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Questions tagged [romance-languages]

Branch of the Indo-European language family including all languages descended from Latin, such as French, Spanish and Italian.

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Stark differences in French and German

Both the German and French languages, along with English, evolved from the same roots. This is reflected in some of their words and grammatical structures. So then why are the pronunciations of both ...
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Portuguese: Inconsistencies in use of second person pronouns and conjugation

I observed that both colloquial Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese show some inconsistencies in the way they use the second person pronoun (or its conjugation) and would like to know if my ...
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Pronunciation of Fermat in Gascon/Occitan

A math professor mentioned that the final segment of Fermat's name would probably have been pronounced [t] because of "where he was from." She didn't clarify further but I looked up where he's from ...
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What linguistic impact, if any, has the the Roman three name naming system left on modern Romance and European languages?

The ancient Romans had a three name system (tria nomina): praenomen, the birth/given name; the nomen, like a family name but marking the person as belonging to a specific gens; and the cognomen, of ...
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In romance languages, are there examples of male names that derive from female names?

In french, there are many female given names that are derived from male given names. Those names are often obtained by adding "ine", "ette", "e" or "a" at the end of the male name. Examples include ...
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Gold in French, light in Hebrew

I am fascinated by questions of linguistic relation between Hebrew and the Romance Languages, but I feel here I may have stumbled on a false connection and would like to be properly put in my place. ...
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2answers
143 views

Absence of vowel combination /ou/ in Spanish

Spanish has many words containing the diphthongs /au/, /eu/ and /iu/, but the only instances of words containing /ou/ (as a diphthong or in hiatus) are a very small set of foreign loanwords: bou, ...
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Catalan assimilation of 's' /s/ → [ʃ] after palatal consonants 'ny' /ɲ/ and 'll' /ʎ/

Question I've noticed a phenomenon in (Central) Catalan speech that I had seen no mention of when studying the language. In words with a final -nys or -lls, the s is assimilated and becomes palatal [...
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230 views

As French is a so-called Roman language, where are the cases? [duplicate]

French language is known to be a Roman language, just like Spanish, Italian, Swiss Roman… Those Roman languages are told to be originating from Latin language. When I learnt Latin, one of the first (...
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3answers
206 views

Where did the use of the two auxiliaries in the Romance languages come from?

Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French all have a (compound) perfect tense, which I find curious, given that Latin did not. (You can alternatively perhaps say that it is either united with the ...
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2answers
386 views

When and where did the guttural 'r' originate?

I have often wondered why French is (almost) unique in the Romance languages in using the guttural 'r' – in particular, the uvular fricative. Apart from Piedmontese / Piedmontese Italian (and even ...
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Romance-like pronominal verbs elsewhere

Romance languages are known to have lots of so-called pronominal verbs, which are always conjugated with a reflexive pronoun even though the action is not actually reflexive: for example, Spanish irse,...
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2answers
120 views

Is there a name for the tense some Romance languages used to use for stories?

I've seen it before, but I don't know what it would be called. I know that some of the Romance languages used to have a specific tense used only for stories (at least, fictional ones). They're no ...
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1answer
268 views

Did Romance languages evolve in North Africa?

So, I know that the dialects of Vulgar Latin evolved into the Romance languages in the Western Roman Empire, but I've always wondered why they only formed in Europe instead of in North Africa. Does ...
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2answers
119 views

Common language root for dom, domain

Earlier today I was wondering about the similarity of domain (eng), domaine (fr) and the words for home or house dom (rus), dům (cz) makes me think they have some common root, is that true? If so, ...
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Why does Italian use definite articles before possessive adjectives, except when these are followed by a singular family noun?

In Italian possessive adjectives are preceded by a definite article: “il mio amico” (the my friend), “la nostra casa”, “i tuoi libri”. The article however is always dropped with singular nouns ...
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4answers
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Why did English “man” and Latin “homo” take both the senses “gender-neutral human” and “male adult”?

Why did English "man" and Latin "homo" take both the sense "gender-neutral human" and "male adult"? According to etymonline.com, English "man", and incidentally Latin "homo" (which originally meant "...
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1answer
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Origin & explanation of sabado & sobota being similar in latin and slavic languages?

The word for Saturday in many languages both Romance (Italian, Spanish etc.) and Slavic (Russian, Polish, for example) is Sabado / Sobota - very similar words! My personal amateur guess is that it ...
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0answers
107 views

Was Latin A Nasalized Language?

Thinking about it, most of the Romance languages I have heard nasalize vowels quite frequently and it seems consistent: that has me wondering, is there any evidence to show that Latin was a heavily-...
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1answer
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Etymology of Romance words for Marriage [closed]

There are a few different Romance etyma with the meaning 'marriage'. Some are derived from Latin casa 'house', some from mater 'mother', and some from mas/maris 'man': L casa [+ -mentum] > CA ...
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1answer
130 views

Is Occitan a single language or have its different dialects become separate languages?

The Wikipedia page for the language mentions a 'controversy' about whether it is a language, macrolanguage or language family. Is there an official status for the language and what are the arguments ...
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Is /ɡ/ Germanic and /dʒ/ French in English ge-/gi- words?

I've recently noticed that in English words starting with "ge-" or "gi-", when the "g" is pronounced /ɡ/, they tend to be etymologically Germanic, while the words where the "g" is pronounced /dʒ/ tend ...
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Any other example of “socially stigmatized phoneme” like the “th” sound in some Venetian dialect?

Older people living in some rural areas north of Venice use the voiceless dental fricative /θ/ for many words, like cena "supper" which is pronounced θena, exactly like in Spanish cena (Castilian, not ...
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1answer
154 views

How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é?

How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é? Considering the two following examples: modern French état ("state; status") and été ("been"). Both derives ultimately ...
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Derivatives of Latin *mulier* in French

It is well known that the derivatives of Latin mulier and fēmina competed in Romance languages as the main word for `woman'. For instance, the former remained as Spanish mujer and Portuguese mulher (...
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Earliest recognition that Germanic and Romance languages are related

A recent question here, Earliest recognition that Romance languages are related asks for when in history it was first noted that individual Romance languages were recognized as ... similar/related/...
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268 views

Earliest recognition that Romance languages are related

I don't know if this is a question for this Stack Exchange or for the History Stack Exchange, but I would like to know when people first understood that the Romance languages were related. I have ...
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3answers
126 views

Spanish Stem Change

I'm looking at a set of data right and I'm a bit confused on how to tackle this. The data is showing a stem alternation of some verbs with [e] and [o] and no change in others. I know this is due to ...
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2answers
285 views

Why does French “cheveu(x)” have “eu” and not “eau”?

Many French words have lost etymological /l/. I have read that this occured due to a process of l-vocalization around the 10th-12th centuries which turned pre-consonantal l to u after any vowel aside ...
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1answer
135 views

What is the reason for some languages have non-linear word order for numbers?

Is there a scientific/historic explanation for the reversed word order for numbers in some languages? For example, while we have for 32: in English: thirty two (tens units), Hebrew: shloshim ...
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1answer
148 views

Have Latin and Romance languages evolved from vowel to consonant variety?

Seeing information on Latin, there are many diphtongs, and less consonants, or at least less letters for them. Nowadays among Romance languages, only Portuguese has a bit complex vowel system (like ...
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Etymological development of forms of Spanish “seguir” from Latin “SEQVI” (*sequire)

I am seeking an explanation for the development of the forms of Spanish "seguir" from Latin "SEQVI" (Vulgar Latin: *sequire), especially the irregular forms. Especially, why did the "e" become "i" in ...
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311 views

Past participle agreement in French

Background (skip if you know French) In French, to generate the past tense, you use the past participle of the verb, attaching in front a conjugated form of avoir or être. For example: J'ai mangé. ...
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Latin to French - evolution of certain forms of “FACERE > faire”

All forms of the Latin verb "FACERE" that went to French had a "c", but it has disappeared in all forms of the French verb "faire". In FACIS > fais, the "c" completely disappeared. In FACIUNT > font,...
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Romance languages - “to mean” as “to want to say”

I have noticed this phenomenon in quite a few Romance languages, that the verb "to mean" can also be conveyed by the phrase "to want to say", regardless of the origin of the verb "to want". For ...
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1answer
396 views

Why were words for the four cardinal directions in Romance languages borrowed from Old English?

Why were words for the four cardinal directions (east, west, north, south) in Romance languages borrowed from Old English? They could have used their own words derived from Latin because these words ...
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468 views

Why is the Romanian syntax for “Good night!” opposite to all the other Romance languages?

It's interesting to look at the phrase "Good night!" in the various languages of different language groups. The phrase is usually recognizable across related languages. (It's similar when looking at ...
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1answer
2k views

Do the words “angst” and “anxiety” share a common root?

The English word angst, taken from German Angst, seems to ultimately originate from Proto-Germanic *angustiz. This word has descendants in many Germanic languages, including, but not limited to, ...
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3answers
179 views

Do Germanic words have Romance qualities and vice-versa?

I know English was heavily influenced by French. But were there any other instances during which a Germanic language obtained Romance qualities or a Romance language with Germanic qualities?
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Is there something deeper behind the “verb classes swapping” of the subjunctive endings in Romance languages?

I first asked this question in https://spanish.stackexchange.com/q/15929/11155 However the Spanish community has not found any answer yet and the phenomenon is observable in many Romance languages. I ...
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Why is the French accent so different from other Romance accents? [closed]

In terms of pronounciation, the general French accent is very different from the Italian, Spanish or Romanian ones. For example: many conventional sounds in Romance langauges (i.e. /r/ or /j/) are ...
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Why do English, Italian, German, Spanish, French and Latin share a common alphabet and many words?

I wonder why English, Italian, German, Spanish, French and Latin share common alphabet and other words. Also what is the relation among them.
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1answer
307 views

Which Romance language has the simplest phonotactics?

I have decided to give my latest conlang romance vocabulary, but I want the phonotactics of this language to be as simple as possible and yet still be recognizably Romance. (I don't generally spend a ...
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469 views

r in Romance names of London

Most Romance languages have an "r" in their renditions of the British capital's name: Londres, Londra etc. Outside the Romance family, I only found it in Turkish Londra and Breton Londrez, but those ...
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Why were prefixes repeated as postverbal prepositions?

French: s'abstenir de    Spanish: abstenerse de    English: abstain [from] (v.) [<--] late 14c., "to withhold oneself," from Old French abstenir (14c.), earlier astenir (13c.) "hold (...
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Why does “date” in Portuguese became “data”, while in Dutch “datum” is used?

I didn't study Latin, but I can recognize when a noun is singular or plural. It's weird that date is used in the singular form data in Portuguese - a Neo-Latin language - while Dutch contains the ...
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220 views

Why did Latin fragment so much?

I'm not sure exactly when almost the entire population was exposed to Mass but until Protestantism everyone heard Latin every Sunday and Good Friday and Holy Thursday and Christmas and Epiphany and ...
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4k views

Why there are no grammatical cases in the French language?

As far as I know, the French language is considered as a Romance language, which is derived, in its turn, from the Latin language. The last one has a rich grammatical cases system. I am interested to ...
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1answer
252 views

Where do the spelling rules for French imperatives come from?

French verbs are, for historical reasons, typically grouped into three classes. The loss of final consonants in French has resulted in a serious divergence, wherein the verb conjugation system of the ...
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3answers
124 views

Spelling Similarities in English and Spanish but not in Italian and Spanish

The spelling of the word 'admit' has a ⟨d⟩ in both English and the Spanish equivalent, admitir, but not in Italian ammettere. Why is the ⟨d⟩ absent in the Italian equivalent?