Italian language

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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.


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 ?
John Baptist answered with that peculiar back-handed shake of the right forefinger which is the most expressive negative in the Italian language.
Students will have the opportunity to learn the basics of Italian language while meeting new people, have fun and who knows, maybe even meet a new special someone.
Having studied and mastered the Italian language, he established the first Catholic church for Italians in the US at a time when there was no priest to speak their language.
The exhibition, organised by the "Transnationalising Modern Languages (TML) and the (IICTunisi), evokes the translation practices and the identification process through the Italian language and culture in the world and the daily life of Italians, immigrants and second generation youths in Italy.
The parties will work jointly to promote the Italian language and culture in Jordan, through an extensive program of initiatives and projects, which include the development and promotion of the Second phase of the PETRA Project, recorded in Little Petra, and the new recording project AL AMAL recorded in the Roman amphitheater of Umm Qais, in cooperation with the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
This book is not the only one available for those who want to teach Italian cinema and Italian language.
Muscat, Oct 23 (ONA) The college of Arts and Social Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) today hosted the Italian Language Week, under the auspices of Sayyida Dr.
The conference, which will be led by Professor Joseph Brincat, is run within the framework of the 16th week of the Italian Language, which this year revolves around the topic of Italian Language and Creativity.
I remain committed to spreading my knowledge of the Italian community in Wales and to teaching Italian language and culture to adult learners and undergraduates at Cardiff University.
KARACHI -- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on Friday between Faculty of Social Sciences, Karachi University, and Italian Consulate Karachi to run Italian language and Cultural Centre associated with the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Karachi under the auspices of the Embassy of Italy in Islamabad.
Authors Merlonghi, Merlonghi, Tusi, and OAEConnor present students, instructors, and general interest readers with a comprehensive first-year textbook for the study of the Italian language and Italian culture.
19 to 24 in Algieria, as part of the XV edition of Italian Language in the World Week, according to the Italian News Agency (AGI).

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