is a Romance language, known for its beautiful sounding rhythm.
For those travelling to Italy, some knowledge of the language is
not just useful in the practical sense, but can also enhance your
experience of the country to a large degree.
Some Italians in Italy may be intimidated by those
who do not speak their mother tongue, but they do become very talkative
once they find foreigners who know some Italian. They are also quite
forgiving when travellers make mistakes in the Italian vocabulary,
grammar, or pronunciation, and corrections are always given with
The Italian language is spoken by about seventy
million people worldwide, mostly in Italy itself. Among the different
Romance Languages, the Italian language is the one that is most
comparable to Latin when it comes to vocabulary as well as in grammar.
Italian is considered a simple language, and it
has many dialects. It is of course Italy's national language, as
well as being an official language in the Swiss cantons of Ticino
and Grigioni. It is also spoken among Italian minorities
in Istria, Slovenia as well as in Croatia. Italian is the second
official language in the smallest independent nation of the world,
the Vatican City. Italian-speaking people can also be found in Belgium,
Venezuela, Luxembourg, Australia, Monaco, Germany, and Canada as
well as in Albania, and in some countries in Africa. Italian was
previously used as the official language of Malta before1934.
The following are the different dialects of Italian
– Tuscan, Pugliese (Apulian), Central Marchigiano,
Abruzzese, Piemontese, Cicolano-Reatino-Aquilano,
Umbrian, Molisan, and Laziale as well
as Brescian, Modenese, Sicilian, Milanese,
Each Italian city has a distinct dialect. The
best Italian is said to be Tuscan dialects combined with inflections
of Roman, or the lingua toscana in bocca romana.
This is because Tuscan is believed to be the most similar dialect
to Dante's Italian, and Romans are known for great word enunciations.
Italian is also known as the language of the arts
and good food. Everywhere in the world, the Italian language is
used when it comes to gastronomy. As we all know, it isn't
difficult to find a cozy Italian bistro offering pasta or antipasti
in practically any city in the world.
Unless one is planning to live in Italy, learning
the Italian language is not usually done out of necessity but as
a labour of love. Undoubtedly, Italian is considered as one of the
chicest languages around, it is no wonder that when it comes to
the world of high fashion and design, the language is indispensable.
Learning Italian is easier for people who speak
one of the other Romance languages, such as French or Spanish, because
of their striking similarities. Spelling Italian words is also a
simple task, as most of the words in this language are spelled phonetically.
Italian can be learned in less than twelve months for speakers of
any of the Romance languages. English speakers who wish to study
Italian can possibly be fluent in the language in 12 to 18 months.
Audio tapes are also very helpful to students of Italian because
these enable the learner to hear the correct rhythm and intonation
of the language.
Pronunciation of most of the Italian words is
not very difficult either, except for the rolled "r".
People often find that the language is fun to learn because in time,
they come to enjoy the wonderful rhythm of the language. Intonation
is very important. Learning the Italian intonation is vital in mastering
the language well, but luckily for English speakers, Italian's
intonation is comparable to English intonation.
Italian grammar is also not at all difficult to
master. Italian contains double consonants like the other languages
based on the Latin alphabet, and these double consonants are germinated,
or pronounced for a longer period of time as compared to single
consonants. For example, if there is a doubled consonant, it signifies
that the speaker should pronounce the vowel preceding to the doubled
consonant longer, such as farfalle, a kind of Italian pasta,
which is pronounced as "farfalle", or with
long second a.
Italian also has a distinct stress in its pronunciation
which is very important especially when speaking to native Italian
speakers. The language has a complex conjugation system and students
learning the language may be confused when they encounter irregularities
in the plurals and in verb conjugations. However, these will all
be learned properly in time. Another guide to pronunciation of Italian
words is the sign on top of a letter, or the accento, which signifies
that the letter should be accented.
The Italian language has already invaded other
languages, in that Italian words can be found almost everywhere,
particularly in art, architecture, culinary terms, literature, music,
politics, as well as in science and even in the field of medicine.