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

A why-question is almost unanswerable, the answer is "because it happened so". But there was a strong trigger for the replacement of bellum, namely the homophony with the word for "...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
35 votes
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Why do the Romance languages use definite articles, when Latin doesn't?

Languages evolve in many ways! Proto-Indo-European had no articles at all, but they evolved independently in several different branches: you can still see the similarity between English "the" and "...
Draconis's user avatar
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29 votes

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

French, Spanish and Italian use SVO in clauses with non-pronominal arguments. Many languages make use of more than one kind of word order; the "canonical" order used in simplistic categorizations of ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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25 votes
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In romance languages, are there examples of male names that derive from female names?

The first thing I thought of was names derived in antiquity from the names of ancient Greek goddesses. For example, the French male name Hercule is ultimately from the name of the Greek goddess Hera (...
brass tacks's user avatar
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23 votes

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

such a drastic structural change The change is not drastic at all! It is a simple case of semantic bleaching (this is where the meaning of a word gets weaker. So you can kind of see how the is a "...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar
18 votes
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Do the words "angst" and "anxiety" share a common root?

Yes, Germanic angst and Latin anxiety are are derived from the same Proto-Indo-European root, which was something like *h₂enǵʰ- "constrict, narrow". Philippa (2003-2009) confirm that they ...
Cerberus's user avatar
  • 8,006
18 votes

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

The basic meaning of the Germanic *wirr is “disorder, chaos” etc. The shift in meaning to “warfare” originated in Frankish and is attested since the 9th century in High German, English, but not ...
fdb's user avatar
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17 votes
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Is there a form descending from Latin genitive plural somewhere in modern Romance languages?

If you want inflectional forms, you'd have to look at the major Romance language which still inflects nouns, Romanian. Even there, you will only find a reflex of -orum in the articles as far as I'm ...
LjL's user avatar
  • 1,847
16 votes
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What linguistic impact, if any, has the the Roman three name naming system left on modern Romance and European languages?

None, really. TL;DR: the tria nomina were dead before the empire was, so pre-Romance times. Long version: The tria nomina system is the most famous used in ancient Rome, but it wasn't by any means ...
Draconis's user avatar
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16 votes

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

Labiovelars like /kʷ/ (that is, the Latin qu- sound) and /ɡʷ/ have turned into labial stops in at least some environments in a few different languages (almost exclusively in European Indo-European ...
Cairnarvon's user avatar
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15 votes
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Derivatives of Latin *mulier* in French

The Trésor de la langue française has most the answer to your question in the etymology section for femme: From Classical Latin femina “female”, then “woman, wife” which competed against the Latin ...
Gilles 'SO- stop being evil''s user avatar
14 votes

Earliest recognition that Germanic and Romance languages are related

The question should probably be restated as something like "When did people begin to believe that Romance and Germanic languages were related with some scholarly basis for that belief?" The ...
TKR's user avatar
  • 10.9k
14 votes

Did Romance languages evolve in North Africa?

Did Romance languages evolve in North Africa? Yes. What languages were spoken in North Africa between Vulgar Latin and the arrival of Arabic? Both Romance and Arabic failed to totally supplant ...
Adam Bittlingmayer's user avatar
14 votes

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

The change of /kʷ/ > /p/ is moderately common, cross-linguistically. It also happened in Osco-Umbrian aka "P-Italic" (Oscan pis ~ Latin quis "who"), the "P-Celtic" ...
Draconis's user avatar
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13 votes

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

(Latin to French) inflectional forms: chandeleur < festa candelarum leur < illorum toponyms like Villefavreux (< villa Villa Fabrorum) or Villepreux (< villa Piorum) fossilized ...
suizokukan's user avatar
  • 2,007
12 votes

In romance languages, are there examples of male names that derive from female names?

In Italian there are a number of historically female names which are occasionally used as male names, e.g. Celeste, Amabile, Fiore, Diamante In many Romance languages the female name Maria (or some ...
iacobo's user avatar
  • 3,132
11 votes
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Why has the neuter gender disappeared from almost all the modern Romance languages?

I've read that even in Latin, we see some variability in the declension of words as neuter or masculine. Sometimes the use of the masculine where neuter would be expected is attributed to "...
brass tacks's user avatar
  • 18.3k
10 votes

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

The French words for the cardinal points (nord, sud, est, ouest) are definitely borrowed from some Germanic language, presumably in connection with seafaring in the North Sea. (This answers the "why" ...
fdb's user avatar
  • 24.3k
10 votes
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Why is the Romanian syntax for "Good night!" opposite to all the other Romance languages?

The greeting/parting distinction In many languages there is a distinction between the greeting upon meeting eg Good day! and the farewell upon parting Have a good day! The comparison table in the ...
Adam Bittlingmayer's user avatar
10 votes

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

Spanish and Italian are both languages descended from Latin. As such, many of their words are cognate sharing a common Latin ancestor, but the sounds in these words evolved over time and evolved ...
iacobo's user avatar
  • 3,132
10 votes

When did people realize French has its root in Latin?

It was the other way around: at some point people realized that French was not Latin (i.e., it was no more vulgar Latin=colloquial language, but a language in its own right.) Similar thing happened to ...
Roger V.'s user avatar
  • 980
9 votes
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Why does French "cheveu(x)" have "eu" and not "eau"?

L /kasˈtɛl.lʊm/ > VL /kasˈtɛl.lũ/ > OF /t͡ʃahˈtɛl/ > MF /ʃaˈtɛau/> F /ʃaˈto/ L /ˈwɛ.tʊ.lʊm/ > VL /ˈβɛ.lũ/ > /ˈvjɛ.lu/ > OF /vjɛl/ > MF /vjɛu/ > F /vjø/ L /kaˈpɪl.lʊm/ ...
Kenny Lau's user avatar
  • 661
9 votes

When and where did the guttural 'r' originate?

Sort of. The short answer is that the uvular R of, say, German and Dutch is probably in origin an independent development from the French uvular (as it is in Northumbrian English.) It is true that ...
Alex Foreman's user avatar
9 votes

Which Romance Language retains the most words from Celtic?

When a modern Romance language shows some influence of a Celtic language it replaced it is a consequence of language contact and not of common inheritance. It is generally hold that the Rhaeto-Romance ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
9 votes

Which Romance Language is the least similar to Latin?

There is no definitive answer This question is a very difficult one, since there is no clear way of measuring how much a language has changed. Also, some traces are kept by some and other traces by ...
Ergative Man's user avatar
  • 1,446
8 votes

Why are Latin descendants SVO?

The premise holds for most Romance languages but it is difficult to categorize Spanish (the largest latin language by number of speakers) as an SVO language. The earliest texts in medieval Spanish ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 111
8 votes

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

What we know is that the have perfect is a Sprachbund feature of Standard Average European. Where it originated is less clear. Because Romance languages are better documented in the late antiquity and ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

What can we say about Classical Nahuatl <z>?

The reason that Spanish linguists transcribed the phoneme /s/ in Nahuatl as z/c(i/e) rather than s is because at that time Spanish had two alveolar sibilant phonemes, an apical /s̺/ written s and a ...
Miztli's user avatar
  • 1,085
8 votes

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

My Latin book in high school contained the theory that bellum referred to the well disciplined style practiced by the roman legions, while warra was the less disciplined fighting style adopted by the ...
PerAsperaAdAstra's user avatar

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