26 April, 2010

An Overview of Romance Languages

Romance languages - also called Romanic, Latin or Neolatin languages - are spoken by more than 800 million native speakers worldwide. There is a huge number of different languages in this family of languages, but the most widely spoken are:

1. Spanish (Español, Castellano: ~400 million native speakers)
2. Portuguese (Português: ~240 million native speakers)
3. French (Français: ~200 million native speakers)
4. Italian (Italiano: ~70 million native speakers)
5. Romanian (Română: ~24 million native speakers)
6. Catalan (Català, Valencià: ~9.2 million native speakers)

Other Romance languages are:


As I don't want to confuse you by just numerating different languages, I want to tell you something about the classification of the Romance languages. There are six different groups:

1. Iberian Romance languages:
-Spanish (also called Castilian)
-Judaeo-Spanish (language of the Jewish people who left Spain in 1492 after the Alhambra Decree; today spoken in Turkey, Israel and New York)

2. Gallo-Romance languages
-Langues d'oïl (French as we know it today and its various dialects)
-Occitan (Spoken in Southern France, Monaco and bordering regions areas of Italy and Spain)

3. Rhaeto-Romance languages
-Friulian (spoken in Italy)
-Ladin (spoken in Italy)
-Romansh (spoken in France)

4. Italo-Romance languages
-We can divide different varieties in Northern, Central and Southern Italy

5. Sardinian

6. Eastern Romance languages
-Romanian and its varieties

Some of the Romance languages don't exist any more due to different historical reasons. A good example is the Dalmation language which was spoken along the today's Croatian Adria coast.

After introducing the world of Romance languages to you, I hope that you have felt the desire of learning one or more of them, and therefore I'll have the pleasure to give you some advice in my following posts in this blog.

What are the most spoken languages?

There are a few ways you can measure use of language. Mandarin Chinese (1) has by far the most native speakers with more than one billion natives, followed by Spanish (2), English (3), Hindi/Urdu (4), Arabic (5), Bengali (6) and Portuguese (7). However, when secondary speakers enter the equation, the ranking looks something like this: 
  1. Mandarin Chinese (1.12 billion)
  2. English (480 million)
  3. Spanish (320 million)
  4. Russian (285 million)
  5. French (265 million)
  6. Hindi/Urdu (250 million)
  7. Arabic (221 million)
In other words, if you learn any or all of these seven languages, you can communicate with a lot of people. If you can reach them, that is. The most used language in business is still English and the most used languages by the internet population are the following:
  1. English (295.4 million)
  2. Chinese (110.0 million)
  3. Spanish (86.0 million)
  4. Japanese (67.1 million)
  5. German (55.3 million)
  6. French (33.9 million)
  7. Korean (31.3 million)
  8. Italian (30.4 million)
  9. Portuguese (29.4 million)
  10. Russian (22 million)
Coincidentally, these are exactly the ten languages I’m studying and that I want to master until I’m 30. I’ve always wanted to be able to communicate with as many people as possible in their language. Somehow I intuitively chose the ten most used languages in the  internet. Do you think it’s more useful to learn the most spoken languages as opposed to the ones I learn? I will write more about why you should learn languages and which languages are best to choose in another blog post.

Team Addition - Lorenzo

Today I'd like to welcome another writer, Lorenzo, to this blog. He's fluent in six languages (German, English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese) and even planning on learning another one (Arabic). I've known Lorenzo for a long time and I can assure you he's very talented in learning languages and we can expect a lot of insight into different methods and different cultures.

23 April, 2010

Team Addition - Seyoung

I'd like to say hi to 세영  (Seyoung), who will be contributing to this blog from time to time. He'll be writing mainly about Mandarin Chinese and Korean, two languages he's fluent in and that are very difficult to learn for English native speakers.

Why I started this blog

There are a lot of reasons why people are blogging, be it to (re)connect with family and friends, to influence or help people, to make money, to be creative, to tell the world about their travel experiences etc. The goal of this blog is primarily to keep me active and motivated in my quest to learn 10 languages until I'm 30. (Read more about that quest in my profile.) Other goals of this blog are to motivate readers to learn a new language or to get better at a language they already speak and help them by providing useful information about languages. I'll be constantly reviewing books, applications, online communities, DVDs and other material to get better at language learning and I'd love to share the information I get with you guys.

20 April, 2010

Mwah Mwah: The Art of Social Kissing

I've just found an interesting blog post by Anna, one of the writers over at http://www.lexiophiles.com, entitled Mwah Mhaw: The Art of Social Kissing. The post raises and tries to answer some important questions about social kissing: When is it appropriate to kiss and how many kisses do you do? In Switzerland, three kisses are the norm. However, this number may vary a bit depending on who you're asking, a lot of young people stick to just one kiss nowadays. Click on the link below this entry to read Anna's entire blog post.

19 April, 2010

Steve's Language Blog

Welcome to my Blog! Here you'll find anything about languages, starting in a couple of days.