Italian language

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Italian language
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{{short description|Romance language}}{{redirect|Italiano}}{{about|the Italian language|the regional varieties of standard Italian|Regional Italian}}{{Use dmy dates|date=July 2013}}

| states = Italy, Switzerland (Ticino and southern Canton of Graubünden), San Marino, Vatican City, Slovenian Istria (Slovenia), Istria County (Croatia)Ticino and Italian Graubünden>southern Graubünden, Slovenian Littoral, western Istria69(485 KB)}}, February 2006Second language>L2 speakers: 24 million| date = 2012| dateprefix = c.| ref = e18| familycolor = Indo-EuropeanItalic languages>ItalicRomance languages>RomanceItalo-Western languages>Italo-WesternItalo-Dalmatian languages>Italo-DalmatianLatin script>Latin (Italian alphabet)Italian Braille| nation = {{Collapsible list| expand = yes| titlestyle=font-weight:normal; background:transparent; text-align:left;| title=4 countriesItaly}}San Marino}}Switzerland}}Vatican City}}}}{{Collapsible list| expand = yes| titlestyle=font-weight:normal; background:transparent; text-align:left;| title=2 regionsSlovenia}} Slovenian Istria (Slovenia)Istria County}} (Croatia)}}{{Collapsible list| expand =| titlestyle=font-weight:normal; background:transparent; text-align:left;| title=Various organisationsEuropean Union}}18px) FAOHoly See}}International Development Law Organization>IDLOInternational Institute of Humanitarian Law>IIHL30px) OSCESovereign Military Order of Malta}}|and others}}Croatia}}{{flag|Slovenia}}| agency = Accademia della Crusca (de facto)| iso1 = it| iso2 = ita| iso3 = ita| lingua = 51-AAA-q| map = Map Italophone World.png| mapsize = 310px#0c5eb1|Main language}}{{legend|#9fceff|Former official language}}{{legend|#00ff00|Presence of Italian-speaking communities}}| notice = IPAItaliano segnato "(Signed Italian)"HTTP://WWW.CDILA.IT/CDS/INDEX?Q=OBJECT/DETAIL&P=_SYSTEM_CMS_NODE/_A_ID/_V_33 PUBLISHER=CDILA.IT ACCESSDATE=2015-10-22, italiano segnato esatto "(Signed Exact Italian)"HTTP://WWW.CDILA.IT/CDS/INDEX?Q=OBJECT/DETAIL&P=_SYSTEM_CMS_NODE/_A_ID/_V_37 >TITLE=CENTRO DOCUMENTAZIONE PER L'INTEGRAZIONE DATE=, 2015-10-22, | glotto = ital1282| glottorefname = Italian}}{{Italian language|state=expanded}}Italian (italiano {{IPA-it|itaˈljaːno||It-italiano.ogg}} or {{IPA-it|ˈliÅ‹É¡wa itaˈljaːna|}}) is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire and, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages.WEB,weblink Romance languages, Encyclopædia Britannica, 19 February 2017, ... if the Romance languages are compared with Latin, it is seen that by most measures Sardinian and Italian are least differentiated and French most, Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland (where it is the first language in Canton Ticino and in the districts of Moesa and Bernina in Canton Graubünden), San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria (Croatia and Slovenia). It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece (Ionian Islands and Dodecanese), and is generally understood in Corsica (due to its close relation with the Tuscan-influenced local language) and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia.Ethnologue report for language code:ita (Italy) – Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (ed.), 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Fifteenth edition. Dallas, Tex.: SIL International. Online version Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a protected language in these countries.WEB,weblink Languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, WEB,weblink MULTILINGVISM ÅžI LIMBI MINORITARE ÃŽN ROMÂNIA, Romanian, Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian (either in its standard form or regional varieties) and other regional languages.WEB,weblink Italy, Ethnologue, 1999-02-19, 2015-10-22, Italian is a major European language, being one of the official languages of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and one of the working languages of the Council of Europe. It is the fourth most widely spoken first language in the European Union with 69 million native speakers (13% of the EU population) and it is spoken as a second language by 16 million EU citizens (3%). Including Italian speakers in non-EU European countries (such as Switzerland and Albania) and on other continents, the total number of speakers is around 90 million.WEB,weblink Italian — University of Leicester,, 2015-10-22, Italian is the main working language of the Holy See, serving as the lingua franca (common language) in the Roman Catholic hierarchy as well as the official language of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Italian is known as the language of music because of its use in musical terminology and opera. Its influence is also widespread in the arts and in the luxury goods market.Italian was adopted by the state after the Unification of Italy, having previously been a literary language based on Tuscan as spoken mostly by the upper class of Florentine society.weblink {{webarchive|url=|date=3 October 2009}} Its development was also influenced by other Italian languages and to some minor extent, by the Germanic languages of the post-Roman invaders. The incorporation into Italian of learned words from its own ancestor language, Latin, is another form of lexical borrowing through the influence of written language, scientific terminology and the liturgical language of the Church. Throughout the Middle Ages and into the early modern period, most literate Italians were also literate in Latin; and thus they easily adopted Latin words into their writing—and eventually speech—in Italian. Its vowels are the second-closest to Latin after Sardinian.See (Classification of Romance languages|Italica 1950: 46) (cf. weblink and weblink): "Pei, Mario A. "A New Methodology for Romance Classification." Word, v, 2 (Aug. 1949), 135–146. Demonstrates a comparative statistical method for determining the extent of change from the Latin for the free and checked stressed vowels of French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Rumanian, Old Provençal, and Logudorese Sardinian. By assigning 3½ change points per vowel (with 2 points for diphthongization, 1 point for modification in vowel quantity, ½ point for changes due to nasalization, palatalization or umlaut, and −½ point for failure to effect a normal change), there is a maximum of 77 change points for free and checked stressed vowel sounds (11×2×3½=77). According to this system (illustrated by seven charts at the end of the article), the percentage of change is greatest in French (44%) and least in Italian (12%) and Sardinian (8%). Prof. Pei suggests that this statistical method be extended not only to all other phonological but also to all morphological and syntactical, phenomena.".See (Classification of Romance languages|Koutna et al. (1990: 294)): "In the late forties and in the fifties some new proposals for classification of the Romance languages appeared. A statistical method attempting to evaluate the evidence quantitatively was developed in order to provide not only a classification but at the same time a measure of the divergence among the languages. The earliest attempt was made in 1949 by Mario Pei (1901–1978), who measured the divergence of seven modern Romance languages from Classical Latin, taking as his criterion the evolution of stressed vowels. Pei's results do not show the degree of contemporary divergence among the languages from each other but only the divergence of each one from Classical Latin. The closest language turned out to be Sardinian with 8% of change. Then followed Italian — 12%; Spanish — 20%; Romanian — 23,5%; Provençal — 25%; Portuguese — 31%; French — 44%." As in most Romance languages, stress is distinctive and, unlike most other Romance languages, Italian retains Latin's contrast between short and long consonants.WEB,weblink Portland State Multicultural Topics in Communications Sciences & Disorders {{!, Italian||access-date=2017-02-05}} Almost all words and syllables finish with pure vowels, a factor that makes Italian words extremely easy to use in rhyming. Italian has a 7 vowel sound system ('e' and 'o' have mid-low and mid-high sounds); Classical Latin had 10, 5 with short and 5 with long sounds.{{anchor|Middle Ages}}


{{More citations needed section|date=October 2013}}


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During the Middle Ages, the established written language in Europe was Latin, though the great majority of people were illiterate, and only a handful were well versed in the language. In the Italian peninsula, as in most of Europe, most would instead speak a local vernacular. These dialects, as they are commonly referred to, evolved from Vulgar Latin over the course of centuries, unaffected by formal standards and teachings. They are not in any sense "dialects" of standard Italian, which itself started off as one of these local tongues, but sister languages of Italian. Mutual intelligibility with Italian varies widely, as it does with Romance languages in general. The Romance dialects of Italy can differ greatly from Italian at all levels (phonology, morphology, syntax, lexicon, pragmatics) and are classified typologically as distinct languages.BOOK, The Italian language today, Lepschy, Anna Laura, Lepschy, Giulio C., 1988, New Amsterdam, 978-0-941533-22-5, 2nd, New York, 13, 22, 19–20, 21, 35, 37, 17650220, ANDREOSE, Alvise, Renzi, Lorenzo, Geography and distribution of the Romance Languages in Europe, Maiden, Martin, Smith, John Charles, Ledgeway, Adam, The Cambridge History of the Romance Languages, Vol. 2, Contexts, 302–308, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2013,
The standard Italian language has a poetic and literary origin in the writings of Tuscan writers of the 12th century, and, even though the grammar and core lexicon are basically unchanged from those used in Florence in the 13th century,BOOK,weblink'Italiano)/, Storia della lingua, Vittorio Coletti, Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 9788812000487, 10 October 2015, L’italiano di oggi ha ancora in gran parte la stessa grammatica e usa ancora lo stesso lessico del fiorentino letterario del Trecento., 2011, the modern standard of the language was largely shaped by relatively recent events. However, Romance vernacular as language spoken in the Apennine peninsula has a longer history. In fact, the earliest surviving texts that can definitely be called vernacular (as distinct from its predecessor Vulgar Latin) are legal formulae known as the Placiti Cassinesi from the Province of Benevento that date from 960–963, although the Veronese Riddle, probably from the 8th or early 9th century, contains a late form of Vulgar Latin that can be seen as a very early sample of a vernacular dialect of Italy.WEB,weblink History of the Italian language,, 2006-09-24, The language that came to be thought of as Italian developed in central Tuscany and was first formalized in the early 14th century through the works of Tuscan writer Dante Alighieri, written in his native Florentine. Dante's epic poems, known collectively as the Commedia, to which another Tuscan poet Giovanni Boccaccio later affixed the title Divina, were read throughout the peninsula and his written dialect became the "canonical standard" that all educated Italians could understand. Dante is still credited with standardizing the Italian language. In addition to the widespread exposure gained through literature, the Florentine dialect also gained prestige due to the political and cultural significance of Florence at the time and the fact that it was linguistically an intermediate between the northern and the southern Italian dialects.{{r|":0"|page=22}} Thus the dialect of Florence became the basis for what would become the official language of Italy.Italian was progressively made an official language of most of the Italian states predating unification, slowly replacing Latin, even when ruled by foreign powers (like Spain in the Kingdom of Naples, or Austria in the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia), even though the masses kept speaking primarily their local vernaculars. Italian was also one of the many recognised languages in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.Italy has always had a distinctive dialect for each city because the cities, until recently, were thought of as city-states. Those dialects now have considerable variety. As Tuscan-derived Italian came to be used throughout Italy, features of local speech were naturally adopted, producing various versions of regional Italian. The most characteristic differences, for instance, between Roman Italian and Milanese Italian are the gemination of initial consonants and the pronunciation of stressed "e", and of "s" in some cases: e.g. va bene "all right" is pronounced {{IPA|[vabˈbɛːne]}} by a Roman (and by any standard Italian speaker), {{IPA|[vaˈbeːne]}} by a Milanese (and by any speaker whose native dialect lies to the north of the La Spezia–Rimini Line); a casa "at home" is {{IPA|[akˈkaːsa]}} for Roman, {{IPA|[akˈkaːsa]}} or {{IPA|[akˈkaːza]}} for standard, {{IPA|[aˈkaːza]}} for Milanese and generally northern.In contrast to the Gallo-Italic linguistic panorama of northern Italy, the Italo-Dalmatian Neapolitan and its related dialects were largely unaffected by the Franco-Occitan influences introduced to Italy mainly by bards from France during the Middle Ages, but after the Norman conquest of southern Italy, Sicily became the first Italian land to adopt Occitan lyric moods (and words) in poetry. Even in the case of Northern Italian languages, however, scholars are careful not to overstate the effects of outsiders on the natural indigenous developments of the languages.The economic might and relatively advanced development of Tuscany at the time (Late Middle Ages) gave its language weight, though Venetian remained widespread in medieval Italian commercial life, and Ligurian (or Genoese) remained in use in maritime trade alongside the Mediterranean. The increasing political and cultural relevance of Florence during the periods of the rise of the Banco Medici, Humanism, and the Renaissance made its dialect, or rather a refined version of it, a standard in the arts.


The Renaissance era, known as in Italian, was seen as a time of "rebirth", which is the literal meaning of both (from French) and (Italian).File:Pietro Bembo2.jpg|thumb|upright=0.63|Pietro BemboPietro BemboDuring this time, long-existing beliefs stemming from the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church began to be understood from new perspectives as humanists—individuals who placed emphasis on the human body and its full potential—began to shift focus from the church to human beings themselves.BOOK, A history of Western society, P., McKay, John, 2006, Houghton Mifflin, Hill, Bennett D., Buckler, John., 978-0-618-52273-6, 8th, Boston, 58837884, Humanists began forming new beliefs in various forms: social, political, and intellectual. The ideals of the Renaissance were evident throughout the Protestant Reformation, which took place simultaneously with the Renaissance. The Protestant Reformation began with Martin Luther's rejection of the selling of indulgences by Johann Tetzel and other authorities within the Roman Catholic Church, resulting in Luther's eventual break-off from the Roman Catholic Church in the Diet of Worms. After Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church, he founded what was then understood to be a sect of Catholicism, later referred to as Lutheranism. Luther's preaching in favor of faith and scripture rather than tradition led him to translate the Bible into many other languages, which would allow for people from all over Europe to read the Bible. Previously, the Bible was only translated into Latin, but after this development it could be understood in many other languages, including Italian. The Italian language was able to spread even more with the help of Luther and the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg. The printing press facilitated the spread of Italian because it was able to rapidly produce texts, such as the Bible, and cut the costs of books which allowed for more people to have access to the translated Bible and new pieces of literature.WEB, Zucker, Steven, Harris, Beth, An Introduction to the Protestant Reformation,weblink khanacademy, khanacademy, 8 July 2017, The Roman Catholic Church was losing its control over the population, as it was not open to change, and there was an increasing number of reformers with differing beliefs.WEB,weblink Renaissance, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc, The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 16 July 2017, Italian became the language used in the courts of every state in the Italian peninsula. The rediscovery of Dante's and a renewed interest in linguistics in the 16th century, sparked a debate that raged throughout Italy concerning the criteria that should govern the establishment of a modern Italian literary and spoken language. This discussion, known as (i. e., the problem of the language), ran through the Italian culture until the end of the 19th century, often linked to the political debate on achieving a united Italian state. Renaissance scholars divided into three main factions: A fourth faction claimed that the best Italian was the one that the papal court adopted, which was a mixture of the Tuscan and Roman dialects. Eventually, Bembo's ideas prevailed, and the foundation of the Accademia della Crusca in Florence (1582–1583), the official legislative body of the Italian language led to publication of Agnolo Monosini's Latin tome in 1604 followed by the first Italian dictionary in 1612.The continual advancements in technology plays a crucial role in the diffusion of languages. After the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century, the number of printing presses in Italy grew rapidly and by the year 1500 reached a total of 56, the biggest number of printing presses in all of Europe. This allowed to produce more pieces of literature at a lower cost and as the dominant language, Italian spread.JOURNAL, 2011, Information Technology and Economic Change: The Impact of the Printing Press, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 126, 3, 1133–1172, Dittmar, Jeremiah, 10.1093/qje/qjr035,

Modern era

An important event that helped the diffusion of Italian was the conquest and occupation of Italy by Napoleon in the early 19th century (who was himself of Italian-Corsican descent). This conquest propelled the unification of Italy some decades after and pushed the Italian language into a lingua franca used not only among clerks, nobility, and functionaries in the Italian courts but also by the bourgeoisie.

Contemporary times

File:Alessandro Manzoni.jpg|thumb|upright|left|(Alessandro Manzoni]] sat the basis for the modern Italian language and helped creating linguistic unity throughout Italy.I Promessi sposi or The Betrothed {{webarchive|url= |date=18 July 2011 }})Italian literature's first modern novel, I promessi sposi (The Betrothed) by Alessandro Manzoni, further defined the standard by "rinsing" his Milanese "in the waters of the Arno" (Florence's river), as he states in the preface to his 1840 edition.After unification, a huge number of civil servants and soldiers recruited from all over the country introduced many more words and idioms from their home languages (ciao is derived from the Venetian word s-cia[v]o ("slave"), panettone comes from the Lombard word panetton, etc.). Only 2.5% of Italy's population could speak the Italian standardized language properly when the nation was unified in 1861.WEB,weblink Lewis, M. Paul (ed.) (2009). Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition,, 2010-04-21,


Italian is a Romance language, a descendant of Vulgar Latin (colloquial spoken Latin). Standard Italian is based on Tuscan, especially its Florentine dialect, and is therefore an Italo-Dalmatian language, a classification that includes most other central and southern Italian languages and the extinct Dalmatian. Unlike most other Romance languages, Italian retains Latin's contrast between short and long consonants. As in most Romance languages, stress is distinctive. In particular, among the Romance languages, Italian is the closest to Latin in terms of vocabulary.BOOK, Grimes, Barbara F., Barbara F. Grimes, Consulting Editors: Richard S. Pittman & Joseph E. Grimes, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, thirteenth, October 1996, Ethnologue, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Academic Pub, Dallas, Texas, 978-1-55671-026-1, Lexical similarity is 89% with French, 87% with Catalan, 85% with Sardinian, 82% with Spanish, 78% with Ladin, 77% with Romanian{{Harvcoltxt|Brincat|2005}}WEB,weblink Most similar languages to Italian, and 70% with Portuguese.{{citation needed|date=January 2019}}One study analyzing the degree of differentiation of Romance languages in comparison to Latin (comparing phonology, inflection, discourse, syntax, vocabulary, and intonation) estimated that among the languages analyzed the distance between Italian and Latin is only higher than that between Sardinian and Latin.BOOK, Story of Language, Pei, Mario, Mario Pei, 1949, 978-0-397-00400-3,

Geographic distribution

(File:Idioma italiano.png|thumb|right|upright=0.9|Use of the Italian language in Europe)(File:Lengua italiana.png|thumb|right|upright=0.9|Use of the Italian language in Europe and former use in Africa)Italian is an official language of Italy and San Marino and is spoken fluently by the majority of the countries' populations. Italian is the third most spoken language in Switzerland (after German and French), and its use has moderately declined since the 1970s.WEB,weblink Recensement Fédéral de la Population 2000 — Le Paysage Linguistique en Suisse, 5 January 2006, Lüdi, Georges, Werlen, Iwar, April 2005, Office fédéral de la statistique, Neuchâtel, French, German, Italian, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 November 2007, dmy-all, Italian is also used in administration and official documents in Vatican City.The Vatican City State appendix to the Acta Apostolicae Sedis is entirely in Italian.Due to heavy Italian influence during the Italian colonial period, Italian is still understood by some in former colonies. Although it was the primary language in Libya since colonial rule, Italian greatly declined under the rule of Muammar Gaddafi, who expelled the Italian Libyan population and made Arabic the sole official language of the country.weblink {{webarchive|url=|date=17 December 2008}} A few hundred Italian settlers returned to Libya in the 2000s; today Italian is the most spoken second language in the country and serves as a language of commerce and sometimes as a lingua franca between Libyans and foreigners.L'Aménagement Linguistique dans le Monde - Libye (in French) In Eritrea, Italian is at times used in commerce and the capital city Asmara still has one Italian-language school.WEB,weblink Scuola Italiana di Asmara (in Italian),, 2010-04-21, Italian was also introduced to Somalia through colonialism and was the sole official language of administration and education during the colonial period but fell out of use after government, educational and economic infrastructure were destroyed in the Somali Civil War.Albania and Malta have large populations of non-native speakers, with over half of the population having some knowledge of the Italian language. Zonova, Tatiana. "The Italian language: soft power or dolce potere?." Rivista di Studi Politici Internazionali (2013): 227-231.Although over 17 million Americans are of Italian descent, only a little over one million people in the United States speak Italian at home.WEB,weblink Language Spoken at Home: 2000, United States Bureau of the Census, 8 August 2012, Nevertheless, an Italian language media market does exist in the country.WEB,weblink Newsletter,, 2015-10-22, Italian immigrants to South America have also brought a presence of the language to that continent. According to some sources, Italian is the second most spoken language in ArgentinaWEB,weblink Los segundos idiomas más hablados de Sudamérica | AméricaEconomía – El sitio de los negocios globales de América Latina,, 2015-07-16, 2015-10-22, after the official language of Spanish, although its number of speakers, mainly of the older generation, is decreasing.


Italian is widely taught in many schools around the world, but rarely as the first foreign language. In the 21st century, technology also allows for the continual spread of the Italian language, as people have new ways for one to learn how to speak, read, and write languages at their own pace and at any given time. For example, the free website and application Duolingo has 4.94 million English speakers learning the Italian language.WEB,weblink duolingo, duolingo, 18 July 2017, According to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, every year there are more than 200,000 foreign students who study the Italian language; they are distributed among the 90 Institutes of Italian Culture that are located around the world, in the 179 Italian schools located abroad, or in the 111 Italian lecturer sections belonging to foreign schools where Italian is taught as a language of culture.WEB,weblink Dati e statistiche,, 2007-09-28, 2015-10-22,

Influence and derived languages

{{See also|Italian diaspora}}File:Aglomerado Gran Buenos Aires.png|thumb|upright|In blue color Buenos Aires, Argentina, where CocolicheCocolicheFrom the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, thousands of Italians settled in Argentina, Uruguay, southern Brazil, and Venezuela, where they formed a physical and cultural presence.In some cases, colonies were established where variants of regional languages of Italy were used, and some continue to use this regional language. Examples are Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, where Talian is used, and the town of Chipilo near Puebla, Mexico; each continues to use a derived form of Venetian dating back to the nineteenth century. Another example is Cocoliche, an Italian–Spanish pidgin once spoken in Argentina and especially in Buenos Aires, and Lunfardo.

Lingua franca

{{See also|Mediterranean Lingua Franca}}Starting in late medieval times in much of Europe and the Mediterranean, Latin was replaced as the primary commercial language by Italian language variants (especially Tuscan and Venetian). These variants were consolidated during the Renaissance with the strength of Italy and the rise of humanism and the arts.During that period, Italy held artistic sway over the rest of Europe. It was the norm for all educated gentlemen to make the Grand Tour, visiting Italy to see its great historical monuments and works of art. It thus became expected to learn at least some Italian. In England, while the classical languages Latin and Greek were the first to be learned, Italian became the second most common modern language after French, a position it held until the late eighteenth century when it tended to be replaced by German. John Milton, for instance, wrote some of his early poetry in Italian.Within the Catholic church, Italian is known by a large part of the ecclesiastical hierarchy and is used in substitution for Latin in some official documents.Italian loanwords continue to be used in most languages in matters of art and music (especially classical music including opera), in the design and fashion industries, in some sports like footballWEB,weblink Italian Language,, 2016-10-07, and especially, in culinary terms.

Languages and dialects

{{See also|Languages of Italy|Regional Italian}}(File:Dialetti Italia 1939.png|thumb|upright=0.9|Linguistic map of Italy according to Clemente Merlo and Carlo Tagliavini (1937))(File:Minoranze linguistiche it.svg|upright=0.9|thumb|right|Italy's ethno-linguistic minorities.WEB,weblink Lingue di Minoranza e Scuola: Carta Generale,, 8 October 2017, )In Italy, almost all the other languages spoken as the vernacular — other than standard Italian and some languages spoken among immigrant communities — are often imprecisely called "Italian dialects",WEB,weblink Major Dialects of Italian,, 2015-10-22, even though they are quite different, with some belonging to different linguistic branches. The only exceptions to this are twelve groups considered "historical language minorities", which are officially recognized as distinct minority languages by the law. On the other hand, Corsican (a language spoken on the French island of Corsica) is closely related to medieval Tuscan, from which Standard Italian derives and evolved.The differences in the evolution of Latin in the different regions of Italy can be attributed to the presence of three other types of languages: substrata, superstrata, and adstrata. The most prevalent were substrata (the language of the original inhabitants), as the Italian dialects were most likely simply Latin as spoken by native cultural groups. Superstrata and adstrata were both less important. Foreign conquerors of Italy that dominated different regions at different times left behind little to no influence on the dialects. Foreign cultures with which Italy engaged in peaceful relations with, such as trade, had no significant influence either.{{r|":0"|page=19-20}}Throughout Italy, regional variations of Standard Italian, called Regional Italian, are spoken. Regional differences can be recognized by various factors: the openness of vowels, the length of the consonants, and influence of the local language (for example, in informal situations {{wiktit|andà}}, {{wiktit|annà}} and {{wiktit|nare}} replace the standard Italian {{wiktit|andare}} in the area of Tuscany, Rome and Venice respectively for the infinitive "to go").There is no definitive date when the various Italian variants of Latin—including varieties that contributed to modern Standard Italian—began to be distinct enough from Latin to be considered separate languages. One criterion for determining that two language variants are to be considered separate languages rather than variants of a single language is that they have evolved so that they are no longer mutually intelligible; this diagnostic is effective if mutual intelligibility is minimal or absent (e.g. in Romance, Romanian and Portuguese), but it fails in cases such as Spanish-Portuguese or Spanish-Italian, as native speakers of either pairing can understand each other well if they choose to do so. Nevertheless, on the basis of accumulated differences in morphology, syntax, phonology, and to some extent lexicon, it is not difficult to identify that for the Romance varieties of Italy, the first extant written evidence of languages that can no longer be considered Latin comes from the ninth and tenth centuries C.E. These written sources demonstrate certain vernacular characteristics and sometimes explicitly mention the use of the vernacular in Italy. Full literary manifestations of the vernacular began to surface around the 13th century in the form of various religious texts and poetry.{{r|":0"|page=21}}Although these are the first written records of Italian varieties separate from Latin, the spoken language had likely diverged long before the first written records appear, since those who were literate generally wrote in Latin even if they spoke other Romance varieties in person.Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the use of Standard Italian became increasingly widespread and was mirrored by a decline in the use of the dialects. An increase in literacy was one of the main driving factors (one can assume that only literates were capable of learning Standard Italian, whereas those who were illiterate had access only to their native dialect). The percentage of literates rose from 25% in 1861 to 60% in 1911, and then on to 78.1% in 1951. Tullio De Mauro, an Italian linguist, has asserted that in 1861 only 2.5% of the population of Italy could speak Standard Italian. He reports that in 1951 that percentage had risen to 87%. The ability to speak Italian did not necessarily mean it was in everyday use, and most people (63.5%) still usually spoke their native dialects. In addition, other factors such as mass emigration, industrialization, and urbanization, and internal migrations after World War II contributed to the proliferation of Standard Italian. The Italians who emigrated during the Italian diaspora beginning in 1861 were often of the uneducated lower class, and thus the emigration had the effect of increasing the percentage of literates, who often knew and understood the importance of Standard Italian, back home in Italy. A large percentage of those who had emigrated also eventually returned to Italy, often more educated than when they had left.{{r|":0"|page=35}}The Italian dialects have declined in the modern era, as Italy unified under Standard Italian and continues to do so aided by mass media, from newspapers to radio to television.{{r|":0"|page=37}}


File:It-Vangeli.ogg|thumb|(wikisource:Bible (King James)/Luke#Chapter 2|Luke 2), 1–7 of the Bible being read by a speaker of Italian from MilanMilan{{IPA notice}}{{transcluded section|source=Italian phonology|part=yes}}{{trim|{{#section-h:Italian phonology|Consonants}}}}Italian has a seven-vowel system, consisting of {{IPA|/a, ɛ, e, i, ɔ, o, u/}}, as well as 23 consonants. Compared with most other Romance languages, Italian phonology is conservative, preserving many words nearly unchanged from Vulgar Latin. Some examples:
  • Italian {{wiktita|quattordici}} "fourteen"
< Latin {{smallcaps|{{wiktlat|quattuordecim}}}} (cf. Romanian {{wiktron|paisprezece}}/{{wiktron|paișpe}}, Spanish {{wiktspa|catorce}}, French {{wiktfra|quatorze}} {{IPA|/kaˈtɔʁz/}}, Catalan and Portuguese )
  • Italian settimana "week" < Latin {{smallcaps|septimāna}} (cf. Romanian săptămână, Spanish and Portuguese semana, French semaine {{IPA|/s(É™)ˈmÉ›n/}}, Catalan setmana)
  • Italian medesimo "same" < Vulgar Latin {{smallcaps|medi(p)simum}} (cf. Spanish mismo, Portuguese mesmo, French même {{IPA|/mÉ›m/}}, Catalan mateix; note that Italian usually uses the shorter stesso)
  • Italian guadagnare "to win, earn, gain" < Vulgar Latin {{smallcaps|guadanyāre}} < Germanic {{IPA|/waidanjan/}} (cf. Spanish ganar, Portuguese ganhar, French gagner {{IPA|/É¡aˈɲe/}}, Catalan guanyar)
The conservativeness of Italian phonology is partly explained by its origin. Italian stems from a literary language that is derived from the 13th-century speech of the city of Florence in the region of Tuscany, and has changed little in the last 700 years or so. Furthermore, the Tuscan dialect is the most conservative of all Italian dialects, radically different from the Gallo-Italian languages less than 100 miles to the north (across the La Spezia–Rimini Line).The following are some of the conservative phonological features of Italian, as compared with the common Western Romance languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Galician, Catalan). Some of these features are also present in Romanian.
  • Little or no lenition of consonants between vowels, e.g. {{smallcaps|vÄ«ta}} > vita "life" (cf. Romanian viață, Spanish vida {{IPA|[biða]}}, French vie), {{smallcaps|pedem}} > piede "foot" (cf. Spanish pie, French pied {{IPA|/pje/}}).
  • Preservation of geminate consonants, e.g. {{smallcaps|annum}} > {{IPA|/ˈ}} anno "year" (cf. Spanish año {{IPA|/aɲo/}}, French an {{IPA|/ɑ̃/}}, Portuguese ano {{IPA|/ˈã.nu/}}).
  • Preservation of all Proto-Romance final vowels, e.g. {{smallcaps|pacem}} > pace "peace" (cf. Romanian pace, Spanish paz, French paix {{IPA|/pÉ›/}}), {{smallcaps|octō}} > otto "eight" (cf. Romanian opt, Spanish ocho, French huit {{IPA|/É¥i(t)/}}), {{smallcaps|fÄ“cÄ«}} > feci "I did" (cf. Spanish hice, French fis {{IPA|/fi/}}).
  • Preservation of most intertonic vowels (those between the stressed syllable and either the beginning or ending syllable). This accounts for some of the most noticeable differences, as in the forms quattordici and settimana given above.
  • Slower consonant development, e.g. {{smallcaps|folia}} > Italo-Western {{IPA|/fɔʎʎa/}} > foglia {{IPA|/ˈfɔʎʎa/}} "leaf" (cf. Romanian foaie {{IPA|/ˈfo̯aje/}}, Spanish hoja {{IPA|/ˈoxa/}}, French feuille {{IPA|/ˈfÅ“j/}}; but note Portuguese folha {{IPA|/ˈfoʎɐ/}}).
Compared with most other Romance languages, Italian has many inconsistent outcomes, where the same underlying sound produces different results in different words, e.g. {{smallcaps|laxāre}} > lasciare and lassare, {{smallcaps|captiāre}} > cacciare and cazzare, {{smallcaps|(ex)dēroteolāre}} > sdrucciolare, druzzolare and ruzzolare, {{smallcaps|rēgīna}} > regina and reina. Although in all these examples the second form has fallen out of usage, the dimorphism is thought to reflect the several-hundred-year period during which Italian developed as a literary language divorced from any native-speaking population, with an origin in 12th/13th-century Tuscan but with many words borrowed from languages farther to the north, with different sound outcomes. (The La Spezia–Rimini Line, the most important isogloss in the entire Romance-language area, passes only about 20 miles to the north of Florence.) Dual outcomes of Latin /p t k/ between vowels, such as {{smallcaps|lŏcum}} > luogo but {{smallcaps|fŏcum}} > fuoco, was once thought to be due to borrowing of northern voiced forms, but is now generally viewed as the result of early phonetic variation within Tuscany. Some other features that distinguish Italian from the Western Romance languages:
  • Latin {{smallcaps|ce-,ci-}} becomes {{IPA|/tʃe, tʃi/}} rather than {{IPA|/(t)se, (t)si/}}.
  • Latin {{smallcaps|-ct-}} becomes {{IPA|/tt/}} rather than {{IPA|/jt/}} or {{IPA|/tʃ/}}: {{smallcaps|octō}} > otto "eight" (cf. Spanish ocho, French huit, Portuguese oito).
  • Vulgar Latin {{smallcaps|-cl-}} becomes cchi {{IPA|/kkj/}} rather than {{IPA|/ÊŽ/}}: {{smallcaps|oclum}} > occhio "eye" (cf. Portuguese olho {{IPA|/oÊŽu/}}, French oeil {{IPA|/Å“j/}} < {{IPA|/Å“ÊŽ/}}); but Romanian ochi {{IPA|/okʲ/}}.
  • Final {{IPA|/s/}} is not preserved, and vowel changes rather than {{IPA|/s/}} are used to mark the plural: amico, amici "male friend(s)", amica, amiche "female friend(s)" (cf. Romanian amic, amici,amică, amice, Spanish amigo(s) "male friend(s)", amiga(s) "female friend(s)"); {{smallcaps|trÄ“s, sex}} → tre, sei "three, six" (cf. Romanian trei, È™ase, Spanish tres, seis).
Standard Italian also differs in some respects from most nearby Italian languages:
  • Perhaps most noticeable is the total lack of metaphony, though metaphony is a feature characterizing nearly every other Italian language.
  • No simplification of original {{IPA|/nd/}}, {{IPA|/mb/}} (which often became {{IPA|/nn/, /mm/}} elsewhere).


Italian phonotactics do not usually permit verbs and polysyllabic nouns to end with consonants, excepting poetry and song, so foreign words may receive extra terminal vowel sounds.

Writing system

The Italian alphabet is typically considered to consist of 21 letters. The letters j, k, w, x, y are traditionally excluded, though they appear in loanwords such as jeans, whisky, taxi, xenofobo, xilofono. The letter {{angle bracket|x}} has become common in standard Italian with the prefix extra-, although (e)stra- is traditionally used; it is also common to use the Latin particle ex(-) to mean "former(ly)" as in: la mia ex ("my ex-girlfriend"), "Ex-Jugoslavia" ("Former Yugoslavia"). The letter {{angle bracket|j}} appears in the first name Jacopo and in some Italian place-names, such as Bajardo, Bojano, Joppolo, Jerzu, Jesolo, Jesi, Ajaccio, among others, and in Mar Jonio, an alternative spelling of Mar Ionio (the Ionian Sea). The letter {{angle bracket|j}} may appear in dialectal words, but its use is discouraged in contemporary standard Italian.BOOK, The Sounds, Forms, and Uses of Italian: An Introduction to Italian Linguistics, Gianrenzo, Clivio, Marcel, Danesi, University of Toronto Press, 2000, 21, 66, Letters used in foreign words can be replaced with phonetically equivalent native Italian letters and digraphs: {{angle bracket|gi}}, {{angle bracket|ge}}, or {{angle bracket|i}} for {{angle bracket|j}}; {{angle bracket|c}} or {{angle bracket|ch}} for {{angle bracket|k}} (including in the standard prefix kilo-); {{angle bracket|o}}, {{angle bracket|u}} or {{angle bracket|v}} for {{angle bracket|w}}; {{angle bracket|s}}, {{angle bracket|ss}}, {{angle bracket|z}}, {{angle bracket|zz}} or {{angle bracket|cs}} for {{angle bracket|x}}; and {{angle bracket|e}} or {{angle bracket|i}} for {{angle bracket|y}}.
  • The acute accent is used over word-final {{angle bracket|e}} to indicate a stressed front close-mid vowel, as in perché "why, because". In dictionaries, it is also used over {{angle bracket|o}} to indicate a stressed back close-mid vowel (azióne). The grave accent is used over word-final {{angle bracket|e}} to indicate a front open-mid vowel, as in tè "tea". The grave accent is used over any vowel to indicate word-final stress, as in gioventù "youth". Unlike {{angle bracket|é}}, which is a close-mid vowel, a stressed final {{angle bracket|o}} is always a back open-mid vowel (andrò), making {{angle bracket|ó}} unnecessary outside of dictionaries. Most of the time, the penultimate syllable is stressed. But if the stressed vowel is the final letter of the word, the accent is mandatory, otherwise it is virtually always omitted. Exceptions are typically either in dictionaries, where all or most stressed vowels are commonly marked. Accents can optionally be used to disambiguate words that differ only by stress, as for prìncipi "princes" and princìpi "principles", or àncora "anchor" and ancóra "still/yet". For monosyllabic words, the rule is different: when two orthographically identical monosyllabic words with different meanings exist, one is accented and the other is not (example: è "is", e "and").
  • The letter {{angle bracket|h}} distinguishes ho, hai, ha, hanno (present indicative of avere "to have") from o ("or"), ai ("to the"), a ("to"), anno ("year"). In the spoken language, the letter is always silent. The {{angle bracket|h}} in ho additionally marks the contrasting open pronunciation of the {{angle bracket|o}}. The letter {{angle bracket|h}} is also used in combinations with other letters. No phoneme {{IPA|/h/}} exists in Italian. In nativized foreign words, the {{angle bracket|h}} is silent. For example, hotel and hovercraft are pronounced {{IPA|/oˈtÉ›l/}} and {{IPA|/ˈɔverkraft/}} respectively. (Where {{angle bracket|h}} existed in Latin, it either disappeared or, in a few cases before a back vowel, changed to {{IPA|[É¡]}}: traggo "I pull" ← Lat. {{smallcaps|trahō}}.)
  • The letters {{angle bracket|s}} and {{angle bracket|z}} can symbolize voiced or voiceless consonants. {{angle bracket|z}} symbolizes {{IPA|/dz/}} or {{IPA|/ts/}} depending on context, with few minimal pairs. For example: zanzara {{IPA|/dzanˈdzaːra/}} "mosquito" and nazione {{IPA|/natˈtsjoːne/}} "nation". {{angle bracket|s}} symbolizes {{IPA|/s/}} word-initially before a vowel, when clustered with a voiceless consonant ({{angle bracket|p, f, c, ch}}), and when doubled; it symbolizes {{IPA|/z/}} when between vowels and when clustered with voiced consonants. Intervocalic {{angle bracket|s}} varies regionally between {{IPA|/s/}} and {{IPA|/z/}}, with {{IPA|/z/}} being more dominant in northern Italy and {{IPA|/s/}} in the south.
  • The letters {{angle bracket|c}} and {{angle bracket|g}} vary in pronunciation between plosives and affricates depending on following vowels. The letter {{angle bracket|c}} symbolizes {{IPA|/k/}} when word-final and before the back vowels {{angle bracket|a, o, u}}. It symbolizes {{IPAslink|tʃ}} as in chair before the front vowels {{angle bracket|e, i}}. The letter {{angle bracket|g}} symbolizes {{IPA|/É¡/}} when word-final and before the back vowels {{angle bracket|a, o, u}}. It symbolizes {{IPAslink|dÊ’}} as in gem before the front vowels {{angle bracket|e, i}}. Other Romance languages and, to an extent, English have similar variations for {{angle bracket|c, g}}. Compare hard and soft C, hard and soft G. (See also palatalization.)
  • The digraphs {{angle bracket|ch}} and {{angle bracket|gh}} indicate ({{IPA|/k/}} and {{IPA|/É¡/}}) before {{angle bracket|i, e}}. The digraphs {{angle bracket|ci}} and {{angle bracket|gi}} indicate softness ({{IPA|/tʃ/}} and {{IPA|/dÊ’/}}) before {{angle bracket|a, o, u}}. For example:

{| class="wikitable"
!! colspan="2" | Before back vowel (A, O, U)! colspan="2" | Before front vowel (I, E)! rowspan="2" | Plosive! C/karaˈmɛlla/}} candy! CH/ˈkiːna/}} India ink! G/ˈɡallo/}} rooster! GH/ˈɡiːro/}} edible dormouse! rowspan="2" | Affricate! CI/tʃamˈbɛlla/}} donut! C/ˈtʃiːna/}} China! GI/ˈdʒallo/}} yellow! G/ˈdʒiːro/}} ''(wikt:roundtour)''
Note: {{angle bracket|h}} is silent in the digraphs {{angle bracket|ch}}, {{angle bracket|gh}}; and {{angle bracket|i}} is silent in the digraphs {{angle bracket|ci}} and {{angle bracket|gi}} before {{angle bracket|a, o, u}} unless the {{angle bracket|i}} is stressed. For example, it is silent in ciao {{IPA|/ˈtʃaː.o/}} and cielo {{IPA|/ˈtʃɛː.lo/}}, but it is pronounced in farmacia {{IPA|/ˌfar.maˈtʃiː.a/}} and farmacie {{IPA|/ˌfar.maˈtʃiː.e/}}.
Italian has geminate, or double, consonants, which are distinguished by length and intensity. Length is distinctive for all consonants except for {{IPA|/ʃ/}}, {{IPA|/dz/}}, {{IPA|/ts/}}, {{IPA|/ʎ/}}, {{IPA|/ɲ/}}, which are always geminate when between vowels, and {{IPA|/z/}}, which is always single.Geminate plosives and affricates are realized as lengthened closures. Geminate fricatives, nasals, and {{IPA|/l/}} are realized as lengthened continuants. There is only one vibrant phoneme {{IPA|/r/}} but the actual pronunciation depends on context and regional accent. Generally one can find a flap consonant {{IPA|[ɾ]}} in unstressed position whereas {{IPA|[r]}} is more common in stressed syllables, but there may be exceptions. Especially people from the Northern part of Italy (Parma, Aosta Valley, South Tyrol) may pronounce {{IPA|/r/}} as {{IPA|[ʀ]}}, {{IPA|[ʁ]}}, or {{IPA|[ʋ]}}.BOOK, Canepari, Luciano, Il MªPI – Manuale di pronuncia italiana, second, January 1999, Zanichelli, Bologna, 978-88-08-24624-0, Of special interest to the linguistic study of Regional Italian is the gorgia toscana, or "Tuscan Throat", the weakening or lenition of (:wiktionary:intervocalic|intervocalic) {{IPA|/p/}}, {{IPA|/t/}}, and {{IPA|/k/}} in the Tuscan language.The voiced postalveolar fricative {{IPA|/ʒ/}} is present as a phoneme only in loanwords: for example, garage {{IPA|[ɡaˈraːʒ]}}. Phonetic {{IPA|[ʒ]}} is common in Central and Southern Italy as an intervocalic allophone of {{IPA|/dʒ/}}: gente {{IPA|[ˈdʒɛnte]}} 'people' but la gente {{IPA|[laˈʒɛnte]}} 'the people', ragione {{IPA|[raˈʒoːne]}} 'reason'.


{{See also|Italian verbs}}Italian grammar is typical of the grammar of Romance languages in general. Cases exist for personal pronouns (nominative, oblique, accusative, dative), but not for nouns.There are two basic classes of nouns in Italian, referred to as genders, masculine and feminine. Gender may be natural (ragazzo 'boy', ragazza 'girl') or simply grammatical with no possible reference to biological gender (masculine costo 'cost', feminine costa 'coast'). Masculine nouns typically end in -o (ragazzo 'boy'), with plural marked by -i (ragazzi 'boys'), and feminine nouns typically end in -a, with plural marked by -e (ragazza 'girl', ragazze 'girls'). For a group composed of boys and girls, ragazzi is the plural, suggesting that -i is a general plural. A third category of nouns is unmarked for gender, ending in -e in the singular and -i in the plural: legge 'law, f. sg.', leggi 'laws, f. pl.'; fiume 'river, m. sg.', fiumi 'rivers, m. pl.', thus assignment of gender is arbitrary in terms of form, enough so that terms may be identical but of distinct genders: fine meaning 'aim', 'purpose' is masculine, while fine meaning 'end, ending' (e.g. of a movie) is feminine, and both are fini in the plural, a clear instance of -i as a non-gendered default plural marker. These nouns often, but not always, denote inanimates. There are a number of nouns that have a masculine singular and a feminine plural, most commonly of the pattern m. sg. -o, f. pl. -a (miglio 'mile, m. sg.', miglia 'miles, f. pl.'; paio 'pair, m. sg., paia 'pairs, f. pl.'), and thus are sometimes considered neuter (these are usually derived from neuter Latin nouns). An instance of neuter gender also exists in pronouns of the third person singular.Examples:{| class="wikitable" href="Accademia della Crusca"! href="Floris Italicae lingue libri novem" |Definition!Gender! href="Napoleon" |Singular Form! href="lingua franca" |Plural Form href="bourgeoisie"|SonMasculine|Figlio|Figli href="Alessandro Manzoni"HouseFeminine|CasaCase href="Venetian language"|LoveMasculineAmore|Amori href="Romance language"ArtFeminineArteArtiNouns, adjectives, and articles inflect for gender and number (singular and plural).Like in English, common nouns are capitalized when occurring at the beginning of a sentence. Unlike English, nouns referring to languages (e.g. Italian), speakers of languages, or inhabitants of an area (e.g. Italians) are not capitalized.There are three types of adjectives: descriptive, invariable and form-changing. Descriptive adjectives are the most common, and their endings change to match the number and gender of the noun they modify. Invariable adjectives are adjectives whose endings do not change. The form changing adjectives "buono (good), bello (beautiful), grande (big), and santo (saint)" change in form when placed before different types of nouns. Italian has three degrees for comparison of adjectives: positive, comparative, and superlative.The order of words in the phrase is relatively free compared to most European languages. The position of the verb in the phrase is highly mobile. Word order often has a lesser grammatical function in Italian than in English. Adjectives are sometimes placed before their noun and sometimes after. Subject nouns generally come before the verb. Italian is a null-subject language, so that nominative pronouns are usually absent, with subject indicated by verbal inflections (e.g. amo 'I love', ama 's/he loves', amano 'they love'). Noun objects normally come after the verb, as do pronoun objects after imperative verbs, infinitives and gerunds, but otherwise pronoun objects come before the verb.There are both indefinite and definite articles in Italian. There are four indefinite articles, selected by the gender of the noun they modify and by the phonological structure of the word that immediately follows the article. Uno is masculine singular, used before z ({{IPA|ts/}} or {{IPA|/dz/}}), s+consonant, gn ({{IPA|/ɲ/}}), or ps, while masculine singular un is used before a word beginning with any other sound. The noun zio 'uncle' selects masculine singular, thus uno zio 'an uncle' or uno zio anziano 'an old uncle,' but un mio zio 'an uncle of mine'. The feminine singular indefinite articles are una, used before any consonant sound, and its abbreviated form, written un', used before vowels: una camicia 'a shirt', una camicia bianca 'a white shirt', un'altra camicia 'a different shirt'. There are seven forms for definite articles, both singular and plural. In the singular: lo, which corresponds to the uses of uno; il, which corresponds to the uses with consonant of un; la, which corresponds to the uses of una; l', used for both masculine and feminine singular before vowels. In the plural: gli is the masculine plural of lo and l; i is the plural of il; and le is the plural of feminine la and l.There are numerous contractions of prepositions with subsequent articles. There are numerous productive suffixes for diminutive, augmentative, pejorative, attenuating etc., which are also used to create neologisms.There are 27 pronouns, grouped in clitic and tonic pronouns. Personal pronouns are separated into three groups: subject, object (which take the place of both direct and indirect objects), and reflexive. Second person subject pronouns have both a polite and a familiar form. These two different types of address are very important in Italian social distinctions. All object pronouns have two forms: stressed and unstressed (clitics). Unstressed object pronouns are much more frequently used, and come before the verb (Lo vedo. 'I see him.'). Stressed object pronouns come after the verb, and are used when emphasis is required, for contrast, or to avoid ambiguity (Vedo lui, ma non lei. 'I see him, but not her'). Aside from personal pronouns, Italian also has demonstrative, interrogative, possessive, and relative pronouns. There are two types of demonstrative pronouns: relatively near (this) and relatively far (that). Demonstratives in Italian are repeated before each noun, unlike in English.There are three regular sets of verbal conjugations, and various verbs are irregularly conjugated. Within each of these sets of conjugations, there are four simple (one-word) verbal conjugations by person/number in the indicative mood (present tense; past tense with imperfective aspect, past tense with perfective aspect, and future tense), two simple conjugations in the subjunctive mood (present tense and past tense), one simple conjugation in the conditional mood, and one simple conjugation in the imperative mood. Corresponding to each of the simple conjugations, there is a compound conjugation involving a simple conjugation of "to be" or "to have" followed by a past participle. "To have" is used to form compound conjugation when the verb is transitive ("Ha detto", "ha fatto": he/she has said, he/she has made/done), while "to be" is used in the case of verbs of motion and some other intransitive verbs ("È andato", "è stato": he/she has gone, he/she has been). "To be" may be used with transitive verbs, but in such a case it makes the verb passive ("Ê detto", "è fatto": it is said, it is made/done). This rule is not absolute, and some exceptions do exist.



Note: the plural form of verbs could also be used as an extremely formal (for example to noble people in monarchies) singular form (see royal we).{| class="wikitable"! English (inglese) || Italian (italiano) || PronunciationSì >/ˈsi/}}No >/ˈnɔ/}}Certo! / Certamente! / Naturalmente! >/ˈtʃɛrto/}} {{IPA/naturalˈmente/}}Ciao! (informal) / Salve! (semi-formal) >/ˈtʃaːo/}}Salute! >/saˈluːte/}}Come stai? (informal) / Come sta? (formal) / Come state? (plural) / Come va? (general, informal) >/ˌkomeˈstai/}}; {{IPA/ˌkome ˈstaːte/}} {{IPA|/ˌkome va/}}Buongiorno! (= Good day!) >/ˌbwɔnˈdʒorno/}}Buonasera! >/ˌbwɔnaˈseːra/}}Buonanotte! (for a good night sleeping) / Buona serata! (for a good night awake) >/ˌbwɔnaˈnɔtte/}} {{IPA|/ˌbwɔna seˈraːta/}}Buona giornata! (formal) >/ˌbwɔna dʒorˈnaːta/}}Buon appetito! >/ˌbwɔn‿appeˈtiːto/}}Arrivederci (general) / ArrivederLa (formal) / Ciao! (informal) >/arriveˈdertʃi/}}Buona fortuna! (general) >/ˌbwɔna forˈtuːna/}}Ti amo (between lovers only) / Ti voglio bene (in the sense of "I am fond of you"'', between lovers, friends, relatives etc.) >/ti ˈaːmo/}}; {{IPA|/ti ˌvɔʎʎo ˈbɛːne/}}Benvenuto/-i (for male/males or mixed) / Benvenuta/-e (for female/females) [a / in...] >/beɱveˈnuːto/}}Per favore / Per piacere / Per cortesia >/per faˈvoːre/}} {{IPA/per korteˈziːa/}}Grazie! (general) / Ti ringrazio! (informal) / La ringrazio! (formal) / Vi ringrazio! (plural) >/ˈɡrattsje/}} {{IPA|/ti riŋˈɡrattsjo/}}Prego! >/ˈprɛːɡo/}}Mi dispiace (only "I am sorry") / Scusa(mi) (informal) / Mi scusi (formal) / Scusatemi (plural) / Sono desolato ("I am sorry", if male) / Sono desolata ("I am sorry", if female) >/ˈskuːzi/}}; {{IPA/mi disˈpjaːtʃe/}}Chi? >/ki/}}Che cosa? / Cosa? / Che? >/kekˈkɔːsa/}} {{IPA/ˈke/}}Quando? >/ˈkwando/}}Dove? >/ˈdoːve/}}Come? >/ˈkoːme/}}Perché >/perˈke/}}Di nuovo / Ancora >/di ˈnwɔːvo/}}; {{IPA|/aŋˈkoːra/}}Quanto? / Quanta? / Quanti? / Quante? >/ˈkwanto/}}Come ti chiami? (informal) / Qual è il suo nome? (formal) / Come si chiama? (formal) >/ˌkome tiˈkjaːmi/}} {{IPA|/kwal ˈɛ il ˌsu.o ˈnoːme/}}Mi chiamo ... >/mi ˈkjaːmo/}}Questo è ... (masculine) / Questa è ... (feminine) >/ˌkwesto ˈɛ/}} {{IPA|/ˌkwesta ˈɛ/}}Sì, capisco. / Ho capito. >/si kaˈpisko/}} {{IPA|/ɔkkaˈpiːto/}}Non capisco. / Non ho capito. >/noŋ kaˈpisko/}} {{IPA|/nonˌɔkkaˈpiːto/}}Parli inglese? (informal) / Parla inglese? (formal) / Parlate inglese? (plural) > listen]) {{IPA>/parˌlate iŋˈɡleːse/}} ([ listen]) {{IPA|/ˌparla iŋˈɡleːse/}}Non capisco l'italiano. >/noŋ kaˌpisko litaˈljaːno/}}Aiutami! (informal) / Mi aiuti! (formal) / Aiutatemi! (plural) / Aiuto! (general) >/aˈjuːtami/}} {{IPA/aˈjuːto/}}(Tu) hai ragione/torto! (informal) / (Lei) ha ragione/torto! (formal) / (Voi) avete ragione/torto! (plural) >|Che ora è? / Che ore sono? >/ke ˌora ˈɛ/}} {{IPA|/ke ˌore ˈsono/}}Dov'è il bagno? >/doˌvɛ il ˈbaɲɲo/}}Quanto costa? >/ˌkwanto ˈkɔsta/}}Il conto, per favore. >/il ˌkonto per faˈvoːre/}}Lo studio dell'italiano aguzza l'ingegno. >/loˈstuːdjo dellitaˈljaːno aˈɡuttsa linˈdʒeɲɲo/}}

Question words {| class"wikitable"

!English!ItalianBOOK, Practice Makes Perfect: Complete Italian Grammar, Premium Second Edition, Danesi, Marcel, McGraw-Hill Education, 2008, 978-1-259-58772-6, New York, WEB,weblink Collins Italian Dictionary {{!, Translations, Definitions and Pronunciations||language=en-US|access-date=2017-07-28}}!IPA|what (adj.)|che|/ke/|what (standalone)|cosa|/ˈkɔːza/|who|chi|/ki/|how|come|/ˈkoːme/|where|dove|/ˈdoːve/|why, because|perché|/perˈke/|which|quale|/ˈkwaːle/|when|quando|/ˈkwando/|how much|quanto|/ˈkwanto/

Time {| class"wikitable"



{{col-begin}}{{col-break}}{| class="wikitable"! English || Italian || IPAuno >/ˈuːno/}}due >/ˈduːe/}}tre >/ˈtre/}}quattro >/ˈkwattro/}}cinque >/ˈtʃiŋkwe/}}sei >/ˈsɛi/}}sette >/ˈsɛtte/}}otto >/ˈɔtto/}}nove >/ˈnɔve/}}dieci >/ˈdjɛːtʃi/}}{{col-break}}{| class="wikitable"! English || Italian || IPAundici >/ˈunditʃi/}}dodici >/ˈdoːditʃi/}}tredici >/ˈtreːditʃi/}}quattordici >/kwatˈtorditʃi/}}quindici >/ˈkwinditʃi/}}sedici >/ˈseːditʃi/}}diciassette >/ditʃasˈsɛtte/}}diciotto >/diˈtʃɔtto/}}diciannove >/ditʃanˈnɔːve/}}venti >/ˈventi/}}{{col-break}}{| class="wikitable"! English || Italian || IPAventuno >/venˈtuːno/}}ventidue >/ˌventiˈduːe/}}ventitré >/ˌventiˈtre/}}ventiquattro >/ˌventiˈkwattro/}}venticinque >/ˌventiˈtʃiŋkwe/}}ventisei >/ˌventiˈsɛi/}}ventisette >/ˌventiˈsɛtte/}}ventotto >/venˈtɔtto/}}ventinove >/ˌventiˈnɔːve/}}trenta >/ˈtrenta/}}{{col-end}}{| class="wikitable"! English !! Italian !! IPA/ˈtʃɛnto/}}/ˈmille/}}/ˌdueˈmiːla/}}/dueˌmiladitʃanˈnɔːve/}}| one million| un milione| /miˈljone/| one billion| un miliardo| /miˈljardo/

Days of the week {|

! English || Italian || IPAlunedì >/luneˈdi/}}martedì >/marteˈdi/}}mercoledì >/ˌmerkoleˈdi/}}giovedì >/dʒoveˈdi/}}venerdì >/venerˈdi/}}sabato >/ˈsaːbato/}}domenica >/doˈmeːnika/}}

Months of the year {|

! English || Italian || IPAgennaio >/dʒenˈnaːjo/}}febbraio >/febˈbraːjo/}}marzo >/ˈmartso/}}aprile >/aˈpriːle/}}maggio >/ˈmaddʒo/}}giugno >/ˈdʒuɲɲo/}}luglio >/ˈluʎʎo/}}agosto >/aˈɡosto/}}settembre >/setˈtɛmbre/}}ottobre >/otˈtoːbre/}}novembre >/noˈvɛmbre/}}dicembre >/diˈtʃɛmbre/}}KELLOGG, MICHAEL>TITLE=DIZIONARIO ITALIANO-INGLESE WORDREFERENCEWEBSITE=WORDREFERENCE.COMACCESSDATE=7 AUGUST 2015, Italian, English,

See also

{{InterWiki|code=it}}{{div col|colwidth=22em}} {{div col end}}






  • {hide}citation

|title=Understanding Phonetics
|series=Understanding Language series

, Bertinetto
, Pier Marco
, Loporcaro
, Michele
, 2005
, The sound pattern of Standard Italian, as compared with the varieties spoken in Florence, Milan and Rome
, Journal of the International Phonetic Association
, 35
, 2
, 131–151
, 10.1017/S0025100305002148
, harv
  • {hide}citation

|title=Il MªPi – Manuale di pronuncia italiana
|trans-title=Handbook of Italian Pronunciation

, Hall
, Robert A. Jr.
, 1944
, Italian phonemes and orthography
, Italica
, 21
, 2
, 72–82
, 10.2307/475860
, 475860
, American Association of Teachers of Italian
, harv
  • JOURNAL, 10.1017/S0025100304001628, Rogers, Derek, d'Arcangeli, Luciana, 2004, Italian, Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 34, 1, 117–121, harv,
  • M. Vitale, Studi di Storia della Lingua Italiana, LED Edizioni Universitarie, Milano, 1992, {{ISBN|88-7916-015-X}}
  • S. Morgana, Capitoli di Storia Linguistica Italiana, LED Edizioni Universitarie, Milano, 2003, {{ISBN|88-7916-211-X}}
  • J. Kinder, CLIC: Cultura e Lingua d'Italia in CD-ROM / Culture and Language of Italy on CD-ROM, Interlinea, Novara, 2008, {{ISBN|978-88-8212-637-7}}
  • BOOK,weblink Treccani Italian Dictionary, it, it, iso, Internet Archive,,weblink Oct 17, 2018, live, (with a similar list of other Italian-modern languages dictionaries)

External links

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  • Il Nuovo De Mauro {{it icon}}
  • {{DMOZ|Science/Social_Sciences/Linguistics/Languages/Natural/Indo-European/Italic/Romance/Italian/}}
  • (:wikt:Appendix:Italian Swadesh list|Swadesh list in English and Italian)
  • (:wikiquote:Italian proverbs|Italian proverbs)
  • "Learn Italian," BBC
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