Starting with the Renaissance, Italian became the language used in the courts of every state in the "peninsula. The rediscovery of Dante's "De vulgari eloquentia and a renewed interest in linguistics in the 16th century, sparked a debate that raged throughout Italy concerning the criteria that should govern the establishment of a modern Italian literary and spoken language. Scholars divided into three factions:
- The "purists, headed by Venetian "Pietro Bembo (who, in his "Gli Asolani, claimed the language might be based only on the great literary classics, such as "Petrarch and some part of Boccaccio). The purists thought the Divine Comedy not dignified enough, because it used elements from non-lyric registers of the language.
- "Niccolò Machiavelli and other "Florentines preferred the version spoken by ordinary people in their own times.
- The "courtiers, like "Baldassare Castiglione and "Gian Giorgio Trissino, insisted that each local vernacular contribute to the new standard.
A fourth faction claimed the best Italian was the one that the papal court adopted, which was a mix of Florentine and the dialect of Rome. Eventually, Bembo's ideas prevailed, and the foundation of the "Accademia della Crusca in Florence (1582–1583), the official legislative body of the Italian language led to publication of "Agnolo Monosini's Latin tome "Floris italicae linguae libri novem in 1604 followed by the first Italian dictionary in 1612.
An important event that helped the diffusion of Italian was the conquest and occupation of Italy by "Napoleon in the early 19th century (who was himself of Italian-Corsican descent). This conquest propelled the unification of Italy some decades after, and pushed the Italian language into a "lingua franca used not only among clerks, nobility and functionaries in the Italian courts but also in the "bourgeoisie.
Italian literature's first modern novel, "I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed), by "Alessandro Manzoni, further defined the standard by "rinsing" his Milanese "in the waters of the "Arno" ("Florence's river), as he states in the Preface to his 1840 edition.
After unification a huge number of civil servants and soldiers recruited from all over the country introduced many more words and idioms from their home languages (""ciao" is derived from "Venetian word "s-cia[v]o" (slave), ""panettone" comes from "Lombard word "panetton" etc.). Only 2.5% of Italy's population could speak the Italian standardized language properly when the nation unified in 1861.
Italian is a "Romance language, and is therefore a descendant of "Vulgar Latin. Standard Italian is based on "Tuscan, especially its "Florentine dialect, and is therefore an "Italo-Dalmatian language, to which "Sicilian and the extinct "Dalmatian also belong, among a few others.
Unlike most other Romance languages, Italian retains Latin's contrast between short and "long consonants. As in most "Romance languages, "stress is distinctive. In particular, among the Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin in terms of "vocabulary. "Lexical similarity is 89% with "French, 88% with "Catalan, 85% with "Sardinian, 82% with "Spanish and "Portuguese, 78% with "Rhaeto-Romance, and 77% with "Romanian.
One study analyzing the degree of differentiation of Romance languages in comparison to Latin (comparing "phonology, "inflection, "discourse, "syntax, "vocabulary, and "intonation) estimated that among the languages analyzed the distance between Italian and Latin is only higher than that between Sardinian and Latin.
Italian is an official language of "Italy and "San Marino and is spoken fluently by the majority of the countries' populations. Italian is official, together with French, German and "Romansch in "Switzerland, with most of the 0.5 million speakers concentrated in the south of the country, in the cantons of "Ticino and southern "Graubünden (predominately in "Italian Grigioni). Italian is the third most spoken language in Switzerland (after German and French), and its use has modestly declined since the 1970s. Italian is also used in administration and official documents in "Vatican City.
Italian is widely spoken in "Malta, where nearly two-thirds of the population can speak it fluently. Italian served as Malta's official language until 1934, while it is also recognized as an official language in "Istria County, "Croatia and "Slovenian Istria, where there are significant and historic Italian populations.
It is used as the official language of the "Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a Roman Catholic chivalric order which, while not a nation per se, is still recognized as a sovereign subject of international law.
In "Albania, it is one of the most spoken languages. This is due to the strong historical ties between "Italy and "Albania but also the Albanian communities in Italy, and the 19,000 "Italians living in Albania. It is reported as high as 70% of the Albanian adult population has some form of knowledge of Italian. Furthermore, the Albanian government has pushed to make Italian a compulsory second language in schools. Today, Italian is the third most spoken language in the country after "Albanian and "Greek.
Italian is also spoken by a minority in "Monaco and France (especially in the southeast region of the country).
Due to heavy Italian influence during the "Italian colonial period, Italian is still understood by some in former colonies. Although it was the primary language in "Libya since "colonial rule, Italian greatly declined under the "rule of Muammar Gaddafi, who expelled the "Italian Libyan population and made "Arabic the sole official language of the country. Nevertheless, Italian continues to be used in economic sectors in Libya. In Eritrea, Italian is at times used in commerce and the capital city "Asmara still has one Italian-language school. Italian was also introduced to "Somalia through colonialism and was the sole official language of administration and education during the "colonial period but fell out of use after government, educational and economic infrastructure were destroyed in the "Somali Civil War. Italian is still understood by some elderly and other people. The official languages of the Somali Republic are "Somali (Maay and Maxaatiri) and Arabic. The working languages during the Transitional Federal Government were Italian and English.
Although over 17 million "Americans are of Italian descent, only a little over one million people in the United States speak Italian at home. Nevertheless, an Italian language media market does exist in the country.
In "Canada, Italian is the second most spoken non-official language when "varieties of Chinese are not grouped together, with over 660,000 speakers (or about 2.1% of the population) according to the 2006 Census.
In Australia, Italian is the second most spoken foreign language after Chinese, with 1.4% of the population speaking it as their home language.
Italian immigrants to "South America have also brought a presence of the language to that continent. Italian is the second most spoken language in "Argentina after the official language of Spanish, with over 1 million (mainly of the older generation) speaking it at home, and Italian has also influenced the dialect of Spanish spoken in Argentina and "Uruguay, mostly in phonology, as well as the Portuguese prosody of the Brazilian state of "São Paulo which itself has 15 million Italian descendants. This form of Spanish is known as "Rioplatense Spanish. Italian bilingual speakers can be found in the Southeast of "Brazil as well as in the South. In "Venezuela, Italian is the second most spoken language after Spanish, with around 200,000 speakers. Smaller Italian-speaking minorities on the continent are also found in "Paraguay and "Ecuador.
In "Costa Rica, "Central America, Italian is one of the most important immigration communities languages, after "English. It is spoken in the southern area of the country in cities like "San Vito and other communities of Coto Brus, near the south borderline with "Panama.
Italian is widely taught in many schools around the world, but rarely as the first foreign language. Italian is the fourth most frequently taught foreign language in the world.
According to the "Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, every year there are more than 200,000 foreign students who study the Italian language; they are distributed among the 90 "Institutes of Italian Culture that are located around the world, or in the 179 Italian schools located abroad, or in the 111 Italian lecturer sections belonging to foreign schools where Italian is taught as a language of culture.
In the United States, Italian is the fourth most taught foreign language after Spanish, French, and German, in that order (or the fifth if "American Sign Language is considered). In central-east Europe Italian is first in Montenegro, second in Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, and Ukraine after English, and third in Hungary, Romania and Russia after English and German. But throughout the world, Italian is the fifth most taught foreign language, after English, French, German, and Spanish.
In the "European Union statistics, Italian is spoken as a native language by 13% of the EU population, or 65 million people, mainly in Italy. In the EU, it is spoken as a second language by 3% of the EU population, or 14 million people. Among EU states, the percentage of people able to speak Italian well enough to have a conversation is 66% in "Malta, 15% in "Slovenia, 14% in "Croatia, 8% in "Austria, 5% in "France and "Luxembourg, and 4% in the former "West Germany, "Greece, "Cyprus, and "Romania. Italian is also one of the national languages of Switzerland, which is not a part of the European Union. The Italian language is well-known and studied in "Albania, another non-EU member, due to its historical ties and geographical proximity to Italy and to the diffusion of Italian television in the country.
Influence and derived languages
From the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, thousands of Italians settled in Argentina, Uruguay, southern Brazil, and Venezuela, where they formed a physical and cultural presence.
In some cases, colonies were established where variants of regional "languages of Italy were used, and some continue to use this regional language. Examples are "Rio Grande do Sul, "Brazil, where "Talian is used, and the town of "Chipilo near Puebla, "Mexico; each continues to use a derived form of "Venetian dating back to the nineteenth century. Another example is "Cocoliche, an Italian–Spanish "pidgin once spoken in "Argentina and especially in "Buenos Aires, and "Lunfardo.
"Rioplatense Spanish, and particularly the speech of the city of Buenos Aires, has intonation patterns that resemble those of "Italian languages, because Argentina has had a continuous large influx of Italian settlers since the second half of the nineteenth century: initially primarily from northern Italy; then, since the beginning of the twentieth century, mostly from southern Italy.
Starting in late "medieval times in much of Europe and the Mediterranean, Latin was replaced as the primary commercial language by Italian language variants (especially Tuscan and Venetian). These variants were consolidated during the "Renaissance with the strength of Italy and the rise of "humanism and "the arts.
During that period, Italy held artistic sway over the rest of Europe. It was the norm for all educated gentlemen to make the "Grand Tour, visiting Italy to see its great historical monuments and works of art. It thus became expected to learn at least some Italian. In England, while the classical languages "Latin and "Greek were the first to be learned, Italian became the second most common modern language after French, a position it held until the late eighteenth century, when it tended to be replaced by German. "John Milton, for instance, wrote some of his early poetry in Italian.
Within the "Catholic church, Italian is known by a large part of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and is used in substitution for Latin in some official documents.
Italian "loanwords continue to be used in most languages in matters of art and "music (especially "opera), in the "design and "fashion industries, in some sports like "football and especially, in culinary terms.
Throughout Italy, regional variations of Standard Italian, called "Regional Italian, are spoken. In Italy, almost all "Romance languages spoken as the vernacular—other than standard Italian and distantly-related, non-Romance languages spoken in border regions or among immigrant communities—are often imprecisely called ""Italian dialects", even though they are quite different, with some belonging to different branches of the "Romance language family. The only exceptions to this are "Sardinian, "Ladin and "Friulian, which are officially recognized as distinct regional languages by the law. On the other hand, "Corsican (a language spoken in "France on the island of "Corsica) is closely related to "Tuscan, from which Standard Italian derives and evolved.
Regional differences can be recognized by various factors: the openness of vowels, the length of the consonants, and influence of the local language (for example, in informal situations the contraction annà replaces andare in the area of Rome for the infinitive "to go"; and nare is what "Venetians say for the infinitive "to go").
- Between two vowels, or between a vowel and an approximant or liquid (/l r/ or /w j/), consonants can be either single or "geminated. Geminated consonants shorten the preceding vowel (or block phonetic lengthening) and the first geminated element is "unreleased. For example, /fato/ [ˈfaː.to] ~ /fatto/ [ˈfat.to] (first one means "fate, destiny" and the second means "fact", see "fato" and "fatto"). However, /ɲ/, /ʃ/, /ʎ/, are always geminated word-internally. Similarly, nasals, liquids, and sibilants are pronounced slightly longer before medial consonant clusters.
- /z/ is the only consonant that cannot be geminated.
- /t d t͡s d͡z s z/ are denti-alveolar, while /l n/ are alveolar.
- The trill /r/ is sometimes reduced to a single vibration when not geminated, but it is not a "flap *[ɾ]["clarification needed].
- Nasals "assimilate to the "point of articulation of whatever consonant they precede. For example, /nɡ/ is realized as [ŋɡ].
- The distinction between /s/ and /z/ is neutralized before consonants and at the beginning of words: the former is used before voiceless consonants and before vowels at the beginning of words; the latter is used before voiced consonants (meaning [z] is an allophone of /s/ before voiced consonants). The two are only contrasted between two vowels within a word. According to Canepari, though, the traditional standard has been replaced by a modern neutral pronunciation which always prefers /z/ when intervocalic, except when the intervocalic s is the initial sound of a word or a morpheme, if the compound is still felt as such: for example, presento /preˈsɛnto/ ('I foresee', with pre meaning 'before' and sento meaning 'I see') vs. presento /preˈzɛnto/ ('I present'). There are many words in which dictionaries now indicate that both pronunciations with /z/ and with /s/ are acceptable. The two phonemes have merged in many regional varieties of Italian, either into /z/ (Northern-Central) or /s/ (Southern-Central). Geminate /ss/ can be pronounced as single [s].
Italian has a seven-vowel system, consisting of /a, ɛ, e, i, ɔ, o, u/, as well as 23 consonants. Compared with most other Romance languages, Italian phonology is conservative, preserving many words nearly unchanged from "Vulgar Latin. Some examples:
- Italian quattordici "fourteen" < Latin quattuordecim (cf. Romanian paisprezece/paișpe, Spanish catorce, French quatorze /kaˈtɔʁz/, "Catalan and "Portuguese catorze)
- Italian settimana "week" < Latin septimāna (cf. Romanian săptămână, Spanish and Portuguese semana, French semaine /s(ǝ)ˈmɛn/, "Catalan setmana)
- Italian medesimo "same" < Vulgar Latin *medi(p)simum (cf. Spanish mismo, "Portuguese mesmo, French même /mɛm/, "Catalan mateix; note that Italian usually uses the shorter stesso)
- Italian guadagnare "to win, earn, gain" < Vulgar Latin *guadanyāre < "Germanic /waidanjan/ (cf. Spanish ganar, Portuguese ganhar, French gagner /ɡaˈɲe/, "Catalan guanyar)
The conservativeness of Italian phonology is partly explained by its origin. Italian stems from a literary language that is derived from the 13th-century speech of the city of "Florence in the region of "Tuscany, and has changed little in the last 700 years or so. Furthermore, the Tuscan dialect is the most conservative of all "Italian dialects, radically different from the "Gallo-Italian languages less than 100 miles to the north (across the "La Spezia–Rimini Line).
The following are some of the conservative phonological features of Italian, as compared with the common "Western Romance languages (French, Spanish, "Portuguese, "Galician, "Catalan). Some of these features are also present in "Romanian.
- Little or no "lenition of consonants between vowels, e.g. vīta > vita "life" (cf. Romanian viață, Spanish vida [βiða], French vie), pedem > piede "foot" (cf. Spanish pie, French pied /pje/).
- Preservation of doubled consonants, e.g. annum > anno "year" (cf. Spanish año /aɲo/, French an /ɑ̃/, Portuguese ano /'ã.nu/).
- Preservation of all "Proto-Romance final vowels, e.g. pacem > pace "peace" (cf. Romania pace, Spanish paz, French paix /pɛ/), octō > otto "eight" (cf. Romanian opt Spanish ocho, French huit /ɥi(t)/), fēcī > feci "I did" (cf. Spanish hice, French fis /fi/).
- Preservation of most intertonic vowels (those between the stressed syllable and either the beginning or ending syllable). This accounts for some of the most noticeable differences, as in the forms quattordici and settimana given above.
- Slower consonant development, e.g. folia > Italo-Western /fɔʎʎa/ > foglia /ˈfɔʎʎa/ "leaf" (cf. Romanian foaie /ˈfo̯aje/, Spanish hoja /ˈoxa/, French feuille /ˈfœj/; but note Portuguese folha /ˈfoʎɐ/).
Compared with most other Romance languages, Italian has a large number of inconsistent outcomes, where the same underlying sound produces different results in different words, e.g. laxāre > lasciare and lassare, captiāre > cacciare and cazzare, (ex)dēroteolāre > sdrucciolare, druzzolare and ruzzolare, rēgīna > regina and reina, -c- > /k/ and /ɡ/, -t- > /t/ and /d/. Although in all these examples the second form has fallen out of usage, the dimorphism is thought to reflect the several-hundred-year period during which Italian developed as a literary language divorced from any native-speaking population, with an origin in 12th/13th-century Tuscan but with many words borrowed from "languages farther to the north, with different sound outcomes. (The "La Spezia–Rimini Line, the most important "isogloss in the entire Romance-language area, passes only about 20 miles to the north of Florence.)
Some other features that distinguish Italian from the Western Romance languages:
- Latin ce-,ci- becomes /tʃe, tʃi/ rather than /(t)se, (t)si/.
- Latin -ct- becomes /tt/ rather than /jt/ or /tʃ/: octō > otto "eight" (cf. Spanish ocho, French huit, Portuguese oito).
- Vulgar Latin -cl- becomes cchi /kkj/ rather than /ʎ/: oclum > occhio "eye" (cf. Portuguese olho /oʎu/, French oeil /œj/ < /œʎ/); but Romanian ochi /okʲ/.
- Final /s/ is not preserved, and vowel changes rather than /s/ are used to mark the plural: amico, amici "male friend(s)", amica, amiche "female friend(s)" (cf. Romanian amic, amici,amică, amice, Spanish amigo(s) "male friend(s)", amiga(s) "female friends"); trēs, sex → tre, sei "three, six" (cf. Romanian trei, șase, Spanish tres, seis).
Standard Italian also differs in some respects from most nearby Italian languages:
- Perhaps most noticeable is the total lack of "metaphony, though metaphony is a feature characterizing nearly every other "Italian language.
- No simplification of original /nd/, /mb/ (which often became /nn/, /mm/ elsewhere).
The Italian alphabet is typically considered to consist of 21 letters. The letters j, k, w, x, y are traditionally excluded, though they appear in loanwords such as jeans, whisky, taxi, xenofobo, xilofono. The letter ⟨x⟩ has become common in standard Italian with the prefix extra-, although (e)stra- is traditionally used; it is also common to use of the Latin particle ex(-) to mean "former(ly)" as in: la mia ex ("my ex-girlfriend"), "Ex-Jugoslavia" ("Former Yugoslavia"). The letter ⟨j⟩ appears in the first name Jacopo and in some Italian place-names, such as "Bajardo, "Bojano, "Joppolo, "Jerzu, "Jesolo, "Jesi, "Ajaccio, among others, and in Mar Jonio, an alternative spelling of Mar Ionio (the "Ionian Sea). The letter ⟨j⟩ may appear in dialectal words, but its use is discouraged in contemporary standard Italian. Letters used in Foreign words can be replaced with "phonetically equivalent native Italian letters and "digraphs: ⟨gi⟩, ⟨ge⟩, or ⟨i⟩ for ⟨j⟩; ⟨c⟩ or ⟨ch⟩ for ⟨k⟩ (including in the standard prefix kilo-); ⟨o⟩, ⟨u⟩ or ⟨v⟩ for ⟨w⟩; ⟨s⟩, ⟨ss⟩, ⟨z⟩, ⟨zz⟩ or ⟨cs⟩ for ⟨x⟩; and ⟨e⟩ or ⟨i⟩ for ⟨y⟩.
- The "acute accent is used over word-final ⟨e⟩ to indicate a stressed "front close-mid vowel, as in perché "why, because". In dictionaries, it is also used over ⟨o⟩ to indicate a stressed "back close-mid vowel (azióne). The "grave accent is used over word-final ⟨e⟩ to indicate a "front open-mid vowel, as in tè "tea". The grave accent is used over any vowel to indicate word-final stress, as in gioventù "youth". Unlike ⟨é⟩, a stressed final ⟨o⟩ is always a "back open-mid vowel (andrò), making ⟨ó⟩ unnecessary outside of dictionaries. Most of the time, the penultimate syllable is stressed. But if the stressed vowel is the final letter of the word, the accent is mandatory, otherwise it is virtually always omitted. Exceptions are typically either in dictionaries, where all or most stressed vowels are commonly marked. Accents can optionally be used disambiguate words that differ only by stress, as for prìncipi "princes" and princìpi "principles", or àncora "anchor" and ancóra "still/yet". For monosyllabic words, the rule is different: when two identical monosyllabic words with different meanings exist, one is accented and the other is not (example: è "is", e "and").
- The letter ⟨h⟩ distinguishes ho, hai, ha, hanno (present indicative of avere "to have") from o ("or"), ai ("to the"), a ("to"), anno ("year"). In the spoken language, the letter is always silent. The ⟨h⟩ in ho additionally marks the contrasting open pronunciation of the ⟨o⟩. The letter ⟨h⟩ is also used in combinations with other letters. No "phoneme [h] exists in Italian. In nativized foreign words, the ⟨h⟩ is silent. For example, hotel and hovercraft are pronounced /oˈtɛl/ and /ˈɔverkraft/ respectively. (Where ⟨h⟩ existed in Latin, it either disappeared or, in a few cases before a back vowel, changed to [ɡ]: traggo "I pull" ← Lat. trahō.)
- The letters ⟨s⟩ and ⟨z⟩ can symbolize "voiced or "voiceless consonants. ⟨z⟩ symbolizes /dz/ or /ts/ depending on context, with few minimal pairs. For example: zanzara /dzanˈdzaːra/ "mosquito" and nazione /natˈtsjoːne/ "nation". ⟨s⟩ symbolizes /s/ word-initially before a vowel, when clustered with a voiceless consonant (⟨p, f, c, ch⟩), and when doubled; it symbolizes /z/ when between vowels and when clustered with voiced consonants. Intervocalic ⟨s⟩ varies regionally between /s/ and /z/, with /z/ being more dominant in northern Italy and /s/ in the south.
- The letters ⟨c⟩ and ⟨g⟩ vary in pronunciation between "plosives and "affricates depending on following vowels. The letter ⟨c⟩ symbolizes /k/ when word-final and before the back vowels ⟨a, o, u⟩. It symbolizes /"tʃ/ as in chair before the front vowels ⟨e, i⟩. The letter ⟨g⟩ symbolizes /ɡ/ when word-final and before the back vowels ⟨a, o, u⟩. It symbolizes /"dʒ/ as in gem before the front vowels ⟨e, i⟩. Other Romance languages and, to an extent, English have similar variations for ⟨c, g⟩. Compare "hard and soft C, "hard and soft G. (See also "palatalization.)
- The "digraphs ⟨ch⟩ and ⟨gh⟩ indicate or preserve hardness (/k/ and /ɡ/) before ⟨i, e⟩. The digraphs ⟨ci⟩ and ⟨gi⟩ indicate or preserve softness (/tʃ/ and /dʒ/) before ⟨a, o, u⟩. For example:
Before back vowel (A, O, U) Before front vowel (I, E) Plosive C caramella /karaˈmɛlla/ "candy CH china /ˈkiːna/ "India ink G gallo /ˈɡallo/ "rooster GH ghiro /ˈɡiːro/ "edible dormouse Affricate CI ciambella /tʃambɛlla/ "donut C Cina /ˈtʃiːna/ China GI giallo /ˈdʒallo/ "yellow G giro /ˈdʒiːro/ round, tour
- Note: ⟨h⟩ is "silent in the digraphs "⟨ch⟩, "⟨gh⟩; and ⟨i⟩ is silent in the digraphs ⟨ci⟩ and ⟨gi⟩ before ⟨a, o, u⟩ unless the ⟨i⟩ is stressed. For example, it is silent in "ciao /ˈtʃaː.o/ and cielo /ˈtʃɛː.lo/, but it is pronounced in farmacia /ˌfar.maˈtʃiː.a/ and farmacie /ˌfar.maˈtʃiː.e/.
Italian has geminate, or double, consonants, which are distinguished by "length and intensity. Length is distinctive for all consonants except for /ʃ/, /dz/, /ʎ/, /ɲ/, which are always geminate, and /z/, which is always single. Geminate plosives and affricates are realized as lengthened closures. Geminate fricatives, nasals, and /l/ are realized as lengthened "continuants. There is only one vibrant phoneme /r/ but the actual pronunciation depends on context and regional accent. Generally one can find a flap consonant [ɾ] in unstressed position whereas [r] is more common in stressed syllables, but there may be exceptions. Especially people from the Northern part of Italy ("Parma, "Aosta Valley, "South Tyrol) may pronounce /r/ as [ʀ], [ʁ], or [ʋ].
Of special interest to the linguistic study of Italian is the "gorgia toscana, or "Tuscan Throat", the weakening or "lenition of certain intervocalic consonants in the "Tuscan language.
The "voiced postalveolar fricative /ʒ/ is only present in loanwords: for example, garage [ɡaˈraːʒ].
Italian "phonotactics do not usually permit verbs and polysyllabic nouns to end with consonants, excepting poetry and song, so foreign words may receive "extra terminal vowel sounds.
Italian grammar is typical of the grammar of "Romance languages in general. "Cases exist for personal pronouns ("nominative, "oblique, "accusative, "dative), but not for nouns.
There are two "genders (masculine and feminine), however there is a number of nouns that change their gender from the singular to plural, having a masculine singular and a feminine plural, and thus are sometimes considered neuter (those are derived from "neuter Latin nouns). An instance of neuter gender also exists in pronouns of the third person singular.
Nouns, adjectives, and articles "inflect for gender and number (singular and plural).
The order of words in the phrase is relatively free compared to most European languages. The position of the verb in the phrase is highly mobile. Word order often has a lesser grammatical function in Italian than in "English. Adjectives are sometimes placed before their noun and sometimes after. Subject nouns generally come before the verb. Italian is a "null-subject language, so that nominative pronouns are usually absent, with subject indicated by verbal "inflections (e.g. amo 'I love', ama 's/he loves', amano 'they love'). Noun objects normally come after the verb, as do pronoun objects after imperative verbs, infinitives and gerunds, but otherwise pronoun objects come before the verb.
There are numerous "contractions of "prepositions with subsequent "articles. There are numerous productive "suffixes for "diminutive, "augmentative, pejorative, attenuating etc., which are also used to create "neologisms. There are 27 pronouns, grouped in "clitic and tonic pronouns.
There are three regular sets of verbal "conjugations, and various verbs are irregularly conjugated. Within each of these sets of conjugations, there are four simple (one-word) verbal conjugations by person/number in the "indicative mood ("present tense; "past tense with "imperfective aspect, past tense with "perfective aspect, and "future tense), two simple conjugations in the "subjunctive mood (present tense and past tense), one simple conjugation in the "conditional mood, and one simple conjugation in the "imperative mood. Corresponding to each of the simple conjugations, there is a compound conjugation involving a simple conjugation of "to be" or "to have" followed by a "past participle. "To have" is used to form compound conjugation when the verb is transitive ("Hai detto", "hai fatto": you have said, you have made), while "to be" is used when the verb is intransitive ("Sei andato", "sei stato": you have gone, you have been). "To be" may be used with transitive verbs, but in such a case it makes the verb passive ("Sei detto", "Sei fatto": you are said, you are made). This rule is not absolute, and some exceptions do exist.
|English (inglese)||Italian (italiano)||Pronunciation|
|Of course!||Certo! / Certamente! / Naturalmente!||/ˈtʃɛrto/ /ˌtʃɛrtaˈmente/ /naturalˈmente/|
|Hello!||"Ciao! (informal) / Salve! (formal);||/ˈtʃaːo/|
|How are you?||Come stai? (informal) / Come sta? (formal) / (Loro) Come stanno? (formal plural) / Come state? (plural) / Come va? (general)||/ˌkomeˈstai/; /ˌkomeˈsta/ /ˌkome ˈstaːte/ /ˌkome vˈva/|
|Good morning!||Buongiorno! (= Good day!)||/ˌbwɔnˈdʒorno/|
|Good night!||Buonanotte! (for a good night sleeping) / Buona serata! (for a good night awake)||/ˌbwɔnaˈnɔtte/ /ˌbwɔna seˈraːta/|
|Have a nice day!||Buona giornata! (formal)||/ˌbwɔna dʒorˈnaːta/|
|Enjoy the meal!||Buon appetito!||/ˌbwɔn‿appeˈtiːto/|
|Goodbye!||Arrivederci (general) / ArrivederLa (formal) / Ciao! (informal)||(listen) /arriveˈdertʃi/|
|Good luck!||Buona fortuna! (general)||/ˌbwɔna forˈtuːna/|
|I love you||Ti amo (between lovers only) / Ti voglio bene (in the sense of "I am fond of you", between lovers, friends, relatives etc.)||/ti ˌvɔʎʎo ˈbɛːne/; /ti ˈaːmo/|
|Welcome [to...]||Benvenuto/-i (for male/males or mixed) / Benvenuta/-e (for female/females) [a / in...]||/beɱveˈnuːto/|
|Please||Per favore / Per piacere / Per cortesia||(listen) /per faˈvoːre/ /per pjaˈtʃeːre/ /per korteˈziːa/|
|Thank you!||Grazie! (general) / Ti ringrazio! (informal) / La ringrazio! (formal) / Vi ringrazio! (plural)||(listen) /ˈɡrattsje/ /ti riŋˈɡrattsjo/|
|You are welcome!||Prego!||/ˈprɛːɡo/|
|Excuse me / I am sorry||Mi dispiace (only "I am sorry") / Scusa(mi) (informal) / Mi scusi (formal) / Scusatemi (plural) / Sono desolato ("I am sorry", if male) / Sono desolata ("I am sorry", if female)||(listen) /ˈskuːzi/; /ˈskuːza/; /mi disˈpjaːtʃe/|
|What?||Che cosa? / Cosa? / Che?||/kekˈkɔːsa/ /ˈkɔːsa/ /ˈke/|
|Why / Because||perché||/perˈke/|
|Again||di nuovo / ancora||/di ˈnwɔːvo/; /aŋˈkoːra/|
|How much? / How many?||Quanto? / Quanta? / Quanti? / Quante?||/ˈkwanto/|
|What is your name?||Come ti chiami? (informal) / Qual è il suo nome? (formal) / Come si chiama? (formal)||/ˌkomettiˈkjaːmi/ /kwal ˈɛ il ˌsu.o ˈnoːme/|
|My name is ...||Mi chiamo ...||/mi ˈkjaːmo/|
|This is ...||Questo è ... (masculine) / Questa è ... (feminine)||/ˌkwesto ˈɛ/ /ˌkwesta ˈɛ/|
|Yes, I understand.||Sì, capisco. / Ho capito.||/si kaˈpisko/ /ɔkkaˈpiːto/|
|I do not understand.||Non capisco. / Non ho capito.||(listen) /noŋ kaˈpisko/ /nonˌɔkkaˈpiːto/|
|Do you speak English?||Parli inglese? (informal) / Parla inglese? (formal) / Parlate inglese? (plural)||(listen) /parˌlate iŋˈɡleːse/ (listen) /ˌparla iŋˈɡleːse/|
|I do not understand Italian.||Non capisco l'italiano.||/noŋ kaˌpisko litaˈljaːno/|
|Help me!||Aiutami! (informal) / Mi aiuti! (formal) / Aiutatemi! (plural) / Aiuto! (general)||/aˈjuːtami/ /ajuˈtaːtemi/ /aˈjuːto/|
|You are right/wrong!||(Tu) hai ragione/torto! (informal) / (Lei) ha ragione/torto! (formal) / (Voi) avete ragione/torto! (plural)|
|What time is it?||Che ora è? / Che ore sono?||/ke ˌora ˈɛ/ /ke ˌore ˈsono/|
|Where is the bathroom?||Dov'è il bagno?||(listen) /doˌvɛ il ˈbaɲɲo/|
|How much is it?||Quanto costa?||/ˌkwanto ˈkɔsta/|
|The bill, please.||Il conto, per favore.||/il ˌkonto per faˈvoːre/|
|The study of Italian sharpens the mind.||Lo studio dell'italiano aguzza l'ingegno.||/loˈstuːdjo dellitaˈljaːno aˈɡuttsa linˈdʒeɲɲo/|
|two thousand and seventeen (2017)||duemiladiciassette||/dueˌmilaˈditʃasˈsɛtte/|
Days of the week
Months of the year
There is a recording of "Dante's "Divine Comedy read by "Lino Pertile available online.
|""||Italian edition of "Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
- "Languages of Italy
- "Accademia della Crusca
- "CILS (Qualification)
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- Guide to phonetic transliteration of Italian
- "Italian alphabet
- "Italian dialects
- "Italian exonyms
- "Italian grammar
- "Italian honorifics
- "The Italian Language Foundation (in the United States)
- "Italian language in Croatia
- "Italian language in Slovenia
- "Italian language in the United States
- "Italian language in Venezuela
- "Italian literature
- "Italian musical terms
- "Italian phonology
- "Italian profanity
- "Italian Sign Language
- "Italian Studies
- "Italian Wikipedia
- "Italian-language international radio stations
- "Lessico etimologico italiano
- "Sicilian School
- "Veronese Riddle
- "Languages of the Vatican City
- "List of English words of Italian origin
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... if the Romance languages are compared with Latin, it is seen that by most measures Sardinian and Italian are least differentiated and French most
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- See "Italica 1950: 46 (cf.  and ): "Pei, Mario A. "A New Methodology for Romance Classification." Word, v, 2 (Aug. 1949), 135–146. Demonstrates a comparative statistical method for determining the extent of change from the Latin for the free and checked accented vowels of French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Rumanian, Old Provençal, and Logudorese Sardinian. By assigning 3½ change points per vowel (with 2 points for diphthongization, 1 point for modification in vowel quantity, ½ point for changes due to nasalization, palatalization or umlaut, and −½ point for failure to effect a normal change), there is a maximum of 77 change points for free and checked stressed vowel sounds (11×2×3½=77). According to this system (illustrated by seven charts at the end of the article), the percentage of change is greatest in French (44%) and least in Italian (12%) and Sardinian (8%). Prof. Pei suggests that this statistical method be extended not only to all other phonological, but also to all morphological and syntactical, phenomena.".
- See "Koutna et al. (1990: 294): "In the late forties and in the fifties some new proposals for classification of the Romance languages appeared. A statistical method attempting to evaluate the evidence quantitatively was developed in order to provide not only a classification but at the same time a measure of the divergence among the languages. The earliest attempt was made in 1949 by Mario Pei (1901–1978), who measured the divergence of seven modern Romance languages from Classical Latin, taking as his criterion the evolution of stressed vowels. Pei's results do not show the degree of contemporary divergence among the languages from each other but only the divergence of each one from Classical Latin. The closest language turned out to be Sardinian with 8% of change. Then followed Italian — 12%; Spanish — 20%; Romanian — 23,5%; Provençal — 25%; Portuguese — 31%; French — 44%."
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L’italiano di oggi ha ancora in gran parte la stessa grammatica e usa ancora lo stesso lessico del fiorentino letterario del Trecento.
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- The following needs to be mentioned, that the Sicilian language is actually a direct descendant of Vulgar Latin. Therefore it the second Romance language, this is a fact that many linguists do not mention, in the case of the Tuscan being the precursor of Italian is incorrect. Dante himself wrote that he was a big fan of the Sicilian school which was already transcribing in Sicilian in the 13th century. Later on Tuscan scholars were greatly influenced by Sicilian scholars who had already distinguished themselves throughout the Italian peninsula. In one instance a Sicilian notary in Milan whose task was to transcribe important document had filled in the blank spaces with Sicilian poems to make sure that no one could add anything after the documents had been made legal. An article was published by Noemi Ghetti in an Italian magazine called the "Babylon Post" in 2013, which shows evidence of researches finding documents proving this. http://babylonpost.globalist.it/Detail_News_Display?ID=78159&typeb=0&dante-perde-la-paternita-la-lingua-italiana-e-nata-in-sicilia
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L'italiano come lingua acquisita o riacquisita è largamente diffuso in Venezuela: recenti studi stimano circa 200.000 studenti di italiano nel Paese
- Sansonetti V. (1995) Quemé mis naves en esta montaña: La colonización de la altiplanicie de Coto Brus y la fundación de San Vito de Java. Jiménez y Tanzi. San José, Costa Rica (in Spanish)
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Today, even though for political reasons English is the most widely taught foreign language in Albanian schools, Italian is anyway the most widespread foreign language.
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|""||Italian edition of "Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|