Italian Language

Italian Language

Italian ( italiano or lingua italiana) is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia. Many speakers are native bilinguals of both standardised Italian and other regional languages.

According to the Bologna statistics of the European Union, Italian is spoken as a mother tongue by 65 million people in the EU (13% of the EU population), mainly in Italy, and as a second language by 14 million (3%). Including the Italian speakers in non-EU European countries (such as Switzerland and Albania) and on other continents, the total number of speakers is more than 85 million.

In Switzerland, Italian is one of the four official languages; it is studied and learned in all the confederation schools and spoken, as mother tongue, in the Swiss cantons of Ticino and Grigioni and by the Italian immigrants that are present in large numbers in German- and French-speaking cantons. It is also the official language of San Marino, as well as the primary language of Vatican City. It is co-official in Slovenian Istria and in Istria County in Croatia. The Italian language adopted by the state after the unification of Italy is based on the Tuscan, which beforehand was a language spoken mostly by the upper class of Florentine society. Its development was also influenced by other Italian languages and by the Germanic languages of the post-Roman invaders.

Italian derives from Latin. 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.

Read more about Italian Language:  History, Classification, Italian Dialects and Languages, Phonology, Writing System, Grammar, Sample Texts

Famous quotes containing the words italian and/or language:

    Until recently the word fascist was considered shameful. Fortunately, that period has passed. In fact, there is now a reassessment of how much grandpa Benito did for Italy.
    Alessandra Mussolini, Italian actor, politician, and medical student. As quoted in Newsweek magazine, p. 19 (February 17, 1992)

    It is a mass language only in the same sense that its baseball slang is born of baseball players. That is, it is a language which is being molded by writers to do delicate things and yet be within the grasp of superficially educated people. It is not a natural growth, much as its proletarian writers would like to think so. But compared with it at its best, English has reached the Alexandrian stage of formalism and decay.
    Raymond Chandler (1888–1959)