Romance languages

The Romance languages, less commonly referred to as Latin languages or Neo-Latin languages, are the various modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the 3rd and 8th centuries.[1] They are the only extant subgroup of the Italic languages in the Indo-European language family. The six most widely spoken Romance languages by number of native speakers are Spanish (489 million), Portuguese (283 million), French (77 million), Italian (67 million), Romanian (24 million), and Catalan (4.5 million[citation needed]). Among all the Romance languages, including national and regional languages, Sardinian, Italian and Spanish are the least differentiated from Latin.[2] The most divergent to Latin is French, which was heavily influenced by Germanic languages;[3][4] however, all Romance languages are closer to each other than to classical Latin. [citation needed]

Originated in Old Latium, Southern, Western and Eastern Europe; now also spoken in a vast majority of the American countries, in parts of Africa and in parts of Southeast Asia and Oceania
Linguistic classificationIndo-European
Early form
ISO 639-2 / 5roa
Linguasphere51- (phylozone)
European Romance languages

  Majority native language
  Co-official and majority native language
  Official but minority native language
  Cultural or secondary language

There are more than 900 million native speakers of Romance languages found worldwide, mainly in the Americas, Europe, and parts of Africa. The major Romance languages also have many non-native speakers and are in widespread use as lingua franca.[5] This is especially true of French, which is in widespread use throughout Central and West Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Djibouti, Lebanon, and the western Maghreb.

Because it is difficult to assign rigid categories to phenomena such as languages, which exist on a continuum, estimates of the number of modern Romance languages vary. For example, Dalby lists 23, based on the criterion of mutual intelligibility. The following includes those and additional current, living languages, and one extinct language, Dalmatian:[6]

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