The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language grouping, and are derived from Latin, the language of Rome. In those areas where the Roman empire had its most durable impact Latin evolved from its classical form through 'vulgar' or demotic Latin into the modern forms we now know as French, Italian, etc. The main Romance languages were spread extensively through colonialism and are spoken by many hundreds of millions of people outside Europe in pure or creole form.
The main Romance languages are French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Romanian. The Romance group also includes Catalan (north-east Spain), Occitan (southern France), Sardinian, and a cluster of dialects spoken in northern Italy and Switzerland known as Rhaetian. Dalmatian, once spoken along the eastern Adriatic coast, died out towards the end of the 19th century.
The core of all the Romance languages is derived from words whose Latin origin remains recognizable, often very obviously so, though changes in spelling and pronunciation sometimes conceal the likeness.