Italian language

(redirected from Medieval Italian)

Italian language,

member of the Romance group of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Romance languagesRomance languages,
group of languages belonging to the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Italic languages). Also called Romanic, they are spoken by about 670 million people in many parts of the world, but chiefly in Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
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). The official language of Italy and San Marino, and one of the official languages of Switzerland, Italian is spoken by about 58 million people in Italy, 30,000 in San Marino, 840,000 in Switzerland, another 1 million in other European countries, and approximately 5 million in North and South America. Historically, Italian is a daughter language of Latin (see Latin languageLatin language,
member of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. Latin was first encountered in ancient times as the language of Latium, the region of central Italy in which Rome is located (see Italic languages).
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). Northern Italian dialects are the Gallo-Italian—including Piedmontese, Ligurian, Lombard, and Emilian—and Venetian. Further south, the major dialects are Tuscan and various others from Umbria to Sicily. Sardinian, spoken on the island of Sardinia, is sufficiently distinct from other dialects to be considered by some a Romance language in its own right. The Rhaeto-Romance forms, similar to the dialects of northern Italy, are spoken in the border region between Italy and Switzerland. It is not known exactly when Italian could be distinguished from its parent tongue; however, no text in Italian is recorded before the 10th cent. A.D.

The idiom of Florence, one of the Tuscan dialects of Italian, became dominant from the end of the 13th cent. to the middle of the 14th cent., largely owing to the growing prestige of the city of Florence and the literary works written in the Florentine dialect during that period. These literary works included Dante's Divine Comedy and the vernacular writings of Petrarch and Boccaccio. Thus, although Italian had—and still has—a great many dialects, it was the culturally important idiom of Florence that in time gave rise to modern standard Italian. The dialect of the Italian capital, Rome, also has influenced modern standard Italian. The Roman alphabet is used for Italian. The employment of diacritics is limited to the grave (`) and acute (´) accents, which sometimes serve to make clear where the stress of a word is to fall (as in caffè=coffee); they also serve to distinguish between homonyms (as with ne = "of it" or "of them," but né … né = "neither … nor"). The pronunciation of the language follows the spelling very closely. Italian is often described both as the language of art and music and as the language best suited to singing. Since the Renaissance its general cultural importance has been considerable.

Bibliography

See I. Iordan et al., An Introduction to Romance Linguistics (1970); A. L. Lepschy and G. C. Lepschy, The Italian Language Today (1977); M. Harris and N. Vincent, The Romance Languages (1988).

References in classic literature ?
He painted studies from nature under the guidance of an Italian professor of painting, and studied medieval Italian life.
He would filter them through his comic imagination and somehow find a way to fold them seamlessly into his play about medieval Italian politics and religion.
Along the way, Romano takes the reader on a journey through the rich world of medieval Italian markets and draws some conclusions that may prove to be of interest to the modern reader.
Summary: The Outlet Village will offer discounted high-end brands merchandise all year round in a scenic and charming medieval Italian town setting.
Set in a picture-postcard Tuscan valley, driving the tree-lined approach to Castello Potentino makes you feel like you have stepped into a medieval Italian painting.
A medieval Italian monastery is where Eco sets "The Name of the Rose," a gothic murder mystery that combines semiotics, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory.
The first display of its kind, made possible through loans from major European museums, it revealed just how much medieval Italian art was impacted by foreign developments.
Instead she gave freer rein to her interest in spiritual matters and, having previously read languages at Oxford, taught herself medieval Italian to study Dante.
It aims at changing the perception of medieval Italian culture and interpretation of the break between medieval Culture and Humanism.
Regina Psaki, eds, The Arthur of the Italians: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval Italian Literature and Culture (Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages), Cardiff, University of Wales Press, 2014, hardback; pp.
At the end of the 19th century, English borrowed the Italian word novella to refer specifically to the medieval Italian stories of authors such as Boccaccio, and to refer to a work of fiction intermediate in length between a short story and a novel.
Whether they were playing medieval Italian or Andalusian music, 19th century French compositions or 300-year-old Turkish music, Sarband brought unique interpretations and twists to the music, adding a touch of jazz and international fusion to the mix.