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Italian
italiano, lingua italiana
Pronunciation "[itaˈljaːno]
Native to "Italy, "Switzerland, "San Marino, "Vatican City, "Istria County ("Croatia) and "Slovene Istria ("Slovenia)
Region "Italy, "Ticino and "southern Graubünden, "Slovene Littoral and western "Istria
Native speakers
64 million native speakers in the EU.[1] (c.2012)[2]
85 million, total number of speakers.[3]
"Latin ("Italian alphabet)
"Italian Braille
"Italiano segnato "(Signed Italian)"[4]
"italiano segnato esatto "(Signed Exact Italian)"[5]
Official status
Official language in
 "Italy
  "Switzerland
 "San Marino
  "Vatican City
 "Sovereign Military Order of Malta
 "Istria County ("Croatia)
"Slovenia "Slovene Istria ("Slovenia)
 "European Union
Recognised minority
language in
"Regulated by "Accademia della Crusca (de facto)
Language codes
"ISO 639-1 it
"ISO 639-2 ita
"ISO 639-3 ita
"Glottolog ital1282[6]
"Linguasphere 51-AAA-q
""Map Italophone World.png
The geographic distribution of the Italian language in the world: blue indicates where Italian is the main language; large Italian-speaking communities are shown in green dots; light blue indicates areas where the Italian language was used officially during the Italian colonial period.
This article contains "IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper "rendering support, you may see "question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of "Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see "Help:IPA.

Italian (""About this sound italiano  "[itaˈljaːno] or lingua italiana "[ˈliŋɡwa itaˈljaːna]) is a "Romance language. By most measures, Italian, together with Sardinian, is the closest to "Latin of the Romance languages.[7] Italian is an official language in "Italy, "Switzerland, "San Marino, "Vatican City and western "Istria (in "Slovenia and "Croatia). It used to have official status in "Albania, "Malta and "Monaco, where it is still widely spoken, as well as in former "Italian East Africa and "Italian North Africa regions where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large "expatriate communities in "the Americas and "Australia.[8] It has official minority status in "Bosnia and Herzegovina, "Croatia, "Slovenia and "Romania.[9] Many speakers are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and "other regional languages.[10] Italian is a major European language, being one of the official languages of the "Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and one of the working languages of the "Council of Europe. It is the "third most widely spoken first language in the European Union with 65 million native speakers (13% of the EU population) and it is spoken as a second language by 14 million EU citizens (3%).[1] Including Italian speakers in non-EU European countries (such as Switzerland and Albania) and on other continents, the total number of speakers is around 85 million.[3]

Italian is the main working language of the "Holy See, serving as the "lingua franca (common language) in the Roman Catholic hierarchy as well as the official language of the "Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Italian is known as the language of music because of its use in "musical terminology and "opera. Its influence is also widespread in the "arts and in the "luxury goods market. Italian has been reported as the fourth or fifth most frequently taught foreign language in the world.[11][12]

Italian was adopted by the state after the "Unification of Italy, having previously been a literary language based on "Tuscan as spoken mostly by the "upper class of Florentine society.[13] Its development was also influenced by other "Italian languages and to some minor extent, by the "Germanic languages of the "post-Roman invaders. The incorporation into Italian of learned, or "bookish" words from its own ancestor language, "Latin, is arguably another form of lexical borrowing through the influence of written language and the liturgical language of the Church. Throughout the Middle Ages and into the early modern period, most literate Italian speakers were also literate in Latin; and thus they easily adopted Latin words into their writing—and eventually speech—in Italian. Its vowels are the second-closest to Latin after "Sardinian.[14][15] Unlike most other Romance languages, Italian retains Latin's contrast between short and "long consonants.[16] As in most "Romance languages, "stress is distinctive.

Contents

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

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"Dante Alighieri (top) and "Petrarch (bottom) were influential in establishing their "Tuscan dialect as the most prominent literary language in all of "Italy in the "Late Middle Ages.

During the "Middle Ages, the established written language in Europe was Latin. With the overwhelming majority of people illiterate however, only a tiny handful were well versed in the language. In Italy, as in all other countries, the majority would instead speak the vernacular (native tongue) of their region. These dialects (as they are commonly referred to as) were derived from "Vulgar Latin over the course of centuries, evolving naturally unaffected by formal standards and teachings. However, it should be noted that these "Languages of Italy are not truly "dialects" of Standard Italian, evolving independently (and alongside) of the predecessor of Standard Italian. They are often mutually unintelligible, and are better classified as distinct languages. [17]

The standard Italian language has a poetic and literary origin in the writings of "Tuscan writers of the 12th century, and, even though the grammar and core lexicon are basically unchanged from those used in Florence in the 13th century,[18] the modern standard of the language was largely shaped by relatively recent events. However, Italian as a language spoken in "Italy and some surrounding regions has a longer history. In fact, the earliest surviving texts that can definitely be called Italian (or more accurately, vernacular, as distinct from its predecessor "Vulgar Latin) are legal formulae known as the "Placiti Cassinesi from the "Province of Benevento that date from 960–963, although the "Veronese Riddle contains a late form of Vulgar Latin that can be seen as a very early Italian dialect.[19] What would come to be thought of as Italian was first formalized in the early 14th century through the works of Tuscan writer "Dante Alighieri, written in his native "Florentine. Dante's epic poems, known collectively as the "Commedia, to which another Tuscan poet "Giovanni Boccaccio later affixed the title Divina, were read throughout Italy and his written dialect became the "canonical standard" that all educated "Italians could understand. Dante is still credited with standardizing the Italian language. In addition to the widespread exposure gained through literature, the Florentine language also gained prestige due to the political and cultural significance of Florence at the time and the fact that it was linguistically an intermediate between northern and southern dialects.[17] Thus the dialect of "Florence became the basis for what would become the official language of Italy.

Italian often was an official language of the various Italian states predating unification, slowly replacing Latin, even when ruled by foreign powers (such as the Spanish in the "Kingdom of Naples, or the Austrians in the "Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia), even though the masses spoke primarily vernacular languages and dialects. Italian was also one of the many recognised languages in the "Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Italy has always had a distinctive dialect for each city because the cities, until recently, were thought of as "city-states. Those dialects now have considerable "variety. As Tuscan-derived Italian came to be used throughout Italy, features of local speech were naturally adopted, producing various versions of Regional Italian. The most characteristic differences, for instance, between "Roman Italian and "Milanese Italian are the "gemination of initial consonants and the pronunciation of stressed "e", and of "s" in some cases: e.g. va bene "all right": is pronounced [va ˈbːɛne] by a Roman (and by any standard-speaker), [va ˈbene] by a Milanese (and by any speaker whose native dialect lies to the north of the "La Spezia–Rimini Line); a casa "at home" is [a ˈkːasa] for Roman and standard, [a ˈkaza] for Milanese and generally northern.

In contrast to the "Gallo-Italic languages of "northern Italy, the "Italo-Dalmatian "Neapolitan language and its dialects were largely unaffected by the Franco-"Occitan influences introduced to Italy mainly by "bards from France during the "Middle Ages, but after the "Norman conquest of southern Italy, Sicily became the first Italian land to adopt Occitan lyric moods (and words) in poetry. Even in the case of Northern Italian languages, however, scholars are careful not to overstate the effects of outsiders on the natural indigenous developments of the languages.

The economic might and relatively advanced development of Tuscany at the time ("Late Middle Ages) gave its language weight, though the "Venetian language remained widespread in medieval Italian commercial life, and "Ligurian (or Genoese) remained in use in maritime trade alongside the Mediterranean. The increasing political and cultural relevance of "Florence during the periods of the rise of the "Banco Medici, "Humanism, and the "Renaissance made its dialect, or rather a refined version of it, a standard in the arts.

Renaissance[edit]

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"Pietro Bembo was an influential figure in the development of the Italian language from the Tuscan dialect, as a literary medium, codifying the language for standard modern usage.

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:

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.

Modern era[edit]

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 by the "bourgeoisie.

Contemporary times[edit]

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 was unified in 1861.[20]

Classification[edit]

Italian is a "Romance language, and is therefore a descendant of "Vulgar Latin (the spoken form of non-classical Latin).[note 1] 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.[22] "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.[8][23][24]

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.[25]

Geographic distribution[edit]

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Use of the Italian language in Europe
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Use of the Italian language in Europe and former use in Africa

Europe[edit]

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.[26] Italian is also used in administration and official documents in "Vatican City.[27]

Italian is widely spoken in "Malta, where nearly two-thirds of the population can speak it fluently.[28] 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.[29][30][31]

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.[32] 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.[33] 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).[34][35]

Africa[edit]

Due to heavy Italian influence during the "Italian colonial period, Italian is still understood by some in former colonies.[8] 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.[36] 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.[37] 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.[38]

Immigrant communities[edit]

Although over 17 million "Americans are of Italian descent, only a little over one million people in the United States speak Italian at home.[39] Nevertheless, an Italian language media market does exist in the country.[40]

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.[41]

In "Australia, Italian is the second most spoken foreign language after Chinese, with 1.4% of the population speaking it as their home language.[42]

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[43] 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.[44] 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.[45] 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.[46]

Education[edit]

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Knowledge of Italian according to EU statistics

Italian is widely taught in many schools around the world, but rarely as the first foreign language. Italian is the fourth[11][47] most frequently taught foreign language in the world.[48]

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.[49]

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).[50] 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.[49] But throughout the world, Italian is the fifth most taught foreign language, after English, French, German, and Spanish.[51]

In the "European Union statistics, Italian is spoken as a native language by 13% of the EU population, or 65 million people,[1] 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.[52] Italian is also one of the national languages of Switzerland, which is not a part of the European Union.[53] The Italian language is well-known and studied in "Albania,[54] another non-EU member, due to its historical ties and geographical proximity to Italy and to the diffusion of Italian television in the country.[55]

Influence and derived languages[edit]

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 languagesa 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.

Lingua franca[edit]

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[56] and especially, in culinary terms.

Dialects[edit]

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",[57] 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").

Phonology[edit]

Consonant phonemes
"Bilabial "Labio-
dental
"Dental/
"Alveolar
"Post-
alveolar
"Palatal "Velar
"Nasal "m "n "ɲː
"Stop "p "b "t "d "k "ɡ
"Affricate "t͡s "d͡z "t͡ʃ "d͡ʒ
"Fricative "f "v "s "z "ʃː
"Approximant "j "w
"Lateral "l "ʎː
"Trill "r

Notes:

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:

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.

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:

Standard Italian also differs in some respects from most nearby Italian languages:

Assimilation[edit]

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.

Writing system[edit]

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.[65] 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⟩.

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].[66]

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].

Grammar[edit]

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.[65] 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 ("Ha detto", "ha fatto": he/she has said, he/she has made/done), while "to be" is used in the case of verbs of motion and some other intransitive verbs ("È andato", "è stato": he/she has gone, he/she has been). "To be" may be used with transitive verbs, but in such a case it makes the verb passive ("Ê detto", "è fatto": it is said, it is made/done). This rule is not absolute, and some exceptions do exist.

Examples[edit]

Conversation[edit]

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pronunciation
Yes (listen) /ˈsi/
No No (listen) /ˈnɔ/
Of course! Certo! / Certamente! / Naturalmente! /ˈtʃɛrto/ /ˌtʃɛrtaˈmente/ /naturalˈmente/
Hello! "Ciao! (informal) / Salve! (formal); /ˈtʃaːo/
Cheers! Salute! /saˈluːte/
How are you? Come stai? (informal) / Come sta? (formal) / Come state? (plural) / Come va? (general, informal) /ˌkomeˈstai/; /ˌkomeˈsta/ /ˌkome ˈstaːte/ /ˌkome vˈva/
Good morning! Buongiorno! (= Good day!) /ˌbwɔnˈdʒorno/
Good evening! Buonasera! /ˌbwɔnaˈseːra/
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/
Who? Chi? /ki/
What? Che cosa? / Cosa? / Che? /kekˈkɔːsa/ /ˈkɔːsa/ /ˈke/
When? Quando? /ˈkwando/
Where? Dove? /ˈdoːve/
How? Come? /ˈkoːme/
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/

Numbers[edit]

English Italian IPA
one hundred cento /ˈtʃɛnto/
one thousand mille /ˈmille/
two thousand duemila /ˌdueˈmiːla/
two thousand and seventeen (2017) duemiladiciassette /dueˌmilaˈditʃasˈsɛtte/
one million milione /miˈljone/
one billion miliardo /miˈljardo/

Days of the week[edit]

English Italian IPA
Monday lunedì /luneˈdi/
Tuesday martedì /marteˈdi/
Wednesday mercoledì /ˌmɛrkoleˈdi/
Thursday giovedì /dʒoveˈdi/
Friday venerdì /venerˈdi/
Saturday sabato /ˈsaːbato/
Sunday domenica /doˈmeːnika/

Months of the year[edit]

English Italian IPA
January gennaio /dʒenˈnaːjo/
February febbraio /febˈbraːjo/
March marzo /ˈmartso/
April aprile /aˈpriːle/
May maggio /ˈmaddʒo/
June giugno /ˈdʒuɲɲo/
July luglio /ˈluʎʎo/
August agosto /aˈɡosto/
September settembre /setˈtɛmbre/
October ottobre /otˈtoːbre/
November novembre /noˈvɛmbre/
December dicembre /diˈtʃɛmbre/[67]

Sample texts[edit]

There is a recording of "Dante's "Divine Comedy read by "Lino Pertile available online.[68]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ It is debated, that the Sicilian language is the oldest and direct descendant of Vulgar Latin.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Eurobarometer – Europeans and their languages" (PDF).  (485 KB), February 2006
  2. ^ Italian at "Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  3. ^ a b "Italian — University of Leicester". .le.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  4. ^ "Centro documentazione per l'integrazione". Cdila.it. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  5. ^ "Centro documentazione per l'integrazione". Cdila.it. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  6. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Italian". "Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  7. ^ "Romance languages". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 19 February 2017. ... if the Romance languages are compared with Latin, it is seen that by most measures Sardinian and Italian are least differentiated and French most 
  8. ^ a b c Ethnologue report for language code:ita (Italy) – Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online version
  9. ^ "Reservations and Declarations for Treaty No.148 – European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages". Council of Europe. Council of Europe. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  10. ^ "Italy". Ethnologue. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  11. ^ a b "Becoming Italian Word by Word: Italian Becomes the Fourth Most Studied Language in the World". Becomingitalianwordbyword.typepad.com. 2014-06-25. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  12. ^ "German is world's fourth most popular language – The Local". Thelocal.de. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  13. ^ [1] Archived 3 October 2009 at the "Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ See "Italica 1950: 46 (cf. [2] and [3]): "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.".
  15. ^ 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%."
  16. ^ "Portland State Multicultural Topics in Communications Sciences & Disorders | Italian". www.pdx.edu. Retrieved 2017-02-05. 
  17. ^ a b Laura., Lepschy, Anna (1988). The Italian language today. Lepschy, Giulio C. (2nd ed ed.). New York: New Amsterdam. "ISBN "9780941533225. "OCLC 17650220. 
  18. ^ Vittorio Coletti. Storia della lingua. Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana. "ISBN "9788812000487. Retrieved 10 October 2015. L’italiano di oggi ha ancora in gran parte la stessa grammatica e usa ancora lo stesso lessico del fiorentino letterario del Trecento. 
  19. ^ "History of the Italian language". Italian-language.biz. Retrieved 2006-09-24. 
  20. ^ "Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition". Ethnologue.com. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  21. ^ Ghetti, Noemi, ed. (14 June 2013). "Dante perde la paternità: la lingua italiana è nata in Sicilia". Babylon Post. Retrieved 15 October 2016. 
  22. ^ Grimes, Barbara F. (October 1996). Barbara F. Grimes, ed. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. Consulting Editors: Richard S. Pittman & Joseph E. Grimes (thirteenth ed.). Dallas, Texas: "Summer Institute of Linguistics, Academic Pub. "ISBN "1-55671-026-7. 
  23. ^ Brincat (2005)
  24. ^ "Most similar languages to Italian". 
  25. ^ "Pei, Mario (1949). Story of Language. "ISBN "03-9700-400-1. 
  26. ^ Lüdi, Georges; Werlen, Iwar (April 2005). "Recensement Fédéral de la Population 2000 — Le Paysage Linguistique en Suisse" (PDF) (in French, German, and Italian). "Neuchâtel: Office fédéral de la statistique. Retrieved 5 January 2006. 
  27. ^ The Vatican City State appendix to the "Acta Apostolicae Sedis is entirely in Italian.
  28. ^ "Europeans and their Languages" (PDF). Europeans and their Languages. European Commission: Directorate General for Education and Culture and Directorate General Press and Communication. February 2006. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  29. ^ "Central Bureau of Statistics". www.dzs.hr. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  30. ^ "POPULATION BY ETHNICITY, 1971 - 2011 CENSUSES". 
  31. ^ Pradelli, A. (2004). l silenzio di una minoranza: gli italiani in Istria dall'esodo al post-comunismo 1945–2004. Bologna: Lo Scarebeo. p. 38. 
  32. ^ http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/economics/2014/05/15/italians-looking-for-work-in-albania-19000-says-minister_90ce841c-5f1e-426e-8c09-93af7bdd8cf8.html
  33. ^ http://www.balkaneu.com/albanian-government-italian-obligatory-language-professional-schools/
  34. ^ "Society". Monaco-IQ Business Intelligence. Lydia Porter. 2007–2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  35. ^ "France". Ethnologue. SIL International. 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  36. ^ [4] Archived 17 December 2008 at the "Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ "Scuola Italiana di Asmara (in Italian)". Scuoleasmara.it. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  38. ^ Diana Briton Putman, Mohamood Cabdi Noor, The Somalis: their history and culture, (Center for Applied Linguistics: 1993), p. 15.: "Somalis speak Somali. Many people also speak Arabic, and educated Somalis usually speak English. "Swahili may also be spoken in coastal areas near Kenya."
  39. ^ "Language Spoken at Home: 2000". "United States Bureau of the Census. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  40. ^ "Newsletter". Netcapricorn.com. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  41. ^ "Statistics Canada 2006". 2.statcan.ca. 8 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  42. ^ "2011 Census QuickStats: Australia". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  43. ^ "Los segundos idiomas más hablados de Sudamérica | AméricaEconomía – El sitio de los negocios globales de América Latina". Americaeconomia.com. 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  44. ^ "Welsh". Ethnologue. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  45. ^ Bernasconi, Giulia (2012). "L’ITALIANO IN VENEZUELA". Italiano LinguaDue (in Italian). Università degli Studi di Milano (2): 20. "doi:10.13130/2037-3597/1921. Retrieved 22 January 2017. L'italiano come lingua acquisita o riacquisita è largamente diffuso in Venezuela: recenti studi stimano circa 200.000 studenti di italiano nel Paese 
  46. ^ 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)
  47. ^ "Lingua italiana, la quarta più studiata nel mondo – La Stampa". Lastampa.it. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  48. ^ "9". Iic-colonia.de. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
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  50. ^ "Languages Spoken and Learned in the United States". Vistawide.com. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  51. ^ "Parte prima – Quadro generale". www.iic-colonia.de. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  52. ^ "Eurobarometer pool (2006), page 152" (PDF). Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  53. ^ "Italian". Ethnologue. 1999-02-19. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  54. ^ Longo, Maurizio (2007). "La lingua italiana in Albania" (PDF). Education et Sociétés Plurilingues (in Italian) (22): 51–56. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 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. 
  55. ^ Longo, Maurizio; Ademi, Esmeralda; Bulija, Mirjana (June 2010). "Una quantificazione della penetrazione della lingua italiana in Albania tramite la televisione (III)" [A quantification of the diffusion of the Italian language in Albania via television] (PDF). Education et Sociétés Plurilingues (in Italian) (28): 53–63. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  56. ^ "Italian Language". www.ilsonline.it. Retrieved 2016-10-07. 
  57. ^ "Major Dialects of Italian". Ccjk.com. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  58. ^ Hall (1944:77–78)
  59. ^ Hall (1944:78)
  60. ^ Rogers & d'Arcangeli (2004:117)
  61. ^ Bertinetto & Loporcaro (2005:132)
  62. ^ Luciano Canepari, A Handbook of Pronunciation, chapter 3: «Italian».
  63. ^ "Dizionario d'ortografia e di pronunzia". Dizionario.rai.it. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  64. ^ "Dizionario d'ortografia e di pronunzia". Dizionario.rai.it. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  65. ^ a b Clivio, Gianrenzo; Danesi, Marcel (2000). The Sounds, Forms, and Uses of Italian: An Introduction to Italian Linguistics. University of Toronto Press. pp. 21, 66. 
  66. ^ Canepari, Luciano (January 1999). Il MªPI – Manuale di pronuncia italiana (second ed.). Bologna: Zanichelli. "ISBN "88-08-24624-8. 
  67. ^ Kellogg, Michael. "Dizionario italiano-inglese WordReference". WordReference.com (in Italian and English). WordReference.com. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  68. ^ "Princeton Dante Project (2.0)". Etcweb.princeton.edu. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

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