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.

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 periodicals archive ?
Sommaire : L'article porte sur deux recentes adaptations des Aventures de Pinocchio du celebre ecrivain italien Carlo Collodi : le roman Occhio a Pinocchio (2006) de Jarmila Ockayova, auteure italophone d'origine slovaque, et la piece Pinocchio nero (2005), dirigee par Marco Baliani et interpretee par un groupe d'enfants des rues de Nairobi.
For their part, with their signatures, Italophone migrant poets like Mia Lecomte and Candelaria Romero have come a long way since the dark ages denounced by Woolf, when lack of attribution and lack of public recognition ultimately amounted to lack of existence for the female poetic production.
Her literary production is inscribed in what has been alternately labeled as migrant and Italophone literature.
La deception des milieux democratiques et liberaux dans l'espace germanophone et italophone notamment, des milieux qui avaient espere de grandes reformes, la prise en compte de leurs aspirations nationales et unitaires, est connue.
How many Germanies and italies should europe have to preserve its inner balance and peace at the time of vienna congress there were nearly a dozen of italophone states and over three dozens of germanophone entities 34 western german states + 4 free cities (Kleinstaaterei) austria and prussia.
Le choix de l'une ou de l'autre tendance ne semble pas fonctionnel: le referent reste egalement mysterieux et peu accessible pour un italophone, les deux techniques semblent augmenter ou diminuer l'effet d'alterite audela d'une logique systematique.
At the time of Vienna Congress, there were nearly a dozen of Italophone states and over three dozens of Germanophone entities--34 western German states + 4 free cities (Kleinstaaterei), Austria and Prussia.
Parmi les rares exceptions, un couple italophone note l'affluence dans le quartier de jeunes etudiants et universitaires.
While still far from achieving mainstream status or widespread popularity, the emerging field of italophone migrant writing is currently experiencing a marked growth in both original production and critical attention.
It is the memory of Italian fascism's brutal oppression of the region's Slovenes and Croats, and the 'retribution' for it which came in the form of the deportation, execution, and exodus of the bulk of the Istrian Italophone population, that continues to fuel contemporary skepticism of the 'other' community between the majority Italophone and minority Slovenophone populations on the Italian side of the border.
25) If Petrarch really met Laura in the church of Saint Clare of Assisi, in Avignon, and if she was born near Vaucluse, (26) was she a member of the Italophone community like Petrarch, or did she speak Occitan, as Guido Cavalcanti's beauty of Toulouse may have done?