Italian Language Facts.

Italian language has a long history and it raises interest among learners due to its natural musicality, romance as well as beauty. Bellow you can find some interesting facts about this foreign language, its status, unique features and characteristics, dialects and more.

  1. Italian has the official language status in 4 countries – Italy, San Marino, Vatican and Switzerland (one of four languages). You can also find quite a lot of speakers of this language in countries like Malta, Croatia, Vatican, Slovenia, Corsica and Nice (France). There are also a lot of speakers in Argentina, where it is even a second most spoken language in the country. Since Italy used to have colonies in Africa, there are still people speaking this language in Libya and Eritrea. Although in recent years the number of Italian speakers in these African countries have declined a lot. If we would look at the statistics, we would find that there are about 64 million people who speak Italian as a first and about 21 million people who learned it as a foreign language. These numbers make Italian 3-rd most spoken language in European Union (EU) and 20-th in the world (as a first language).

  2. Italian language originates from Latin and it belongs to Romance group of Indo-European language family. When compared with other Romance languages, Italian is known to have the most resemblance to Latin. Learners who are familiar with other Romance languages can expect to find vocabulary and grammatical structure similarities in Italian. Even up to 85% of Italian vocabulary can be similar to languages like Spanish and French, which makes learning these foreign languages together significantly easier.

  3. The formal form of Italian is called Standard Italian and is based on Tuscan dialect, which is used for official and educational purposes and all over the media. Other popular dialects are: Sardinian, Sicilian, Friulian, Ventian, Ligurian and etc. Dialects differ to a point that speakers from different regions might find it hard to understand each other. For example, Sicilian dialect is even considered by some linguistics as distinct as a separate language. However, you shouldn’t be worried about this too much because most Italians communicate with foreigners in Standard form. Due to different dialects in the regions, you can easily guess where the person is from. For example, in Tuscany a letter C sounds more like H.

  4. the-divine-comedyA writer Dante Alighieri was one of the first writers to formalize Italian written form in his well-known book The Divine Comedy. His work is considered to be the basis for Italian written form, because quite a lot of grammar and style rules derived from his books. There were some Italian documents that were written significantly earlier (between years 960-963 by Petrarch), however they weren’t so extensive. Both of these mentioned writers were very important in creating a path for standardized Italian. However, it is important to mention that it took quite a lot of time until Italy had its official national language. When Tuscan dialect was selected as national language in 1861, only ~2.5% of Italians were able to communicate in this dialect.

  5. Italian uses Latin alphabet, which consists of a total of 21 letters. There are lower number of letters in alphabet, because j, k, w, x and y are not included. However, these letters can be still found in loan words, where their pronunciation depends on the words they are being used in. In Italian you can expect to find quite a lot of words borrowed from English language. For example, il computer, il marketing and etc. Some of these words are a bit Italianized for instance stoppare, which means stop and cliccare, which means to click on the mouse in English. There are a couple of words that seems similar to English, although they have a different meaning in Italian. For example, pepperoni is quite similar to English pepper; however, it means a variety of sausage. So, don’t confuse these two words while ordering pizza. The other word – una camera is similar to camera in English; however, it actually means room. Due to the fact that almost all words in Italian end with a vowel, Italian is considered to be highly musical. Also, vowels can have diacritic marks (à, è, ì, ò, and ù), which changes pronunciation of words.

  6. italian-language-factsSubject, verb and object is the most common word order that is used in Italian sentence. Adjectives can go either before or after the nouns they modify (they agree in number and gender). Nouns in Italian have number (plural or singular) and they are marked for gender (masculine or feminine). Most European languages add s to show that a noun is plural, however in Italian a final vowel is being changed. While there are exceptions, most masculine nouns in Italian end with o and feminine – a. Articles in this foreign language can be definite and indefinite and they agree with number & gender of a noun. Since the whole Italian grammar is Latin based, you can find quite a lot of similarities with Portuguese, French and other Romance languages.