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Old 01-06-2018, 02:12 PM
139 posts, read 63,333 times
Reputation: 79


I was just wondering how much of an influence did the Spanish and Italian languages have on each other?

I did researched that after the roman empire fell, the Romance languages did branch off as French, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and Romanian from them.

However, Spanish and Italian have a lot of similarities to each other in terms of pronunciations and for certain terms of the same meanings and sometimes they can be intelligible to each other on some aspects.

I did see some posts that although Italian and Spanish were already separate languages, one of them invaded the other and introduced their linguistic influence to each other including reintroducing variations of Latin words that already existed in their languages. I also found research Arabs invaded Spain and heavily influenced the Spanish language.

I also wonder if Arabic has any significant influence on Italian.

I saw some language comparisons on youtube of Spanish vs. Arabic and Italian vs. Arabic and it seems the comparisons were very similar.


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Old 01-07-2018, 05:04 AM
Location: western East Roman Empire
5,699 posts, read 9,488,003 times
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This is not really the proper venue for such a scholarly discussion and for which there would be no easily agreed on objectively measurable answer.

Just a few general observations:

1) everything influences everything else (the box and chain thing);

2) Arabic-speaking peoples ruled significant chunks of Spain and Portugal, especially the south, for centuries, but not since more than 500 years ago, as well as Sicily for a couple centuries but not since around 1,000 years ago;

3) the Spanish crown or branches of it ruled significant chunks of Italy, especially the south, for centuries as recently as 160 years ago;

4) southern Italian is also influenced by Greek, Albanian, and a bit of Arabic in Sicily;

5) northern Italian, significant chunks of which ruled by various German and French-speaking powers at one time or another until around 150 years ago, is influenced by German, French and a bit of ancient Celtic;

6) it is possible to observe some Germanic and French influence in southern Italy and some Spanish influence in northern Italy: at one point or another, they all invaded each other, an incestuous bunch;

7) the above list of casual observations germane to the topic does not exhaust a list of any number of casual observations germane to the topic.

Just for fun, roughly speaking, Italian and Spanish pronunciation are almost the same, but the vocabulary matches only about 50-50, Spanish and Portuguese pronunciation are quite different, but the vocabulary matches probably around 90%-95%, French and Italian vocabulary match probably somewhere in between 50% and 90% but the pronunciation is quite different except maybe in the northwestern corner of Italy, Portuguese and French pronunciation both have a nasal tint to them, but aren't really similar, and all of them have quite similar grammars but each one has special features that require non-native speakers to devote time and energy to understand and master.

Finally, it is possible to isolate tiny, coincidental, anecdotal similarities between any two things or phenomena in nature and human experience and make a big deal out of them, even if they aren't, usually for the purpose of pursuing some kind of personal agenda or satisfying an idiosyncrasy.

Good Luck in your research.

Last edited by bale002; 01-07-2018 at 05:30 AM..
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Old 01-07-2018, 05:25 AM
Location: Central WI
1,059 posts, read 368,198 times
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New languages don't spring up de novo, but evolve out of the current language. In the days before mass communications and easy travel, geographic & cultural isolation lead to changes away from the standard dialect.

Linguistic laziness lead to the simplified grammar of the romance languages compared to the complex grammar with multiple case endings & verb declensions of Latin, for instance. We see this happening in "Ebonics" compared to American English today. The Italian vernacular was considered "low class," much like our southern dialects are looked down upon by the intelligentsia today, until Dante published The Inferno, establishing Italian as a legitimate language in its own right.

British, Canadian, Jamaican, Australian & American English were also evolving in different directions, although rapid, mass communications has slurred & slowed the differences.
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:56 AM
Location: Near Tours, France about 4710'N 025'E
2,685 posts, read 3,392,823 times
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Spanish and italian are not more similar together than they are to the other latin languages.

Italian actuzlly shares more with french in terms of lexical similarity than it does with Spanish.
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Old 01-07-2018, 09:09 AM
19,854 posts, read 13,763,974 times
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You don't just have "Spanish" and Italian.

Castilian is the official language of Spain. But Spain has multiple other regional languages. Galician, Occitan, Basque (not Latin based) Catalan, etc. Catalan is spoken in Northeastern Spain, parts of Southern France ,and Sardinia.

Occitan is spoken in Northern Italy, Southern France, and a part of Spain.

Sardinia and Sicily were parts of the Spanish empire for quite sometime, and they both speak pretty differently from those in Rome.

You've a number of what could be considered languages in their own right aside what it is considered Italian in Italy.

Of course there were linguistic influences these languages had on each other after the fall of the Roman Empire. Look at the distribution of both Catalan and Occitan.
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Old Today, 03:39 PM
Location: The Great West
1,993 posts, read 1,700,291 times
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It's tough to quantify "how much" when it comes to linguistic influence, especially when you talk about Romance languages that all stem from Latin but have their own influences, as bale lined out nicely in his post.

And as Nywriterdude said as well, each of these countries not only have their own dialects but other languages, especially in Spain where they do not use the word "Spanish" to refer to that language at all. Having spent a lot of time in Basque Country I can tell you Castilian (castellano) influenced Basque (euskera) in vocabulary, but otherwise the languages are alien to each other. Castilian is more closely related to Galician (gallego) and Catalan, for example.

I am not sure what you mean by Arabic "heavily" influencing Castilian. The Arabs were gone from Spain completely during the reign of Fernando and Isabel and mainly they contributed vocabulary. Most words beginning with "al" in Castilian are Arab-based (almorzar, alcanzar etc.).

Originally Posted by bale002 View Post
Just for fun, roughly speaking, Italian and Spanish pronunciation are almost the same, but the vocabulary matches only about 50-50, Spanish and Portuguese pronunciation are quite different, but the vocabulary matches probably around 90%-95% [...]
This was my experience in both Italy and Portugal. I understood approximately zero of what was said to me in Portuguese but was able to read most anything written in it.
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