Romance languages

Romance languages
romance1 (def. 8).

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Group of related languages derived from Latin, with nearly 920 million native speakers.

The major Romance languages
are national languages. French is probably the most internationally significant, but Spanish, the official language of 19 American countries and Spain and Equatorial Guinea, has the most speakers. Languages spoken in smaller areas include Catalan, Occitan, Sardinian, and Rhaeto-Romance. The Romance languages began as dialects of Vulgar Latin, which spread during the Roman occupation of Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, Gaul, and the Balkans and developed into separate languages in the 5th–9th centuries. Later, European colonial and commercial contacts spread them to the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

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 group of related languages all derived from Vulgar Latin within historical times and forming a subgroup of the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family. The major languages of the family include French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian, all national languages. Catalan also has taken on a political and cultural significance; among the Romance languages that now have less political or literary significance or both are the Occitan and Rhaetian dialects, Sardinian, and Dalmatian (extinct), among others. Of all the so-called families of languages, the Romance group is perhaps the simplest to identify and the easiest to account for historically. Not only do Romance languages share a good proportion of basic vocabulary—still recognizably the same in spite of some phonological changes—and a number of similar grammatical forms, but they can be traced back, with but few breaks in continuity, to the language of the Roman Empire. So close is the similarity of each of the Romance languages to Latin (Latin language) as currently known from a rich literature and continuous religious and scholarly tradition that no one doubts the relationship. For the nonspecialist, the testimony of history is even more convincing than the linguistic evidence; Roman occupation of Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, Gaul, and the Balkans accounts for the “Roman” character of the major Romance languages. Later European colonial and commercial contacts with parts of the Americas, of Africa, and of Asia readily explain the French, Spanish, and Portuguese spoken in those regions.

General considerations

Origins and distribution
      The name Romance indeed suggests the ultimate connection of these languages with Rome: the English word is derived from an Old French form of Latin Romanicus, used in the Middle Ages to designate a vernacular type of Latin speech (as distinct from the more learned form used by clerics) as well as literature written in the vernacular. The fact that the Romance languages share features not found in contemporary Latin textbooks suggests, however, that the version of Latin they continue is not identical with that of Classical Latin as known from literature. Nonetheless, although it is sometimes claimed that the other Italic languages (the Indo-European language group to which Latin belonged, spoken in Italy) did contribute features to Romance, it is fairly certain that it is specifically Latin itself, perhaps in a popular form, that is the precursor of the Romance languages.

      By the end of the 20th century some 920 million people claimed a Romance language as their mother tongue, 300 million people as a second language. To this number may be added the not-inconsiderable number of Romance creole (creole languages) speakers (a creole is a simplified or pidgin form of a language that has become the native language of a community) scattered around the world. French (French language) creoles are spoken by more than 9 million people in the West Indies, North America, and islands of the Indian Ocean (e.g., Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues Island, the Seychelles); Portuguese creoles in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, India, and Malaysia (probably some 570,000 speakers); and Spanish (Spanish language) creoles (including Papiamento and Chavacano) spoken by more than 500,000 people in the West Indies and the Philippines. Many speakers use creole for informal purposes and the standard language for formal occasions. Romance languages are also used formally in some countries where one or more non-Romance languages are used by most speakers for everyday purposes. French, for example, is used alongside Arabic in Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria; it is an (or the) official language of 17 countries in the continent of Africa and of Madagascar. Portuguese is the official language of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Príncipe; Italian is widely used in Somalia.

      Although its influence has waned before the growing popularity of English as an international language, French is still widely used today as a second language in many parts of the world. The wealth of French literary tradition, its precisely formulated grammar bequeathed by 17th- and 18th-century grammarians, and the pride of the French in their language may ensure it a lasting importance among languages of the world. By virtue of the vast territories in which Spanish and Portuguese hold sway, those languages will continue to be of prime importance. Even though territorially it has comparatively little extension, the Italian language, associated with Italy's great cultural heritage, is still popular with students.

Classification methods and problems
      Though it is quite clear which languages can be classified as Romance, on the basis primarily of lexical (vocabulary) and morphological (structural) similarities, the subgrouping of the languages within the family is less straightforward. Most classifications are, overtly or covertly, historico-geographic—so that Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan are Ibero-Romance; French, Occitan, and Franco-Provençal are Gallo-Romance; and so on. Shared features in each subgroup that are not seen in other such groups are assumed to be ultimately traceable to languages spoken before Romanization. The first subdivision of the Romance area is usually into West and East Romance, with a dividing line drawn across Italy between La Spezia and Rimini. On the basis of a few heterogeneous phonetic features, one theory maintains that separation into dialects began early, with the Eastern dialect areas (including central and south Italy) developing popular features and the school-influenced Western speech areas maintaining more literary standards. Beyond this, the substrata (indigenous languages eventually displaced by Latin) and superstrata (languages later superimposed on Latin by conquerors) are held to have occasioned further subdivisions. Within such a schema there remain problem cases. Is Catalan, for instance, Ibero-Romance or Gallo-Romance, given that its medieval literary language was close to Provençal? Do the Rhaetian dialects group together, even though the dialects found in Italy are closer to Italian and the Swiss ones closer to French? Sardinian is generally regarded as linguistically separate, its isolation from the rest of the Roman Empire by incorporation into the Vandal kingdom in the mid-5th century providing historical support for the thesis. The exact position of Dalmatian in any classification is open to dispute.

      A family-tree classification, such as that of Figure 1, is commonly used for the Romance languages. If, however, historical treatment of one phonetic feature is taken as a classificatory criterion for construction of a tree, results differ. Classified according to the historical development of stressed vowels, French would be grouped with North Italian and Dalmatian but not with Occitan, while Central Italian would be isolated. Classifications that are not based on family trees usually involve ranking languages according to degree of differentiation rather than grouping them; thus, if the Romance languages are compared with Latin, it is seen that by most measures Sardinian and Italian are least differentiated and French most (though in vocabulary Romanian has changed most). By most nonhistorical measures, standard Italian is a “central” language (i.e., it is quite close and often readily intelligible to all other Romance languages), whereas French and Romanian are peripheral (they lack similarity to other Romance languages and require more effort for other Romance speakers to understand them).

Languages of the family
      What constitutes a language, as distinct from a dialect, is a vexing question, and opinion varies on just how many Romance languages are spoken today. The political definition of a language—one that is accepted as standard by a nation or people—is the least ambiguous one; according to this definition, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian are certainly languages and possibly also Romansh (since 1996 a semiofficial language of Switzerland, probably related to other Rhaetian dialects spoken in Italy) and Catalan (the official language of Andorra and the joint official language [together with Spanish] of the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands). On linguistic grounds Sardinian (not the language of an independent nation since the 14th century) and Occitan (the medieval Provençal) are usually regarded as languages rather than dialects. The Rhaetian dialects of Italy (Ladin in the Dolomites and Friulian around Udine) are sometimes regarded as non-Italian, sometimes as dialects of the Italian language. Sicilian is different enough from northern and central Italian dialects to be given separate status often, but in Italy all neighbouring dialects are mutually intelligible, with differences becoming more marked with geographic distance. Franco-Provençal (Franco-Provençal dialect) (the name given to a group of dialects spoken around the Alpine region of France and Italy) is often also assumed to be a different language from both French and Occitan, though some think it is merely a transitional dialect. Only a few persons know it in France today, though it still survives in the Italian Valle d'Aosta (where French, rather than Italian, remains the language of culture). Besides the traditionally recognized languages, there also exist dialects that, given their written tradition or the active promotion of their use in writing, demand to have their independence acknowledged: Galician, Asturian, Piedmontese, and Corsican.

      Ladino (Ladino language) (not to be confused with Ladin), or Judeo-Spanish, is normally regarded not as an independent language but as an archaic form of Castilian Spanish preserving many features of the 15th-century language that was current when the Jews were expelled from Spain. There are possibly about 160,000 speakers, mostly originating in the Balkans and Asia Minor but, after World War II, concentrated in Israel; about 100,000 speakers now reside in Israel, and others live in Turkey and the United States.

      Some linguists believe that creoles are often different languages from their metropolitan counterparts; Haitian (Haitian Creole), for instance, is said to be mutually unintelligible with French. Intelligibility varies so much with the speaker and the hearer, however, that it is difficult to formulate firm criteria on this basis.

      Many Romance dialects have virtually ceased to be spoken in the 20th century. Of these, Dalmatian (Dalmatian language) is the most striking, its last known speaker, one Tuone Udaina (Italian Antonio Udina), having been blown up by a land mine in 1898. He was the main source of knowledge for his parents' dialect (that of the island of Veglia [modern Krk], though he was hardly an ideal informant; Vegliot Dalmatian was not his native language, and he had learned it only from listening to his parents' private conversations. Moreover, he had not spoken the language for 20 years at the time he acted as an informant, and he was deaf and toothless as well. Most of the other evidence for Dalmatian derives from documents from Zara (modern Zadar) and Ragusa (modern Dubrovnik) dating to the 13th–16th centuries. It is possible that, apart from isolated pockets, the language was then replaced by Croatian and, to a lesser extent, by Venetian (a dialect of Italian). It is certain, even from scanty evidence, that Dalmatian was a language in its own right, noticeably different from other Romance languages.

      On the Istrian Peninsula of Croatia close to the island of Krk, another Romance variety precariously survives with probably fewer than one thousand speakers; known as Istriot, it may be related to Vegliot. Though some scholars connect it with Rhaetian Friulian dialects or with Venetian dialects of Italian, others maintain that it is an independent language. There are no texts except those collected by linguists. A little farther north in the same peninsula, another Romance dialect, Istro-Romanian, is threatened with extinction. Usually classified as a Romanian dialect, it may have been carried to the Istrian Peninsula by Romanians from the northwestern part of the Balkan Peninsula who took refuge from the Turks in the 16th and 17th centuries; it has undergone strong Croatian influence. The first evidence of its existence is a short list of words in a historical work of 1698; there are also collections of folklore texts from the 19th century, but it is otherwise unwritten. Another isolated Romanian dialect that may be nearing extinction is Megleno-Romanian (Meglenitic), from a mountainous region of Macedonia, just west of the Vardar River, on the border between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece. In 1914 there were 13,000 speakers, but many have emigrated to Asia Minor, other parts of what was once Yugoslavia, and Romania, where small pockets survive (they numbered about 5,000 in the late 1990s). The only texts are those transcribed from oral traditions.

      Other Romance tongues earlier ceased to be spoken; there is evidence, for instance, of an Ibero-Romance dialect spoken in Arab-occupied Spain until shortly after its reconquest by the Spanish, accomplished at the end of the 15th century. Usually known as Mozarabic (Mozarabic language), from the Arabic word for ‘Arabized person,' or as ʿajamī (‘barbarian language'), it was originally the spoken language of the urban bourgeoisie, who remained Christian while the peasantry generally converted to Islām, but it appears that many Arabs also came to use it as a spoken language. Because most of the evidence, apart from a 15th-century glossary from Granada, is written in Arabic script (which uses no vowel signs), it is difficult to reconstruct the phonology of the language, but it appears to be a very conservative Ibero-Romance dialect. Much of modern information about Mozarabic comes from medical and botanical works that give Mozarabic terms alongside the Arabic. To this was added the discovery of Mozarabic refrains (kharjahs) attached to Arabic love ballads (muwashshaḥs) of the 11th and 12th centuries; study of these began only in 1948. For much of the Muslim period (beginning in 711), Christians were treated tolerantly and became culturally Arabized. Even after persecution by fanatic Muslim newcomers in the 12th century, the Mozarabs were often in conflict with Westernized “liberators” from the north. Their language died out soon after the Arabs were driven out of Spain at the end of the 15th century, though it is sometimes claimed that Mozarabic has left its mark on the dialects of southern Spain and Portugal.

      Other Romance varieties may have developed in peripheral regions of the Roman Empire only to die out under pressure from neighbouring non-Italic languages; these regions are called Romania submersa by specialists. Often these extinct Romance varieties are known from words borrowed into surviving languages; Berber (Amazigh languages), for instance, bears witness to the long and brilliant Roman period in North Africa that ended in the 7th century AD with Arab invasions, and British Celtic (Brythonic languages) (especially Welsh) retains many traces of what appears to have been a conservative Romance dialect, otherwise eliminated by Anglo-Saxon in the 5th century. Albanian (Albanian language) contains so many Romance words that some style it “semi-Romance,” and farther north, in what was formerly the Roman province of Pannonia (corresponding to modern western Hungary and parts of eastern Austria, Slovenia, and northern Yugoslavia), Romance speech was probably not dead at the time of the Magyar invasion at the end of the 10th century. Thus, there is reason to believe that Romance dialects may have been spoken at one time over much of southeastern Europe. It is also evident that Romance languages have been retreating south before German for some time, and it is probable that Romance tongues were used in the whole of Switzerland and parts of Bavaria and Austria until roughly the 9th to 10th century.

Major languages
      Probably the most internationally significant of the Romance languages, French is used as the official language in 22 countries and as a co-official language in several more (including Belgium, Canada, Haiti, Madagascar, and Switzerland). In France and Corsica more than 51 million individuals use it as their first language; in Canada, more than 7.2 million; in Belgium, more than 3.3 million; in Switzerland (cantons of Neuchâtel, Vaud, Genève, Valais, Fribourg), more than 1.2 million; in Monaco, some 17,000; in Italy, some 100,000; and, in the United States (especially Maine and Louisiana), almost 2 million. Furthermore, more than 5 million Africans—in such countries as Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, and Togo—and millions of inhabitants of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia use it as their principal international language; many creole French speakers, too, use standard French in formal situations.

      Standard French is based on the dialect of Paris (in the so-called Île-de-France with its Francien (Francien dialect) dialect), which assumed importance in the second half of the 12th century; it was basically a north-central dialect with some northern features. Before that, other dialects, especially Norman (which developed in Britain as Anglo-Norman, widely used until the 14th century) and northern dialects (such as Picard), had more prestige, especially in the literary sphere. The legal reform known as the Edict of Villers-Cotterêts (1539), however, established Francien as the only official language (as against both Latin and other dialects) after it had proved to be the most popular written form. From then on, standard French began to replace local dialects, which were officially discouraged until recent times, though the standard language did not spread to popular usage in all regions until well into the 19th century. Dialectal features, which were still admired and cherished by 16th-century writers, were ridiculed in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the grammar and vocabulary of the modern language were standardized and polished to an unprecedented degree.

      Linguistic change was more rapid and more drastic in northern France than it was in other European Romance regions, and influence from Latin was comparatively slight (though borrowing of Latin vocabulary has been great since the 14th century). The influence of the Germanic Frankish invaders is often held to account for exotic features in Old French, such as strong stress accent and abundant use of diphthongs and nasal vowels; but by the 15th century the language had begun to change, and a sober (even monotonous) intonation and loss of a stress accent became characteristic. The popularity of French as a first foreign language, in spite of numerous pronunciation difficulties for nearly all foreign speakers, is perhaps as much the result of the precise codification of its grammar, effectuated especially during the 18th century, as of the brilliance of its literature at all periods.

      The first document apparently written in French probably dates from 842; known as the Strasbourg Oaths, it is a Romance version of oaths sworn by two of Charlemagne's grandsons. Some claim that the text of this document is thinly disguised Latin constructed after the event to look authentic for political propaganda purposes; others suppose that its Latinizing tendencies reveal the struggle of the scribe with the problems of spelling French as it was spoken at the time. If the language of the Strasbourg Oaths is northern French, it is difficult to ascertain what dialect it represents—some say that of Picard, others Franco-Provençal, and so on.

      The second existing text in Old French (with Picard and Walloon features) is a rendering of a short sequence by Prudentius on the life of St. Eulalia, precisely dated (AD 880–882). Two 10th-century texts (the Passion du Christ and the Vie de St. Léger) seem to mingle northern and southern dialect features, while another (the “Jonas fragment”) is obviously from the far north. In the 12th century, the “gem” of the epic poems known as chansons de geste, La Chanson de Roland (Chanson de Roland, La), was written. One of the most beautiful poems of its type in world literature, it evinces certain dialectal characteristics the origins of which are difficult to establish. In the 12th–13th century the Francien dialect became dominant, and it gained the status of literary language because of both the central position of the Île-de-France region and the political and cultural prestige of Paris.

      Modern dialects are classified mainly on a geographic basis, and most survive only in rural areas. Walloon, a dialect spoken mainly in Belgium, is something of an exception in that it has had a flourishing dialect literature since approximately 1600. Other dialects are grouped as follows:

Central: Francien, Orléanais, Bourbonnais, Champenois
Northern: Picard, Northern Norman
Eastern: Lorrain, Bourguignon (Burgundian), Franc-Comtois
Western: Norman, Gallo (around the Celtic Breton area), Angevin, Manceau
Southwestern: Poitevin, Saintongeais, Angoumois

      Outside France, the French of Canada, originally probably of northwestern dialect type, has developed the most individual features. Although 18th-century Canadian French was regarded as exceptionally “pure” by metropolitan commentators, it began to diverge from Parisian French after 1760 as a consequence of its isolation from the metropolis and of the ever-stronger influence of English. Canadian French is less clearly articulated, with less lip movement and with a more monotonous intonation, than standard French; some change in consonantal sounds occurs (/t/ and /d/ shift to /ts/ and /dz/, respectively, and both k and g followed by the letters i or e become palatalized [pronounced with the tongue touching the hard palate, or roof of the mouth]); nasal vowels tend to lose the nasal element; vocabulary and syntax are heavily Anglicized. Although intellectuals turn toward France for cultural inspiration, the pronunciation and usage of standard French is sometimes derided by French Canadians; this may be because their English compatriots are taught Parisian French at school. The French-speaking population of Canada is growing relatively fast, and at present four-fifths of the population of Quebec province use French as their everyday language. The activities of the separatist movement are evidence of the feeling of grievance that many French Canadians still have.

      Spanish, the Romance language spoken as a first language by the most people in the world, is the (or an) official language of 19 American countries as well as of Spain and Equatorial Guinea. Although many South and Central Americans use native Indian languages as their first language, Spanish is continuing to spread. Estimated numbers of speakers are as follows (in order of numerical importance): Mexico, 85 million; Colombia, 35 million; Argentina, 33 million; Spain, 29 million; Venezuela, 21 million; United States and Peru, 19 million; Chile, 13 million; Cuba, 11 million; Ecuador, 10.8 million; Dominican Republic, 7.3 million; Guatemala, 7 million; El Salvador, 5.9 million; Honduras, 5.5 million; Nicaragua, 4 million; Costa Rica, 3.3 million; Bolivia 3.2 million; Uruguay, 3 million; Puerto Rico and Panama, 2 million; Paraguay, 320,000. (The number of Spanish speakers in Equatorial Guinea is not available.) There are also 160,000 Judeo-Spanish speakers.

      The dialect spoken by nearly all Spanish speakers is basically Castilian (Castilian dialect), and indeed Castellano is still the name used for the language in several American countries. The other languages spoken in Spain include Aragonese, Bable (Asturian) Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian. The now-unchallenged ascendancy of Castilian among Spanish dialects is the result of the particular circumstances of the Reconquista (the conquest of Moorish Spain by the Christian states of Spain, completed in 1492), with which the language spread to the south. Having established itself in Spain, the Castilian dialect, possibly in its southern, or Andalusian, form, was then exported to the New World during the 16th century.

      Standard Castilian is no longer the language of Old Castile, which was regarded as rustic and archaic already in the 15th century, but a modified form developed in Toledo in the 16th and 17th centuries and, more recently, in Madrid. American countries have developed their own standards, differing mainly in phonology (in which they often agree with the southern Spanish dialects) and in vocabulary (in which loanwords from English are more frequent), but differentiation is comparatively slight, and some Americans still regard true Castilian as their model. On the whole, American forms of Spanish are more musical and suave than the Castilian of Madrid, but it is remarkable how little deformation, or creolization, of the language has occurred.

      The first texts in Spanish consist of scattered words glossing two Latin texts of the 10th century, one from Rioja (La Rioja) and the other from Castile; the language in the two documents shows few dialect differences. Another document, written about 980, seems to be Leonese in character. The Mozarabic verse forms known as kharjahs are the next-oldest surviving texts, but by the middle of the 12th century the famous epic poem Cantar de mío Cid (Cantar de Mio Cid) (“Song of My Cid”) appeared in a language that is basically Castilian. Literary works in Leonese appear until the 14th century and in a conventionalized Aragonese until the 15th century, but Castilian was destined from the first to gain the upper hand, even making an impact on Portuguese, especially during the 15th and early 16th centuries.

      Judeo-Spanish (Ladino language) is the continuation of an archaic form of Castilian, reflecting the state of the language before 16th-century standardization. The expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492 affected mainly the humbler classes, with the rich preferring “conversion,” but the latter often later chose voluntary exile to settle in England and the Netherlands, where their Sephardic tongue precariously survives as a religious language in a few communities. Earlier refugees fled to the Middle East and, once settled, continued to produce learned works in a literary archaic form of Castilian, written in an adapted Hebrew script. This variety, Judeo-Spanish, has two variants: a vernacular (Djudezmo) and Ladino, used in the translations of biblical texts. The former has borrowings from various languages (Balkan languages, French); the latter, more archaic, is more strongly influenced by Hebrew. After further dispersion during and after World War II, Djudezmo is now threatened with extinction, though Ladino survives with a mainly religious function.

      Portuguese owes its importance (as the second Romance language [after Spanish] in terms of numbers of speakers) largely to its position as the language of Brazil, where more than 150 million people speak it. In Portugal itself there are about 10 million speakers. The Galician (Galician language) (Gallego, Galego) language of northwestern Spain is historically a Portuguese dialect, though now much influenced by the standard Castilian Spanish; about 2.5 million speakers use Galician as their home language. It is estimated that there are also some 4.6 million Portuguese speakers in Africa (some of whom also use creole) and about 500,000 in the United States.

      There are five main Portuguese dialect groups, all mutually intelligible: (1) Northern, or Galician, (2) Central, or Beira, (3) Southern (Estremenho, including Lisbon, Alentejo, and Algarve), (4) Insular, including the dialects of Madeira and the Azores, and (5) Brazilian. Standard Portuguese was developed in the 16th century, basically from the dialects spoken from Lisbon to Coimbra. Brazilian (Brasileiro) differs from the Portuguese spoken in Portugal in several respects, in syntax as well as phonology and vocabulary, but many writers still use an academic metropolitan standard. A creolized form, once widespread in Brazil, seems now to be dying out. A Judeo-Portuguese is attested in 18th-century Amsterdam and Livorno (Leghorn, Italy), but virtually no trace of that dialect remains today.

      In the region of northwestern Spain that adjoins Portugal, the Galician dialects lack uniformity and are closer to Spanish. Even in Castile, where standard Spanish (Castilian) originated, Galician was the conventional language of the courtly lyric until roughly 1400, but it lost ground in the 15th century, and Castilian replaced Galician as the official language of Galicia in 1500. Dialect poetry in Galician has flourished from the 18th century, with an upsurge in the 19th century.

      Until the 15th century, Portuguese and Galician formed one single linguistic unit, Gallego-Portuguese. The first evidence for the language consists of scattered words in 9th–12th-century Latin texts; continuous documents date from approximately 1192, the date assigned to an extant property agreement between the children of a well-to-do family from the Minho River valley.

      Literature began to flourish especially during the 13th and 14th centuries, when the soft Gallego-Portuguese tongue was preferred by courtly lyric poets throughout the Iberian Peninsula except in the Catalan area. In the 16th century, Portugal's golden age, Galician and Portuguese grew further apart, with the consolidation of the standard Portuguese language. From the 16th to the 18th century, Galician was used only as a home language (i.e., as a means of communication within the family). Toward the end of the 18th century, it was revived as a language of culture. Today, with Spanish, it is an official language of the comunidad autónoma (“autonomous community”) of Galicia.

      Italian is currently spoken by more than 66 million people, of whom the vast majority live in peninsular Italy. It is the official language of Italy, San Marino, and (together with Latin) Vatican City. Italian is also (with German and French) an official language of Switzerland's Ticino canton, where it is spoken by some 500,000. Italian is also used as a common language in France (the Alps and Côte d'Azur) and in small communities in Croatia and Slovenia. On the island of Corsica a Tuscan variety of Italian is spoken, though Italian is not the language of culture. Overseas (e.g., in the United States, where it is estimated that there are some 1,500,000 Italian speakers; in Brazil, with about 700,000, and in Argentina, with about 600,000) speakers sometimes do not know the standard language and use only dialect forms. Increasingly, they only rarely know the language of their parents or grandparents.

      Speakers of an Italian dialect, even one as superficially different as Sicilian, can with effort understand standard Italian, however, and can even learn it by such means as listening to radio and television programs. For most Italians, first contact with the standard language comes in primary school, in which until recently it was the only dialect used; standard Italian is virtually the only dialect of culture in modern Italy, and with immigration from the south to the industrial north it became the language of intercommunication. Standard Italian is widely used in Somalia, but no longer in Malta. In Libya and Ethiopia, too, its use is dying out.

      Standard Italian began to be developed in the 13th and 14th centuries as a literary dialect. At first basically a Florentine dialect stripped of local peculiarities, it has since acquired some characteristics of the dialect of Rome in particular and has always been heavily influenced by Latin. It overlies a wide variety of dialects, which are sometimes considered to represent a fundamental differentiation between northern and southern Italy that dates from Roman times.

      Today, however, these variant dialects form a continuum of intelligibility, although geographically distant dialects may be radically different. The northern dialects include what are often called the Gallo-Italian dialects (Piedmontese, Lombard, Ligurian, Emilian-Romagnol), in which some linguists discern the influence of a Celtic (Gaulish) substratum (i.e., the traces of a language previously spoken in the region). The other northern group of dialects, spoken in northeastern Italy, is called Venetan (including Venetian, Veronese, Trevisan, and Paduan dialects, etc.). The Istriot dialects, which are spoken on the peninsula now divided between Croatia and Slovenia, with a tiny portion belonging to Italy, are still difficult to classify. They were believed to be variants of Friulian and Dalmatian (which have the same Illyrian substrate), independent varieties of an archaic type of Italian, or independent varieties of other Romance languages. The Tuscan dialects (including those of Corsica) are often held to form a linguistic group of their own, while in the south and east three broad dialect areas are grouped loosely together: (1) the dialects of the Marche (Marchigiano), Umbria, and Rome; (2) Abruzzian, Apulian, Neapolitan, Campanian, and Lucanian; and (3) Calabrian, Salintino, and Sicilian, which are believed by some to be influenced by the Greek once spoken there (which still survives in isolated pockets on the extreme southern portion of the peninsula).

      Outside Italy, Italian dialects are heavily influenced by contact with other languages (English in New York; Spanish in Buenos Aires). A pidgin Italian can still be heard in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but it has little extension. Relics of a Judeo-Italian (Italkian) survive within Italy (especially in Rome and Livorno); an entire colony of 6,000 Corfu Jews, who used a Venetan dialect as a home language, was exterminated during World War II.

      Early texts from Italy are written in dialects of the language that only later became standard Italian. Possibly the very first text is a riddle from Verona, dating from perhaps the 8th century, but its language is Latinized. More surely Italian are some 10th-century documents from Montecassino (testimonies in court—e.g., Placiti [decrees] of Capua, of Sessa, and so on), after which there are three central Italian texts of the 11th century. The first literary work of any length is the Tuscan Ritmo Laurenziano (“Laurentian Rhythm”) from the end of the 12th century, followed soon by other compositions from the Marches and Montecassino. In the 13th century lyric poetry was first written in a conventionalized Sicilian dialect that influenced later developments in Tuscany.

      In modern Italy, although dialects are still the primary spoken form, standard Italian is virtually the only written language.

      There are about 23,680,000 speakers of Romanian, of whom about 20,500,000 live in Romania, 2,700,000 in Moldova, some 350,000 in Ukraine, and about 40,000 in Yugoslavia and 10,000 in Hungary. There are about 80,000 Romanian speakers in the United States. An additional 500,000 speak Aromanian, or Macedo-Romanian, a group of dialects scattered across Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Yugoslavia, and Romania.

      The standard language of Romania is based on a Walachian variety of so-called Daco-Romanian, the majority group of dialects; it was developed in the 17th century mainly by religious writers of the Orthodox church and includes features from a number of dialects, though Bucharest usage provides the current model. Daco-Romanian is fairly homogeneous but shows greater dialectal diversity in the Transylvanian Alps, from which region the language may have spread to the plains. During the Soviet era, the language of Moldova was written in the Cyrillic alphabet, called Moldavian, and held by Soviet scholars to be an independent Romance language. Currently called either Romanian or Moldovan, since 1989 the language has been written in the Roman alphabet. The dialects of Romanian are barely mutually intelligible with the standard, and some can be counted as separate languages; these include Megleno-Romanian (Meglenitic) and Istro-Romanian, both of which are nearly extinct, and the more vigorous Aromanian (Macedo-Romanian). Numbers have probably decreased considerably, but certainly before 1940 Aromanians were often prominent businessmen in their localities. The first known inscription in Aromanian, dated 1731, was found in 1952 at Ardenita, in Albania; texts date to the end of the 18th century, and literary texts have been published in the 19th and 20th centuries (mostly in Bucharest).

      The first known Daco-Romanian text is a private letter of Walachian origin dated 1521, though some manuscript translations of religious texts show Transylvanian dialect features and may be earlier. The oldest printed texts are Evangheliarul slavo-român (1551–52; “The Slavo-Romanian Gospels”) of Sibiu and the works of Deacon Coresi, beginning in 1559. The vast majority of early texts are written in Cyrillic script, the Roman (Latin) alphabet having been officially adopted in 1859 at the time of the union of Walachia and Moldavia. Literature in Romanian began to flourish in the 19th century, when the emerging nation turned toward other Romance countries, especially France, for cultural inspiration. This circumstance had important consequences for the language, triggering the so-called re-Romanization of Romanian.

Minor languages
      Occitan (also called Languedoc or Languedocien) is the modern name given by linguists to the group of dialects spoken by some 1.5 million people in the south of France. All Occitan speakers now use French as their official and cultural language, but their local dialects remain lively and, across most of the area, remarkably homogeneous. The name Occitan derives from the old name Occitanie (formed on the model of Aquitaine) of the area now known as Languedoc. The medieval language is often called langue d'oc, which denoted a language using oc (from Latin hoc) for ‘yes' in contrast to langue d'oïl, denoting French, and the si languages, Spanish and Italian. In the area itself, the names Lemosí (Limousin) and Proensal (Provençal) were formerly used, but today these names are usually considered too localized to designate the whole range of dialects. Members of a vigorous literary movement in the Provence region, however, still prefer to call their language Provençal.

      Occitan was rich in poetic literature in the Middle Ages until the north crushed political power in the south (1208–29). The standard language was well established, however, and it did not really succumb before French until the 16th century, while only after the Revolution of 1789 did the French language penetrate into popular use in place of Occitan. In the mid-19th century, a literary Renaissance led by the Félibres, and based on the dialect of the Arles- (Arles) Avignon region, lent new lustre to Occitan, and a modern standard dialect was established. The most famous figure of this movement was Frédéric Mistral (Mistral, Frédéric), a Nobel Prize-winning poet. Almost contemporaneously, a similar movement, based in Toulouse, arose and concentrated on problems of linguistic and orthographic standardization to provide a wider base for literary endeavour.

      The Occitan dialects have changed comparatively little since the Middle Ages, though now French influence is increasingly evident. Perhaps this influence has helped them to remain more or less mutually intelligible. The main dialect areas are Limousin, in the northwest corner of the Occitan area; Auvergnat, in the north-central region of this area; northeastern Alpine-Provençal; and Languedoc and Provençal, on the west and east of the Mediterranean seacoast, respectively.

      Gascon, in the southwest of France, is usually classified as an Occitan dialect, though to most other southerners it is today less readily comprehensible than Catalan. Some scholars claim that it has always been distinct from Occitan, because of the influence of a non-Celtic Aquitanian pre-Roman population. The Roman name of the region, Vasconia (from which the name Gascony derives), suggests the relationship of its original population with the non-Indo-European Basques.

Franco-Provençal (Franco-Provençal dialect)
      Northeast of the Occitan region, along the French, Swiss, and Italian frontiers, is located a group of dialects that historically have shared most vowel developments with languages to the south and many consonant changes with those to the north. Since 1878, with the work of G.I. Ascoli, claims have been made for the linguistic autonomy of these dialects, usually called Franco-Provençal; at the end of the 20th century it was estimated that somewhat fewer than two million speakers use them (urban speakers are hard to find, and even in the countryside young speakers are few). Dialects are extremely diversified and heavily influenced by French, which has been used extensively in the area since the 13th century. Even during the Middle Ages the language had no standard form, though there are some 12th–13th-century documents in Franco-Provençal. The dialect of Geneva (extinct except in some rural communes) was the official language of the Swiss republic for some time, but none of the other dialects has had official status. Some claim that a section of a manuscript, the so-called Alexander fragment, dating from the 11th–12th century and apparently part of a lost poem, is Franco-Provençal in character, but others maintain that it, like other literary texts from the region, is mainly Provençal with some French features. Since the 16th century there has been local dialect literature, notably in Savoy, Fribourg, and Geneva.

 Currently spoken by more than 6,500,000 people in Spain and some 210,000 in France, as well as by some 20,000 in Andorra and some 30,000 in Alghero (Sardinia), Catalan has lost little of its former lustre, even though it is no longer as widespread as it was between 1137 and 1749, as the official language of Aragon. Although there is no evidence of dialectalization in the Middle Ages, perhaps because of the standardizing influence of its official use in the Kingdom of Aragon, since the 16th century the dialects of Valencia and the Balearic Isles, especially, have tended to differentiate from the Central (Barcelona) dialect. Nevertheless, some degree of uniformity is preserved in the literary language, which has continued to flourish in spite of the little encouragement received after the Spanish Civil War (1936–39). With the administrative reorganization that started in the late 1970s, Catalonia became a comunidad autónoma (“autonomous community”), and Catalan once again gained ascendancy in eastern Spain (see Figure 2—>).

      The earliest surviving written materials in Catalan—a charter and six sermons—date from the 12th century, with poetry flourishing from the 13th century; before the 13th century Catalan poets wrote in Provençal. The first true Catalan poet was Ramon Llull (Llull, Ramon) (c. 1232/33–1315/16), and the greatest Catalan poet was Ausias March (March, Ausias) (1397–1459), a Valencian. The language retained its vigour until the union of the Aragonese and Castilian crowns in 1474 marked the beginning of its decline. After that, mainly grammatical works appeared; the language was to wait for its renaissance until the late 19th century. In 1906 the first Catalan Language Congress attracted 3,000 participants, and in 1907 the Institut d'Estudis Catalans was founded. Yet not until 1944 was there a course in Catalan philology at the University of Barcelona; a chair of Catalan language and literature was founded there in 1961.

      It is much disputed whether Catalan is more closely related to Occitan or to the Hispanic languages. Medieval Catalan was so close to Lemosí, the literary dialect of Occitan in southern France, that it is thought by some to have been imported from beyond the Pyrenees in the resettlement of refugees from the Moors.

      In more modern times Catalan has, however, grown closer to Aragonese and Castilian, so that its family-tree classification becomes less indicative of the living language. It was occasionally called Llemosí by 19th-century Catalan revivalists, however, who wished to emphasize its independence from other Iberian tongues by stressing its relation to Occitan. Certainly, by most standards, Catalan merits the distinction of being deemed a language in its own right, and it shows little sign of decline.

      Sardinian is currently spoken by more than 1.5 million people, but it has many dialect differences. There is virtually no literature, not even a newspaper, in the language (although satirical journals do appear from time to time). In earlier times the language was probably spoken in Corsica, where a Tuscan dialect of Italian is now used (although French has been Corsica's official language for two centuries). From the 14th to the 17th century, Catalan (at that time the official language of Aragon, which ruled Sardinia) was used extensively, especially for official purposes; a Catalan dialect is still spoken in Alghero. Castilian began to be used in Sardinian official documents in 1600 but did not supplant Catalan in the south of the island until later in the 17th century. Since the early 18th century Sardinia's destiny has been linked with that of the Italian mainland, and Italian is now the official language.

      Sardinia was more or less independent from 1016, until the arrival of the Aragonese in 1322, though much influenced by the Genoese and Pisan peoples. The first documents in Sardinian are condaghi, legal contracts dating from approximately 1080; in the north of the island, Sardinian was used for such documents until the 17th century. Logudorian (Logudorese) was the central and the most conservative dialect. The northern form of Logudorian provides the basis for a sardo illustre (a conventionalized literary language that has been used mainly for folk-based verse). Other dialects of Sardinian include Campidanese (Campidanian), centred around Cagliari in the south, heavily influenced by Catalan and Italian; Sassarese (Sassarian) in the northwest; and Gallurese (Gallurian) in the northeast. It is sometimes said that the latter two dialects are not Sardinian but rather Corsican. Gallurese in particular is related to the dialect of Sartène in Corsica, and it may have been imported into the Gallura region in the 17th and 18th centuries by refugees from Corsican vendettas.

      Sardinian is unintelligible to most Italians and gives an acoustic impression more similar to Spanish than Italian. It is clearly and energetically articulated but has always been regarded as barbarous by the soft-speaking Italians; Dante, for instance, said that Sardinians were like monkeys imitating men. It retains its vitality as a “home language,” but dialects are so diversified that it is not likely to gain greater prominence.

      The Rhaetian, or Rhaeto-Romanic (Rhaetian dialects), dialects derive their conventional name from the ancient Raetics of the Adige area, who, according to classical authors, spoke an Etruscan dialect. In fact, there is nothing to connect Raetic with Rhaetian except geographic location, and some scholars would deny that the different Rhaetian dialects have much in common, though others claim that they are remnants of a once-widespread Germano-Romance tongue. Three isolated regions continue to use Rhaetian.

      In Switzerland, Romansh (Romansh language), the standard dialect of Graubünden canton, has been a “national” language, used for cantonal but not federal purposes, since 1938. A referendum in 1996 accorded it semiofficial status. The proportion of Rhaetian speakers in Graubünden fell from two-fifths in 1880 to one-fourth in 1970, with a corresponding increase in the Italian-speaking population. In the mid-1990s speakers of Romansh formed about 0.6 percent of the population of Switzerland. Nevertheless, interest in Romansh remains keen, and there are several Romansh newspapers.

      The main Romansh dialects are usually known as Sursilvan and Sutsilvan, spoken on the western and eastern banks of the Rhine, respectively. Another important Swiss Rhaetian dialect, Engadine, is spoken in the Protestant Inn River valley, east of which there is a German-speaking area that has encroached on former Romance territory since the 16th century. The dialects from the extreme east and west of the Swiss Rhaetian area are mutually intelligible only with difficulty, though each dialect is intelligible to its neighbour.

      Sursilvan (spoken around the town of Disentis) has one text dating from the beginning of the 12th century but then nothing else until the work of Gian Travers (1483–1563), a Protestant writer. The Upper Engadine dialect (spoken around Samedan and Saint Moritz) is attested from the 16th century, notably with the Swiss Lutheran Jacob Bifrun's translation of the New Testament. Both dialects have had a flourishing local literature since the 19th century. In many ways the Swiss Rhaetian dialects resemble French, and speakers seem to feel more at home with French than with Italian.

      In the Trento-Alto Adige region of northeastern Italy, some 30,000 persons speak Ladin. Some Italian scholars have claimed that it is really an Italian (Veneto-Lombard) dialect. The other main language spoken in this now semiautonomous region, much of which was Austrian until 1919, is German, a non-Romance language. Although sometimes said to be threatened with extinction, Ladin appears to retain its vitality among the mountain peasantry. Newspapers are published in Ladin, and the language is comprehensible without too much difficulty to a student of Romance languages. As it appears that these remote valleys were very sparsely populated until the 1960s, the number of speakers there is likely to have grown. Since the 1940s Ladin has been taught in primary schools in the Gardena and Badia valleys, in different conventionalized dialect forms. Although a Ladin document of the 14th century (from the Venosta Valley to the west of the modern Ladin-speaking region) is known from references, the earliest written material in Ladin is an 18th-century word list of the Badia dialect. There are also a few literary and religious texts.

      In Italy, north of Venice, stretching to the Slovenian border on the east and to the Austrian border on the north, its western extent almost reaching the Piave River, is the Friulian dialect area, centred around the city of Udine, with some 700,000 speakers. This dialect is much closer to Italian than are Ladin or Romansh, and it is often claimed to be a Venetian dialect. Venetian proper has gained ground at the expense of Friulian to both the east and west since the 1800s. Friulian retains its vitality in the well-populated, industrialized region, however, and supports a vigorous local literature; its most notable poet was Pieri Zorut (1792–1867). The first written specimen of Friulian (apart from a doubtful 12th-century inscription) is a short text dating to approximately 1300, followed by numerous documents in prose, as well as some poems, up to the end of the 16th century, when a rich poetic tradition began.

      The French, Spanish, and Portuguese creoles, together with their metropolitan equivalents, share many things in common. Indeed, some scholars regard them as in some sense related, either in sharing an African grammatical base with a superimposed Romance lexicon or in historical derivation from a Portuguese pidgin lingua franca used by colonizers and slavers, with later addition of vocabulary from contact with metropolitan languages such as French and Spanish. Other scholars maintain that the creoles are continuators of French, Spanish, and Portuguese in the same way as these are themselves continuators of Latin but that, under the conditions that attended the slave trade, linguistic change was exceptionally rapid, so that the origins of the creoles are often hardly recognizable.

      The word creole is first found in Spanish (criollo; 1590), meaning a Spaniard born in the colonies. It probably originated in Portuguese, although the word crioulo has a later attestation. In reference to language, creole has come to indicate a pidgin or trade language that has become the mother tongue of a population, often black; the circumstance under which this usually happened was that of forcible transplantation for the purpose of enslavement. This further brought about the intermingling of individuals with mutually unintelligible native languages and the imposition of the master's language.

      Of Romance creoles used today, French (French language) creoles are most widespread. In Haiti (Haitian Creole), which was settled in the mid-17th century, there are some six million creole speakers, of whom only about 10 percent know French, and French creole is an official language, together with French. The Lesser Antilles (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, etc.) were colonized in 1635, and many of the islands still use French creoles, even when change of ownership led to the imposition of English as the official language.

      French creoles also are used in French Guiana and, though dying out, in the U.S. state of Louisiana; Haitian immigrants also account for a large number of the French creole speakers in the United States. In all, more than seven million speakers use French creoles in the Americas. On islands of the Indian Ocean, too, French creoles are spoken; in Mauritius, which was owned by France from 1715 to 1810, French creole (Morisyen) is spoken as a first language by some 600,000 and retains its hold as a lingua franca, even though English is the official language and though a large part of the population uses an Indo-Aryan or Dravidian language at home. In the Seychelles, which were owned by France from 1768 until 1814, and in Réunion (originally L'Île Bourbon), where French is still the official language, French creoles are still in widespread use (in the Seychelles the language is called Seselwa). Some French-creole speakers claim that creoles from other far-off regions are easily intelligible to them. Others contest this, however, pointing out that the creole used by educated speakers is often heavily larded with standard French on all but very informal occasions. Certainly, the linguist can easily discern similarities, especially in grammatical structure, that make the various French creoles seem more like each other than like standard French.

      Portuguese (Portuguese language) creoles were purportedly once widely used in Asia, though probably more frequently as trade languages than as mother tongues. They survive today in Hong Kong and to some extent in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and a portion of the west coast of India. In Africa, Portuguese creoles are used by more than 450,000 people in Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, the Cape Verde Islands, and some Gulf of Guinea islands (Annobón in Equatorial Guinea, where it is losing ground to Spanish, and São Tomé and Príncipe, where more than four-fifths of the 125,000 inhabitants speak creole dialects). In Brazil a Portuguese creole was once widespread, extending even to Suriname, where Portuguese Jews and their slaves fled in the 17th century; the creole is now virtually extinct.

      Papiamento (Papiamentu), spoken by more than 225,000 people on the islands of Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire in the Caribbean Sea, is an Iberian creole, with both Portuguese and Spanish influence. Chavacano, a Spanish creole, also survives in the Philippines among descendants of mixed Spanish-Filipino stock.

      On the whole, creoles are rarely used for literature, except satirical and comic pieces. Most speakers regard them as “inferior” versions of the standard language and in formal situations try to improve their usage on the model of the standard, though they admit to feeling more relaxed speaking creole.

Latin (Latin language) and the development of the Romance languages

Latin and the protolanguage
      Latin is traditionally grouped with Faliscan among the Italic languages, of which the other main member is the Osco-Umbrian (Osco-Umbrian languages) group (see also Italic languages (Greek language)). Oscan (Oscan language) was the name given by the Romans to a group of dialects spoken by Samnite tribes to the south of Rome. It is well attested in inscriptions and texts for about five centuries before Christ and was used in official documents until approximately 90–89 Bc. The absence of great dialectal variations in the texts suggests that they are written in a standardized form, though three alphabets are evident—the local one (derived from Etruscan), the Greek (in the southern cities), and the Latin (in more recent inscriptions). In early times, Umbrian (Umbrian language) was spoken northeast of Rome, to the east of the Etruscan region, and possibly as far west as the Adriatic Sea at one period. It is attested mainly in one series of texts, the Iguvine Tables (Tabulae Iguvinae), dated from 400 to 90 Bc, and it is similar to Oscan. Probably Latin and Osco-Umbrian were not mutually intelligible; some claim they are not closely related genetically but that their common features arose from convergence as a result of contact.

      The Roman dialect was originally one of a number of Latinian dialects, of which the most important was Faliscan (Faliscan language), the language of Falerii (modern Civita Castellana), the most important Faliscan city, located 32 miles (51 kilometres) north of Rome. The Faliscans were probably a Sabine tribe that early fell under Etruscan domination. The dialect is known mainly from short inscriptions dating to the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC and probably survived until well after the conquest of Falerii by the Romans in 241 BC.

      The earliest Latinian text is an inscription on a cloak pin (fibula) of the 6th century BC, from Palestrina (Praeneste). Other Latinian inscriptions show marked differences from Roman Latin, for which there is, however, little evidence before the end of the 3rd century BC. What is certain is that the language changed so rapidly between the 5th century (the date of a mutilated inscription, probably a religious prescription, found in the Roman Forum and of the Twelve Tables, the contents of which are known from later evidence) and the 3rd century BC that older texts were no longer intelligible.

      During this period the Romans subjugated their Latin neighbours (by 335 BC), and their language began to establish itself as a standard form, absorbing features from other dialects. The first author of any note was the comic dramatist Plautus (c. 254–184 BC), whose language is thought to reflect a spoken idiom, some features of which appear to have survived into Romance.

      By 265 Rome had conquered Magna Graecia, in the south of the Italian Peninsula, and had begun to absorb Greek literary and cultural ideals. Poetic language was especially influenced by Greek until Latin poetry reached its zenith with Virgil. In the 1st century BC a literary prose developed; it emphasized elegance and clarity and rejected vulgarity and rusticity. Grammatical rules were codified and tightened and vocabulary pruned, and the cult of the harmonious, balanced period held sway in rhetorical circles. With Cicero (Cicero, Marcus Tullius) the prose style of the Golden Age attained its highest point; for the linguist, the distinction Cicero makes between the style of his letters and that of his speeches is especially interesting in that it provides evidence that even educated speech differed from written language. When Cicero uses the sermo plebeius (“plebeian speech”), his language is more elliptical, with shorter, less complex sentences and more colourful vocabulary (including plentiful diminutives). It seems obvious that truly popular language differed even more from the elaborate, sophisticated, classical literary idiom; there is evidence that archaic features, banned from literary style, survived in common speech right through to the Romance stage of the language. It is sometimes claimed that the language of the Roman historian and politician Sallust (c. 86–35/34 BC) approximated popular usage, but it is more probable that his archaizing style derives more from conscious imitation of old Roman poetry. The Roman “judge of elegance” Petronius Arbiter (Petronius Arbiter, Gaius) (d. AD 66) is thought to be imitating vulgar speech in the language of the character Trimalchio in the Cena Trimalchionis (“Banquet of Trimalchio”) section (chapters 26–78) of his Satyricon.

Notable characteristics of Classical Latin
The sound of Classical Latin
      Evidence for pronunciation of Classical Latin is often difficult to interpret. Orthography is conventionalized, and grammarians' comments lack clarity, so that to a considerable extent it is necessary to extrapolate from later developments in Romance in order to describe it.

      The most important of the ambiguities bears on Latin intonation and accentuation (accent). The way in which vowels developed in prehistoric Latin suggests the possibility of a stress accent on the first syllable of each word; in later times, however, the accent fell on the penultimate syllable or, when this had “light” quantity, on the antepenultimate. The nature of this accent is hotly disputed: contemporary grammarians seem to suggest it was a musical, tonal accent and not a stress accent. Some scholars claim, however, that Latin grammarians were merely slavishly imitating their Greek counterparts and that the linking of the Latin accent with syllable vowel length makes it unlikely that such an accent was tonal. Probably it was a light stress accent that was normally accompanied by a rise in pitch; in later Latin, evidence suggests that the stress became heavier.

      The system of syllable quantity, connected with that of vowel length, must have given Classical Latin distinctive acoustic character. Broadly speaking, a “light” syllable ended in a short vowel and a “heavy” syllable in a long vowel (or diphthong) or a consonant. The distinction must have been reflected to some extent in Late Latin or early Romance, for, even after the system of vowel length was lost, light, or “open,” syllables often developed in a different way from heavy, or “closed,” syllables.

      Because the system of vowel length was lost after the Classical period, it is not known with any certainty how vowels were pronounced at that period; but, because of later developments in Romance, the assumption is that the vowel-length distinctions were also associated with qualitative differences, in that short vowels were more open, or lax, than long vowels. Standard orthography did not distinguish between long and short vowels, although in early times various devices were tried to remedy this. At the end of the Roman Republic a so-called apex (one form looked somewhat like a hamza [ ʾ ]) often was used to mark the long vowel, but this mark was replaced in imperial times by an acute accent (′ ). In Classical Latin the length system was an essential feature of verse, even popular verse, and mistakes in vowel length were regarded as barbarous. In later times, however, many poets were obviously unable to conform to the demands of classical prosody and were criticized for allowing accent to override length distinctions.

      Besides the long vowels ā, ē, ī, ō, ū and the short vowels ă, ĕ, ĭ, ŏ, ŭ educated speech during the Classical period also used a front rounded vowel, a sound taken from Greek upsilon and pronounced rather like French u (symbolized by in the International Phonetic Alphabet—IPA) in words borrowed from Greek; in popular speech this was probably pronounced like Latin ŭ, though in later times ī was sometimes substituted. A neutral vowel was probably used in some unaccented syllables and was written u or i (optumus, optimus ‘best'), but the latter rendering became standard. A long ē, from earlier ei, had probably completely merged with ī by the Classical period. Classical pronunciation also used some diphthongs pronounced by educated Romans much as they are spelled, especially ae (earlier ai), pronounced perhaps as an open ē in rustic speech, au (rustic open ō), and oe (earlier oi, Late Latin ē).

The consonant system
      The Classical Latin consonant system probably included a series of labial sounds (produced with the lips) /p b m f/ and probably /w/; a dental or alveolar series (produced with the tongue against the front teeth or the alveolar ridge behind the upper front teeth) /t d n s l/ and possibly /r/; a velar series (produced with the tongue approaching or contacting the velum or soft palate) /k g/ and perhaps /ŋ/; and a labiovelar series (pronounced with the lips rounded) /kw gw/. The /k/ sound was written c, and the /kw/ and /gw/ were written qu and gu, respectively.

      Of these, /kw/ and /gw/ were probably single labialized velar consonants, not clusters, as they do not make for a heavy syllable; /gw/ occurs only after /n/, so only guesses can be made about its single consonant status. The sound represented by ng (pronounced as in English sing and represented in the IPA by /ŋ/), written ng or gn, may not have had phonemic status (in spite of the pair annus/agnus ‘year'/‘lamb,' in which /ŋ/ may be regarded as a positional variant of /g/). The Latin letter f probably represented by Classical times a labiodental sound pronounced with the lower lip touching the upper front teeth like its English equivalent, but earlier it may have been a bilabial (pronounced with the two lips touching or approaching one another). The so-called consonantal i and u were probably not true consonants but frictionless semivowels; Romance evidence suggests that they later became a palatal fricative, /j/ (pronounced with the tongue touching or approaching the hard palate and with incomplete closure) and a bilabial fricative, /β/ (pronounced with vibration of the lips and incomplete closure), but there is no suggestion of this during the Classical period. Some Romance scholars suggest that Latin s had a pronunciation like that of z in modern Castilian (with the tip, rather than the blade, raised behind the teeth, giving a lisping impression); in early Latin it was often weakened in final position, a feature that also characterizes eastern Romance languages. The r was probably a tongue trill during the Classical period, but there is earlier evidence that in some positions it may have been a fricative or a flap. There were two sorts of l, velar and palatal (“soft,” when followed by i).

      The nasal consonants were probably weakly articulated in some positions, especially medially before s and in final position; probably their medial or final position resulted in mere nasalization of the preceding vowel.

      In addition to the consonants shown, educated Roman speakers probably used a series of voiceless aspirated stops, written ph, th, ch, originally borrowed from Greek words but also occurring in native words (pulcher ‘beautiful,' lachrima ‘tears,' triumphus ‘triumph,' etc.) from the end of the 2nd century BC.

      Another nonvocalic sound, /h/, was pronounced only by educated speakers even in the Classical period, and references to its loss in vulgar speech are frequent.

      Consonants written double in the Classical period were probably so pronounced (a distinction was made, for instance, between anus ‘old woman' and annus ‘year'). When consonantal i appeared intervocalically, it was always doubled in speech. Before the 2nd century BC, consonant gemination (doubling of sounds) was not shown in orthography but was probably current in speech. The eastern Romance languages, on the whole, retained Latin double consonants (as in Italian), whereas the western languages often simplified them.

      Latin reduced the number of Indo-European noun cases from eight to six by incorporating the sociative-instrumental (indicating means or agency) and, apart from isolated forms, the locative (indicating place or place where) into the ablative case (originally indicating the relations of separation and source). The dual number was lost, and a fifth noun declension was developed from a heterogeneous collection of nouns. Probably before the Romance period the number of cases was further reduced (there were two in Old French—nominative, used for the subject of a verb, and oblique, used for all other functions—and Romanian today has two, nominative-accusative, used for the subject and the direct object of a verb, and genitive-dative, used to indicate possession and the indirect object of a verb), and words of the fourth and fifth declension were absorbed into the other three or lost.

      Among verb forms, the Indo-European aorist (indicating simple occurrence of an action without reference to duration or completion) and perfect (indicating an action or state completed at the time of utterance or at a time spoken of) combined, and the conjunctive (expressing ideas contrary to fact) and optative (expressing a wish or hope) merged to form the subjunctive mood. New tense forms that developed were the future in - and the imperfect in -bam; a passive in -r, also found in Celtic and Tocharian, was also developed. New compound passive tenses were formed with the perfect participle and esse ‘to be' (e.g., est oneratus ‘he, she, it was burdened')—such compound tenses developed further in Romance. In general, the morphology of the Classical period was codified and fluctuating forms rigidly fixed. In syntax, too, earlier freedom was restricted; thus, the use of the accusative and infinitive in oratio obliqua (“indirect discourse”) became obligatory, and fine discrimination was required in the use of the subjunctive. Where earlier writers might have used prepositional phrases, Classical authors preferred bare nominal-case forms as terser and more exact. Complex sentences with subtle use of distinctive conjunctions were a feature of the Classical language, and effective play was made with the possibilities offered by flexible word order.

The postclassical period
      In the postclassical era, Ciceronian style came to be regarded as laboured and boring, and an epigrammatic, compressed style was preferred by such writers as Seneca and Tacitus. Contemporaneously and a little later, florid, exuberant writing—often called African—came into fashion, exemplified especially by Apuleius (2nd century AD). Imitation of classical and postclassical models continued even into the 6th century, and there seems to have been continuity of literary tradition for some time after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

      The growth of the empire spread Roman culture across much of Europe and North Africa. In all areas, even the outposts, it was not only the rough language of the legions that penetrated but also, it seems, the fine subtleties of Virgilian verse and Ciceronian prose. Research in the late 20th century suggests that in Britain, for instance, Romanization was more widespread and more profound than hitherto suspected and that well-to-do Britons in the colonized region were thoroughly imbued with Roman values. How far these trickled down to the common people is difficult to tell; because Latin died out in Britain, it is often thought that it had been used only by the elite, but some suggest that it was a result of wholesale slaughter of the Roman British. It is, however, more likely that the pattern of Anglo-Saxon settlements was not in conflict with the Romano-Celtic and that the latter were gradually absorbed into the new society.

      Later Latin (from the 3rd century AD onward) is often called Vulgar Latin—a confusing term in that it can designate the popular Latin of all periods and is sometimes also used for so-called Proto-Romance (roman commun), a theoretical construct based on consistent similarities among all or most Romance languages. All three senses of the term Vulgar Latin in fact share common features but, given their different theoretical status, can hardly be called identical or even comparable. When Christianity was officially adopted by the Roman Empire (4th century), Vulgar Latin elements were diffused through certain religious texts. Its “vulgarisms” often called forth apologies from Christian authors, whose false humility seems akin to pride in that they did not succumb to the frivolities of pagan literary style.

      Aside from the numerous inscriptions found throughout the empire, there is no shortage of texts in Vulgar Latin. One of the first is the so-called Appendix Probi (3rd–4th centuries AD; “Appendix to Probus[' Grammar]”), which lists correct and incorrect forms of 227 words, probably as an orthographic aid to scribes. This work illustrates some phonological changes that may have already occurred in the spoken language (e.g., loss of unstressed penultimate syllables and loss of final m). The Vulgate, St. Jerome's translation of the Bible (AD 385–404), and some of the works of St. Augustine (AD 354–430) are among Christian works written in Vulgar Latin. Particularly amusing and also linguistically instructive is the so-called Peregrinatio Etheriae (“Pilgrimage of Etheria”), also called Itinerarum Egeriae (“Travel of Egeria”), written probably in the 4th century by a nun, describing her visit to the Holy Land. Medical and grammatical works also abound from approximately AD 400 to the 7th century (among the writers were the provincials Cosentius, from Gaul; Virgilius Maro, from southern Gaul; and St. Isidore of Sevilla (Isidore of Sevilla, Saint), from Spain).

      Some of the characteristics of Vulgar Latin recall popular features of classical and preclassical times and foreshadow Romance developments. In vocabulary, especially, many of the sober classical words are rejected in favour of more colourful popular terms, especially derivatives and diminutives: thus, portare ‘to carry' (French porter, Italian portare, etc.) is preferred to ferre; cantare ‘to sing again and again' (French chanter Spanish and Portuguese cantar, etc.) to canere; vetulus ‘little old man' (Romanian vechi, Italian vecchio, French vieux, etc.) to vetus. In grammar, synthetic constructions typical of Classical Latin are often replaced by analytic; thus, the use of prepositions often makes case endings superfluous. Ad regem for regi ‘to the king,' for instance, or anomalous morphological forms are simplified and rationalized (e.g., plus, or magis, sanus for sanior ‘healthier'). Shorter, simpler sentences are preferred, and word order tends to become less flexible.

      The most copious evidence for Vulgar Latin is in the realm of phonology, though interpretation of the evidence is often open to dispute, consisting as it does of the confused descriptions of grammarians and the misspellings of bewildered scribes. Much of the evidence points to a strengthening of stress accent during the Late period, leading to the shortening and swallowing of unaccented syllables: thus, viridem ‘green' becomes virdem (verde in several Romance languages); vinea ‘vine' becomes vinia (French vigne, Spanish viña ‘vineyard,' etc.).

      Among other phonological features of Vulgar Latin, probably the most striking is the loss of the system of long and short vowels. On the whole, long vowels became tense and short vowels lax, resulting in a wholesale change in the rhythm of the language. In the texts there is evidence of the confusion of ĭ and ē and of ŭ and ō that has occurred in the western Romance languages. It is to be remembered that even popular Latin verse used measures of vowel length, and there is no evidence to suggest that vowel-length distinctions were lost in vulgar preclassical speech.

      An archaic feature that does recur in Vulgar Latin is the loss of word-final m, of which virtually no trace remains in Romance. It is possible, however, that the written letter of Classical Latin was no more than an orthographic convention for a nasal twang: in scanning Latin verse, the -m is always run in (elided) before an initial vowel. Reduction of the diphthongs (diphthong) /ae/ (to /ɛ/) and /au/ (to /ɔ/) seems also to be a popular and dialectal feature reflected in Vulgar Latin texts; in the latter case, however, the Romance languages do not support the hypothesis that the diphthong was reduced early, for it remains in Old Provençal and in Romanian and, probably, in early Old French.

The emergence of Romance
      In the European lands in which Romance languages are still spoken, it is of course certain that, at some point, Latin in some form was the normal language of most strata. Whether, however, the Romance languages continue rough peasant dialects of Latin or the usage of more cultured urban communities is open to question. There are those who maintain that the Latin used in each area differentiated as soon as local populations adopted the conqueror's language for any purpose. According to this belief, dialects of Latin result from divergent developments, either through innovations in restricted areas or through the geographically restricted preservation of some features. It is obvious that Latin usage must have differed over a wide area, but the differences may have been merely phonetic and lexical variations—regional accents and usage—not affecting mutual intelligibility; on the other hand, they may have been profound enough to form the basis of further differentiation when administrative unity was lost. The latter hypothesis would suggest a long period of bilingualism (up to perhaps 500 years), as linguistic interference between languages in contact rarely outlives the bilingual stage. Virtually nothing is known about the status of the indigenous languages during the imperial period, and only vague contemporary references can be found to linguistic differences within the empire. It seems odd that not one of the numerous Latin grammarians should have referred to well-known linguistic facts, but the absence of evidence does not justify the assertion that there was no real diversification during the imperial era. Historical parallels are lacking—although the British Empire, for example, did export English to widely different lands, it lasted a comparatively short time, and its linguistic contribution was backed by modern communications media, besides being to some extent negated by nationalist feeling.

      What is certain is that, even if popular usage within the Roman Empire showed great diversification, it was overlaid by a standard written language that preserved a good degree of uniformity until well after the administrative collapse of the empire. As far as the speakers were concerned, they apparently thought they were using Latin, though they were often conscious that their language was, through sheer ignorance, not quite as it should be. Not until about the 8th or 9th century—later in some parts—did it strike them that Classical Latin was perceptibly a different language, rather than merely a more polished, cultured version of their own.

The language of religion and culture
      With the spread of Christianity, Latin penetrated to new lands, and it was perhaps the cultivation of Latin in a “pure” form in Ireland, whence it was exported to England, that paved the way for an 8th-century reform of the language by Charlemagne. Conscious that current Latin usage was falling short of Classical Latin standards, Charlemagne invited Alcuin of York, a scholar and grammarian, to his court at Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen); there Alcuin remained from 782 to 796, inspiring and guiding an intellectual renaissance. It was perhaps as a result of the revival of so-called purer Latin that vernacular texts began to appear, for it now became obvious that the vernacular and Latin were not the same language. Thus, in 813, just before Charlemagne's death, the Council of Tours decreed that sermons should be delivered in rusticam Romanam linguam (“in the rustic Roman language”) to make them intelligible to the congregation.

      Latin has remained the official language of the Roman Catholic church and as such has been in constant use by most Romance speakers; it was only within the last half of the 20th century that church services began to be conducted in the vernacular. As the language of science and scholarship, Latin held sway until the 16th century, when, under the influence of the Reformation, nascent nationalism, and the invention of the printing press, it began to be replaced by modern languages. Nevertheless, in the West, along with the knowledge of Greek, the knowledge of Latin has remained a mark of the educated person throughout the centuries, although in the mid-20th century the teaching of classical languages in schools declined significantly.

Latin in non-Romance languages
      The prestige of Rome was such that Latin borrowings are to be found in virtually all European languages, as well as in the Berber languages of North Africa, which preserve a number of words, mainly agricultural terms, lost elsewhere. Basque (Basque language) has borrowed a good number of words, mainly from administrative, commercial, and military spheres, but it is difficult in some cases to determine whether the terms were later borrowings from Spanish, rather than from Latin. This uncertainty is not present in the case of the 800 Latin words found in three Celtic languages (Welsh, Cornish, and Breton)—words drawn from a wide sphere of activities. In the Germanic languages, borrowed Latin words principally involve trade and often reflect archaic forms. The very large number of Latin words in Albanian (Albanian language) form part of the basic vocabulary of the language (including kinship terms) and cover such spheres as religion, although some of them may have been later borrowings from Romanian. In some cases the Latin words found in Albanian have survived in no other part of the former Roman Empire. Greek and Slavic languages have comparatively few Latin words, many of them administrative or commercial in character.

The development of the Romance languages
      The question of when Latin ended and Romance began, which has occupied scholars in the past, is largely a problem created by terminology. In some senses, modern Romance languages are regional varieties of one uniform set of speech patterns that resembles the Vulgar Latin of attested texts fairly closely—indeed, the analyses of generative phonologists make the modern “underlying forms” (as distinct from their phonetic representation in speech) look almost identical with the reconstructed ancestor of the Romance languages, Proto-Romance. On the other hand, contemporary speakers are conscious that they are speaking a “different language” from their neighbours, even though they may understand a good deal of their neighbours' discourse. Perhaps the speaker's consciousness is the best measure of divergence; when, one may ask, did Romance speakers realize that they were not using Latin in their everyday speech? Some scholars suggest that the realization must have struck sometime in the 5th century, when barbarians were streaming into the Roman Empire and, supposedly, hindering communication. Others prefer to rely on positive textual evidence, indicative of efforts to make up a written form of Romance distinct from Latin. Such evidence begins to appear only in the 9th century, first in northern France and then in Spain and Italy. The reforms of Charlemagne, reestablishing more classical standards in written Latin, may have been at once cause and result of the development of conventional written forms for vernacular Romance. Perhaps it was also the emergence of a new type of social organization, feudalism, that had linguistic effects as a result of the splitting of the open society of Roman tradition into small closed territorial units.

Romance glosses to Latin texts
      From the 7th century onward, consciousness of linguistic change was strong enough to prompt scribes to gloss little-known words in earlier Latin texts with more familiar terms. Though the glosses often reflect Romance forms, however, they are usually given in a Latinate form, and one gains the impression of a few superficial adjustments to archaic but fundamentally comprehensible texts. The best-known set of glosses—to the Vulgate Bible of St. Jerome—formerly belonged to the abbey of Reichenau, on an island in Lake Constance, Germany, and probably dates from the 8th century. The vocabulary of the Reichenau glosses appears to be French in flavour (e.g., arenam ‘sand' glossed by sabulo, French sable; vespertiliones ‘bats,' by calvas sorices, French chauvesouris), and some words of Frankish origin appear (e.g., scabrones ‘beetles' is glossed by wapces ‘wasps,' respectant ‘they look about' by rewardant). Some of the glosses evince more widely spread innovations: emit ‘has bought' is glossed by comparauit (Romanian cumpăra, Spanish comprar), fissura ‘crack' by crepatura (Romanian crăpătură, Old French creveure). The glosses provide some evidence of morphological simplification (e.g., saniore ‘healthier' is glossed by plus sano ‘more healthy' and cecinit ‘he sang' by cantavit), but for the most part only lexical items merit comment. Another well-known glossary, known as the Kassel (or Cassel) glosses, probably dates from the very early 9th century. It gives Latin equivalents of German (Bavarian) words and phrases and provides evidence of lexical and phonetic differentiation within Latin that permits scholars to localize the work as probably French or Rhaetian (e.g., mantun ‘chin,' as compared with modern French menton). Although orthographically eccentric, however, the text is obviously meant to represent Latin, not a Romance tongue; when phrases rather than isolated words are glossed, the Latin is often very close to classical models.

The beginning of Romance literature
      Later in the 9th century (with the Strasbourg Oaths, possibly, and more clearly in the Eulalia poem), deliberate attempts were made to write vernacular Romance, though the resources of the Latin alphabet were not wholly adequate to the task. That northern French texts were the first to appear is not surprising, for in that region Latin had changed more radically than elsewhere. By the 10th century the need to couch legal documents in more readily comprehensible vernacular, rather than Latin, was felt in other regions. Vernacular literature did not really get under way, however, until approximately the 12th century, when the arts flourished throughout western Europe. Rhaeto-Romance and Romanian, however, had to wait for the Reformation period to take on literary form.

      There was a good deal of cross-fertilization between Romance literary languages during the period of development of medieval poetry; the example of the Provençal lyric especially left its mark on all vernacular literatures, and borrowing of lexical items from one language to another was abundant. The 13th century saw some shift of linguistic influence from southern to northern France and from Sicily to Tuscany, toward the politically and economically more powerful regions. Portuguese and Catalan developed flourishing literatures somewhat later, taking over some of the traditions of the badly battered southern French region and dominating the literary scene of the Iberian Peninsula. French was fast losing its hold in England, which, a century earlier, had boasted a rich Anglo-Norman literature, and within France the central Parisian dialect began to dominate. In Italy, the Florentine dialect was showing signs of rising to prominence and providing the base for a literary standard.

      The rediscovery of classical literature and art, first in Italy and then in other Romance regions, had some considerable effect on the languages in the shape of extensive borrowing from Latin and Greek and, often, conscious attempts to model grammatical constructions in the vernacular on Classical Latin. The Italian standard language, in particular, owes much to the influence of Latin, which it resembles more closely than do the spoken dialects. French, except in the 16th century, was influenced grammatically less by Latin, but from the 14th century onward the habit of preferring words with a quasi-Latin shape to inherited forms became well established, so that much of the French vocabulary has a “learned” appearance. The trickle of Latinisms into Spanish became a flood in the 15th century, and, though Spanish has been more reluctant than French to reject old words, these Latinisms form a considerable proportion of the modern lexicon.

The standardization of the Romance languages
      It was in Italy that the “question of the language” first became a matter of hot dispute. Dante himself made an important contribution to the debate on what should constitute a volgare illustre (an “illustrious popular speech”) capable of rivaling Latin for literary and scholarly purposes. Controversy did not reach its peak, however, until the 16th century. In the Spain of 1492 the completion of the reconquest of Spain from the Arabs and the so-called discovery of America were accompanied by the appearance of Antonio de Nebrija's Gramática Castellana (“Grammar of the Castilian Language”), which argues the need for an ennobled language fit for imperial exportation. In 16th-century France, with the Renaissance backed by the Reformation and the advent of printing, French (French language) really assumed the remaining scholarly, scientific, and religious functions of Latin, and efforts were made to put together a worthy national language from dialect and Latin sources. The choice of standard was not made definitively, however, until the late 17th century, when, with political power and social influence centred exclusively at the royal court, the only acceptable usage became that of the court. It would seem that social acceptance and advancement were inextricably bound up with correct behaviour, especially linguistic behaviour, so that the well-to-do bourgeoisie set out to ape the speech habits of their “betters”—hence the popularity of works describing le bon usage ‘good usage.' The influence of French, resplendent with the achievements of the French dramatic poet Racine and of Louis XIV, was destined to remain dominant within the Romance languages; the Golden Age of Spain and Portugal had already passed, and Italy was going through a period of comparative stagnation.

      The French grammarians of the 18th century had lasting effect on all the Romance standards, concerned as they were with maintaining “purity,” eliminating “vulgarity,” and strictly codifying usage, often more in accord with logical than linguistic considerations. The belief that correct language is not a birthright but a tool to be carefully fashioned and skillfully handled, that conscious effort was required to allow it to mirror thought with the minimum of distortion, is one that has persisted in Romance and that still has important effects on educational practice. To many English speakers it seems ludicrous that the criterion of competence in a language should be strict adherence to grammar-book rules rather than nativelike performance, but in Romance countries a foreigner is often frowned upon if he permits himself the “negligence” of native usage, rather than the more stilted correct expression.

Linguistic characteristics of the Romance languages
      As a group, the Romance languages share many characteristics. In comparison with Germanic languages, for instance, they seem musical and mellifluous—probably because of the relatively greater importance of vowels than consonants. On the whole, the vowels are clear and bell-like and articulation energetic and precise, though Portuguese and Romanian convey a more muted acoustic impression. Foreigners often think that Romance speech is particularly rapid and voluble, no doubt because individual words receive only light stress (or, in French, no stress), and elision, the running of words into each other within stress groups, is common. Romanian is something of an exception in that speech tempo is comparatively slow. Intonation patterns, surface manifestations of nonlexical meaning, such as interrogation, exclamation, scorn, surprise, and so forth, seem to some to denote excitability and emotional expressiveness in the speakers. Northern French is comparatively sober, with typically about a one-octave range in intonation, but Italian seems to be sung, with sinuous pitch movement over two octaves, and Castilian jumps jerkily and up and down over about an octave and a third.

      Grammatically, the modern languages have retained to a greater or lesser extent some of the synthetic character of Latin, principally in the verb, but in Romanian also in the noun. French, since about the 14th century, has undergone the most radical changes in grammatical typology, so that much greater reliance is placed on word order and intonation to convey sentence meaning than on morphological form. Other languages allow a little more flexibility of word order but far less than does Classical Latin.

      Dominant purist grammarians have always opposed influence from foreign languages and reproved their fellows for sullying their language with lavish borrowing (at present primarily from English), but they have never been able to stem the flood of neologisms. French vocabulary, particularly, has always been receptive to change and has been as quick to lose old words as to adopt new. Codification of grammar, on the other hand, has had a permanent effect on the stability of the standard languages, even feeding back into spoken usage via the education system. Acceptance of the most minor changes follows long debate and deliberation and requires governmental edicts that decree what can be marked as correct in all-important examinations. Curiously enough, this rigidity and consequent self-confidence have resulted in greater teachability, so that standards of correctness of, for instance, French among Africans or Spanish among American Indians are remarkably high. The moves toward codification were, indeed, originally linked to a desire to give the languages international importance, and language teaching, in the Romance ethos, is indissolubly linked to the diffusion of cultural and moral values.

      As stated previously, the most “central” Romance language is standard Italian (Italian language), which has retained and even readopted many Latin characteristics. In some ways its morphology lacks the elegance and efficiency of Castilian, which has most ruthlessly eliminated anomalies during the modern period; there are signs in Italian of historical inertia, a harking back to a glorious past, that has hindered popular development. Romanian (Romanian language) remains closest in grammatical type to Latin, though its noun-declension system, based on the placement of the definite article after the noun, and its frequent use of the subjunctive mood may owe much to its Balkan neighbours (or to an earlier linguistic substratum). Its vocabulary has incorporated so many Slavic and Turkish words, however, that it often appears less typical of the Romance languages than the rest. French, by any standard, has diverged most—radical phonetic changes that transformed the outward appearance of the language must have preceded the earliest surviving (9th-century) texts. Such changes are usually ascribed to Celtic and Frankish influence. Another wave of change, with loss of word accent and of many morphological markers, probably dates from the 15th century, but it is difficult to find external motivation for these phenomena. Occitan and Catalan are conservative in character; the long persistence of Roman schools in South Gaul is often seen as the cause of stability there. Spanish and Portuguese are similar enough to lead some scholars to assign their shared characteristics to the influence of an Iberian substratum and a Moorish superstratum. Castilian's forceful character and receptivity to grammatical innovation contrast sharply with Portuguese softness and its inertia in retaining morphological oddities, however. Rhaeto-Romance and Dalmatian peculiarities can most easily be connected with the impact of other languages (mainly German, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian), while Sardinian is often regarded as an extremely conservative, peasant language, some dialects of which have been penetrated by features from Italian and Spanish.

      Some important phonological developments, such as the loss of the system of contrasting vowel lengths and the strengthening of the stress accent, must have occurred during the Vulgar Latin period, while some degree of unity still existed among the various Romance dialects. Certain other changes shared by the Western Romance languages, especially the collapse of ē /i/ and ĭ /ı/, might have postdated the linguistic separation of Sardinia and parts of southern Italy from the other areas, while the distinct development of ō /p/ and ŭ /u/ in Romanian and Vegliot suggests a split between Eastern and Western Romance at a later date.

Vowels (vowel)
      Everywhere, unaccented vowels have had a different history from accented, and in some languages they have so weakened as to disappear altogether in certain positions. At the end of a word, for instance, even -a, the most sonorous of the vowels, has weakened to a neutral vowel in Romanian, Portuguese, and some Catalan and Rhaetian dialects—in some French dialects it is still pronounced as a neutral vowel sound (such as the second vowel in English alphabet), but it has been lost completely in the standard language. Final -o, from Latin -ō or ŭ, was lost very early in French, Occitan, Catalan, and Rhaetian and remains only before an article following the word in Romanian; in Portuguese and Romanian it is closed to a /u/ (pronounced as the u in English lunar). Final -e is even more evanescent, regularly remaining as a full vowel only in parts of central and southern Italy and Sardinia.

 Under the main stress accent of the word, Latin vowels have often become diphthongs in Romance, perhaps as a result of lengthening under heavy stress or as a consequence of the raising influence of following high vowels (a process known as breaking, similar in action to German umlaut). The vowels most affected are the “open” e sound /ɛ/ (as in met), from Latin ĕ, and to a lesser extent the “open” o sound /ɔ/ (pronounced like the vowel sound in law in many American English dialects and like the o in British English ingot), from Latin ŏ, while high close vowels i /i/ and u /u/ are virtually untouched. Transformation of short e /ɛ/ to a diphthong (usually /ye/ as in English yet) is so common that some believe it occurred during the Vulgar Latin period. The conditions of this process (and similar ones) vary, however; in some languages (notably French and Italian) it happens only in open syllables (i.e., those ending in a vowel in Vulgar Latin), whereas Romanian, Vegliot, Spanish, and perhaps Rhaetian show similar developments in all accented syllables. Portuguese possibly did not join in the diphthong-forming process at all, though, as in Occitan, Catalan, Sardinian, and some Italian dialects, the short e- and o- sounds may at one time have developed into diphthongs under the influence of a following high vowel (i or u), later to be reduced once more to a single vowel. See table—> for treatment of stressed Latin ĕ and ŏ in different languages.

      Latin ō (and ŭ) and ē (ĭ) became diphthongs ou and ei in Northern French at an early period (after the 5th but before the 9th century); the 12th-century phonetic results eu and oi provided the present-day spellings, though the sounds thus represented have changed considerably since (compare fleur ‘flower,' from flour, from flore). The greater extension of spontaneous diphthong formation in French than in other Romance languages is often attributed to the effects of the heavy stress presumably used by the Frankish superstratum.

      In nearly all Romance languages a following nasal consonant has caused peculiar development in a preceding vowel. In most cases the effect is limited to a raising or closing influence, but, in both French and Portuguese, phonological nasalization (nasal) has taken place (i.e., in both, a series of vowels distinguished by the presence of nasal resonance has developed). There, as well as in some other dialects (especially Chilean, Caribbean, and Andalusian Spanish, in the Romanian spoken in Albania, and in northern Occitan), nasal vowels are distinct from their oral counterparts and not mere variants (i.e., they are phonemic). Thus, they serve to differentiate one meaningful form from another: e.g., French pin ‘pine,' pronounced /p/ (ɛ stands for a short e sound, and the tilde sign marks nasalization) versus paix ‘peace,' pronounced /pɛ/; Portuguese ‘wool' versus la ‘there.'

      Nasalization in both French and Portuguese was probably noticeable by the 10th century, though it may not have become phonemic until much later. Some claim that even today nasal vowel resonance is merely a surface manifestation of a latent underlying nasal consonant. It would appear that in both languages nasal vowels were more frequent in the Middle Ages than today; in roughly the 16th century in France, denasalization took place when the nasal consonant was intervocalic, and the n sound was retained—in, for example, French bon ‘good (masculine)' (pronounced /bõ/) and bonne ‘good (feminine)' (pronounced /bon/). In Portuguese the consonant did not always reappear after denasalization (compare boa ‘good [feminine],' from bõa, from bona), though between i and a or o the palatal nasal consonant (pronounced somewhat like the ny in English canyon) is inserted (vinho ‘wine,' from vĩo, from vinu).

      Nasalization has sometimes, though without much conviction, been attributed to Celtic substratum influence. A better case can be made for the effect of such influence in the French u sound, /y/, pronounced like German ü or Greek upsilon [υ], though ignorance of Gaulish and certain chronological and geographic discrepancies make it difficult to argue in detail. The French /y/ is also found in most Occitan dialects (in which it may be a recent introduction from French), in Rhaetian, and in parts of Portugal and Italy; elsewhere it is sometimes a characteristic of affected speech.

Consonants (consonant)
      Another French pronunciation that is often imitated by socially pretentious speakers is that of the Parisian uvular r /ʀ/ (produced by vibration of the uvula, an appendage at the back of the mouth), which was not accepted in standard French until after the Revolution of 1789, though it was probably used by the Parisian bourgeoisie from the 17th century. It probably developed from the Latin double -rr-, differentiated from single -r-, which in Middle French tended to be pronounced with local friction. In most modern dialects of Provence the distinction between the two r sounds is still made (though Occitan (Occitan language) dialects in general are adopting the French pronunciation). Brazilian Portuguese uses a similar contrasting pair of r sounds, with the usual trilled r represented in orthography by a single r and a velar, or “rough,” r represented by rr: Brazilian caro ‘dear' and carro ‘cart.' Elsewhere only Puerto Rican Spanish and a few North Italian and Romanian dialects use the velar r regularly, though it is heard sporadically nearly everywhere.

 One phonological development that is thought by many to be indicative of a very early split between the Eastern and Western Romance areas concerns the treatment of consonants between vowels. To the north and west of a line drawn between La Spezia and Rimini, in Italy, most dialects voiced Latin voiceless consonants between vowels and simplified geminates (doubled consonants); southern and eastern dialects to a greater extent retain the Latin voiced–voiceless–geminate system. The dividing line appears also to run through Sardinia, so that northern dialects are “Western” and southern ones “Eastern.” See table—>for treatment of intervocalic p and t.

      Some believe that the voicing of voiceless sounds is connected with a similar, though not identical, process in Celtic known as lenition. Lengthening and subsequent development into diphthongs of accented vowels may be linked to the reduction of Latin doubled consonants to single consonants, as some theories suggest.

      One noticeable difference between Latin and all the Romance languages is that the consonantal systems of the latter include a number of palatal and palato-alveolar consonants which did not exist in Latin. (Palatal consonants are formed with the tongue touching the hard palate; palato-alveolar sounds are made with the tongue touching the region of the alveolar ridge or the palate.) One consequence of the strengthening of the stress accent in the later Latin period was that unstressed ĭ and ĕ following consonants and followed by vowels became shortened to a nonsyllabic palatal y sound (called jod). The effects of this new sound on preceding consonants are varied, but in many cases these have been pronounced with the tongue raised more toward or against the roof of the mouth, or palate (a process classified as a form of assimilation), sometimes ending up eventually as a dental fricative (such as z and th) or affricate (such as ch) and perhaps modifying the preceding vowel. That this process began early is suggested by the not-infrequent confusion of -- and -- in orthography, sometimes represented even as tz in inscriptions. This palatal shift in pronunciation led to developments such as French rouge, Portuguese ruivo, Catalan roig, and Old Italian robbio from Latin rubeum ‘red' and French feuille, Portuguese folha, Italian foglia, and Sardinian fodza from Latin folia ‘leaf.'

      Another source of palatal consonants in Romance has been back (velar) consonants when immediately followed by a front sound: the velar consonant has often moved forward in the mouth, sometimes eventually to dental or alveolar position but often settling on a palatal or palato-alveolar position. This process, too, probably began early, first affecting velar consonants /k/ and /g/ preceding front vowels /e/ and /i/. That it had not occurred at the Classical period is shown by its absence in early loanwords into other languages (Berber, Basque, Celtic, Germanic, Albanian, and Greek). As central Sardinian dialects retain velar pronunciation in the environment of front vowels, it may be assumed that palatalization postdated the separation of the island from the rest of the empire. Vegliot evidence is difficult to interpret, as ē does not seem to have provoked palatalization, whereas ĕ, ĭ, and u did so. It was this sound change that resulted in the pronunciation of “soft” c before e and i (in most Romance languages this is an /s/ or /ts/ sound; in Italian and Rhaetian it is a /ch/ sound). Before a, o, and u the c retained its “hard” pronunciation (that is, a /k/ sound). In Classical Latin, before the sound change occurred, all c sounds were hard. Hence, Latin centum (/kentum/) gave rise to Italian cento (/chento/), Portuguese cento (/sento/), and Spanish ciento (/siento/ or, in Castilian, /thiento/).

      In north-central France, Latin a must have advanced to a front position, with the result that it, too, palatalized preceding /k/ and /g/ sounds. The results give the palato-alveolar sounds of /sh/ and /zh/ (written in the International Phonetic Alphabet as /ʃ/ and /Ʒ/, respectively), via /tʃ/ (as in English church), and /dƷ/ (as in English jam); e.g., French chanter ‘to sing' developed from Latin cantare, joie ‘joy' from gaudia. West Rhaetian dialects show a similar development (compare Sursilvan tgaun, Engadine chaun, French chien, from Latin canem ‘dog'), as do Franco-Provençal and Northern Occitan dialects, but Picard and some Norman dialects do not (Picard canter, with an unpalatalized c, from Latin cantare; kier ‘dear,' from carum). The change is assumed to have taken place at a later period than the palatalization of k when followed by e or i, which did not affect Frankish words. These, on the other hand, succumbed to the type of palatalization in which k /k/ changed to ch /tʃ/ and then to sh /ʃ/ (*skina becomes échine ‘backbone').

      In Romanian (Romanian language), velar consonants were moved forward under the influence of a following i and e, and dental consonants were moved back to a palatal position under the same influence—e.g., ţară from terram ‘earth'; şi ‘and' from sic ‘thus'; cer from caelum ‘sky.' Labial consonants are also affected in some dialects: k'ept from piept from pectum ‘chest'; jin from vin from vinum ‘wine.' Romanian also has, in final position, a series of “soft” consonants. These are transparently derived from earlier “hard” consonants followed by i, performing certain important morphological functions: lupi /lup′/ ‘wolves' from lup /lup/ ‘wolf'; cînţi /kɨnts′/ ‘you sing' from cînt /kɨnt/ ‘I sing.'

 Palatalization of consonants in Romance was effected not only by following front vowels but also by juxtaposed front consonants, especially when a velar (such as Latin /k/ or /g/) was next to a dental (such as /t s n/) or a lateral (/l/) in medial position, sometimes as a consequence of the loss of an unaccented vowel during the Vulgar Latin period. Results of this process vary from language to language. See table—>for examples of these changes.

      It will be noted that in Romanian a labial consonant has been substituted for the velar in the Latin clusters -ct-, -x- /ks/, and -gn-: piept from peptum ‘chest,' coapsă from coxa ‘thigh,' lemn from lignum ‘wood.' Perhaps there was first assimilation of the velar to the dental—as in Italian -tt- from Latin -ct- and Sardinian -nn- from Latin -gn- (linna from ligna ‘line')—followed by differentiation of the first element of the geminate. It is notable that Latin l regularly becomes jod /y/ after another consonant in Italian (piacere from placere ‘to please'; fiore from flore ‘flower'; chiave from clave ‘key'; ghianda from glanda ‘acorn') and after velars in Romanian (plăcea, floare, but cheie /kjej/, ghindă /gjində/). In Spanish and Portuguese a following l in Latin often palatalizes labial consonants (p, f ) as well as velars, in initial as well as medial position; e.g., Latin planum becomes Spanish llano ‘plain,' Portuguese chão; Latin afflare becomes Spanish hallar ‘to find,' Portuguese achar.

      Item for item, the Romance languages all appear grammatically close to Latin and to each other: superficial resemblances in individual expressions may, however, mask differences of content and construction that are difficult to describe. The most obvious difference between Latin and Romance is in the comparative autonomy of morphemic units, especially words. In Romance, Latin inflectional endings have been much reduced, and more reliance is placed on syntactic construction to convey sentence meaning; that is, Romance languages are more “analytic” than the predominantly “synthetic” Latin. A corollary of this is that word order is less flexible in Romance, as it has become the principal means of showing relationship between words in the sentence.

The reduction of inflectional endings
      The inflectional endings have been lost most in nouns and adjectives. The Classical Latin five-case declensional system has everywhere been replaced (with a couple of doubtful exceptions) by a two- gender system, in which normally masculine gender is marked by survivors of the second (-us) declension endings of Latin (Italian cavallo, Portuguese cavalu, Romanian cal, Sardinian kaḍḍu, Rhaetian cavagl, from Latin caballus ‘horse'), and feminine is marked by first (-a) declension endings (Italian capra, Spanish cabra, Rhaetian caura, Romanian capră, from Latin capra ‘goat'). Cognates of third-declension Latin noun forms are incorporated into the same system, but their gender is marked by changes in the article or accompanying adjective (agreement or accord) rather than by overt markers in the word itself (for example, masculine Italian il monte, Catalan el munt, from Latin mons, montem ‘mountain'; feminine Italian la notte, Catalan la nit, from Latin nox, noctem ‘night'). In modern French, although gender is marked in the written language, however inconsistently, by the presence or absence of final -e, any overt morphological markers the spoken language may have are more complex in character, and more reliance is placed on syntactic agreement; thus, chatte ‘she-cat' is distinguished from chat ‘cat' by the presence or absence of the final consonant sound -t in pronunciation, but (le) tour ‘tour, trick' and (la) tour ‘tower' have identical phonetic shapes though they belong to different gender classes.

      All the Romance languages continue to mark plurality in nouns and adjectives morphologically, though in modern spoken French this is not done consistently. In Western Romance the sign of the plural is usually -s, derived from the Latin accusative plural inflection: Spanish caballos, cabras, montes; Occitan cavals, cabras, mons; Catalan cavalls, cabres, munts; Sardinian kaḍḍos, krabas, montes; Old French chevals, chèvres, monts. In Italian and Romanian, however, plurality is shown by a final -i (which in Romanian “softens” the preceding consonant) or, in the case of some feminine nouns, by a final -e: Romanian cai, capre, munţĭ, nopţi; Italian cavalli, capre, monti, notti. These endings may derive from Latin nominative plural first- and second-declension endings -ae and -ī, or they may represent a somewhat irregular development of the -s, favoured elsewhere.

The loss of the case system
 The Latin nominal case system has disappeared in all modern languages except Romanian (Romanian language), in which the inflected article distinguishes the nominative and accusative from the genitive and dative (see table—>). Thus, when other Romance languages would use a preposition to indicate a certain relationship between words, Romanian resembles Latin in using an inflected form (e.g., Latin matris ‘the mother's' becomes Romanian mamei, French de la mère, Italian della madre).

      In Old French and Old Provençal some remnants of a case system remained, in that the masculine nominative (subject of the verb) was distinguished from the other cases (collectively called oblique). Such grammatical information is conveyed by word order in most modern Romance languages, as in English, with the subject normally preceding the verb: French Pierre appelle Paul ‘Peter calls Paul'; Portuguese Pedro chama Paulo; Italian Piero chiama Paulo. Some Romance languages pick out the object of the verb, if it is a person, by an additional particle: Spanish Pedro llama a Pablo; Romanian Petru cheamă pe Pavel. Several Italian dialects, as well as Sardinian and occasionally Engadine and Portuguese dialects, have similar constructions: Calabrian Chiamu a Petru ‘I call Peter'; Elba Ò visto a ttuo babbo ‘I saw your grandpa'; Engadine Amè a vos inimihs ‘Love your enemies.' It is notable that the Italian-based lingua franca used by Mediterranean sailors since the 16th century also picks out the personal object (e.g., Mi mirato per ti ‘I saw you').

The emergence of articles
      The definite and indefinite articles were unknown in Latin but developed everywhere in Romance, usually from the Latin demonstrative ille ‘that' (though in a few parts from reflexive ipse ‘himself') and the numeral unus ‘one.' The definite article is proclitic (attaches to the following word) in most Romance languages (e.g., Italian il monte); in Romanian it is enclitic (e.g., muntele ‘the mountain'). The articles seem to have played some part, during the older stages of the languages, in distinguishing subject from object; the article is more often used where a Latin nominative would have occurred than in other cases, perhaps to give prominence to the topic of the sentence. Today the use of the article has so extended that such distinction is no longer possible; in French, for instance, a common noun is always accompanied by a determiner such as an article, demonstrative, or possessive, so that forms remaining from the earlier stage, such as avoir faim ‘to be hungry' (literally, ‘to have hunger'), are often regarded as idiomatic and inexplicable in terms of modern structure.

The survival of verbal inflection
      In the passage from Latin to Romance, verbal inflection has survived much more than noun declension. Although the four regular Latin conjugations have been virtually reduced to two, with only the -a- class remaining truly productive, other features of the verb seem almost unchanged. In most languages, for instance, the person markers are directly traceable to Latin origins (i.e., to Latin -ō, -s, -t, -mus, -tis, -nt). Modern spoken French is the only major language in which the personal endings no longer serve the same function as in Latin. Today, person is marked in French principally by pronouns derived mainly from the Latin emphatic nominative forms of the personal pronoun: J'aime /Ʒɛm/ ‘I love,' tu aimes /tyɛm/ ‘you love' from (ego) amo, (tu) amas. The creoles have taken this process even further, in that their verb forms are usually invariable but are prefixed by elements indicating person, tense, aspect, and so on, as in many West African languages: Louisiana French /motegẽ/ ‘I was having' from mon /mo/ étais /te/ gagner /gẽ/; and similarly /ilagẽ/ ‘he will have.'

      In the metropolitan languages, verbal modalities are shown, as in Latin, by inflection. Some Latin verb endings, such as that of the -r passive or of the future, have disappeared; others, such as the pluperfect indicative and subjunctive, have survived in a few languages with modified function. But most modern languages have reflexes of the present, perfect, and imperfect indicatives and of one or more subjunctive tenses (tense). The imperfect indicative, a Latin innovation, survives almost intact, though the evolution of its form, not to mention its function, presents problems. The -ī- stem form in Latin -iēba- is thought to have coalesced early with the -ē- stem -ēba- form, but a few modern languages (notably Italian, Friulian, and some Spanish and Portuguese dialects) have reflexes of an -ība- form that might have survived from popular Latin. The Latin -āba- form survives almost everywhere, though in most French dialects its older reflexes, -eve and -oue, have been replaced in modern times by forms derived from Latin -ēba-. These latter are thought to be widespread but are puzzling phonologically as they have very often irregularly lost their -b- (Spanish, Portuguese, and others -ía, French -ais).

      The Latin perfect of the type amāvit ‘he has loved' is known by all the literary languages but is rare in speech in French, Italian, and Romanian, in which it has been replaced by a new compound past made up of the verb for ‘to have' and a past participle. The latter structure is known to some extent in all Romance languages, often being used to express a more recent past than the preterite amāvitf orm, which also indicates action in the past (without reference to duration or repetition): Romanian am cîntat, Italian ho cantato, French j'ai chanté, Spanish he cantado, Old Portuguese hei cantado, Engadine ha chantà, hè chantò, Sardinian kantau appo, from Latin habeo cantatum ‘I have sung.' In modern Portuguese the preferred auxiliary is ter ‘to have, to hold' rather than haver, producing forms such as tenho cantado, while modern Catalan has two forms of the perfect, the pan-Romance type (he cantat) and a specific type that uses the verb for ‘to go' plus the infinitive (vaig cantar), semantically different.

      The disappearance of the Latin future has been remedied in most Romance languages by the development of new forms of periphrastic (periphrasis) origin. Many of these forms use some reflex of habēre ‘to have' joined to an infinitive. From Latin cantāre habēo ‘I will sing' are derived Italian canterò, Spanish, Catalan cantaré, Portuguese cantarei, French je chanterai, Rhaetian c(h)antero, c(h)antera, Occitan cantarai; habēo cantāre gives southern Italian aggio cantà (similar forms are seen in earlier Spanish, Portuguese, and northern Italian). Latin habēo ad cantāre produces Sardinian ap' a kantare, and habēo de cantāre gives Portuguese hei-de cantar (more popular than cantarei).

      A periphrastic future of the type shown in English ‘I'm going to sing' enjoys popularity in Romance, mainly to indicate a less distant future event than the more formal future tense (e.g., French je vais chanter, Spanish voy a cantar). Other periphrases used in Romance are ‘I will (wish to) sing,' as in Romanian voi cînta; ‘I must sing,' as in Sardinian deppo kantare; ‘I'm coming to sing,' Sursilvan jeu vegnel a cantar; and ‘I have that I should sing,' as in popular Romanian am să cînt. Notably, Dalmatian does not seem to know periphrastic Romance futures but uses a form kantuora (perhaps from Latin cantāverō) as both future and conditional.

      The Romance conditional, or “future in the past,” a form not found in Latin, is in many languages related to the new future tense. In the Western languages it is composed of the future stem (or infinitive) plus a past-tense marker related to reflexes of habēre. In some cases an imperfect form is used, in others a perfect form; examples are French je chanterais ‘I would sing,' Spanish, Portuguese, Occitan, and Catalan cantaría, and Italian canterei, -ebbe, and so on. In Romanian the conditional marker can either precede or follow the infinitive and may be derived from the imperfect of vrea ‘to wish': for example, aş cînta, ar cînta, and so on, or (obsolete and dialectal) cîntare-aş, cîntare-ar, and so on.

      Word order is the means most used by modern Romance languages to show the grammatical relationship between words; statistically the most frequent order in statements is subject–verb–object. In many of the Romance languages, interrogation can be shown by inversion of the subject and verb, placing the verb, as the element on which the interrogation falls, at the beginning of the sentence (Spanish nVino el hombre?, Italian É venuto l'uomo? ‘Has the man come?'). In such examples, however, it is the intonation (represented in writing by the question mark) rather than the word order alone that marks the question. Inversion, without interrogative intonation, is not infrequent in emphatic assertions. Unambiguous question markers—such as the Latin particles -ne, nonne, and numare lacking in most Romance standards; popular speech, though relying everywhere principally upon intonation, often has developed new particles to reinforce interrogation. Romanian has oare (Oare a venit? ‘Has he come?'); Italian uses dialectal ce, che, or o (Vulgar Tuscan Che è venuto? ‘Has he come?'; O come si chiame? ‘What is he called?'); Sardinian has a (A morde kkǔstu kǎne? ‘Does this dog bite?'); and French and Limousin have ti (generalized from such forms as a-t-il?; French Je suis-ti bête? Limousin Sieu-ti nesci? ‘Am I stupid?'). In modern standard French great use is made of est-ce que as an interrogative particle: Est-ce qu'il est venu? ‘Has he come?' Comment est-ce qu'il s'appelle? ‘What is his name?'

      Negation in Latin was expressed by a range of special items (non, nemo, nihil, nullus, nunquam, and so on). Although some of the others survive in Romance, continuators of non are usually used for negative expression and are regularly prefixed to the verb. Nuances within negation are usually expressed by the adjunction of other items. In France, both north and south, and in northern Italy and some of the Swiss Rhaetian areas, the non particle has been so weakened phonetically that it no longer can express unambiguously the important distinction between negative and positive; hence, formerly positive adjuncts have acquired its negative meaning.

      French personne / une personne signifies ‘no one / a person'; pas / un pas means ‘not / a step'; and plus can mean ‘more / no more.' In popular speech the non particle is frequently omitted altogether in areas that use these additional forms (e.g., French Je (ne) le vois pas; Occitan Lou vese pas for Noun lou vese ‘I don't see it').

The reduction of the subjunctive
      Morphologically, the verb system survived comparatively intact from Latin to Romance; if the schoolbooks, heavily influenced by Latin grammar, are right, the ways in which the verb forms are used are not so very different from Latin either. The most obvious change has been the reduction of uses as well as of forms of the subjunctive, with, at the extreme, modern French treating them as automatically determined variants to be used obligatorily after certain phrases and conjunctions and virtually eliminating tense differences within the subjunctive mood. When the subjunctive retains a function in Romance—that is, in contexts in which it can contrast with the indicative—it has developed emotive overtones, especially suggesting doubt, unreality, or some sort of hypothetical futurity. It is used especially in subordinate clauses dependent on verbal expressions of command and exhortation, emotion, or doubt: Romanian Vreau să vină ‘I want him to come'; Engadine Mieu bap voul ch'eau lavura ‘My father wants me to work'; French Je doute qu'il vienne ‘I doubt that he's coming'; Portuguese Duvido que seja feliz ‘I doubt that he is happy'; Italian Temo che sia tarde ‘I'm afraid it's late'; Spanish Temo que él lo diga ‘I'm afraid he'll say it.' The subjunctive also regularly follows subordinating conjunctions that project action forward into the future, notions such as ‘until,' ‘before,' ‘in order that': French avant que vous soyez venu ‘before you came'; Spanish hasta que sea feliz ‘until he is happy'; Italian perchè potessi fare in tempo ‘so that I might do it in time'; Portuguese antes que eu o veja ‘before I see it'; Catalan abans que vingui ‘before he comes.'

      On the whole, however, the Romance languages use the subjunctive less frequently than does Latin, with recession particularly, when no doubt is implied, in indirect speech and in temporal and concessive clauses (in French, use of the subjunctive after concessive conjunctions such as bien que and quoique ‘although' was imposed by 18th-century grammarians). The infinitive is often used in subordinate constructions where Latin would have used a subjunctive—e.g., French dites-lui de s'en aller, for dites-lui qu'il s'en aille ‘tell him to go away.' Romanian, on the other hand, has even extended the use of the subjunctive in such constructions, perhaps reflecting a substratum influence that is felt, too, in some Balkan languages. Greek influence is sometimes credited with similar constructions (usually using the indicative rather than the subjunctive) found in northeastern Sicily, northern Calabria, and the Salentine Peninsula.

Conditional clauses
      One area of syntax in which the Romance languages vary widely in the extent to which they retain and in the manner in which they replace the Latin subjunctive is that of past-tense hypothetical conditional clauses. The Latin formula si habuissem dedissem ‘if I had had it, I would have given it,' though challenged by a type using the indicative tense since Ciceronian times, has sporadically survived into Romance, especially in the older stages of the languages and in scattered languages of southern Italy (Se potessi, facessi ‘If I could, I would do it'), Rhaetian (Sursilvan Jeu vegness, sche jeu vess peda ‘I'd come, if I had time'), and Romanian (dacă aş fi avut destui bani, aş cumpărat-o ‘If I had had enough money, I would have bought it').

      In most languages, however, a new conditional form replaces the subjunctive in “if” clauses. Thus, in Spanish, Portuguese, and most Italian dialects, sentences of this type are seen: Spanish si yo tuviese bastante dinero, lo compraría; Italian se avessi abbastanza denaro, lo comprerei; Portuguese se tivesse bastante dinheiro compraríao (‘if I had enough money, I'd buy it'). Spoken Catalan usually prefers a similar construction (si estudiessis ho sabries ‘if you studied, you would know it'). Another construction that replaces the subjunctive by the imperfect indicative in the “if” clause is normal in Catalan and in French as well as in Corsica and Sardinia: Catalan si estudiaves ho sabries (‘if you studied, you would know'); French si j'avais assez d'argent, je l'achèterais (‘if I had enough money, I'd buy it'); Logudorian si denía abba deo dia buffare (‘if I had water, I'd drink'). Other constructions using the imperfect indicative or the conditional in both clauses are found mainly in substandard styles—both types are common in French and Romanian, the former in Tuscany, southeastern Italy, and Spain and the latter in much of southern Italy.

      Romance methods of forming new words from native sources are in part inherited from Latin (the morphological device of adding a suffix and that of prefixing an element that modifies the original meaning) and in part later developments (mainly that of combining two or more free forms to make compound words and of changing or extending the syntactic distribution of an already existing word).

       derivation by means of suffixes is the most popular and widespread device; verbs in particular must be morphologically marked as members of a conjugation, of which those corresponding to Latin -āre form by far the most frequent and indeed in modern times virtually the only productive class (thus Latin plantāre ‘to plant,' Italian plantare, Engadine plaunter, French planter, Catalan plantar, from planta ‘plant'). Infixes, inserted between the verbal root and the conjugation marker, are common. Sometimes they continue Latin infixes, such as the frequentative (compare jactāre for jacere ‘to throw,' Italian gettare, French jeter, Catalan gitar, etc.); sometimes they add semantically to the root meaning (compare pejorative Italian lavoracchiare ‘to slack off' from lavorare ‘to work,' French criailler ‘to bawl' from crier ‘to cry'). The Greek verbal infix -iz (as in English suffix -ize) is particularly popular in modern Romance languages (e.g., automatiser).

      Among noun suffixes, diminutives are frequent and, except perhaps in French, still productive. Romanian uses - (baieţaş ‘little boy'), but the other languages prefer derivatives of Latin -ittus (especially in Spanish: arbolito ‘little tree,' señorita ‘Miss, young lady,' etc.; but also French sachet ‘little sack,' Italian foglietta ‘little leaf,' etc.) or of Latin -īnus (preferred in Italian: tavolino ‘little table, desk,' signorina ‘young lady'; and Portuguese: copinho ‘little drinking glass,' senhorinha ‘young lady'). The Latin -ōne suffix has, conversely, acquired augmentative meaning in several languages (Italian cavallone, Spanish caballón ‘large horse'). Romanian -oi, -oaie seems to continue an adjectival form of this suffix -oneus, -a; căloi ‘large horse,' căsoaie ‘big house.'

      Other frequent suffixes sometimes have a “learned” modern form alongside the older “popular” one—e.g., Latin -atione becomes Italian -agione / -azione, French -aison / -ation, Spanish -azón / -ación, Portuguese -azão / -ação; also Romanian -ăciune / -aţiune (-aţie), and Occitan -azó.

      Suffixes that remain extremely productive include the Latin verbal adjectival -bilis (not found in Romanian), which can be seen in Italian bastevole ‘enough,' French admirable, Spanish amable ‘pleasing'; and Latin verbal nominal -mentum, which can be seen in French abonnement ‘subscription,' Spanish cobijamiento ‘lodging,' Italian abboccamento ‘interview, parley,' Romanian acoperămînt ‘cover.'

      Prefixing of modifying elements remains frequent in all languages (Italian autostrada ‘highway,' Spanish contraveneno ‘antidote,' French photocopie ‘photocopy'), although some older prefixes may hardly be recognized as such today. The “repetitive” verbal prefix re- remains particularly active (Romanian răpune ‘to kill,' Italian ricattare ‘to recover,' French racheter ‘to buy back').

      Compound words, though less frequent than in the Germanic languages, are not uncommon (e.g., French cheflieu ‘principal town,' Italian primavera and Romanian primăvară ‘spring,' Spanish lavamanos ‘wash basin').

      Originally a compounding process, the most common method of forming adverbs from adjectives (suffixing of Latin mente ‘mind') has become in most languages a morphological process, although Spanish and Portuguese retain traces of the earlier stage in phrases such as severa e (y) cruelmente ‘severely and cruelly.'

      Among the syntactic means that most Romance languages use to extend vocabulary is the potent device, unavailable to Latin, of juxtaposing to any part of speech an article or other determiner and using it as a noun (e.g., Italian il perchè ‘the reason,' Spanish lo útil ‘utility, something useful,' French un je ne sais quoi ‘an I-don't-know-what'). In French and Spanish, verbal infinitives are frequently so treated (le devoir ‘duty,' el poder ‘power,' etc.); Romanian also uses infinitives as verbal nouns, but they are differentiated formally by retaining the full form (e.g., cîntare ‘singing'), compared with the shortened verbal form (cînta). In earlier stages of most Romance languages the verbal root (most often as it appears in the third-person singular present indicative) could be used as a noun, a process known as back-formation (compare Romanian laudă ‘praise,' Italian domanda ‘question,' French approche ‘approach,' désir ‘desire,' Spanish baila ‘dance,' Portuguese muda ‘change').

      Just as former adjectival forms are frequently used as substantives, so are nouns used with adjectival function; there seem to be few restrictions on this use, though practice varies as to whether agreement should be made (French les frères ennemis ‘enemy brothers,' with agreement; une femme médecin ‘a woman doctor,' without agreement). Past-participial forms normally act as adjectives, as in English.

      Romance makes use of gender classification to extend and modify its vocabulary, especially by relating the gender markers to sex differences (e.g., Romanian nepot, nepoată, Occitan nebut, nebudo, Spanish nieto, nieta, Portuguese neto, neta, Catalan net, neta ‘nephew, niece,' with Italian invariable nipote, and French lexically differentiated neveu, nièce). Modern French makes particularly fruitful use of gender differences (originally via ellipse); thus, le (vin de) champagne (the drink) / la Champagne (the province); La Normandie (the province) / le Normandie (the ship).

Latin (Latin language) inheritance
      The basic vocabularies (the most frequently used lexical items) of all the Romance languages are in the main directly inherited from Latin. This applies equally to “function” words, such as de ‘of, from' (Romanian de, Italian di, Rhaetian da, French de, Spanish de, Portuguese de), as to common lexical items, such as facere ‘to do' or aqua ‘water' (Romanian a face, apă, Italian fare, acqua, Logudorian fágere, abba, Engadine fer, ova, French faire, eau, Catalan fer, aigua, Spanish hacer, agua, Portuguese fazer, água). In some cases different Romance languages inherit words perhaps from different strata of Roman society. Thus, for ‘lamb,' forms derived from Latin agnus remain in southern Italy and Galician (año), but forms derived from diminutive agnellus prevail in Romanian (miel), Italian (agnello), French (agneau), Rhaetian (Engadine agné, Friulian añel), Occitan (anhel), and Catalan (anyell), with Sardinian and some Calabrian dialects using another form derived from Latin agnone (such as Logudorian andzone). Spanish and Portuguese, however, prefer a derivative of a different word, chorda (cordero, cordeiro), referring perhaps to the birth process; this word is also found in Occitan and Catalan.

Pre-Romance borrowings
      Some words shared by most of the Romance languages are not of Latin origin but were probably borrowed from other languages before Latin unity was disrupted, especially words of Celtic (Celtic languages) origin, such as Latin carrum ‘cart,' Romanian car, Italian carro, Logudorian karru, Rhaetian k'ar, French char, Occitan and Catalan car, Spanish and Portuguese carro.

      In Christian Latin a great many Greek (Greek language) ecclesiastical terms were borrowed, which survived in most Romance languages. For example, the Greek word episkopos (literally, ‘overseer') was borrowed into Latin as episcopus ‘bishop,' which gave rise to Vegliot pasku, Logudorian pískamu, Italian vescovo, Engadine ovaisch, Friulian veskul, French evêque, Occitan avesque, Catalan bisbe, Spanish obispo, and Portuguese bispo.

      Germanic (Germanic languages) words did not penetrate into Latin very frequently before the separation of the various Romance languages from Latin, so that few of them have more than limited extension. Only one Germanic word is known for certain to be found in both Eastern and Western Romance—sapōne ‘soap,' recorded in Pliny and occurring as Romanian săpun, Vegliot sapaun, Italian sapone, Logudorian sabone, Engadine savun, French savon, Occitan and Catalan sabó, Spanish jabón, and Portuguese sabão.

Later Latin borrowings
      Many Latin words are widespread throughout the Romance languages even though they do not date back directly to the imperial period; these are the “learned” words that have freely entered the languages at virtually every period, borrowed from Latin used as a scholarly language. Because of this later borrowing, such words as capital, natura, adulterium, and discipulus appear in Romance virtually unchanged from Latin, as they do in other European languages; Romance Latinisms, however, are quite normally used in contexts in which similar words would sound stilted and pedantic in English (e.g., French supprimer ‘suppress' but often used to mean ‘to do away with').

Vocabulary variations
      However similar the Romance vocabularies are to each other, considerable differences nevertheless exist. Some of these may be traced to imperial times, when provinces may have developed their own vocabulary preferences. For instance, for ‘oak' Eastern Romance seems to have preferred Latin quercus (Logudorian kerbu, southern Italian quercia, etc.), whereas the West preferred the alternative robur (Italian rovere, Occitan and Catalan roure, Spanish and Portuguese roble, Old French rouvre—modern French chêne is of Celtic origin, while Romanian stejar is perhaps of Balkan origin). In some cases the conservative peripheral areas have retained a word that was displaced in more central regions; thus, for ‘beautiful,' formosus is preferred in Romanian (frumos), Spanish (hermoso), and Portuguese (formoso), whereas bellus is more popular in Vegliot (bial), Italian (bello), Rhaetian (bal, biel), French (beau), Occitan (bel), and Catalan (bell).

      When Romance borrowed vocabulary from the substratum, differentiation must have taken place early (certainly before the indigenous languages died out). Thus, Spanish vega, Portuguese veiga ‘wooded ground by a river' (probably from a non-Indo-European Iberian language, compare Basque ibaiko ‘riverbank'), French charrue ‘plow,' borne ‘boundary stone' from Celtic, and Romanian barză ‘stork' (perhaps from Dacian, compare Albanian bar) probably were used during Roman times in some form. The debt of Romance vocabulary to substratum languages is probably not too great but is difficult to estimate with any certainty. When there is no known source form or cognate for a word, scholars often suggest an Iberian, Dacian, Ligurian, or Gaulish origin, but, as little is known of these languages, some such theories are mere speculation.

      After the influx of barbarian invaders, Romance vocabularies differentiated further as each borrowed from its own superstratum (language superimposed upon Romance). French, for instance, is estimated to have taken some 700 words from Frankish (a Germanic language), not all of which have survived but some of which have passed via French into other Romance languages. Many of these were concerned with agriculture (jardin ‘garden,' houe ‘hoe,' blé ‘wheat,' gerbe ‘sheaf,' etc.) or with war (guerre ‘war,' heaume ‘helmet') or social organization (sénéchal ‘seneschal,' chambellan ‘chamberlain,' maréchal ‘marshal,' baron ‘baron'). The occupation of much of northern Italy by speakers of Langobardic (also a Germanic language) left less of a mark on Italian (Italian language) vocabulary, though dialects retain more words (estimated at some 300) than does the standard language. Standard Italian borrowed little in the way of administrative or military terms but accepted a number of words from rural life (melma ‘mud,' zecca ‘sheep tick,' stamberga ‘hut,' etc.). The Visigoths (Visigoth), who occupied Iberia, were more Romanized than the other Germanic invaders and indeed had abandoned their Germanic tongue by the 7th century AD. Thus, borrowings from Visigothic into Spanish and Portuguese are less frequent, though still not inconsiderable; some (such as estaca ‘stake,' brotar ‘to bud') are common to all the languages of the Iberian Peninsula.

      Slavic (Slavic languages) infiltration into the Balkans led Romanian to adopt a very large number of Slavic words, some in the basic part of the vocabulary. At exactly what stage in history they were borrowed is uncertain, for the earliest Romanian texts, of the 16th century AD, are saturated with Slavic terms from different dialectal sources, though South Slavic predominates. Possibly the borrowings occurred after the 9th century, when the Hunnish Bulgarians, who had adopted Slavic speech, established a powerful state and embraced Christianity, and Slavic pressures were already very strong. Among common Romanian words of Slavic origin one may mention a trăi ‘to live,' hrană ‘food,' ceas ‘hour,' bogat ‘rich,' prieten ‘friend,' a munci ‘to work.' The Magyars (modern Hungarians) also lent a smaller number of words to their Romanian neighbours (e.g., oraş ‘town').

      Islāmic invaders into Europe from the 8th century had considerable effect on the vocabulary of the Western Romance languages, even though occupation was confined to southern regions. With its superior cultural and agricultural skills, the Arab (Arabic language) world had much to teach Europe of the early medieval period. Words entered via two routes, Sicily and Spain, and usually their form gives clues about their provenance—if the Arabic definite article (al) has coalesced with the root, the word is from Moorish Spain (thus Spanish algodón ‘cotton,' Portuguese algodão, Old French auqueton via Spain, but Italian cotone, French coton via Sicily). The Arabs introduced into Europe many exotic plants and fruits and with them their names, such as oranges (Spanish naranja), lemons (Spanish limón), and artichokes (Spanish alcachofa, Italian carciofo). In some cases the Iberian Peninsula has adopted the Arabic word for such plants, while other languages prefer words of other origin—‘rice' is arroz in Spanish and Portuguese, arròs in Catalan, but Italian and French prefer a Greek word (riso, riz), as do Vegliot (rize), Rhaetian (Friulian ris), and Romanian (orez). Apart from the numerous Arabic words known throughout Romance (especially words for ‘algebra,' and the like), many are peculiar to the Hispanic languages, including such administrative terms as Spanish alcalde ‘mayor' or alguacil ‘senior police officer' and such commercial terms as almacén ‘warehouse, department store,' as well as everyday words such as ahorrar ‘to save,' alboroto ‘noise.'

      Many of the words individual languages borrowed from other sources or fashioned themselves from native sources did not remain private property for long. Interchange among the Western languages has been common since the earliest times and especially from the 16th century. Perhaps French has been the greatest supplier of words throughout the ages, often displacing native words. But French, too, has borrowed heavily from the other languages, especially when they have been purveyors of new objects (such as patate, banane, tabac, introduced into Europe by Spanish and Portuguese explorations) or of special cultural values (Italian musical and architectural terms, as well as words to do with banking). Borrowing into minor languages from prestigious neighbours has, naturally, been prolific. Passage of words in the other direction is rare and usually employed for comic or other emotive effect (though Occitan in its heyday supplied a good many words of all sorts—even, it is said, amour ‘love' to French).

      Borrowings from non-Romance languages are less frequent and often frowned on by purists but far from negligible. Any contact in specialized spheres has produced a crop of loanwords, especially since the 17th century, when French in particular began to borrow a fair number from its Germanic neighbours. In recent times, the influx of Anglicisms has become a flood, resisted to the death by some purists. Many of these, however, are ephemeral or specialized, and none affects the basic vocabulary in which Latin-inherited words continue to predominate.

      Today the Romance languages are all written in the Latin alphabet, with certain modifications, though until the mid-19th century Romanian was normally written in Cyrillic (used in Moldova until 1989), and, in the Middle Ages, Arabic script was used for some Spanish dialects.

      As soon as scribes first made attempts to write in vernacular languages, they found the resources of the Latin alphabet inadequate to represent the non-Latin sounds of their spoken language. One device used to overcome these difficulties was the addition of the letter h to another, to indicate a deviant pronunciation: thus, ch might represent the /ch/ sound in Spanish (e.g., muchacho ‘boy') or the /sh/ (earlier /ch/) sound in French (e.g., chef ‘chief'). C would normally be used for the /k/ sound (before a, o, u) or an /s/ or /th/ sound (before i, e). In Italian, conversely, ch serves to distinguish the /k/ sound, followed by e, from the /ch/ sound (compare che /ke/ ‘that, who' with c'è /che/ ‘there is'). H was also sometimes added to n and l to indicate a palatal pronunciation (similar to the ny in English canyon and li in scallion), as today in Portuguese vinho ‘wine' and filho ‘son.' The palatal consonants n and l are also often depicted by doubled letters or other combinations of letters: the palatal n as nn (or its scribal variant ñ), gn, nj, or in; palatal l as ll, gl, lj, il, or yl, as well as the combinations nh and lh, already mentioned. Another device frequently used to stretch the capacity of the Latin alphabet was to distinguish the letters i and j, u and v, which were originally each single letters i (with variant form j) and v (with variant form u, and in Latin pronounced u or w). In Romance, v and j came to represent consonants, while u and i retained their vowel values.

      The Latin letter x, an abbreviation for ks, was also put to other uses in Romance; in Portuguese, Catalan, Sicilian, and Old Spanish it represents a /sh/ sound, in modern Spanish a strong /h/ sound, more commonly spelled with a j, and in northern Italian dialects, the /z/ sound. Other letters pressed into use for new consonantal sounds were z (used in Italy for /ts/ and /dz/ sounds), Germanic k and w, and the Visigothic ç (for /ts/ and sometimes /s/, as today in French and Portuguese).

      Vowels (vowel) were less of a problem for early Romance scribes—diphthongs were simply shown as vowel combinations such as ie, uo. Later, the diaeresis (¨) was sometimes introduced to distinguish diphthongs from adjoining vowels that were to be pronounced separately. Non-Latin vowels are rarely clearly distinguished: French u (pronounced like German ü), for instance, was written u and not consistently distinguished from Latin u (pronounced as in English lunar and, in modern French, written ou). Nasal vowels in French are marked by a following n or m; in Portuguese a tilde is often used for final nasal vowels and diphthongs (ã, ãi). Use of diacritics was not consistent until modern times; thus, so-called long and short e, still not always distinguished in Italian, are shown as é and è or ê (e.g., élève ‘student') in French (since the 18th century) and as e and é in Portuguese (since about 1930). Romanian established the use of î, â, and ă only in the 20th century.

      In most of the languages with a long history of writing, the original attempts by scribes at phonological transcription were followed by an “etymological” period in which Latinized spelling gained ground. Castilian (Castilian dialect) was least subject to this fashion, and, because its phonology has changed comparatively little since the Middle Ages (when its spellings became more or less fixed), it has few orthographic problems today. Standard Italian (Italian language) retains a fairly etymological orthography that covers up various minor regional differences of pronunciation; small reforms have been made through the centuries (in the 17th century, for instance, the use of h—except in ho, ha, hanno—was discontinued; in the 20th century, î and j for ii, as in studii, have virtually disappeared), but chaos still reigns in the use of accents. Romanian (Romanian language) suffered from etymologizing orthography in the 19th century, but successive edicts of the Romanian Academy, of which the most important was dated 1932, have established a more or less phonetic spelling (the notable exception being the depiction of final “soft” consonants by a following i). Modern Catalan, like other “minor” languages, has had the aid of expert linguists in the establishment of its orthography. A standard was proposed by Antonio María Alcover Sureda, a Catalan priest, philologist, and writer from Majorca, in 1913, which is accepted, with small variations, by most writers.

      Only two of the Romance languages, French (French language) and Portuguese (Portuguese language), have had major orthographic problems, mainly resulting from the radical transformations that have affected their phonology since the Latin period. Portuguese has attempted to overcome its difficulties by a series of governmental reforms during the 20th century, but, in spite of official agreements between Portugal and Brazil in 1931 and 1945, there is still little consistency in usage, with Brazilian writers, especially, remaining more conservative (i.e., etymological). In France, in spite of vociferous demands for reform since the 16th century, only minor changes have been accepted (usually originally from unofficial sources, such as printers), so that French orthography today reflects 12th-century phonology, overlaid by the etymologizing of Middle French legal scribes. Battles still rage between the reformers, who deplore the absurdly large proportion of school time devoted to teaching spelling, and the defenders of tradition, who point out that the phonological character of French, with no consistent phonetic markers for the word, make it unsuitable for phonetic transcription and that written French has its own structure, not identical with that of the spoken language.

Rebecca Posner Marius Sala

Additional Reading
Iorgu Iordan and John Orr, An Introduction to Romance Linguistics, 2nd ed. rev. with a supplement by Rebecca Posner (1970; originally published in Romanian, 1962), describes 19th- and 20th-century scholarship and provides an extensive bibliography on the family as a whole and on individual languages; it may be supplemented by Rebecca Posner and John N. Green (eds.), Trends in Romance Linguistics and Philology, 5 vol. (1980–93). Useful works on the Romance languages in general include W.D. Elcock, The Romance Languages, new and rev. ed. revised by John N. Green (1975), a philologically oriented work; Rebecca Posner, The Romance Languages (1996), a linguistically oriented work; and Martin Harris and Nigel Vincent (eds.), The Romance Languages (1988). Yakov Malkiel, Essays on Linguistic Themes (1968), includes several articles on the Romance languages and Romance linguistics. On the individual languages, recommended works are L.R. Palmer, The Latin Language (1954, reprinted 1988); Bruno Migliorini, The Italian Language, abridged by T. Gwynfor Griffith (1966, reissued 1984; originally published in Italian, 1960); Alfred Ewert, The French Language, 2nd ed. (1961); Peter Rickard, A History of the French Language, 2nd ed. (1989, reissued 1993); R. Anthony Lodge, French: From Dialect to Standard (1993); William J. Entwistle, The Spanish Language, Together with Portuguese, Catalan, and Basque, 2nd ed. (1962); Ralph Penny, A History of the Spanish Language (1991); and John M. Lipski, Latin American Spanish (1994).Rebecca Posner Marius Sala

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