The Romance language family can claim established communities of speakers on every inhabited continent, a time-honored presence in the worlds of foreign language pedagogy and international affairs, and an overall global reputation that most of us would be hard-pressed not to notice or be affected by. From the well-known Romance languages of Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Italian to the more obscure but equally fascinating Romanian, Catalan, Occitan, Sardinian and others, these descendants of Vulgar Latin have made and continue to make an enduring impression on the international linguistic landscape.
I have formally studied Romance languages and linguistics for the past two and a half years, and yet the complexities and nuances of this remarkable language family continue to inspire and surprise me on a daily basis. From phonology and morphology to syntax, semantics and beyond, the Romance language world is both uniform and incredibly diverse, and even a cursory study of these languages will no doubt raise some intriguing questions in any learner’s mind: “Where did the term Romance languages come from in the first place?” “Are Spanish and Portuguese really as similar as they might appear at first glance?” “How did Latin come to dominate the Roman Empire before developing into the various Romance languages?” And even, “Why do French and Italian include certain pronouns that do not exist in Portuguese or Spanish?”
Our contributors do their best to answer these questions and many others in this issue; aside from the special feature, you will also find here pieces on the revitalisation of the Lakota language, the unique role that euphemisms play in speech and writing, the mysterious Euskara language (also known as Basque) of the Pyrenees, and a variety of other fascinating topics. As always, Issue 5 would not have come together without the dedicated work of the talented writers, editors, designers, and other contributors who make Unravel a success. And of course, to our readers and followers: thank you; none of this would truly be possible without your continued support. We hope that you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed creating it!
Special Feature Editor for Unravel Issue 5