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  • The Romance languages—occasionally called the Latin languages or, less often, the Romanic or Neo-Latin languages—are a group of languages descended from Vulgar Latin. They form a branch of the Italic languages within the Indo-European language family. The five most widely spoken Romance languages by number of native speakers are Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, and Romanian. The largest have many non-native speakers; this is especially the case for French, which is in widespread use throughout Central and West Africa, Madagascar, and the Maghreb region. The Romance languages evolved from Latin from the sixth to the ninth centuries. Today, more than 800 million people are native speakers worldwide, mainly in Europe and the Americas and many smaller regions scattered throughout the world, as well as large numbers of non-native speakers, and widespread use as linguas francas. Because of the difficulty of imposing boundaries on a continuum, various counts of the Romance languages are given; Dalby lists 23 based on mutual intelligibility: Ibero-Romance: Portuguese and Galician, Mirandese and Asturian-Leonese, Spanish, Aragonese;

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