Western Romance Languages

The Western Romance languages are one of the primary subdivisions of the Romance languages. They include at least the following:

  • The Gallo-Romance group includes:
    • The Gallo-Italian languages:
      • Gallo-Italian proper, including Piedmontese, Ligurian, Lombard, Emiliano-Romagnolo
      • Venetian
    • The Rhaeto-Romance languages include Romansh of Switzerland, Ladin of Dolomites area, Friulian of Friuli.
    • The Oïl languages (including French).
    • Arpitan, also known as Franco-Provençal. Formerly thought of as a dialect of either Oïl or Occitan, it is linguistically a language on its own, or rather a separate group of languages, as many of its dialects have little mutual comprehensibility.
    • The Occitano-Romance languages of Southern France and neighbouring areas include Occitan and Catalan.
  • The Iberian-Romance group includes:
    • West Iberian languages: Galician-Portuguese (Portuguese, Galician, Fala, Vernacular Brazilian post-creole and Uruguayan Portuñol), Leonese (from east to west Cantabrian, central-eastern Asturian and Leonese proper, and from north to south Leonese proper, Mirandese, Extremaduran and Barranquenho), and Spanish (Judaeo-Spanish, Spanish proper).
    • Eastern Iberian, or Catalan (usually classified as Occitano-Romance, see above).
    • Pyrenean–Mozarabic (Aragonese, extinct Mozarabic).

Some classifications include central and southern Italian; the resulting clade is generally called Italo-Western Romance. Other classifications place an Italo-Dalmatian clade in with Eastern Romance. Sardinian does not fit into either Western or Eastern Romance, and may have split off before either.

Today the four most-widely spoken standardized Western Romance languages are Spanish (c. 330 million native), Portuguese (c. 215 million native, another 45 million or so second-language speakers, mainly in Lusophone Africa), French (c. 70 million native speakers, another 70 million or so second-language speakers, mostly in Francophone Africa), and Catalan (c. 12 million native). Many of these languages have large numbers of non-native speakers; this is especially the case for French, in widespread use throughout West Africa as a lingua franca.

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