Italian language

Italian belongs to the Romance branch of the Indo-European language family. Like the other Romance languages, it comes from the Vulgar Latin or Sermo Vulgaris spoken by the Romans and imposed on the peoples under their rule.

Therefore, it shares many characteristics with other Romance languages. It is spoken by 57.7 million people in Italy, with a total of 64 million speakers in some 29 countries.

Dialects of Italian

The dialects of Italian constitute an intelligible continuum, the geographically most distant being mutually unintelligible. In modern Italy, people communicate mainly in regional dialects, although standard Italian is the only written language. It is estimated that approximately half of the population in Italy does not speak standard Italian as their mother tongue. Most speakers of the dozens of regional Italian dialects come into contact with standard Italian in elementary school.

The spread of regional dialects in Italy is due to the historical division into small states, and to the colonization by France, Spain and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, between the fall of the Roman Empire and Italian reunification in 1861. During this period, the official language of most Italian states was Latin or the language of the colonizing power.

During the 14th century, the Tuscan dialect began to predominate due to the central position of Tuscany in Italy, and due to the economic power of its most important city, Florence. However, it was not until the 19th century that the language spoken by the enlightened Florentines spread to become the standard language of a newly unified Italy. With the progressive increase in literacy, standard Italian was gradually accepted as the national language in the 1950s.

Who speaks Italian

Italian is the national, or de facto, language of Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, Switzerland and parts of Slovenia and Croatia. It is also spoken in Malta, Corsica, Albania, Luxembourg, Germany and Belgium. In the Americas, it is spoken in the United States, Canada, Venezuela, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina.

Translation agency for Spanish-English-Italian

Now that you know a little more about the Italian language, you might be interested to know that we offer professional translation services from both English to Italian and from Italian into English. We specialise in translation from and into Spanish.

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