What are the 10 Romance Languages?

list romantic languages

What are the 10 Romance Languages?

What are the 10 Romance Languages?

(Last Updated On: April 22, 2024)

Being romantic is a favorite subject of some people. People use the word romance in several ways as it relates to love. Simply, romance means falling in love or being in a romantic relationship. But when the same word is used with a capital R i.e. Romance it means that we are entering into the linguistic domain. It may look weird to some people but languages can also be Romantic. But the reality is that the meaning of Romance languages is very different from actual romance. Though, the history of Romance languages is very fascinating wide-reaching. After knowing about the Romance languages, many people are anxious and want to know what the romance languages are?

So, let’s explore this fascinating group of romance languages!

History and Origin

Romance languages, a collection of beautiful languages, refer to the set of lingoes based on Latin, the language of ancient Romans, from the Latin dialects widely spoken in the fifth century Rome known as Vulgar Latin. Latin, a language belonging to the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages, was the lingo of the Roman Empire; however, the classical Latin, as written by literati Cicero, was not commonly used in daily life. These languages include major languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and French, among others, and are spoken by about 670 million people.

Germanic languages, English speakers, and Spanish speakers are among the many who have been influenced by these lingoes. People in North and Latin America predominantly speak these national languages, but they also encompass a wide range of regional dialects, reflecting the diverse cultural heritage of these regions. Throughout Latin America, these lingoes have developed into separate languages with their own unique characteristics and variations.

The eighth centuries marked a crucial period when these lingoes began to take on different variations and conservative dialects, eventually evolving into separate languages. The expansion of the Roman Empire facilitated the spread of Vulgar Latin as a single, unified language spoken by a wide population. As the Empire declined, these lingoes spread to various regions, contributing to the development of popular languages like Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

Ethnologue, a resource cataloging languages worldwide, acknowledges the evolution of these lingoes into distinct and influential languages. Cajun French, spoken in North America, is one such example of a regional dialect that has maintained its ties to its roots. Despite the divergence into separate languages, there is still a connection among these Romance languages due to their shared history and Latin origins.

what are romance languages
romance language list

What is Vulgar Latin?

Roman people spoke and wrote their form of ‘graffiti.’ They used a language much less polished than what they used in their literature. Even the literati Cicero wrote plainly in personal correspondence. The simplified Latin language of the common Roman people is called Vulgar Latin. It is called so because Vulgar is an adjective in Latin for the modern word ‘crowd’. In simple words, it was the written language of the Roman people and it was much easier to understand. The soldiers took this lingo and it also interacted with the native languages and the language of later invaders, specifically the Moors and Germanic invasions, to produce this lingo throughout Europe and the Western world, the area which was once the Roman Empire. Although Latin had three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter), the individual languages have only two genders, i.e., masculine and feminine. Vulgar Latin has an incredible legacy in modern society. It has influenced many languages, particularly those within the Latin languages group, including the Romance languages such as Italian, Spanish, and the various other languages found in North and South America. The Ethnologue estimates that millions of people today speak languages derived from Vulgar Latin. Its impact is evident in the English language, which has borrowed extensively from Latin and other languages, as part of the Germanic language family, at least 10 times in the below paragraph. Check out our recent blog on Celtic languages to delve deeper into the linguistic connections influenced by Vulgar Latin.

Vulgar Latin, the spoken language of the Roman Empire, represents a crucial juncture in the evolution of Romance languages, laying the foundation for the linguistic diversity that characterizes much of Europe today. Vulgar Latin emerged as a colloquial form of Latin spoken by the common people of the Roman Empire, distinct from the formal, written Latin used by the elite. As the Roman Empire expanded and diversified, so too did Vulgar Latin, evolving into a multitude of regional dialects across the vast territories under Roman rule. These dialects incorporated influences from indigenous languages, resulting in linguistic variations that would later give rise to distinct Romance languages.

The transformation of Vulgar Latin into Romance languages occurred gradually over centuries, shaped by socio-political, cultural, and geographical factors. With the decline of the Roman Empire and the subsequent influx of Germanic tribes, Vulgar Latin underwent significant changes, leading to the emergence of distinct linguistic branches. In the Iberian Peninsula, Vulgar Latin evolved into Spanish and Portuguese, while in Gaul (present-day France), it gave rise to French. In Italy, Vulgar Latin developed into Italian, and in the Balkans, it laid the groundwork for Romanian.

The legacy of Vulgar Latin extends far beyond its historical context, influencing the linguistic landscapes of modern-day Europe and beyond. The Romance languages that emerged from Vulgar Latin—Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and others—now span continents, spoken by millions of people worldwide. These languages serve as pillars of cultural identity, heritage, and communication, shaping literature, art, music, and everyday discourse in diverse regions around the globe.

Moreover, Vulgar Latin’s influence is not limited to Romance languages alone. Elements of Vulgar Latin have permeated other language families, contributing to the lexical and grammatical richness of numerous languages. In English, for example, Latin-derived words and phrases are ubiquitous, reflecting the enduring impact of Latin on Western civilization.

Vulgar Latin represents a pivotal chapter in the linguistic history of Europe, laying the groundwork for the emergence of Romance languages and leaving an indelible mark on the cultural and linguistic landscapes of the continent. Through its transformation into diverse linguistic branches, Vulgar Latin continues to shape the identities and expressions of millions of people across the globe, underscoring the enduring power of language to unite, evolve, and enrich human experience.


What are the 10 romance languages?

Deciding what constitutes a language versus a dialect can be quite challenging as languages exist along a continuum rather than in distinct categories, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact number of Romance languages worldwide. While linguists may vary in their classifications, generally, there are approximately 35-45 Romance languages, spanning regions across Eastern and Western Europe. However, we’ll focus on the modern Romance languages spoken in various geographical locations. These encompass the official languages of countries like Italian and Spanish, spoken not only in their native regions but also in South America by millions of native speakers. Additionally, languages like Portuguese, which extends its influence beyond Latin America into Equatorial Guinea, and Romanian, found in Eastern Europe, are attractive languages spoken by both native and non-native speakers. The Slavic languages, known for their double consonants and diverse dialects, represent a significant linguistic group in European and American countries. The Japanese language, with its unique characters and cultural significance, remains dominant in Japan while attracting learners globally through programs like Rosetta Stone. Within African countries, a multitude of languages are spoken, some of which are considered dead languages while others, like Cape Verdean Creole, thrive. Foreign names and linguistic diversity further enrich the linguistic landscape, especially within multinational entities like the European Union.


The linguistic history of Romanian is marked by a series of historical, cultural, and linguistic influences. While Latin provided the foundation of Romanian vocabulary and grammar, the language underwent significant changes due to interactions with neighboring peoples and languages. Romanian absorbed lexical borrowings from Slavic languages, particularly during the migration and settlement of Slavic tribes in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Additionally, Romanian incorporated words and expressions from Greek, Turkish, Hungarian, and other languages, reflecting the multicultural and multilingual environment of the region.

During the Middle Ages, Romanian experienced further linguistic development through contact with neighboring Romance-speaking regions, such as Italy and France. Italian merchants and craftsmen brought new words and expressions into Romanian, while French cultural influence left its mark on Romanian aristocratic and intellectual circles. As a result, Romanian vocabulary expanded and diversified, enriching the language with literary, scientific, and artistic terminology.

In the 19th century, Romanian underwent a process of standardization and modernization, culminating in the establishment of a unified literary language based on the dialect spoken in the region of Wallachia. This standardization effort, spearheaded by Romanian intellectuals and linguists, aimed to create a unified national language that would foster cultural cohesion and national identity. The publication of Romanian dictionaries, grammar books, and literary works contributed to the codification and promotion of the Romanian language as a symbol of Romanian national identity.

Today, Romanian serves as the official language of Romania and the Republic of Moldova, with millions of speakers worldwide. It is a vibrant and dynamic language, reflecting the cultural richness, linguistic diversity, and historical continuity of the Romanian people. From its Latin roots to its Slavic, Greek, and Turkish influences, Romanian embodies the complex interplay of languages, cultures, and civilizations that have shaped the history of the region. As a Romance language with a rich heritage and a vibrant present, Romanian continues to evolve and adapt, forging connections across borders and preserving the legacy of Romance languages in the modern world.

The only difference between Vulgar Latin and this lingo was the change of unstressed ‘o’ with ‘u’. For example, the name of the country Romania becomes Rumania and the language Romanian becomes Rumanian. In Eastern Europe, Romania is the only country where people speak Romantic languages. During the time of Romans, Dacians may speak the Thracian language for some time. But Romans defeated them and Romanian was again spoken by language soldiers.


In the Italic Peninsula, the native language emerged from a further simplification of Vulgar Latin. The Italian language has the status of an official language in San Marino and Switzerland. It also belongs to the Indo-European language family. English speakers often refer to Italian, which has about 67 million language speakers. In the 12th to 13th century, the vernacular spoken in Tuscany became the standard written language, now known as Italian . English speakers recognize it as one of the Italic languages. In the 19th century, Italian was a language that formed the basis of its written version.


The language of Romans completely supplanted the indigenous languages of the Iberian Peninsula, rendering them obsolete. During the Roman conquest of the area in the third century B.C.E., Latin emerged as the prestigious language. Consequently, it became imperative for the Roman ruler of Lusitania to adopt and promote it. Gradually, the language spoken by the people along the western coast of the peninsula evolved into Galician – Portuguese. However, when Galicia became integrated into Spain, it led to the linguistic divergence of these two groups. In the fifteenth century, colonial empires facilitated the global dissemination of Portuguese, spreading it to diverse continents, contributing significantly to its prevalence among Portuguese speakers worldwide. Additionally, the prominence of Portuguese as one of the national languages, along with the persistent influence of the Greek language, underlines its lasting impact on various cultures and regions across the globe.

10 romance languages
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When the Romans were conquering the area and made it a Roman province, Gallaecia, the area had inhabitants of Celts. This is how the native Celtic language has links with Vulgar Italian. Germanic invaders also have an impact on this lingo since the 2nd-century B.C.E.

During the Middle Ages, Galician emerged as a distinct language, influenced by the linguistic diversity of the region and the cultural exchanges between the Christian kingdoms of the north and the Muslim-ruled territories of the south. Galician flourished as a literary language during the medieval period, producing a rich corpus of epic poetry, lyrical verse, and religious literature. The Galician-Portuguese troubadours, known as the trovadores, played a pivotal role in shaping the poetic tradition of the Iberian Peninsula, with their verses celebrated for their beauty, complexity, and emotional depth.

However, with the unification of Spain in the 15th century and the centralization of political power in Castile, Galician gradually lost its status as a literary and administrative language, giving way to Spanish (Castilian) as the dominant language of culture and governance. Despite this decline, Galician persisted as a spoken language among the rural population of Galicia, preserving its distinct linguistic features and regional identity.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Galician experienced a revival as part of the broader Galician cultural renaissance known as the Rexurdimento. Galician intellectuals, writers, and poets sought to reclaim and promote the language as a symbol of Galician identity and cultural heritage. The publication of Galician literature, newspapers, and journals played a crucial role in revitalizing the language and fostering a sense of linguistic pride and solidarity among Galician speakers.

Today, Galician holds official status alongside Spanish in the autonomous community of Galicia, where it is used in education, administration, media, and everyday communication. The Galician language continues to evolve and adapt, incorporating lexical borrowings from Spanish and other languages while retaining its distinct phonological, morphological, and syntactical features.

The history of the Galician language is a testament to the resilience, creativity, and cultural vitality of the Galician people. From its medieval origins as a literary language to its modern role as a vibrant expression of Galician identity, Galician embodies the rich linguistic heritage and regional diversity of the Iberian Peninsula. As a Romance language with a unique history and a promising future, Galician continues to inspire and unite speakers and enthusiasts alike, forging connections across borders and preserving the legacy of Romance languages in the contemporary world.


The Vulgar lingo from Spanish in the 3rd century has a simple version in various ways including the matter with limits to only subject and object. In 711, Arabic came to Spain, whose Latin term was Hispania via the moors. And as a result, we can find Arabic similarity in the modern language. French and Spanish are visibly different but there is still enough mutual intelligibility in them.


Catalan is the tongue of people living in Catalonia, Andorra, Valencia, the Balearic Isles, and some other small regions. It is the official language of Andorra and semi-official of three other communities in eastern Spain. In the area of Catalonia, people speak Vulgar Latin but it influences the southern Gauls in the 8th century. By the 8th century, the situation was very difficult. Therefore, later it became a distinct language in the 10th century. It has about 4.1 million native speakers and it has standard forms also.

The origins of Catalan can be traced back to the medieval period, when it emerged as a distinct linguistic variety within the broader Romance language family. Influenced by Latin, Arabic, and other languages spoken in the Iberian Peninsula, Catalan developed its own unique phonological, morphological, and lexical features. During the Catalan Golden Age (13th-15th centuries), Catalan experienced a period of flourishing literary and cultural production, with Catalan troubadours composing lyric poetry and epic tales, and Catalan scholars making significant contributions to literature, philosophy, and science.

Throughout its history, Catalan has been intertwined with the political and cultural developments of the Catalan-speaking territories. The emergence of the Principality of Catalonia as a political and economic powerhouse in the Mediterranean facilitated the spread of Catalan culture and language throughout the region. However, Catalan also faced challenges, particularly during the Francoist dictatorship in Spain, when its use was restricted and attempts were made to suppress Catalan language and culture in favor of Spanish nationalism. Despite these efforts, Catalan persisted as a symbol of regional identity and resistance, with clandestine publications and cultural activities keeping the language alive.

Since the transition to democracy in Spain in the late 20th century, Catalan has experienced a revival and renaissance. The establishment of autonomous governments in Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands has led to increased support for Catalan language and culture, with Catalan being used in education, media, administration, and everyday communication. Additionally, the Catalan language has gained recognition internationally, with organizations such as UNESCO recognizing it as an important component of world cultural heritage.

Today, Catalan continues to thrive as a vibrant and dynamic language, spoken by millions of people across the Catalan-speaking territories. It serves as a symbol of regional identity, cultural pride, and linguistic diversity, embodying the rich heritage and complex history of the Catalan people. As a Romance language with a distinct literary tradition and cultural legacy, Catalan continues to inspire and unite speakers and enthusiasts alike, forging connections across borders and preserving the legacy of Romance languages in the modern world.


French speakers are present in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Europe. The Romans in the Gallic Wars under Julius Caesar brought Latin to Gaul in the 1st century B.C.E. At that time, they were speaking a lingo called Gaulish. But then Germanic franks invaded in the early 5th century. And by the time of Charlemagne, the French language was already extinct from Vulgar Latin and has the name, Old French.


Rhaetian dialects were also known as Rhaeto-Romance languages is a group of romance dialects spoken in Switzerland and northern Italy. The two most important dialects of this lingo are Sursilvan and Sutsilvan. These two constitute the main dialects of the Romansh language. Front-round vowel characteristics of the Gallo romance were different from the Rhaeto-Romance languages front-round vowels.


In linguistic history, Sardinian is the tongue of Sardinians on the Western Mediterranean island of Sardinia. Many linguists consider it together with Italian and similar to Latin among all other descendants of Latin. It is the native tongue of Italy and has around 1.0-1.3 million speakers according to the consensus of 2016. Linguists already know about the origin of this lingo is a Romance language.

The origins of Sardinian can be traced back to the Latin spoken by the Roman colonists who settled the island in ancient times. Over the centuries, Latin evolved into Vulgar Latin, the spoken language of the common people, which formed the basis for the Romance languages. Sardinian developed as a distinct linguistic branch within the Romance language family, characterized by its unique phonological, morphological, and lexical features.

Throughout its history, Sardinian has been influenced by various linguistic, cultural, and historical factors. The island’s strategic location in the Mediterranean made it a crossroads of civilizations, with successive waves of invaders, settlers, and traders leaving their mark on Sardinian language and culture. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, and Arabs all left linguistic and cultural legacies that enriched the linguistic landscape of Sardinia.

During the Middle Ages, Sardinian experienced further linguistic development through contact with neighboring Italian and Catalan-speaking regions. Italian influence, in particular, left its mark on Sardinian vocabulary, syntax, and phonology, while Catalan influence is evident in the dialects spoken in the northern part of the island.

In the modern era, Sardinian has faced challenges from Italianization policies and the dominance of Standard Italian as the official language of Italy. However, efforts to promote and preserve Sardinian language and culture have led to a revival of interest in Sardinian literature, music, and arts, as well as initiatives to teach Sardinian in schools and universities.

Today, Sardinian remains a vital and vibrant part of the cultural heritage of the island, spoken by hundreds of thousands of people across Sardinia. It serves as a symbol of regional identity and pride, reflecting the rich linguistic diversity and cultural complexity of Sardinia. As a Romance language with a unique history and heritage, Sardinian continues to inspire and unite speakers and enthusiasts alike, forging connections across generations and preserving the legacy of Romance languages in the contemporary world.


Among the vast majority of ancient languages, Ladino is also one. It has another name Judaeo-Spanish because it has origin from Old Spanish. In the start, the people of Spain were its only speakers, but currently, it is the tongue of different nations. Although, it has no official status in any country, therefore, it is among the minority languages. This lingo has very few speakers i.e. around 60,000 according to the research of 2017.

Ladino is primarily based on medieval Spanish, with significant influences from Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, Greek, and other languages spoken in the regions where Sephardic Jews settled. Over time, Ladino developed into a distinct linguistic variety, characterized by its archaic Spanish vocabulary, Semitic and Turkic loanwords, and unique grammatical features.

During the Ottoman period, Ladino flourished as a written and spoken language, serving as the primary means of communication among Sephardic Jewish communities in the Balkans, Anatolia, and North Africa. Ladino literature, including poetry, folk tales, religious texts, and newspapers, thrived during this time, reflecting the cultural and intellectual richness of Sephardic Jewish life.

However, the 20th century brought significant challenges to Ladino-speaking communities, including migration, assimilation, and the Holocaust. As Sephardic Jews moved to Western Europe, the Americas, and Israel, Ladino gradually declined as a spoken language, replaced by the dominant languages of their new countries. The Holocaust dealt a devastating blow to Ladino culture, with many Ladino-speaking communities in Europe decimated by persecution and genocide.

Despite these challenges, efforts to preserve and revitalize Ladino have emerged in recent decades. Scholars, linguists, and cultural activists have worked to document and archive Ladino texts, recordings, and oral traditions, ensuring that this rich linguistic and cultural heritage is not lost to future generations. Ladino language courses, cultural festivals, and educational programs have also been established in various countries, fostering a renewed interest in Ladino among Sephardic Jews and the wider public.

Today, Ladino serves as a symbol of Sephardic Jewish identity and heritage, connecting Jews around the world to their roots in medieval Spain and the vibrant multicultural world of the Ottoman Empire. As a living language with a rich literary and cultural tradition, Ladino continues to inspire pride, resilience, and cultural preservation among Sephardic Jews, ensuring that the legacy of Ladino remains alive for generations to come.

bangandu history


In exploring the intricate world of Romance languages, we uncover not just a linguistic tapestry but a profound testament to the evolution of cultures and histories. The journey from Vulgar Latin to the array of languages now known as Romance is a testament to the vibrant influence of the ancient Romans and their expansive empire. These languages, from Spanish and Italian to Portuguese and French, weave a narrative of divergence and convergence, shaped by invasions, conquests, and cultural amalgamations over centuries. Their origins in Vulgar Latin reveal a linguistic legacy that permeates modern society, influencing not just the Romance languages themselves but also diverse tongues across continents.

The diversity within the umbrella of Romance languages, comprising approximately 35 to 45 distinct tongues, reflects the rich tapestry of human expression and communication. From Romanian’s unique transformation of Latin to Italian’s emergence from the vernacular spoken in Tuscany, each language bears the marks of historical influences, conquests, and linguistic adaptations.

Yet, beyond the well-known Spanish or French, lie lesser-known treasures like Rhaeto-Romanic, Ladino, and Sardinian, each carrying within its syntax and phonetics a story of resilience and cultural identity. These languages, spoken by fewer individuals, serve as guardians of unique linguistic heritages, reminding us of the wealth of diversity within the human experience.

In essence, the Romance languages are not just a group of linguistic descendants from Latin but a living testament to the ever-evolving nature of languages, showcasing how human societies adapt, evolve, and thrive through the lens of communication. Through their intricacies and connections, these languages offer a glimpse into the tapestry of human history, reminding us of the profound beauty and complexity encapsulated within the realm of linguistics.

In conclusion, Romance languages stand as a testament to the enduring legacy of Vulgar Latin and the intricate interplay of historical, cultural, and linguistic forces. From the colloquial speech of the Roman Empire emerged a diverse array of languages—Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and others—that now span continents and serve as pillars of cultural identity and communication for millions of people worldwide. The evolution of Romance languages reflects the dynamic nature of language, shaped by centuries of socio-political transformations, cultural exchanges, and geographic influences. Today, Romance languages continue to evolve and adapt, enriching global discourse and connecting people across borders. Through their rich literary traditions, vibrant cultures, and everyday expressions, Romance languages embody the resilience, creativity, and diversity of human communication, underscoring the profound impact of language on shaping our shared human experience.

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