Italian language is one of the languages from which
almost everybody knows at least one word (mostly about food or music). It quickly
identifies a culture full of life and color. Isn't Italian food famous for its pizzas,
spaghettis, and macaroni? Isn't Italian opera famous by its tenors and sopranos? And we
shouldn't forget both the sublime literature and the striking Italian film industry which
has left us sentences as well known as "la dolce vita" and other adventures.
Italian is the language of a vibrating culture.
A language that deserves not only to be identified with the wonders Italy brings to the
world, but also being studied, spoken, and lived.
In Italy there are many different dialectal groups: The
Northern Italian or Gallic-Italian and Venetian in the Northeast of Italy, Tuscan
(which includes Corsican) in central Italy, and three dialectal groups from the South and
East of Italy, such as the one from Umbria and Rome and other territories, the one from
Naples, Lucani and Puglia and other regions; and those from Calabria, Otranto and
In general, they are all part of an intelligible continuum
of languages which nevertheless, can really differ from each other. Sardinian, on the
contrary, spoken in Sardinia and particularly the dialects from the South and Center of
the island, separates from the group of peninsular Italian dialects. It stems from a
separate branch of the Romance languages. Now well, all these dialectal forms are spoken
all around the Italian territory but they don't have a written expression, so when it is
time to express things in writing they always turn to the standard Italian which dominates
the whole country.
Not all Italian people dominate the written language, so it
can be easily said that the lower the education of an individual, the further his speech
from the standard language, until reaching a point where there are Italians who can't
speak Standard Italian at all. It is interesting to observe that most Italians don't get
in touch with standard Italian until they reach elementary school.
The future of Italian.
Nowadays, Italian is the native language of almost 66
million people in the world, mostly living in the Italic peninsula. It is the official
language of Italy, San Marino, Vatican City (along with Latin) and Switzerland (along with
French and German), in the canton of Ticino, where it is spoken by 500 000 people. It is
also spoken in the Alps and in the Côte d'Azur, and in small communities in Croatia and
Slovenia. Outside of Europe, it is estimated there are 1 500 000 native Italian speakers
who live in the United States of America, 700 000 in Brazil, and 600 000 in Argentina.
Although they usually speak dialectal forms instead of standard Italian, as they follow
family traditions. In Somalia, its use is also spread, but it is dying in Libya and