Fascinating facts about the Italian language
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Fascinating facts about the Italian language
The language is endlessly intriguing, but have you ever wondered how the Italian language came to be in all its glory? If so, these 10 snippets of fascinating linguistic intrigue can motivate you to learn the language yourself or expand your business in Italian markets.
Many already know the uniqueness of Italy: its rich history, beautiful architecture and delicious food make it one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world. But perhaps even more intriguing is the Italian language itself. Passed down over many generations, Italian has been uniquely preserved throughout the country of Italy. If you are thinking of learning Italian or trying to expand your business in a global territory, it is good to know a little about the origins and history of the dialect. Read on for 10 fun and interesting facts that reveal what makes this language and its speakers so awesome.
21 letter alphabet
The people of Italy are good at keeping things sweet and simple and of course their alphabet is no exception. Yes, it is true, the Italian alphabet contains only 21 letters, excluding j, k, w, x and y. Derived from the Latin alphabet, it is considered to be the closest to this “dead” language of any dialect in use today. All of these letters are shared with the English alphabet, but Italian letters use an accent system and are not pronounced in the same way.
Italian became an official language in 1861
In early 1861, the national parliament met and proclaimed the unification of Italy, which was around the same time that a standard version of the Italian language emerged. Apparently, back then, today’s Italian was such a little-known language that it was only spoken by less than 3-5% of the population living in the newly unified country. Although there were many dialects at the time, the prominent Italian writer Dante and the linguist Petrarca paved the way for the Tuscan dialect to become the national language of Italy.
Although there were many dialects at the time, the prominent Italian writer Dante and the linguist Petrarca paved the way for the Tuscan dialect to become the national language of Italy.
Italian is spoken by 85 million people in the world
When it comes to a large number of speakers, Italian cannot compete with languages like English and Mandarin. And yet it remains one of the most popular and influential languages in the world . Italian is the first language of some 65 million speakers residing in the EU and the second language of another 15 million people. In addition to being the national language of Italy, Italian is one of the official languages of Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City and Istria, and is spoken by more than 85 million people around the world.
The 5th most studied language in the USA.
Most American students learn a foreign language during their college or high school years, and Italian is one of the most popular. For more than a hundred years, Italian has been a widely spoken language in the United States, thanks to large-scale migrations in the late 19th century . Today, nearly 700,000 Americans speak Italian, with the majority residing in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco, among other cities. This makes Italian the fifth most studied language in American schools.
The longest word in Italian is 30 letters
This may be the funnest of all . Germans are famous for their love of long terms and phrases, but they are not the only ones who like to go further. Today, “psychoneuroendocrinoimmunologia” is the longest word in the Italian dictionary, with 30 letters and 13 syllables. The term has an acronym for PNEI and refers to the study of the functions of the nervous, immune and endocrine systems. Okay, it’s no longer than “supercalifragilisticoexpialidocious,” but you have to admit it’s still a pretty monstrous word.
Italian is the official language of classical music
If you play an instrument or are familiar with music , you have probably come across classical music scores with terms like crescendo, soprano, alto, and tempo. But, it is possible that he did not know that all these words have Italian origins; so it is no wonder why this language has such a powerful influence on the art of music. This phenomenon is due in large part to the fact that Italian music notation became popular during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Therefore, Italian became more universal as a standard for musical compositions, and many prominent composers at the time were Italian.
Therefore, Italian became more universal as a standard for musical compositions , and many prominent composers at the time were Italian.
Italian dialects are different from each other
In reality, nothing can transport you to a specific region of Italy faster than its dialect. In Italy, there are many dialects, however the Italian standard is based on the Tuscan dialect. Interestingly, the variety of languages in Italy developed independently of Latin. For centuries, until 1861, Italy was divided into several different states under foreign rule, where each had its own regional language coexisting with “standard” Italian.
The first text in Italian is 1000 years old
At the dawn of the 13th century, there was a ton of literature, especially poems, that began to be published in Italian. The first vernacular texts that resemble what we now recognize as the Italian language date from the years 960–963 . They are known as Placiti Cassinesi, which are four legal documents that dealt with a land ownership dispute between monasteries in southern Italy located near the city of Capua, Campania.
Italian was standardized by Dante Alighieri
Dante was the one who formed modern Italian, an Italian writer known as “Father of the Italian language.” But he wasn’t just that, he was also a political thinker and the country’s main cultural hero for his role in establishing the language. During the late Middle Ages, most poetry and literature was written in Latin , but Dante is best known for writing the epic poem The Divine Comedy in the Tuscan dialect. It left an indelible mark on the language and helped position Tuscan Italian as the foundation for the Italian spoken today.
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