The Language families and languages reference article from the Simple Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Language families and languages

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Languages are related to each other when they come from a common older language. For example, French and Spanish both come from Latin. Latin was spoken a long time ago, and some of the people who spoke it started to speak one way, saying, for example, for good: "bueno" while another group started saying "bon." Most words are said a little differently in Spanish and French, so the two are called different langauges.

Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese are all part of the Romance language family. There are other families, such as the Slavic family (with Russian and Polish), the Semitic language family (with Hebrew and Arabic) and the Germanic language family (with German and English).