I received this question:

Is there any Etymology connection between the word ‘Romance’ (Implying Love) and ‘Romance’ to Describe the Romance Languages?

Or is it just a co-incidence that these two words are spelled and pronounced the same?


Here is my reply:

Yeah.  This is a weird one.  There actually is a connection.

Romance languages come from the Romans.  Latin became Spanish, French, Italian and so on.  No surprises there.  That’s pretty obvious.

In German and in French the word for novel is Roman.  That seems a little odd.  But, there is a connection.

When the first novels started appearing, they were basically legends, stories, and fables.  And, they were written in Latin, or they were written in the Romance languages.  

Since these legends, stories, and fables often dealt with topics of love (Knights rescuing maidens, for examples) they were often thought of as love stories.  As they were written in the language of the Romans, or in the Romance languages, it wasnt long before the term Romance (referring to the language) became confused with the stories themselves.   

When new (novel) love stories came out, they became Romance novels.  

After a while, humans acting like the characters in these stories were thought to be acting like Romance novel characters.  They were romantic, in other words.

Pretty funny etymology.  Sometimes words just wander around and end up in the most unlikely places.