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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0answers
133 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)....
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4answers
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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 ...
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1answer
149 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 ...
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2answers
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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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1answer
116 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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
5
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1answer
249 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 ...
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2answers
361 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 ...
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2answers
885 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 ...
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1answer
148 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 ...
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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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4answers
497 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 ...
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4answers
8k 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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2answers
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 ...
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254 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 ...
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2answers
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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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4answers
2k 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 ...
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0answers
118 views

The letter <u> in Provençal: when is it [y] and when is it [œ]?

In most dialects of Occitan, the letter <u> is pronounced [y] generally. However, in Provençal it appears to be pronounced [œ] by some speakers some of the time. This wikipedia article states (...
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2answers
182 views

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 [ʃ]...
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103 views

Etymology of initial "g-" in Sicilian "giurana" (frog)

Most Romance words for "frog" derive from Latin rana (e.g. es. rana, it. rana, pt. rã. See also va. renoc ("toad")). However, an unexpected initial g- appears in the cognates of several Gallo-: fr. ...
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3answers
329 views

Definite/indefinite articles vs. inflections

While some languages have definite/indefinite articles (a/an/the in English, le/la/les and un/une/des in French), others don't (Russian, Latin). In this connection I have a few questions: Chicken or ...
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2answers
198 views

Adjective position in Provençal (Occitan)

Can anyone tell me the rules for adjective position in Provençal? I know that, like most other Romance languages, most adjectives go after the noun, with some exceptions. But I can't find the exact ...
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1answer
247 views

Why do many French and Spanish noun cognates have opposing grammatical gender?

While most French/Spanish noun cognates share the same gender (both descending from the same vulgar latin root), there are many exceptions having opposing genders (e.g. la couleur / el color; la ...
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1answer
450 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 ...
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2answers
295 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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2answers
635 views

How does Metathesis work?

How does it happen? What motivated latin "parabola" to change into Spanish "palabra" and why does english "ask" is often changed to "aks"?
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1answer
254 views

What is the origin of the "redundant" pronouns in the Venetian language?

From the examples taken from Wikipedia: • Venetian: (Ti) te jèra onto or even Ti te jèri/xeri onto (lit. "(You) you were dirty"). • Venetian: El can el jèra onto (lit. "The dog he was dirty"). It ...
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1answer
420 views

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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1answer
374 views

How did Latin drop noun declension?

Latin has/had noun cases, while modern Romance languages don't. I wonder if the transition can be observed in written forms. Are there examples from different historic moments? A side question: ...
28
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6answers
53k 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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2answers
531 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 ...
29
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7answers
14k 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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3answers
1k 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 ...
6
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1answer
93 views

Does a scientific methodology exist for evaluating bilingual dictionaries?

I recently reread What's the difference between the various context dictionaries available for Spanish (e.g., Tatoeba, Reverso, Linguee, …)?. The accepted answer is excellent. But it got me ...
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0answers
75 views

(proto-)Germanic evidence for Late Latin vowel length

I would like to find a list of borrowings illustrating the reflexes in (proto-)Germanic of Latin long and short vowels. In particular I would like to find substantiation to the standard claim that it ...
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4answers
9k 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 ...
3
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2answers
213 views

What can we say about Classical Nahuatl <z>?

Nahuatl has two sibilant fricatives, now pronounced something like [s] and [ʃ]. The standard orthography was developed by Spanish colonizers, who wrote /ʃ/ as x, and /s/ as c before a front vowel, z ...
6
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1answer
174 views

How did ìritu evolve from digitus?

The Latin word for "finger" is digitus. In Italian, I assume the "gi" was lost, perhaps via some lenition of the "g" to *dijitus and then j was lost, giving *dītus, or perhaps accusative *dītum, ...
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2answers
223 views

Historical morphology of Italian nouns from Latin 3rd declension

Italian is commonly analysed as inheriting the nominative forms of nouns from Vulgar Latin, instead of the accusative ones. But what happened to 3rd declension nouns? It looks like for the majority ...
4
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1answer
227 views

Phonetic similarity between *s* and *j*

I've recently discovered that Latin s at the end of words became the palatal approximant j in Italian. I remember reading that this process is also observed in some Occitan dialects,so it cannot be ...
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99 views

Did Romance languages evolve in Pannonia?

As a sister question of Did Romance languages evolve in North Africa?, I would like to ask what was the situation in Pannonia was there a Pannonian Romance Language and what research is there to it's ...
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2answers
1k views

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

Why has the neuter gender disappeared from almost all the modern Roman languages? It was completely common in Latin. And when exactly did this happen? Did it happen in Latin itself, or only after ...
6
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1answer
3k views

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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5answers
1k views

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

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 ...
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2answers
831 views

Can the "dialect continuum" phenomenon be recognized from Rome to Lisbon?

A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a spread of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighbouring varieties differ only slightly, but the differences accumulate over ...
4
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2answers
484 views

Which Romance Language retains the most words from Celtic?

It is known that they were once the same language, Proto Italo-Celtic, however with the descendants of Latin and the remaining Celtic languages, which Romance Language retains the most influence from ...
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1answer
443 views

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 ...