asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 5 months ago

why does Italian, French & Spanish all sound so different to each other when they are almost the same language?

is true that they are just different pronunciations of the same LATIN language?

8 Answers

  • Pontus
    Lv 7
    5 months ago
    Best answer

    Linguistic evolution.

    Italian, French, and Spanish (among a couple dozen other languages) began diverging from each other at different places and time periods, with different influences (obviously).

    Italian is among the youngest of the Romance (meaning of Rome, not "romantic"), since Latin is native to Italy, it took longer to evolve, experiencing fewer new influences than most of its sister languages.

    French is among the oldest, being right next to Italy and one of the first places (Gaul, now modern France) the Romans colonized.

    Each area of the Roman empire that ended up producing a new Romance language had different native peoples and occasional conquerors, one reason why the languages developed differently.

    Also, pronunciation is among the first things to change as languages evolve (look at the many dialects of English around the world. Many countries have many dialects within them). Also note that all languages develop from the dialects of the common people (not standard forms), often including slang.

    All modern Romance languages have simplified greatly from the highly inflected grammar of Latin, but to varying degrees.

    Italian and Spanish nouns and adjectives, for example, still consist of a root and a suffix, but they use fewer suffixes than Latin did and use slightly different sets of suffixes.

    French, on the other hand, often eliminated suffixes, often leaving just the root, or a shortened or otherwise altered root. There are still suffixes, but there are many more than in Italian and Spanish. They are used less often and many are quite different.


    house in Spanish and Italian: casa. (KAH-sah in SP; KAH-zah in IT). - from a Latin slang word for house. (The root for house in standard Latin was dom- )

    house in French: maison (from an extinct Germanic language)

    There are many other instances where two or all three used either different Latin roots or borrowed words from other languages.

    An example where the languages are still similar:


    It: amico (ah-MEE-koh). male friend. female: amica. plural of amico: amici (ah-MEE-tchee); plural of amica: amiche (ah-MEE-keh)

    Sp. amigo (ah-MEE-goh), male. female: amiga. Just add -s to form the plurals, pronounced as a hard S (as in sip).

    Fr. ami (ah-mee). male. female: amie (e is silent. still: ah-mee). Adds a silent -s to form the plurals.

    Note that French pronunciation is quite distinct from the other two, because it is mostly syllable-timed (most syllables get equal stress), whereas the other two are mostly stress-timed (usually there is a stressed syllable in a word).

    French also, far more than the other two, often requires that sounds be added, removed, changed, and/or moved beyond syllable/word boundaries.


    Fr: les amis (the friends): pronounced as leh-zah-mee

    It. gli amici (roughly: lyi-ah-MEE-tchee)

    Sp. los amigos (lohss-ah-MEE-gohss)

    It's also interesting to note that classical Latin had no words for THE, but all its daughter languages do (more than one word).

    The same thing will happen to English, eventually. Either hundreds (most likely) or thousands of years from now. English as we know it today will be dead, but it will have at least a few if not many dozens of new Anglic daughter languages: mutually incomprehensible to each other. Some of them will undoubtedly sound quite different from some of the others.

    Note also: there are many grammatical differences (as well as many similarities). For example, all three languages have different numbers of tense/mood/aspect combinations. French has fewer than the other two, and far fewer inflected forms, comparatively speaking.

    Source(s): studied linguistics and the history of languages; taught French; intermediate Italian; frequent exposure to Spanish (know enough to be dangerous).
  • 5 months ago

    Italian, French and Spanish are romance languages but languages tend to differ as they evolve and get influenced by other languages.

    For example, high (altum in Latin) is alto in both Italian and Spanish but haut in French (Germanic hauh=high).

  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    Don't forget that Latin was superimposed on existing languages which differed greatly. The upper classes assimilated more of the conqueror's language, but the common people kept more of their original languages. They are not mutually intelligible as a whole, although all have many words that are similar.

  • Anonymous
    5 months ago

    Why DO Italian, French, and Spanish all sound so different FROM each other when they are almost the same language?

    They're NOT almost the same language. Italian-speakers can't understand everything French-speakers say, and so on. They're similar because all three evolved from Latin; they're all Romance languages.

    • 5 months agoReport

      it is all about style, "I am French...oh..lala lee! I am Italian , bo journo! , etc

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  • 5 months ago

    They _were_ the same language, until the Early Middle Ages : Vulgar Latin. But languages evolve. Allready at the third Council of Tours in 813, priests were ordered to preach in the local language, since the common people could no longer understand formal Latin.

  • 5 months ago

    They are three separate and distinct languages.

    • Pontus
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      Thumbs down is not from. They are separate, yet related (sister) languages.

  • 5 months ago

    It's not just pronunciation.

    Italian is very close to Latin

    - some Latin students remark that Italian is just Latin using ablatives

    but both French and Spanish have been heavily influenced by German

    and in different ways.'s also true that pronunciation and spelling changes over the centuries have led French and Spanish in different directions from each other and Italian.

    One should note that there are several additional Romance languages, also quite distinct from Italian and for similar reasons.

    • Don Verto
      Lv 7
      5 months agoReport

      French and German were the same language? I don't think so.

  • 5 months ago

    it is a bit more complicated than that

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