Talk:Romance languages

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Please add IPA to the written samples[edit]

Hi. Just wanted to ask someone to add pronunciation in IPA for the charts, otherwise an uninformed reader might not be able to understand how the modern languages are similar or different. Based only on written forms one could think they're still very similar, since all their spellings are based on Latin, even though pronunciation has changed a great deal.

they sound very different from each other but each language has a lot of different accents. for examples, if you put ipa charts for european spanish and european portuguese, they would sound alike. if you would put ipa charts for brazilian portuguese and european spanish or even chilean spanish they would sound very differently.

Angola and Mozambique missing[edit]

Angola and Mozambique are missing from the Romance-language distribution map.

Missing languages[edit]

The language tree in the article is missing Megleno-Romanian and Istro-Romanian.

For experts on French vowels[edit]

The section about phonology says: French, on the other hand, now allows all 12 of its phonemic vowels to occur either stressed or unstressed. French standard pronunciation has 12 oral vowels (ɛ e i œ ø y ɔ o u ɑ a ə), plus 4 nasal vowels (ɛ̃ œ̃ ɔ̃ ɑ̃). Of the former only eleven can be stressed, ə cannot. If we use a reduced vowel system, with three common mergers found possibly a majority of speakers (ø/ə, ɑ/a, ɛ̃/œ̃), we're left with altogether 13 phonems, all of which could be stressed and unstressed. Now, either I'm missing something, or the sentence cited must be changed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.206.140.186 (talk) 21:00, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

I don't regard myself as an "expert on French vowels", but here are my thoughts on the matter. I agree with your concerns, and indeed I can see further reasons for being doubtful about the statement you quote. Any use of the word "stressed" in a phonological sense is questionable, as the accent in French is primarily a tonic one, not a stress one. The meaning of the word "phonemic" is unclear, too. Is the author of the sentence indicating that there are some which are non-phonemic, and that they cannot be "stressed", and if so, which? The reduced vowel system that you describe is certainly common in present-day colloquial French, and if the author of the sentence regards "ə" as non-phonemic, then the sentence is explained, but, even if we take "French...now" as meaning present-day colloquial French, rather than standard French, it is unclear that it is justifiable to regard "ə" as non-phonemic. While it is possible to argue that in English ə is merely a weakened non-phonemic version of several phonemic vowels, that view is not tenable in French, where words such as je and menée unambiguously contain the vowel ə, and substituting any other vowel produces a form which is not recognised in French. If we do accept the word "stressed", what exactly counts as a "stressed" vowel? If it means the vowel of the accented syllable of a word of more than one syllable, then I can't think of any situation in which the vowel ə could be "stressed". It is possible to take the view that the sole vowel of a monosyllable is "stressed", which could justify the statement in the article. However, monosyllables with the vowel ə are usually weak and unambiguously unstressed, the vowel often being completely elided in colloquial French.
The conclusion of these thoughts is that, whichever way one looks at it, the quoted statement is at best dubious. I propose to replace it with a statement that French allows all vowels other than ə to occur in an accented syllable. If anyone can think of a better version than that, then that will be great. JamesBWatson (talk) 12:40, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
I now see that the paragraph after the one in question refers to "a more-or-less non-phonemic final unstressed [ə] that occasionally appears". This appears to be a reference to the fact that a word such as "chante" may be pronounced as /ʃɑ̃tə/ in some contexts, such as when reading verse. However, while it is reasonable to regard such a fleeting final ə, which is not normally pronounced in modern French, as non-phonemic, that does not in any way diminish the fact that ə is unambiguously phonemic in some other contexts. JamesBWatson (talk) 12:53, 24 January 2014 (UTC)
I think I wrote that text. The "all 12" is referring to the 12 oral vowels, and should be changed accordingly. As to whether /ǝ/ can be stressed, it is claimed that it can, it phrases like faites-le "do it". The vowel when stressed has a pronunciation similar to [ø] and arguably should be considered to actually be /ø/, but I'm pretty sure that the article on French in Harris and Vincent still considers it to be /ǝ/ in this context and specifically states that it can be stressed.
Also, I wonder whether there really is a general merger of /ǝ/ and /ø/ in anyone's speech. In words like peser /pǝze/ vs. creuser /cʁøze/, do the vowels really merge? Benwing (talk) 05:29, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I hope the OP meant ø~œ. —Tamfang (talk) 08:31, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Hmm. Is the ə in "faites-le" accented? I suppose it probably is. If so, then I see no grounds for making any exception at all to the principle that any vowel can be accented. Since we are now told that "phonemic vowels" was intended to mean "oral vowels", presumably in contrast to nasal vowels, then I cannot think of any reason whatsoever why the distinction was made. In "patron", for example, the final nasal vowel is just as much accented as any non-nasal vowel. The editor who uses the pseudonym "JamesBWatson" (talk) 20:24, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
It's not accented with default prosody. If you wanted to stress it, you'd probably substitute it with something like ça, wouldn't you? — kwami (talk) 04:45, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
If you wanted to stress it, yes, but I'm not so sure about the default situation. However, in the context of the statement in the article which is the subject of this discussion, I'm not sure that it matters whether it's default prosody or not: what matters is whether it can ever be accented. I am not a native speaker of French, and it's quite a while since I was last among French speakers, but I am almost certain that I have sometimes heard expressions of the "faites-le" type with the rising tone on the last syllable which is the typical French prosodic stress. However, I have enough doubt about it to be ready to bow to the superior knowledge of anyone who knows better than I do. The editor who uses the pseudonym "JamesBWatson" (talk) 10:59, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
A few thoughts: (1) I'm working on an MA thesis on French pronunciation, and [ǝ] can definitely be stressed in expressions such as the aforementioned faites-le as well as when used as a follow-up question. For example, if a person says something like J'aime le [indistinct word], the way way the interlocutor most commonly asks for the missing or misunderstood word is simply Le?. (2) As to the question of whether /ǝ/ and /ø/ are actually merged (as in the above example peser /pǝze/ vs. creuser /cʁøze/, I've heard it more often realized as the open [œ] than the closed [ø], although in some varieties of French (notably Quebec French), this merger cannot be said to have occurred at all. Even so, the colloquial deletion of unstressed /œ/ in expressions such as peut-être has led some researchers, such as those organizing the Projet Phonology du Français Contemporain[1], to treat /œ/ and /ǝ/ as one and the same. (3) I think there is something to be said for the questionable phonemicity of French schwa in any case; the argument could be made that from a phonetico-phonological point of view, schwa in modern French is really nothing more than an epenthetic vowel inserted as needed to avoid clusters of more than two consonants—so words like je /ʒǝ/ are really underlyingly just /ʒ/. (Or alternatively, it's nothing more than an inherent vowel that attaches to all consonants and is deleted whenever possible.) In any case though, the research for this is probably not well-known or accepted enough to be uncontroversially included in a Wikipedia article. Andrew John Bayles (talk) 22:18, 27 May 2014 (UTC)

Uberian?[edit]

A language or dialect called "Uberian" was added to the list of samples on 26 January 2014, anonymously by "92.4.172.2". Can someone please supply two verifiable sources to show that this is not a misspelling or a fictitious dialect? Kotabatubara (talk) 16:33, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Problem solved. Uberia is a country on an elaborate fictitious planet that J. R. R. Tolkien or Jorge Luis Borges would have appreciated, but which doesn't belong in a factual encyclopedia. If you like this sort of thing, see <http://gaeawiki.com/index.php?title=Main_Page> and <http://gaeawiki.com/index.php?title=Languages_of_Uberia>. Kotabatubara (talk) 17:14, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Given the number of languages spoken in Europe Uberia, the amount of dialect variation reflected in those edits is surprisingly small. —Tamfang (talk) 10:03, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
To be precise, the fictitious language was first added to the article on 25 January by 92.4.160.100, and subsequently edited by several IP addresses in the 92.4.x.x range from then to 29 January. The editor who uses the pseudonym "JamesBWatson" (talk) 11:19, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I've just deleted the fictitious "Sarvarian" from the list of "Samples". It was inserted by one "92.4.167.180", indicating the same (?) geographical source as January's "Uberian". The only "Sarvarian" I found on the Web was a personal surname. In the language sample, six of the seven words were spelled the same as in the sample of "Uberian". Kotabatubara (talk) 21:05, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

Misplaced sentence[edit]

The sentence "Some modern languages, such as French, have similar, quite sharp, differences between their printed and spoken form." occurs as the last sentence in the middle paragraph of the section History ... Vulgar Latin. It seems to have tunneled there from some unknown home. The words "similar... differences" have no referent: they aren't being discussed in this paragraph or section. I don't know enough about the subject to correct it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by JohnOFL (talkcontribs) 19:21, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

I would suggest that the sentence could be deleted without diminishing the article. Kotabatubara (talk) 23:42, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Hearing no objection, I have deleted the sentence, as I threatened 12 days ago. Kotabatubara (talk) 16:00, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Doubtful map[edit]

The map "Romance languages in Europe in the 21st century" is obviously a historical map, and not at all a map "of 21st century". It includes some errors aswell, as Baskian language isn't a Roman language. To my knowlegde it isn't related to any other language. Also Hungarian (which neither is a Roman language) is a minority language in Romania, but in Transylvanis often a majority language. Boeing720 (talk) 20:03, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Well, for the Basque country, the map gives us "Roman language co-official and used by the majority", which is, no doubt, correct.
For Transsylvania we find "significant non-Romance language usage or bilingual". Also correct, I should say.
I find the map astonishingly accurate. I wished we had more of the kind. Unoffensive text or character (talk) 15:15, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

There shouldn't be any blue on the England map. If we talk about 21st century... French might have been used in a distant past by a tiny part of the nobility, England speaks only english, a germanic language. the same for the flemish part of Belgium. French used to be a nobility lingua france in most of Europe, not only in England. The map seem to imply that England is somehow parlty romance speaking, which is not at all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.19.205.121 (talk) 09:59, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

A 'nobility lingua' in England like in most of Europe ? I do not think so. It depends when. French / Anglo-Norman were spoken by the middle class as well to the 13th / 14th century at least. That is the reason why a large part of the original Anglo-Saxon words were simply replaced by their French equivalent (OE earm / Norman paur > poor, etc.) or used in a secondary meaning (boil / seethe ; animal / OE deor > deer, etc.), such replacements can only be explained by a situation of bilinguism. This situation is unique in Europe, where the French words are only related to cultural or philosophical activities. In English, the French words concern all the different aspects of daily life.Nortmannus (talk) 11:25, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
It is quite significant that in the sample chosen to compare the different Romance languages, the two verbs contains in the English equivalent sentence are both from French.Nortmannus (talk) 11:50, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
Please explain: Yes, English sentences often include words of Romance origin; but why is that "quite significant" in an encyclopedia article that is about the Romance languages, and not about English? Kotabatubara (talk) 15:32, 21 June 2014 (UTC)
England is light blue for the simple reason that there was 'significant unofficial / historic usage of a Romance language'. Even if this significant usage took place in the middle ages, the statement is still correct.Unoffensive text or character (talk) 11:13, 24 June 2014 (UTC)

"Romantique"?[edit]

What is "Romantique"? The list of samples has been "embellished" in the past by fictitious languages ("Uberian" and "Sarvarian"—see above). Is "Romantique" another one of these? Or is it one of the "auxiliary and constructed languages" that this article refers to as "so-called 'neo-romantic [sic] languages'"? And speaking of the latter, is there no other source citation available for them than the quasi-racist Eurocentric webpage to which this article is linked at present? Kotabatubara (talk) 18:23, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

If you search the Web for "Romantique language", you get only pages where the two words fall together by accident, or blogs written in "Franglais" by English-speakers who have learned a little French and are confused about the difference between the Romance languages and "romantic language". If you think I have deleted it in error, please give documentation here. Kotabatubara (talk) 01:16, 3 August 2014 (UTC)

Dalby[edit]

What's with the prominent use of Dalby's classification on this and related pages? And the "reference" used is a link to the general page that has no proper links to the (supposed) content, which makes these claims unverifiable at present. --JorisvS (talk) 14:35, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

If no one can explain this, I may go on deleting some things as "failed verification". --JorisvS (talk) 15:54, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
If you can't fix it, DO NOT delete anything. If you want to do anything constructive, you may export the link I verified here into Western Romance languages, ref. 2. Many thanks. Eklir (talk) 18:44, 7 December 2014 (UTC)
If verification has failed, it is essentially unsourced and can therefore be challenged. WP:BURDEN tells that the burden of evidence is on the editor who adds or restores material, not on the one deleting it. I'd rather find out on the talk page, though. That's why I came here. However, no one responded and that's why I told about my intention if it were to remain that way. Thanks for adding it. --JorisvS (talk) 19:00, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

(1) This is not a case of "failed verification": you didn't know what to do with the home page to Dalby's classification of languages; (2) To verify a source, no internet link is required in the first place: most sources in linguistics do not have a www page; (3) If verification had really failed, the whole paragraph following the "Dalby lists...", eight lines all in all (as it is the whole classification into 8 branches), would have been to be deleted: which would have been a clear case where an alternate solution to deletion MUST be provided (unless you don't know enough about linguistics in which case a "[not specific enough to verify]", if at all, would have been amply sufficient). Best, Eklir (talk) 19:40, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

A home page is never a good source/link, unless it itself would contain the information sourced. Sources should be specific, otherwise it is may be essentially undistinguishable from OR by other editors. So I tagged it (yes, I did, though I admit it would have been clearer outside the <ref></ref>) and came here. No one responded for nearly two months. And only if I threaten to delete things, someone (you) comes here. Why didn't you come here after my first post and solved it then? --JorisvS (talk) 10:33, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
(1) You're confusing "unsourced" (which must fail verification) and "underspecified" (which needs to be specified, not deleted). (2) I came here by chance. Unfortunately, I don't have just that to do: Preventing you from deleting paragraphs that sport an underspecified reference note. You have to live with the fact that problems you earmark for solution most often won't get solved within two months. Eklir (talk) 04:14, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
If a source is "underspecified" it may be essentially indistinguishable from "unsourced", because the information may not be found. Anyway, thanks to my second post it now has been fixed, which is what matters. --JorisvS (talk) 11:03, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Your're really out on wasting my time: "underspecified" is always distinguishable from "unsourced". You just were not clever enough to fix it yourself though your record would indicate that you could do better than that. You cannot always rely on the chance that an expert will patrol your way to fix things subito presto. Anyway, let me be absolutely crystal clear on what is at issue. Your unwarranted action would have entailed the disappearance of the following material without anyone compensating for the loss of information:

Dalby lists 23 based on mutual intelligibility:

Believe me that, ultimately, I or someone else would have got around to get your deletion frenzy sanctioned. Eklir (talk) 18:02, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

You could just stop responding, if you think I'm wasting your time, because the issue has been fixed. I tried to find it, of course. Back then I failed, though a recent attempt was somehow easily successful. Maybe there was a bug in the website that has been fixed? I wasn't asking for an expert, just someone who could help out. Reverting would, of course, have been fine, because I wouldn't have liked to delete it anyway, though hopefully with the intended fix. --JorisvS (talk) 18:17, 9 December 2014 (UTC)
Glad to hear of your good intentions hopefully garanteeing the future. Best, Eklir (talk) 19:25, 9 December 2014 (UTC)

South America[edit]

This article is not the place for Spanish and Portuguese to settle the squabble about "Who's Number One in South America?" Population figures vary by source and year, and the margin is too fuzzy to be set with a precise figure like "49%"—and besides, it's contradictory to say "approximately" in conjunction with such precision. Since the paragraph is about official status, nation by nation, we might (jokingly) say instead that Spanish is an official language in 69% of the 13 countries of South America. Kotabatubara (talk) 22:17, 24 May 2015 (UTC)