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A Question Came to My Inbox From Someone Who Speaks a Slavic Language About Romance Languages.

Someone who speaks a Slavic Language wanted to know why Slavic languages sound alike, but he says Latin Languages don’t sound alike.  I can only think he must have heard French and one other Latin language.  French is not like any of the other Latin languages.  I speak Romanian and Spanish fluently, and because I do, I understand Portuguese and Italian. I spoke Spanish before I spoke Romanian, and speaking Spanish made Romanian easier for me than for other English speakers around me. I speak a little French, but not much, and I recognize it is not like the other Latin languages, and I can tell you why.

julius caesar marble statue
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Latin was the language of the Roman empire.  Roman soldiers went into Romania taking Latin with them and mixed with the Dacians, a Thracian tribe, and outpost of the Grecian empire.  They didn’t throw any of either language away. Before I went to Romania, I heard the Romanians were saying they spoke the original Latin.  What they speak is very close to the original Latin, but it is mixed with Dacian, the original people in Europe.  There are a lot of synonyms in Romanian, and one of the words will be like Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese, and the other won’t.  Synonyms are words that have the same meaning, but a different pronunciation. When I was learning Romanian, I got the feeling that I was learning more than one language because of the many synonyms.  Sometimes, I have talked to people who have studied Greek, and they give me the feeling that some of the conjugations in Romanian are similar to Greek. The Greeks had an overwhelming amount of influence on the Roman empire. In a lot of ways, Romanian is a mixture of Latin and Greek. The Thracians or Dacians who were the Greeks in Romania, actually had blonde hair. It is the Romans who brought the the black hair the Romanians are known for.

colosseum ruin
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If you go from Romania to Italy, the Romanians can understand Italian without studying it.  In fact, I had a Romanian student who went to Italy for a couple of weeks and had never studied Italian, but came back speak Italian because it was so similar.  I watched Italian movies on TV in Romania and could basically understand and follow what was happening.  The two languages are extremely alike, and their pronunciation is also extremely similar, even more similar than the pronunciation of Spanish and Portuguese.

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Romanian is also like Spanish.  Like I said, I studied Spanish before I went to Romania, and it only took me six months to basically speak Romanian.  From the very beginning, I was shocked because people were saying things I understood, and I couldn’t figure out why.  Between Spanish and French, it made Romanian easier for me. When I was in Romania, someone from Spain visited for the first time, and he was amazed that he could understand so many signs.

people walking under white concrete architecture
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Portuguese sounds so much like Spanish they are like the difference between the northern and southern accents of English in America.  I walked by a room where they were playing a movie once, and a guy from Brazil was on the movie talking.  I stopped and listened. It was the first time I had heard Portuguese, and I was amazed because I understood every word.  I have watched telenovelas on TV not just in Spanish, but also in Portuguese. I have looked Portuguese up online thinking It would be easy to learn and learned that the basic difference between Spanish and Portuguese is the spelling rules. Portuguese and Spanish speakers can understand one another when they speak without studying.

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As far as French, it sounds different from the other Latin languages. It has some similarities.  Some of the words are the same, but some that are the same, even though they are, are pronounced differently.  The Romans and the Gaelic people mixed in France.  The reason the people from England have traditionally liked the French so much is because they are related, like cousins.  The Gaelic went in strong force into the United Kingdom of England, Ireland, and Scotland. Wales is also part of all that, but in Wales, the people have black hair which means that they were probably of Pic descent and didn’t mix so much with the Gaelic. The Pic are the original people who were on the big island of the U. K. The Gaelic are the red heads. The Saxon, the German tribe that went into England, are the ones with blonde hair.  Those three groups mixed together to make the English, Scottish, and Irish people. The Saxons didn’t make it into Ireland. However, Gaelic is the language the red heads brought from the north, and there are still small islands north of England where there are red headed people who speak Gaelic.  The French are not completely Latin, but related to the people in the U. K. through those red headed Norsemen who came from the north into England and France.

united kingdom marching band
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I don’t know much about the Slavic languages and which are related to what, but I know about the Romance languages and English.  I have been around Slavic languages so little I have no idea what they actually sound like. I spent time in Hungary, but it doesn’t have a Slavic language.  Of all crazy things, it is related to Korean. I can explain that too, but it is going beyond answering the question.  There is only one Romance language that sounds different from the others. That is French.  The person who asked the question about Romance language evidently only heard French and one other Romance language.

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