Why are Portuguese and Spanish Romance Sister Languages?

By Tina Mira | LinguaKidz

Bargain shopping at the ‘Languages Mall’ – how to buy one, get one half price!

Do you enjoy shopping?  Even better, do like getting a special deal, like buy one, get the next half price?  What if you could do the same thing with languages and learn a second language in only half the time?!

Well, this could well be the case with Spanish and Portuguese being ‘sister’ Romance Languages and sharing 89% lexical similarity.

So, given that Spain and Portugal share the same unique geographical area, the Iberian Peninsula, their sisterhood makes sense!  Such pairs are quite common, and not just for Latin, think Swedish and Norwegian; Slovak and Polish; German and Dutch.. and more.

Why ‘Romance’?

Before we start thinking of candlelit dinners and roses, the word “romance” stems from the Latin word “romant,” which means “in the Roman manner.” This is because the romance languages evolved from vulgar Latin in the time of the Roman Empire – and no, vulgar isn’t rude, it just refers to the commonly spoken language.     

So, are they the same?

Spanish and Portuguese certainly share lots of vocabulary and have very similar grammar rules and are indeed sister languages. However, they are distinct languages, and each stand on their own and have their own global importance.

While many Spanish or Portuguese speakers can understand some of each other’s languages, they are not automatically mutually comprehensible.  You’ll always have to learn the other language to reach a level of communicative ability, but with so much in common, the time needed to become competent in one of these languages if you already speak the other, is practically halved!

Fun fact: Did you know thatthe Iberian Peninsula was under Islamic rule for several hundred years. During that time, both Spanish and Portuguese absorbed many Arabic words into their languages. Is estimated that around 4,000 Spanish words have some kind of Arabic influence—8% of the Spanish dictionary!

Where are they spoken?

Originating in the Iberian Peninsula, Spanish and Portuguese spread to the four corners of the globe during the colonial period.

Spanish is the most widely spoken Romance language in the world, with Portuguese the second.  Here’s the breakdown: Spanish (489 million), Portuguese (283 million), French (77 million), Italian (67 million), Romanian (24 million), and Catalan (14.5 million).

What does this mean?

Not only is this fascinating, it also means that with LinguaKidz offering 5 languages in 2022, your child can go shopping at the ‘Languages Mall’ and reap the benefits of learning one language helping them learn another more quickly. But wait, there’s more! Having a framework of how patterns of language work, helps to hang a new language on that framework and all those nuero-connections does amazing things for the brain… inspiration of another blog – stay tuned!

Reserve your child’s place in one of our language camps or TWO for 10% OFF the second language camp! Visit www.linguakidz.com.au

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