an ...
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1answer
100 views

From Italian to Spanish, I to L

Why is it, that in words like plaza to piazza, or blanca to bianca, the l in spanish turns into an i in italian? Is there a preference for this kind of sound in Italian, or is there another reason?
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1answer
98 views

What vowels are most likely to be deleted in European Portuguese?

Stepping off of the airplane in Lisbon, I could immediately hear that the pronunciation was much different from Brazilian Portuguese, which I am more accustomed to. The level of vowel deletion was ...
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2answers
298 views

Are Slavic languages better suited for poetry? [closed]

When I try to write a poem or some lyrics in English, I am stuck with the very strict word order and other things like articles, very repetitive usage of articles (a/an, the) that destroy the sound ...
6
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1answer
217 views

Where did Latin and its descendants retain a case system most recently?

So we know that Latin nouns and adjectives inflect for case as well as person, number, and gender. Also we know that all the major modern Romance languages except Romanian no longer have a case ...
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3answers
171 views

Are there any specific traits in Italian which make it different from other Romance languages?

Although Wikipedia says 'the grammar is typical of the grammar of Romance languages', I suppose some ancient Italic (or perhaps even pre-italic) traits might prevail. I am especially curious about ...
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0answers
112 views

Do all languages with pre-positional articles have zero-articles if they don't have post-positional articles?

To clarify, pre-positional articles are the articles positioned before a noun they refer to, like English the or a(n). Post-positional articles are those positioned after a noun they refer to, like ...
4
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1answer
134 views

To what extent do African dialects of Italian differ from their European counterparts?

According to Wikipedia, Italian is spoken to some degree in Libya, Eritrea and Federal Republic of Somalia. Are there in Africa any clearly different varieties of this language which have distinct ...
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0answers
332 views

Is there a diagram showing the history of sound changes from Latin to the Romance languages?

We have had a number of questions about sound changes, asking for the history of specific changes. See this one, for example: asking about the change from Latin benedictionem to French beneiçon. ...
4
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3answers
195 views

Explaining the relationship between “short”, “kurz” and “curzu”

I've recently noticed something that I can't explain, a link between German and Sardinian. Two languages that, at least apparently for me, are not supposed to be that linked. Also English is included ...
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2answers
150 views

How does the sound change from L. “benedictionem” to O.Fr. “beneiçon” happen?

benison c.1300, "blessing, beatitude," from O.Fr. beneiçon "blessing, benediction," from L. benedictionem (see benediction). Similarly, the word malison comes in the exact way described above. ...
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5answers
574 views

Plural “you” in different language families connoting respect

I recently found out that French has two different words for "you." From here: Tu is the familiar "you," which demonstrates a certain closeness and informality. ... Vous is the formal "you." It ...
7
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1answer
461 views

Where did the nasal sound in the Portuguese word “sim” come from?

Among the descendants of the Latin word sic ("thus, so, or just like that"), only the Portuguese word sim ends with a nasal consonant. Actually, in modern Portuguese, it ends with a nasal vowel, [sĩ], ...
6
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3answers
505 views

Italian passato prossimo agrees with subject with 'essere' but not 'avere'. Why?

Another question about Italian grammar aside from this one which has bugged me for ages. In Italian, when forming the passato prossimo with an intransitive verb, we use forms of the auxiliary verb ...
10
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1answer
272 views

Italian past participle ending -uto

Why, in the paradigm for Italian past participles ending in -ere, does the regular past participle end in -uto? Whence the vowel, when the other two paradigms have -ato and -ito?
7
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2answers
438 views

Efficient linguistic algorithms for detecting language of a website?

Some browser addons and web-services for website/dictionary translation sometimes offer a "automatic-language-detection" feature. This works more or less in my experience. There is probably a variety ...
7
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1answer
190 views

Are there ablaut changes in romance languages?

The ablaut system was in Proto-Indo-European. It also is present in some English, German and Greek. Are there ablaut changes in romance languages such as Italian, French and Spanish?
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3answers
809 views

Why does Spanish have so many diphthongs compared to other Romance languages?

I have studied and known Spanish my whole life, and got a job at a University where I am allowed to take some free classes. Over the past three years, I have taken all the Italian classes offered, all ...
5
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1answer
132 views

Is it possible to determine genetic relations without external historical data?

Spanish and Portuguese, for example, are very similar languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin over the past two thousand years or so. We know a great deal about their histories, the occupation of the ...
11
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4answers
818 views

When and how did French become a non-null-subject language?

First of all, what does "null-subject" mean? Taken from the Wikipedia page for "Null-subject languages": […] a null-subject language is a language whose grammar permits an independent clause to ...
4
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1answer
212 views

Are there any papers about the calling contour (minor third, vocative chant) in Italian?

As indicated in the answers to "Is it common to use the minor third for calling someone?", "many European languages" use this type of chanted falling contour, but the examples all come from English, ...
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2answers
390 views

Why is it that Latin was more “successful” in the western part of the Empire than in the eastern part?

The Roman empire ruled over the lands around the Mediterranean for hundreds of years, and I imagine imposed its language on its subjects. But why is it that the western part of the empire (France, ...
10
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3answers
621 views

French conjugation, spoken vs written

French verbs are conjugated depending on the subject's person and number (ex. je parle, tu parles, il parle, etc.) However in spoken language most of these sound the same anyway because the end part ...
14
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8answers
4k views

Why do so many core Romanian words with Latin roots come from different roots than in the other Romance languages?

Romanian is a romance language like Catalan, Italian, French, Portuguese, and Spanish so much of its core vocabulary is derived from Latin. Why then even in core vocabulary does Romanian so often ...
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5answers
543 views

Which Romance languages have reflexes of nouns in the Latin nominative?

It is generally accepted that the nominal forms in the Romance languages represent reflexes of the Latin accusative rather than the nominative. (This is even true for those languages that have ...