language close to spanish

Which Language is Closest to Spanish

(Last Updated On: December 16, 2020)

Romance Languages; The Origin

Who would’ve known that romance could be associated with a certain lingo, let alone give them the name of romance languages? Well, guess that’s the beauty of it and the number of speakers who enjoy conversing in it day and night. All romance languages were originally derived from Vulgar Latin. Vulgar Latin, Sermo Vulgaris, or Common Romance simply translates into Common Latin. The common Latin words used after the classical period of the Roman Empire. Romance languages are also called Latin or Neo-Latin languages. The same reason why all of these languages have Vulgar Latin words, examples, or terms still used to date. What language is Closest to Spanish?

The top five romance languages which are spoken worldwide include Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Romanian. More than 900 million people speakers of romance languages are scattered around the world according to Wikipedia. Most of them are Americans, Europeans, and Africans.

Among these, Spanish is the one that is similar to many languages including Portuguese. For example, the term defenestrar is found in both languages and means “to throw through a window”. Similarly, the word cear from Portuguese is almost the same in meaning as the Spanish term Cenar, and Italian Cenare meaning “to have a late supper”. Both these terms have Latin roots.

Here, it is essential to remember that due to a large number of Romance languages, they are categorized into various families and subfamilies. Sardinian Balcone is derived from Old Italian which can be traced back to romance languages such as French balcon, Portuguese balcão , Romanian balcon , Spanish balcón , Catalan balcó, and Corsican balconi.

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language similar to spanish
language most similar to spanish

Latin America, The Land Of Romance Languages

If you are squinting your eyes at this statement, let us bypass its contents. Spanish is one of the top five romance languages. And it is not just the official language of Spain. There are almost two dozen Spanish-speaking countries. And the list contains almost all Latin American countries.

The prevalence of the Spanish language and the abundance of Spanish speakers in the region is the result of the historical conquest and colonization of Spain and Portuguese in the 18th century. In some countries, the dialect is even so similar that when the residents speak, they sound exactly the same. Some words have the same pronunciation while some of them are different.

Even in countries like Brazil, which are powerhouses of the economy for Latin America, Portuguese is the official language which is closely associated with Spanish and both have similar usages and terms.

The Romance Languages English Speakers Can Easily Learn

If you are fascinated by the sound of romance languages and would like to give them a try, you must know that learning is a process that takes time, patience, and of course, a commitment to overcome any possible difficulty that may come your way. Learning a new language is no different, however, we have found a way to make it easier.

According to the US Foreign Service Institute, there are some official languages that are linguistically closer to English, and therefore, they are easier for English speakers to learn.

And the one that tops the list is none other than Spanish, yes, the one that comes from our amigos in Spain. It’s time for all you Americans to gear up and learn some Spanish, after all, you just can’t live the rest of your lives by greeting your Spanish friends by simply saying Hola and Gracias. English speakers living in the US can benefit greatly from learning Spanish.

The second on the list is Portuguese, spoken throughout Brazil. Spanish and Portuguese top the list because they are both well understood by Spanish speakers in Spain and all around the world. And it may not come as a surprise to you as Portuguese is very similar to Spanish. In fact, many Portuguese terms and Spanish cognates have exactly similar meanings.

Next on the list is French but some linguists argue on that one as they consider Italian to be more like Spanish than French. Now you might be wondering, which one should I learn?

We can tell you this bit though, people love to learn French, Portuguese and Italian but they always learn Spanish first because Spanish and Portuguese are very similar in many ways.

languages most similar to spanish
Which language is closest to Spanish

Which language is closest to Spanish? Portuguese, Italian, or French?

Hmmm, that’s a tricky one. It can really turn into a nasty debate if you are sitting with a Latin expert or a history professor who has read so many books on the origin of romance languages that he can write his own book now. But the truth is, the Language most similar to Spanish is not a single one, but three. Portuguese, Italian and French are all considered the most similar to the lingo of people in Spain.

What’s even more surprising that cognates of all these 4 languages are intertwined and used interchangeably on multiple occasions. These are even classified in the same category in subfamilies of romance languages. The Italo-Western group, the largest group contains Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French. These languages are spoken by millions in their own countries, for instance, in Portugal, a population of 10 million native speakers are Portuguese speaking, and this doesn’t include the people that live outside the country. Here, it is important to keep in mind that Portuguese is also the official language of Brazil and six African countries including Cape Verde, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea.

65 million people of the world population speak Italian, the official language of the European country, Italy. Italian and Sardinia are the closest to Latin. But Italian is also spoken as a minority language outside of Italy and Switzerland. Immigrant communities in America and Australia speak Italian too. But still, if you want to learn it and you are an English speaker, it’s going to be easier for you, even easier, if you have spent time with native speakers in a Latin American, European, or African country.

Speaking of similarities, Spanish and Portuguese are very similar because they both have the same grammar, vocabulary, accent and a Spanish speaker can understand Portuguese without any difficulty. Italian, on the other hand, has a very similar pronunciation to Spanish. The grammar and vocabulary, however, are different in both linguistics but Spanish speakers can still understand Italian easier comparatively. On the topic of French, different groups have different opinions, some say that despite having some similar words, French has a different pronunciation. The grammar and vocabulary aren’t close to Spanish. Even the French accent is unique.

As mentioned above, these are all intertwined, for example, the French cognate fenêtre, Italian Finestra, means Skylight and slit whereas the Portuguese word Fresta means window. There are many other examples in which similar words have different meanings than the cognates from which they came into existence.

Which language is closest to Spanish? Portuguese, Italian, or French?

Hmmm, that’s a tricky one. It can really turn into a nasty debate if you are sitting with a Latin expert or a history professor who has read so many books on the origin of romance languages that he can write his own book now. But the truth is, the Language most similar to Spanish is not a single one, but three. Portuguese, Italian and French are all considered the most similar to the lingo of people in Spain.

What’s even more surprising that cognates of all these 4 languages are intertwined and used interchangeably on multiple occasions. These are even classified in the same category in subfamilies of romance languages. The Italo-Western group, the largest group contains Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French. These languages are spoken by millions in their own countries, for instance, in Portugal, a population of 10 million native speakers are Portuguese speaking, and this doesn’t include the people that live outside the country. Here, it is important to keep in mind that Portuguese is also the official language of Brazil and six African countries including Cape Verde, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea.

65 million people of the world population speak Italian, the official language of the European country, Italy. Italian and Sardinian are the closest to Latin. But Italian is also spoken as a minority language outside of Italy and Switzerland. Immigrant communities in America and Australia speak Italian too. But still, if you want to learn it and you are an English speaker, it’s going to be easier for you, even easier, if you have spent time with native speakers in a Latin American, European, or African country.

Speaking of similarities, Spanish and Portuguese are very similar because they both have the same grammar, vocabulary, accent and a Spanish speaker can understand Portuguese without any difficulty. Italian, on the other hand, has a very similar pronunciation to Spanish. The grammar and vocabulary, however, are different in both linguistics but Spanish speakers can still understand Italian easier comparatively. On the topic of French, different groups have different opinions, some say that despite having some similar words, French has a different pronunciation. The grammar and vocabulary aren’t close to Spanish. Even the French accent is unique.

As mentioned above, these are all intertwined, for example, the French cognate fenêtre, Italian Finestra, means Skylight and slit whereas the Portuguese word Fresta means window. There are many other examples in which similar words have different meanings than the cognates from which they came into existence.

languages closest to spanish

Why Do Some Romance Languages Sound So Different Than Latin?

Some of these sound so different because they originated from vulgar Latin which was spoken by the uneducated native speakers of the Roman Empire. It must also be noted that just like modern slang, the linguistic variation comes from the surroundings. Albanian, Romanian, Porto Italian, and Aromanian are the languages that emerged from the subfamilies of Vulgar Latin.

The Western Romance languages include Spanish and Portuguese. They remained by each other’s side, the reason why most historians, linguists, and authors consider Portuguese to be the most similar to Spanish.



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