Romance languages.

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A series of capitalised suffixes (introduced in the Linguasphere Register) is used here, to distinguish identical names or to shorten some compound names. This includes the distinction of languages and dialects by their directional location or by an aspect their usage.

The suffixes are as follows.

Directional suffixes: -N. north(ern); -E. east(ern); -S. south(ern);
-W. west(ern); -C. central; plus combinations, e.g. -NW. northwest; -CW. west central, etc.

Other suffixes:
-A. "proper" (name);
-F. formal or standard;
-G. generalized;
-H. historical, or "old";
-L. liturgical / pre-modern literary;
-M middle in historical sense;
-U. urban;
-V. vehicular, or "lingua franca"

The suffix -A is used in the sense of "proper" (“proprement dit” in French), in cases where a linguistic name is repeated in successive non-identical layers, e.g. Slovensko-A. (Slovenian "proper" or Common Slovenian) as one of the components of Slovensko (Wider Slovenian) in Slavic languages.

All idioms are classified (under influence of the Linguasphere Register) in terms of three successive layers of immediate relationship: outer language (ol), inner language (il) and dialect (dt). Where the countable noun "language(s)" is used, it refers potentially to the successive layers of outer language and inner language.

Where those forms are particularly close, and more or less inter-intelligible, they are treated as component inner languages within the same outer language. The optional layer of dialect is used for relatively minor variations within an inner language, usually dependent on geographical location.

The only scale of terms available in English to cover a range of immediate linguistic relationships is in the dichotomy of "language" versus "dialect", unlike the trichotomy available, for example, in French, German or Russian: languedialecte parler, or SpracheDialektMundart, or jazyknarechije/dialektgovor. Therefore a distinction between "outer language" and "inner language" in English is created here, although it cannot be stressed enough that these are relative terms and cannot be treated as absolutes.

The English terms "idiom" or "variety", on the other hand, are used where necessary to describe any form of speech: outer language, inner language or dialect. It thus corresponds to the general use of the term "group", on a wider scale, to describe any of layers of close relationship.

As applied in the Register, the term "dialect" (see below) refers here especially to the distinctive pronunciation of a particular language as spoken (or written) in a particular locality or region, or within a particular social group, with normally some characteristic items of vocabulary or morphology. More radical differences of language, on the other hand, which have sometimes fallen under the extended use of the term "dialect", such as divergences among many traditional, localised varieties of the Romance languages, can now be treated more appropriately as "inner languages".

In the same way, it is now possible to draw clearer attention to the different categories of "inner" language which frequently exist side by side within "outer" languages characterised by a strong written as well as spoken tradition, as is the case with many official national languages in the world. The new trichotomy of layers of communication also makes it easier to deal consistently with cases in which the recognition of one or more languages in a continuum depends on political circumstances, such as the abandoned "unity" of Galego-Portuguese in Spain and Portugal. In this case, as far as the ALW (and the Linguasphere Register) is concerned, one is dealing with an outer language composed of inner languages (each with its dialects).


For every language we used Autonym (according to "Reference name“ in the Linguasphere Register), or indigenous or own name, the name for a language and/or speech community as used in that language.

The following typographical conventions are used for autonyms. The autonyms of Outer languages have an upper-case initial and are in bold; the autonyms of inner languages have a lower-case initial and are in bold too. Finally, the autonyms for dialects also have a lower-case initial, and are in italics.

For compound names of languages a normal hyphen is replaced with an additive hyphen (+) whenever the link is between two separate parts (like in Galego+ Portugues).

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e-mail: Webmaster: Jiřík Created on March, 7th, 2001 Last updated on Jan, 11, 2008 15:12