Facts About the Italian Language

Italian is a Romance language that belongs to the Indo-European language family and is the mother tongue of about 65 million people.

The origins of the Italian language date back to the 1st century BC, when the language began to develop on the basis of Vulgar Latin.

The earliest written examples of Italian, covering various brief notes and texts, go back to the 10th century AD. The oldest surviving text in Italian is dated to AD 960.

The development of standard Italian took a long time, with writers each writing in their own regional dialects.

The Italian literary language is based on the dialect of Tuscany (Florence), which was popularised in the 13th and 14th centuries by prominent writers such as Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio and Francesco Petrarch.

There are still several dialects of the Italian language that differ very noticeably from each other, to the degree that speakers of different dialects may find it quite hard to understand each other. For instance, the Sicilian dialect is considered by some linguists to be a separate language.

Italian has the Latin alphabet, consisting of 21 letters. The alphabet does not use letters “j”, “k”, “w”, “x” and “y”, although they are sometimes used for various loan words. Several vowels may have diacritical marks, which can change the way the word is pronounced or alter the meaning of the word.

Articles are used before nouns in the Italian language, denoting the word’s gender and number. The article “la” is used to denote feminine nouns, and the article “il” is used with masculine nouns. In the plural, feminine nouns have the article “le” while masculine nouns have the article “i”. There is also the indefinite article in Italian, “una”, for feminine nouns and “un” for masculine nouns.

Italian is an official language in Italy, San Marino, Switzerland, and the Vatican, and it is spoken by minorities in Eritrea, France, Croatia, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Slovenia and Somalia.

There are large Italian-speaking communities living in Argentina, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Chile and Canada.

Language code ISO 639-1: it


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Language combinations:

Latvian to Italian; Italian to Latvian; Estonian to Italian; Italian to Estonian; Lithuanian to Italian; Italian to Lithuanian; Russian to Italian; Italian to Russian; Czech to Italian; Italian to Czech; Polish to Italian; Italian to Polish; Ukrainian to Italian; Italian to Ukrainian; English to Italian; Italian to English; Italian to Spanish; Spanish to Italian; German to Italian; Italian to German; French to Italian; Italian to French; Danish to Italian; Italian to Danish; Norwegian to Italian; Italian to Norwegian; Swedish to Italian; Italian to Swedish; Finnish to Italian; Italian to Finnish and others.


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