Languages of the world: 4. Italian

Languages of the world:

Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe (Italy, Switzerland and San Marino) and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia. It derives from Latin and it is part of the Italic branch of the Indo-European language family. Italian is related most closely to the other two Italo-Dalmatian languages, Sicilian and the extinct Dalmatian.

Italian has got around 80 million speakers, mainly in Italy with 65 million native speakers, but also in Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, some regions of Slovenia and Croatia and large Communities in Argentina and Brazil.

The Italian language adopted by the state after the unification of Italy is based on the Tuscan (a language spoken mainly by the upper class of Florentine society.  Italy has always had a distinctive dialect for each city, since the cities, until recently, were thought of as city-states.

Throughout the world, Italian is the fifth most taught foreign language, after English, French, German, and Spanish.

Facts:

  • Florentine dialect evolved into the so-called “Standard Italian” that is recognized today as the national language.
  • Italian vocabulary has contributed many words to the English some of them are: gondola, regatta, fresco, vendetta, broccoli, pizza, spaghetti, cappuccino, fiasco, orchestra, piano, solo, a cappella, volcano, basilica, stucco, terracotta, and inferno.
  • All words end in a vowel in Italian, with the exception of a few articles, prepositions, and foreign words.
  • Italian language is completely phonetic, every letter corresponds to a specific pronounced sound, so we can say that it is read as it is written.
  • Learning Italian will help with the grammar of other Romance languages, such as French, Spanish or Portuguese.
  • There are different ways of saying “you”, these are: “tu” for people you know well and friends and the word “Lei” in other cases. The plural is, respectively, “voi” and “Loro”.

Some false friends in Italian are:

  • The word camera in Italian means room whilst camera is macchina fotografica.
  • Morbido is used in Italian to say that something is soft.
  • Don’t look surprised if you receive coated almonds when asking for confetti.
  • If you like something the correct word to use is mi piace (I like) and if you say mi piaci you are saying “I like you”.

Here, at the University of Almería, you can find Italian courses in our “centro de lenguas”.

Arrivederci and don’t forget to like us on Facebook !!!!!

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