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The Italian Language

Learn Italian at 101languages.net

Italian is a Romance language, descended from Latin. It is spoken by 70 million people, mostly in Italy, but in 29 other countries as well, including former Italian colonies of Ethiopia, Somalia, Libya, and Tunisia.

It is the official language in Italy, San Marino, and one of two official languages of the Vatican City (the other is Latin) and one of the three official languages of Switzerland (the others are German and French).

The Italian language and dialects of the language are also spoken in Corsica, Slovenia and Croatia, as well as immigrant communities in the United States, Argentina and Brazil.

A short history of the Italian language

312 A.D: the "Western Roman Empire", from the Italian peninsula, France (Gaul), the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal), the Rhine valley (western Germany and Switzerland), British Isles , the Danube Valley (southern Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Romania) to northern Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria), speak a popular version of the Latin spread from the conquering of the Roman legions.

400 A.D: the Western Roman Empire collapses, and the provinces are lead by separate "barbarian" ruling classes, including Germanic tribes. The Latin language has now lost political authority and only written examples of the old Roman civil law code remain, as well as the text of the bible translated by Saint Jerome from the Greeks in A.D. 385-404.

1100 - 1200: The original Latin language from which standard modern Italian roots from is now only used in Christian religious services and in legal documents, and the current regional languages of the Italian peninsula and Sicily have developed to a large degree, becoming more and more simplified over time.

The Italian Renaissance: Classically educated writers in Florence start a movement to give prestige to the Italian language and begin to create a new written language by the refining and enriching of the old Tuscan standard.

1860: The unification of Italy, and the ideal for spoken standard Italian language is "la lingua Toscana in bocca Romana" or "the language of Tuscany as pronounced by a native of Rome".

Italian in this form spreads to Africa and its other former colonies, as well as to the United States and the western hemisphere with the great exodus of Italian immigrants after 1860.


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