Portuguese and Spanish are the closest Romance languages

George   Friday, April 15, 2005, 01:26 GMT
Everyone keeps saying how close the Spanish and Italian languages are. Frankly, I strongly disagree. Yes, they share a similar pronunciation and vocabulary, but that's it. What most contributors to this forum have overlooked, is that Portuguese is actually the closest Romance language to Spanish, in terms of vocaublary (89% similar), grammar and sentence structure. Educated speakers of Portuguese and Spanish can carry on a conversation with little difficulty. But a conversation between speakers of Italian and Spanish gets muddled in no time. I have seen this happen over and over again. I am a Canadian of Portuguese descent, and I can converse with any speaker of Spanish without any problems. Italian is another matter altogether. Although I can communicate with an Italian speaker on a basic level, I still find it tricky and I really have to think about what the proper construction of the sentence should be. This is not the case when I speak Spanish. The only thing I need to be a little conscious of is the pronunciation and verb conjugation, but it still feels natural to me. In conclusion, Spanish and Italian are not as similar as people think. Portuguese and Spanish have the closest relationship of all the Romance languages.
Ed   Friday, April 15, 2005, 01:35 GMT
I agree that they're very close but I don't know for sure if there isn't another pair of Romance languages that are even closer like Catalan, Provencal, Occitan, etc.
East-side   Friday, April 15, 2005, 02:11 GMT
The corect answer is Sardinian Language
East-side   Friday, April 15, 2005, 02:14 GMT
Sorry........Catalano Language not Sardinian

Catalano and Spanish are the closest Romance languages
George   Friday, April 15, 2005, 02:51 GMT
Not Catalano - Portuguese. I have heard Catalan spoken, and it does not sound closer to Spanish than Portuguese. I am fluent in Portuguese and Spanish. When I hear Catalan spoken, I don't really get the total context of what is being said. There are many similar words, but check the ethnologue of world languages, and it will confirm that Portuguese and Spanish are the closest major Romance languages, and the lexical similarity between them is 89%. Catalan has an 85% lexical similarity to both Portuguese and Spanish. Italian has 82% lexical similarity to Spanish, but 89% lexical similarity to French.
Antonio   Friday, April 15, 2005, 02:57 GMT
where did you get the % from?

A local Canadian newspaper?
american nic   Friday, April 15, 2005, 03:15 GMT
No, he got them from Ethnologue.
Brennus   Friday, April 15, 2005, 06:16 GMT
The fact that most Romance linguists put Portuguese, Spanish and even Catalan into a group called "Ibero-Romance" indicates that they feel Spanish and Portuguese are closer to each other than any other Romance language.

However, this is just looking at the big picture. On the micro-level, Portuguese may ocassionally resemble some of the other Romance languages more than it does Spanish . For example, Portuguese rua "street"; more like French rue than Spanish calle; joelho "knee', more like French genou and Catalan genoll than Spanish rodilla; rapaz; rapaça "boy; girl" more like Italian ragazzo: ragazza than Spanish muchacho;muchacha; carne "meat. The Spanish, Italians and Daco-Romanians pronounce it as kar-nay but the Portuguese pronounce it as kar-nee like the Sicilians and the Moldavians; rio "river" (pronounced ree-oo), it is just as close to Romanian rîu (pronounce roo) "river" as to the Spanish río (pronounced rree-oh) and like Romanian it still preserves the original Vulgar Latin u sound.
Travis   Friday, April 15, 2005, 06:44 GMT
While Portuguese, Castilian, and Catalan may be grouped together, I myself would say that Catalan is relatively dissimilar with the other two, and is significantly closer overall to Occitan than it is to Castilian and Portuguese. Of course, though, Occitan would be grouped together into Ibero-Romance with Catalan, Castilian, and Portuguese, but it would be more closely grouped with Catalan than with the other two by far.
greg   Friday, April 15, 2005, 07:59 GMT
Occitan an Ibero-Romance language ? I disagree. Together with Catalan and some languages spoken in Northeastern Italy, Occitan is part of Central Romance.
Travis   Friday, April 15, 2005, 08:06 GMT
greg, again, that's Ethnologue's tree that I'm using. I should probably have said "would", rather than "could", and yes, I would probably myself prefer to not consider Catalan or Occitan as Ibero-Romance, and instead consider them as closer to the Gallo-Italian languages, like you said.
Ana   Friday, April 15, 2005, 08:42 GMT
Im a native speaker of Spanish and I have no idea about Portuguese, Italian or Catalan. If I ever here any native speaker of these languages speaking I´d say that the language i can understand better is Catalan, then Italian (the only problem is that sometimes they have our same words but just with a different meaning so it´s difficult to figure out what´s really being said) and finaly Portuguese. I have no idea about Portuguese gramatics or vocabulary, they might be more similar to Spanish than Italian, but the pronunciation of portuguese confusses me, so even if the words are the same they dont sound the same to me. This is my opinion..
Antonio   Friday, April 15, 2005, 09:29 GMT
Brazilian Portuguese sounds more like Spanish than continental Portuguese
Amancio   Friday, April 15, 2005, 10:51 GMT
George is right. Portuguese is the closest Romance language to Spanish. Living very close to Porgual I occasionally read http://www.correiomanha.pt/index.asp and is so easy like read http://www.elmundo.es/
Several times I don´t realize that i am reading a newspaper in other language.
But said this, spoken Portugues is a very different history. Like i said in other post, I understand italian and catalàn much more than portuguese.
Spoken portugues sounds like Russian or German to me.
Ori   Friday, April 15, 2005, 11:38 GMT
I strongly disagree.

Ladino (Judeo-Español) is definitely the closest language to Spanish. It is the only language that is entirely intelligible to Spanish speakers without them having to learn a word of it.

I realized that I can understand about 95% of the Ladino broadcast in Israel Radio International, being a learner of Spanish for less than half a year.

You can judge by yourselves:
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