How Does Language Affect Relationships and Culture?

It is impossible to be dogmatic as to what constitutes a romance language, because most languages take influences from a variety of different families of languages and opinion, therefore, differs as to how to distinguish between different languages, varieties and dialects. As a result, it cannot be said definitively how many of these languages are presently in existence; however, an arbitrary, restrictive account can state that the total is approximately 25. It is generally agreed that the most commonly spoken standardised romance languages include Catalan, Romanian, Italian, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Although the label ‘romance languages’ derives from the Latin expression Romanice loqui, “to speak in Roman,” it suggests some sort of connection to love or passion. Indeed, the modern use of the term does in fact derive from this; in Western Europe’s medieval literature, serious writing would usually be composed in Latin, whereas more popular work, often centring on love, was written in the Roman vernacular and became known as “romances”.

In contrast, Germanic languages seem to be the main contradiction to this family of languages and are characteristically less musical and harsher on the ear. There are approximately 559 million native speakers of Germanic languages worldwide and the most commonly spoken examples of them are German and English. The English language is officially classed as a Germanic one, although it is also heavily influenced by the romance languages. Other Germanic languages include Dutch, Afrikaans, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian.

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Because of the harsh nature of Germanic languages, it is often said that native speakers of these are more blunt and less sensitive and emotional and that native speakers of romance languages are naturally artistic and passionate. This arguably has an effect on the lifestyles of speakers of the varying languages, meaning that speakers of these languages experience fewer break-ups and divorces than speakers of unromantic languages.

Whether this is actually true can be determined by looking at the divorce rates of corresponding countries. Currently, the United States has the highest divorce rate in the world, at nearly 50%. Russians, speakers of a Slavic language, have the third highest divorce rate, followed by the United Kingdom, Denmark, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Finland and Barbados, residents of all of which speak primarily Non-romance languages.

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However, the world’s second highest divorce rate can be found in Puerto Rico, where natives speak a version of Spanish, one of the romance languages.

Although it seems that, in general, countries with non-romance languages have higher divorce rates than countries with romance languages; this is in no way indicative of a direct relationship between the nature of the language and the attitude of its speakers. It may, in fact, be simply explained by the fact that, with a global population of nearly seven million people and only 800 million speaking a romance language, non-romantic languages are much more widely spoken and there are, therefore, expected to be more divorces among these people than among speakers of romantic languages.

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Source by Michael R Browne