Interesting little differences in Romance languages

Visiting Portugal, Spain, France and then Italy, I am struck by how certain very common pairs of words, are the same for one of the pairs, but differ for the other one of the pairs, in different Romance languages.

 For example, the word for “left” seems to vary from Spanish/Portuguese, Italian, and French, whereas the word for “right” is the same word in every one of the four languages. Similarly, the word for “early” differs in each of the four languages, while the word for “late” is essentially the same word in all four languages.

Left: Izquierda,Esquerda, Sinistra, Gauche
Right.Derecha,Direita,  Destra,Droite

Early: Temprano, Cedo, Presto, Tôt
Late: Tarde, Tarde, Tardo, Tard

Any ideas out there as to why?

1 comment on “Interesting little differences in Romance languages

Diego Martins

Hi Steve, as I’m aware that you’re a good portuguese speaker, I’ll write it in portuguese…Já havia pensado antes sobre essas semelhanças entre as línguas latinas. Eu sei que muitas palavras do espanhol e do português têm origem árabe, já que a maior parte desses dois países foi dominada pelos arábes por quase mil anos. A palavra "esquerda" é derivada de "ezker" (basco). Foi por esse caminho que acabou tornando-se "izquierdo" em castelhano.

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