Romance Languages

More than one billion people around the world speak a Romance language as their first or shared first language, and many more if we include all the second- and foreign-language users. The most wide-spread Romance languages are Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian – i.e. the same four languages that can be studied at the Department of Romance Studies and Classics at Stockholm University, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Spanish, French or Portuguese is the official language of more than thirty countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Oceania. Several other Romance languages are spoken in Europe: Romanian, Moldovan and Catalan, as well as Galician, Occitan, Romansh and Sardinian. Many so-called creole languages have developed from French, Portuguese and Spanish in Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.

Romance Linguistics – history

Romance Linguistics has a long history in Europe and America, as well as in the Nordic countries. In the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the main focus was on philology and historical-comparative studies on the Romance language area in Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Romania). Over the course of the 20th century, Romance Linguistics came to include more and more areas – the syntax and semantics of contemporary Romance languages, to begin with, and eventually other fields of linguistic research, such as the connection between language, culture and society, language use in different genres and types of activities, language contact between Romance and other languages and – last but not least – language acquisition.

Romance Linguistics at Stockholm University

In Stockholm, the first professorship in Romance Languages was established in 1937. There are currently linguistic professorships in all four of the languages French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
Between 2001 and 2012, the two departments for Romance studies at the time – the Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages and the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies – had close collaborations within the framework of the National Doctoral Programme in Romance Languages (FoRom), which today has produced 28 doctorates in the subjects of French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. The doctoral students in FoRom have, through courses and joint seminars, been able to achieve receptive proficiency in Romance languages other than “their own”.

Romance Linguistics – a leading research area

In March 2011, the Vice-Chancellor determined Stockholm University’s new leading research areas. Romance Linguistics is one of these areas. The research network RomLing was founded in light of this decision and the good experiences of the collaboration in FoRom.


RomLing is the name of the network of researchers in Romance languages who are either employed by the Department of Romance Studies and Classics (Stockholm University) or indirectly affiliated with the Department through participation in projects. The network also includes all of the Department’s doctoral students in Romance languages who are doing thesis projects in linguistics or discourse studies.
The research on Romance languages that is actively conducted at Stockholm University today is very broad-ranging and can be grouped into the following areas:

Research Areas