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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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2 answers
289 views

Can it be that the etymology of the Balkan root for "tickle" stretches as far as Korean?

Some context first: I am interested in the etymology of the Romanian word gâdila/gîdila ("to tickle; the â/î variation is only graphical: it's /ɨ/, the close central unrounded vowel which in ...
4 votes
1 answer
136 views

Why does the "passat perifràstic" use "anar" as an auxiliary?

In all other romance languages, to go + infinitive means that the action will happen in a near future, which makes sense intuitively, because metaphorically, we move toward an event which has not ...
0 votes
0 answers
68 views

Hypothetical ancestry and evolution of PGmc *auziwandliaz

This is cross-posted from r/asklinguistics, with influence from Wiktionary's Tea Room. So I'm bundling up three questions regarding the PGmc. proper noun *Auziwandilaz. First: The /w/ in the ...
2 votes
3 answers
244 views

Are there Romance parallel descendants to Italian "cicalare" and Romanian "cicăli(re)"?

I am looking for the etymology of the Romanian verb a cicăli (to make reproaches repeatedly, to nag), which is reported of unknown origin, and I have found an almost identical word in Italian: ...
16 votes
2 answers
3k 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. Often,...
0 votes
1 answer
86 views

Timeline of future/conditional in Latin and Romance languages

I'm not a linguist - just a linguistics enthusiast - so apologies in advance if this is a stupid question. I am fascinated by the concept of grammaticalization, and I had heard that the future and ...
9 votes
5 answers
3k views

Latin -que suffix in romance languages

In Latin the suffix -que can be used to mean "and". For example: Fames sitisque (Hunger and thirst) Are there any modern Romance languages that use the suffix -que or something similar to it?
4 votes
2 answers
737 views

History of "have", "avoir", "haben", etc. as auxiliary

In Geoff Pullum's recent post Being an Auxiliary on the Lingua Franca blog, he states that the sense of "have" as an auxiliary (forming the perfect tense) evolved from the possession sense, "but the ...
13 votes
7 answers
1k views

How did the same perfect-tense structure become so widespread in Europe?

In many Germanic and Romance languages, the perfect tense is formed with the verb 'to have' or 'to be' plus a past participle. It's easy to find explanations ["I have an arrow (which is) made (by me)"...
39 votes
5 answers
9k views

Why do the Romance languages use definite articles, when Latin doesn't?

Classical Latin, as I understand things, barely has a definite article at all: ille is the nearest equivalent, and even this word is closer to English that than the. But Spanish, French and Italian ...
1 vote
0 answers
100 views

Could the Romanian gând/gândi (thought/think) be ultimately of Latin and/or Albanian origin?

A gândi is in modern Romanian the common/main form of the verb "to think", based on the noun gând ("thought"). It is considered of Hungarian origin, from "gond". I don't ...
0 votes
1 answer
172 views

Why do Spanish words change meaning when put in a sentence? [closed]

The word "ponga" means "I put" but when put in this sentence: Que solo la mire de lejito y se ponga asi" is "That he only looks at her from afar and gets like this" &...
-1 votes
1 answer
164 views

How has the standardization of the Friulian language made the language easier to learn?

I read that, the standardized version of Friulian was made to make learning it simple. However, did it really make the language simpler? Are there still variations in the pronunciation of letters like ...
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

Which Romance Language is the least similar to Latin?

People state that Romanian is closest in some aspects (grammar mainly), and that to learn a romance language studying latin may give you a leg up (which in my opinion just study the language), but for ...
1 vote
2 answers
216 views

Simplicity of the verb in Germanic languages

English and German have only two tenses (the present and the past) that are formed by inflection, all the others are formed using helping verbs, as is the conditional mood. In the Romance languages ...
1 vote
1 answer
123 views

Auxilary verb alternation in analytic perfect for French/Italian and German languages [duplicate]

French/Italian and German have a composite past tense (passé composé/passato prossimo/Perfekt) that is formed using either auxiliary verb to be (être/essere/sein) or auxiliary verb to have (avoir/...
3 votes
1 answer
285 views

When did people realize French has its root in Latin?

By investigating into historical documents like Oaths of Strasbourg and applying the comparative method, modern linguists are able to know French is a Romance language. When the components of ...
1 vote
0 answers
93 views

Is there a Slavic equivalent of the Greek and Latin semantic transfer from "chest/vault" to "treasure", like θησαυρός/thesaurus?

I was looking at the etymology of the Romanian word comoară ("treasure", "hoard", "pile of precious things") and it seems based on the widespread Slavic form komora, ...
9 votes
5 answers
11k 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 ...
36 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why is the word "war" in Romance languages predominantly of Germanic origin instead of Latin?

I wonder why in all Romance languages the word "war" ("guerra", with their multiple intonations) is a term that comes from Germanic languages, and that no modern language resembles ...
1 vote
2 answers
203 views

Conjugation stem changes in Portuguese

Currently, I am learning Portuguese. I have some knowledge of Spanish as well. The biggest difference in conjugation (indicative present tense) that I have found between Spanish and Portuguese is that ...
5 votes
1 answer
295 views

Which is the origin of Romanian /h/?

According to Wikipedia, Romanian has [...] the glottal fricative /h/. You can hear it, for instance, in the Romanian word arhaic. This cannot be of Latin origin because, as explained in the book La ...
29 votes
7 answers
16k 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 ...
3 votes
2 answers
433 views

How did ⟨x⟩ become /ʃ/ in Iberian Romance?

In Latin, ⟨x⟩ stood for /ks/. I'm a native Portuguese speaker and nowadays in my language this letter can also have the sounds /gz/, /s/, /z/ and /ʃ/. It seems relatively straightforward for me that /...
8 votes
3 answers
1k views

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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
243 views

Why are telling and counting related in many languages?

In many languages, verbs for telling a story are based on or related to verbs for counting. There are (at least) three groups of such verbs: English "recount", French "conter" and ...
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

How did Latin "aqua" became Sardinian "abba" and Romanian "apă"?

The way I believe it happened was by the change of "w" into "v" and the fall of the velar "k". Furthermore, betacism caused the change of "v" to "b" ...
-5 votes
1 answer
76 views

What is the name of the thing that the tongue does on the syllable pri in Classical Latin, Spanish, Italian, and Brazilian Portuguese? [duplicate]

What is the name of the thing that the tongue does on the syllable pri in Classical Latin, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and possibility other Romance languages? Since Classical Latin has ...
1 vote
1 answer
525 views

What is the name of the category for the vibrations that the tongue does in linguistics?

There are guttural sounds such as the French R so I'm guessing that there is name for the category of speech sound in which the tongue vibrates! For example, in the words pater, et rubente http://www....
13 votes
1 answer
3k 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, ...
12 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is there a form descending from Latin genitive plural somewhere in modern Romance languages?

The Latin genitive plurals in -rum are very noticeable in the paradigm. Be it first declension in -ārum, second in -ōrum, or fifth in -ērum, they are heavyweight, attract accent and basicall stand out ...
1 vote
1 answer
116 views

Is "nea" <- "*nivis" proof that metaphonic diphthongisation occured in Romanian before the loss of intervocalic "v"?

The metaphonic diphthongisation phenomenon is said to have occurred between the 6th and 8th century. But it must have happened before the loss of intervocalic "v", though I have only one ...
2 votes
4 answers
366 views

Why words in many romance languages don't have more than one part of speech, unlike words in English

I have recently just realized that in English, sometimes the same word will have different part of speech depends on the way you pronounce it. For example, record can be a noun or a verb depends on ...
0 votes
1 answer
528 views

Pronunciation of "ll" in the Romance languages

I have noticed that all the Romance languages (Spanish, Galician, Catalan, Portuguese, Romanian, Italian, and French) usually pronounce the "ll" like the "y" in "yacht". ...
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why has the neuter gender disappeared from almost all the modern Romance languages?

Why has the neuter gender disappeared from almost all the modern Romance languages? It was completely common in Latin. And when exactly did this happen? Did it happen in Latin itself, or only after ...
8 votes
1 answer
281 views

Why are French nouns in -eur feminine when their latin origin in -or is masculine?

The suffix -eur in modern French typically gives feminine nouns: erreur, ferveur, torpeur, fureur. (Confusingly there's also -(a)teur which gives masculine nouns, but it seems etymologically separate)....
1 vote
1 answer
284 views

Which Romance languages have three verbs for, and preserved the differences between, Latin's esse, sedere, stare?

Yoïn van Spijk's diagram substantiates that French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish merged at least two of Latin's esse, sedere, stare. Are there any Romance languages which still feature direct ...
17 votes
2 answers
6k 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
216 views

How could Vulgar Latin divide in so many branches in the Balkans in a such small timespan?

From the literature I've read ( Al.Rosetti History of Romanian for example ) it looks like we can talk about Vulgar Latin until the 4th or 5th century in the Balkans, and further than that many ...
17 votes
5 answers
4k views

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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
461 views

Why don't modern Romance languages have the verb "to stand"?

I noticed that modern Romance languages don't have a specific word for the verb "to stand", or - you could say - don't consider the notion of standing to be a verb. For example, in Spanish - you can ...
9 votes
2 answers
495 views

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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
362 views

Why are native English speakers convinced that English language is a Romance language? [closed]

Most people I've know so far in the USA are always saying that learning Latin would be really easy because, since English comes from Latin, it cannot be a hard thing to do, and they really get shocked ...
7 votes
0 answers
178 views

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 ...
6 votes
4 answers
716 views

From Italian to Spanish, consonant + "i" goes to consonant + "l"?

Why is it, that in words like plaza / piazza, or blanca / bianca, the "l" in Spanish corresponds to an "i" in Italian? Is there a preference for this kind of sound in Italian, or ...
9 votes
4 answers
9k views

Why are French, Italian, Spanish etc. listed as SVO languages?

In this Wikipedia article, French, Italian and Spanish are listed as SVO languages, along with English and Chinese. (However, Latin is listed as SOV.) I am highly confused about such statement. In ...
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

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 ...
19 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
5 votes
0 answers
1k views

Why does French use diminutive suffixes differently from other Romance languages?

I'm a native French speaker, and I noticed that for a lot of masculine objects, we use the suffix -ette to designate a smaller version of it, which turns it into a feminine word. Here are a few ...
12 votes
4 answers
3k 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 ...