Latin and Spanish

Development From Latin To Spanish

The Spanish language is based on Latin as it evolved in the Iberian peninsula under local influences (especially Arabic, Greek, and Basque).  The Greeks colonized the southern coast in the 6th century B.C.  The Romans established the provinces of Nearer Spain (Hispania Citerior) and Farther Spain (Hispania Ulterior) in 205 B.C.  In 133 B.C. , Roman control extended to the northern coast, and the area was later re-organized under Augustus into three provinces.  The peninsula had more mineral resources (silver, gold, iron, and tin) than Gaul and reached its peak under the Romans in the first and second centuries A.D.  The following “Romans” were all from Hispania: Seneca the Elder (rhetorician, 1st century B.C.) Seneca the Younger (philosopher, author, and tutor to Nero) Lucan (poet, 1st century A.D.) Columella (from Gades, first century A.D. author on agriculture) Quintilian (from Calagurris = Calahorra, first century author of a book on education) Martial (from Bilbilis, first century A.D. author of epigrams) Marcus Aurelius (emperor A.D. 161-180; author of Meditations in Greek) Trajan (emperor A.D. 98-117; under him the Roman empire reached its greatest extent) Hadrian (emperor A.D. 117-138; known for Hadrian’s Wall in Britain)  Theodosius I “The Great” (emperor A.D. 379-395) Isidore, Bishop of Seville (7th century A.D. author; responsible for the  preservation and transmission of classical culture and learning into the Middle Ages) Although the Spanish language has undergone changes, as have the other Romance languages, Spanish remains one of the most similar to the original Latin.  For example, the changes in pronunciation and spelling have been fewer and have been more consistent than the changes in French. In terms of grammar, the Latin case functions of nouns were gradually replaced by prepositions.  Thus, the preposition “al” in Spanish replaced the dative case (e.g. indirect object) in Latin and “de” in Spanish replaced the genitive case (e.g. possession) in Latin.  The personal pronouns in Spanish still retain separate subject (nominative), indirect object (dative) and accusative (direct object) forms.  The forms of most nouns and adjectives in Spanish (as in French also) are based on the accusative, not the nominative, of the Latin. For example:
Latin Spanish
Demonstrative masc. pl. illōs article masc. pl los
fem. sing. illam fem. sing. la
fem. pl. illās fem. pl. las
Following is a list of some of the correspondences indicating the regular phonetic changes that have occurred between Latin and Spanish with sample words as examples (Based on Paul M. Lloyd, From Latin to Spanish).
Word Latin Spanish
qu- quattuor, quinque
c g cuatro, cinco agua
c amicum g amigo
p super b sobre
t matrem, civitatem, virtutem, iuventutem d madre, cividad, virtud. juventud
ti gratias, nationem ci gracias, nacion
b cubitum codo
g viginti, ego veinte, yo
ct octo, noctem ch ocho, noche
sc scribendo esc escribiendo
f facere, filius h hacer, hijo
v vocem, avellum b/v v/boz, abuelo
m(vowel)n hominem, nominem mbr hombre, nombre
ns mensa, trans s mesa, tras
final -m amicum amigo
u amicum, damus -o amigo, damos
accented o corpus, dormio ue cuerpo, duermo
accented e tempus ie tiempo
-a- factum e hecho
  Beware:  Spanish a (to):  Latin ā ((away) from) Spanish fui (go; be):  Latin  (be: past tense “I have been”)

For more information see:
Paul M. Lloyd, From Latin to Spanish.
Joseph B. Solodow, Latin Alive: The Survival of Latin in English and the Romance Languages.