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the official language of Italy and one of the official languages of Switzerland: the native language of approximately 60 million people. It belongs to the Romance group of the Indo-European family, and there is a considerable diversity of dialects



a language of the Romance group of the Indo-European languages. Italian is spoken in Italy (about 54 million people; 1971, estimate), in San Marino, in the Swiss canton of Ticino (Tessin), on the islands of Corsica and Malta, and among Italian emigrants (more than 7 million people), most of whom reside in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the Somali Republic (where Italian is one of the official languages).

Italian developed from Vulgar Latin after the fall of the Roman Empire. The first written records, in various dialects, date from the tenth to 12th centuries; the first literary documents date from the 13th century (the “Sicilian School” of poets). Italian dialects are divided into three groups: northern Italian (Gallo-Italian dialects of the Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Venice, and Istria), central-southern (Marche, Umbria, Latian, Campanian, Apulian, Abruzzese, Molise, Basilicata, and Sicilian dialects), and Tuscan (dialects of Florence, Siena, Arezzo, and Pisa). Some northern and central-southern dialects (the dialects of Venice, Milan, Naples, and Sicily) have written literary versions in addition to the spoken differences.

Common Italian was formed from the 14th-century Florentine dialect made popular by the Florentine writers Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. In view of the fact that Italy lacked a single cultural and administrative center until 1871, Common Italian existed outside of Tuscany almost exclusively in written form as late as the 20th century and was accessible only to the literate segment of the population. In the 20th century, under the influence of radio and television, the oral literary norm is supplanting the dialects, adopting in turn a different dialect coloration in each region (italiano regionale).

The phonetic and morphological features of the Italian literary language (and the Tuscan dialects) include the following. All words in absolute final form end in a vowel sound. Seven stressed vowels (i, e, ε, a, ɔ, o, and u ) and a number of stressed diphthongs (uo, ie, io, ia, iu, and au) are distinguished. Vowel clusters occur frequently (lei, “she”; io, “I”; aiuola, “flower bed”; ghiaia, “gravel”). There is a characteristic opposition between single and double consonants (dita, “fingers”; ditta, “firm”; buco, “hole”; bocca, “mouth”). Articulation of the sounds is sharp and tense. Gender and number of nouns are expressed by inflection (rosa, “rose”;rose, “roses”; and capo, “head”; capi, “heads”), and definite and indefinite categories are expressed by articles (il/la, “the”; uno/una, “a”). There are no cases; their meanings are expressed by the use of prepositions (di, “of”; a, “to”; da, “from”). The grammatical meanings of person, number, tense, and mood are expressed by inflection of the verb. The indicative tense system consists of four simple and four compound forms. Word order is free.


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References in periodicals archive ?
He claims in the first dialogue that vis-a-vis listing Italianized words, "C'est a [Philausone] a les cercher, non pas a moy, qui ay este si long temps absent de France, et ne scay plus comme on y parle" (42) [It's up to him to find them, not to me, who has been absent from France for so long that I no longer know how they speak there].
8) Hers is largely dialect leavened with English and Italianized English.
As Giambattista Dufort claimed in his Trattato del ballo nobile (Naples, 1728): 'if the Italians were the inventors of regulated dance, one must acknowledge that the French have brought it to greater perfection'--although as an Italianized Frenchman he may not have been entirely impartial.
2) Examples of cross-migration from the same time seem to strengthen these Anglo-Italian ties: the elder Alfonso Ferrabosco spent part of his career in England, and John Cooper retained the Italianized 'Coprario' after returning from study abroad.
Although the Italianized ironist mocks himself here, true believers such as the Corey ladies cherish their conventions with no less zeal than Silas does his paint, since, to borrow Bromfield's metaphor, one glazes the porcelain while the other gilds the earthenware.
His given name is the name of the preeminent Christian knight of the Round Table, and his family name is an Italianized version of the name "Job.
He said he was now "more Sicilianized than Italianized.
Both forms (the autochthonous dialect form and the more Italianized form) can be available in an individual speaker's repertoire.
The school register shows that Remond, whose first name now was Italianized to Sara, participated in practical training/clinical service with the others.
Brunnhilde's final, italianized flight toward "the transgressive subjectivity of pure voice" (p.
Given the broader terms of Ascham's anti-Italian diatribe in The Scholemaster, it is clear that his definition of quick wits draws from the same set of prejudices that his characterization of the Italianized Englishman does.
An anonymous reviewer wonders whether the dialettofono was using an Italianized version of his dialect, or perhaps making some attempt to 'Italianize' his speech.