A Romance Language
Most people are aware that Spanish is a Romance language, but what does this mean? The term has nothing to do with romance and love. Idiomas romances are the languages that trace their origins to Latin, the language of Rome.
As you might remember from your ancient history class, in antiquity, Rome had emerged as a powerful city-state that spread throughout Italy and beyond. At its strongest, the Roman Empire controlled a vast territory that encompassed much of Western Europe, North Africa, and Asia Minor — its power reaching from the British Isle in the west to the border of Persia in the east.
As the Roman civilization spread, so did the Latin language spoken by the conquerors. Long after the Roman Empire's collapse, people in what are now France, Spain, Italy, and parts of Switzerland have continued speaking variant forms of Latin. Eventually, these dialects were standardized into modern French, Italian, Spanish, and other Romance languages.
What are the other Romance languages?
There are quite a few. The more well-known Romance languages are French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian. Other languages in this group include Catalan (spoken in northern Spain), Occitan (the language of Provence, France), and Rhaeto-Romanic (a language spoken in southeastern Switzerland).