Romance languages

Chapman as Brian Cohen in Life of Brian

Do you speak French? Portuguese? Italian? Romanian?

I don’t speak French, even though I studied it at high school. However, I had to use it the other day, and it was funny trying to get by in French.

I believe if I went to France a month I could speak it with a decent level of fluency, as I can understand a bit of it already and it is very similar to my mother tongue.

Every time Valentino Rossi gets interviewed in the Spanish TV, he speaks fluent italian mixed with a couple of Spanish words and we understand him and when I go to Portugal I don’t have much trouble understanding the language.

A big family

The Romans gave us a couple of things, and one of the things I love the most is the language. We tend to think Latin is a dead tongue, and it might be dead, but not its siblings.

Romance languages are the direct descendants from Latin, and they still have so many similarities between them we can easily trace the relationship.

French

The love language, or so they say. I must admit French is a bit different from the rest, the spelling diverges dramatically from the rest of romance languages. It is spoken in France, Canada, Northern Africa and the French Polynesia among other places. The beauty of French sounds is incredible, and the literature and culture in French immense.

Spanish

One of the most widely spoken languages in the world, Spanish is a diverse reality that started in the Cristian kingdoms of the old Castile, and got influenced of Arabian in Al-Andalus after that. Spanish is the language of America, with a higher number of speakers than English or French. Spanish is pure rhythm in its pronunciation.

Portuguese

The Portuguese conquistadors managed to stop the Spanish expansion claiming Brazil would speak Portuguese. When you compare Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, you really have a sense of how close the languages are and how many terms can be understood without effort once you speak any of them. Portuguese is a beautiful language that sounds very sweet.

Italian

I think I love the sound of italian because I feel they’re arrogant all the time 🙂 It’s very funny how when a Spaniard and an Italian get mixed, they might argue or become very good friends with one another. The Latin blood! Italian is the direct descendent of Latin and probably the closest to it. What I find the most interesting is that when an Italian learns Spanish, he or she sounds extremely close to Argentinian Spanish, which tells us a lot about how phonetics travel from one language to another.

Catalan

Spoken in Catalonia, Andorra, Valencia and the Balearic islands, I’ve found funny how in Valencia or Mallorca people claim they speak a different language. Catalan also has semi-official status in the city of Alghero, on the island of Sardinia, Italy. It seems the language evolution stopped somewhere between French and Spanish, despite the fact it evolved directly from Latin, we’ve all influenced each other in history. Catalonians are born bilingual, which is a great thing and something that opens their minds and prepares them for later language acquisition.

Romanian

This romance language seems to be the most unknown of all, probably as the number of speakers is not very big. It certainly sounds romance, but with a degree of eastern european accent and manners. Not in vain, human contacts affect languages dramatically. It is no coincidence that Romanians find so easy to learn any romance language quickly.

And now that we’ve seen these languages, which one do you speak or would like to learn?

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