In this post we are going to encourage you to cast a few slurs.
This is why we have chosen a picture of what looks like alcohol drinks, by the way. You will have to read through to the conclusion to understand why, but you can start drinking now if you want, (but do it sensibly, s’il vous plaît).
So, amigos, having studied the verb “to be” in French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and Romanian and discovered great musicians such as Zazie, Voltaj, Tiziano Ferro and Rebeca along the way – I must throw in some Spanish singers next – what can we say thus far about how closely connected these five Romance languages are?
As far as the subject pronouns go, look at this:
The first person singular (“I“) is the same in Portuguese and Romanian – eu.
The first person singular also looks pretty much the same in Spanish and Italian – yo and io.
The second person singular (“you“) informal form tu is used in all five languages, with just one slight difference in that in Spanish it has an accent – tú. (But remember that in Brazil tu is rarely used, use você instead.)
The third person singular (he and she) forms are pretty much an “il” or “el” sound for him and an “elle” or “ela” sound for her in all languages except in Italian, with its lui and lei. The same applies with the plural equivalents.
The first and second person plural forms (“we” and “you“) are the same in Italian and Romanian – noi and voi.
Portuguese seems to be the only language which no longer has a second person plural that takes a second person plural verb form – the archaic vós (as in vós sois, for example,) has been ditched in the modern era and vocês (as in vocês são) has become the norm.
As far as the verb endings go, regardless of the fact that there two variants of the verb to be in Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, we can say:
Portuguese and Spanish are so closely related they could be twins… with estar, for example, the endings in the second and third person singular and third person plural are exactly the same: estás, está and estamos.
In all five languages you can see that all the various verb endings sound roughly the same. Look at the first person singular sounds suis, sou, soy, sono, sunt … or the third person plurals … sont, são, son, sono, sunt …. they are all six of one and half a dozen of the other (actually, five of one and five of the other, but hey let’s not get too pedantic).
This is why, in my opinion, if you know one Romance language, communicating to people who speak another Romance language is easy; all you have got to do is mutter in your own Romance language very badly … mumble a bit, disguise the exact sounds, thrown in some shhh-type hissing and some nasal twang, in short, speak your own Romance language like a drunken idiot, and the others will understand you perfectly!
Grab yourself a glass of champage or whatever your favourite tipple is (mine’s a Pernod, by the way, but I am willing to form new allegiances) and let’s toast your success! 😀 😀
Cheers till next time … Bernardo