|France, Iberia, Northern Italy, and Switzerland|
Classification of Romance languages
Western Romance languages are one of the two subdivisions of a proposed subdivision of the Romance languages based on the La Spezia-Rimini line. They include the Gallo-Romance and Iberian-Romance branches as well as northern Italian. The subdivision is based mainly on the use of the "s" for pluralization, the weakening of some consonants and the pronunciation of "Soft C" as /t?s/ (often later /s/) rather than /t/ as in Italian and Romanian, but that makes the categorization highly problematic because there is a much higher lexical similarity between Italian and French than between French and Spanish. There is also a much higher morphological, orthographic and phonetic similarity between Spanish and Italian than between Italian and French.
Based on mutual intelligibility, Dalby counts a dozen languages: Portuguese, Spanish, Asturian-Leonese, Aragonese, Catalan, Galician, Gascon, Provençal, Gallo-Wallon, French, Franco-Provençal, Romansh, and Ladin. This classification criterion is however problematic, due to the much higher levels of mutual intelligibility between Italo-Romance and Iberian languages than between either of these with Gallo-Romance languages.
Sardinian does not fit into either Western or Eastern Romance, and may have split off before either.
Today the four most-widely spoken standardized Western Romance languages are Spanish (c. 410 million native speakers, around 125 million second-language speakers), Portuguese (c. 220 million native, another 45 million or so second-language speakers, mainly in Lusophone Africa), French (c. 80 million native speakers, another 70 million or so second-language speakers, mostly in Francophone Africa), and Catalan (c. 7.2 million native). Many of these languages have large numbers of non-native speakers; this is especially the case for French, in widespread use throughout West Africa as a lingua franca.
Gallo-Romance can include:
The Oïl languages, Arpitan and Rhaeto-Romance languages are sometimes called Gallo-Rhaetian, but it is difficult to exclude from this group Gallo-Italic, which according to several linguists forms a particular unity with Rhaeto-Romance.