The Italian Language – Italiano

If you are thinking about learning Italian, it is always good to know a little about the origins and history of the language you are learning. The official language of Italy is Italian, known as “Italiano” to the citizens of Italy. Many people around the world feel it is the language of love.  This beautiful language is spoken by 66,000,000 who live in Italy.

Italian sounds much like that of Spanish. Its grammar is also like that of the other modern Romance languages, showing agreement of adjectives and nouns, the use of definite and indefinite articles, loss of noun declension for case, two genders (masculine and feminine), and an elaborate system of perfect and progressive tenses for the verb.

The most notable difference between Italian and French or Spanish is that it does not use -s or -es to form the plural of nouns but instead uses -e for most feminine words and -i for masculine words (and some feminine words).

5 Interesting facts about Italian:

1. It is a Romance language derived from Latin

Italian slowly evolved from Latin into many dialects. At the end of the Middle Ages, the Tuscan dialect became the most popular version of Italian, owing to the central location of Florence and its thriving economy. Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio, who left a long-lasting mark on the Italian language, all came from Tuscany. Italian then became Italy’s official language when the peninsula was unified in the 19th century.

2. There are around 85 million speakers across the world

66 million Italian speakers are native speakers within the European Union. Italian is primarily spoken in Italy, but is also an official language in San Marino, Vatican City, Ticino and Graubünden Switzerland, the Alps and Corte d’Azur in France, and some small communities in Croatia and Slovenia. As the world gets smaller and people are moving around, the language is spoken in many countries such as United States, Australia.

A long time ago, in Somalia and Malta, Italian was spoken but no longer, and it is dying out in Libya too.

3. The Italian alphabet has 21 letters.

The Italian alphabet consists of 5 vowels, 16 Italian consonants and 5 foreign consonants.

The vowels are A – E – I – O – U. The Italian consonants are B – C – D – F – G – H – L – M – N – P – Q – R – S – T – V – Z. The foreign consonants are J – K – W – X – Y

Note: The 5 foreign consonants are generally used in foreign words… therefore there aren’t any Italian cities starting with W and X! Here are some foreign words we use as-is in Italian:

Jeans, Ketchup, Wurst, Xbox, Yogurt

Here are all the letters of the Italian alphabet in order. Let us learn two things. Each letter is associated with the name of a beautiful Italian city. Take a minute and look at a map, looking up each city to become familiar with Italy.

KastelruthLivorno Milano Napoli Ostuni
Palermo Quart Roma Sassari Torino
Urbino Venezia WX Zagarolo
Alphabetical list of cities in Italy

4. It has significantly influenced English and other Western languages

Common English words of Italian origin include broccoli, fiasco, jean, ketchup, propaganda, flu, quarantine, lottery, and zucchini.

5. It is the universal language of classical music

Italian became the standard language for musicians and music lovers, with many compositors and musicians being Italian when musical notation appeared during the Renaissance. There are numerous Italian loanwords such as a cappella, maestro, orchestra, crescendo, and soprano.

An excellent way to improve your Italian language skills is by taking our free online lessons at  LingoHut focuses on pronunciation and building your vocabulary base.

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