Each language is one of the most important unique features of each state, and every one of them has its charms. But have you ever wondered how the Italian language which passed through many generations came to be, in all of its glory, and remained preserved?
Many aren’t aware of the uniqueness of this language, so if you’re thinking about learning Italian, or visiting one of the places where Italian is an official language, it’s good to know a little about it. This info will be especially valuable for students studying in Italy. Before you arrive (or during your time there), you can get even more inspired to learn the intricacies of this beautiful language!
Modern Italian was formed by Dante Alighieri, an Italian writer, and politician. In his very beginnings, the Italian language was known and spoken only by educated people. Even there are numerous facts that are good to know about the Italian language, right now you’re going to find out five of them that are most interesting which may intrigue or motivate you to study or explore the language yourself. Take a look.
1. Italian dialects are completely different from one another
People from all around the world jokingly say that “nothing can take you to a specific region of Italy quicker than its dialect”. They are grouped in ‘languages’ which include a variable number of local dialects with linguistic similarities. Twelve „languages” have been legally granted official recognition in 1999, but they can really sound like totally different languages. Standard Italian is fully understood all over the country.
This is a fact that you should remember very well as you’re travelling around Italy. If you feel like you’ve made great progress with your Italian, only to find out that you understand absolutely no one in, for example, Naples, don’t worry – it’s completely normal!
2. Italian is spoken by over 85 million people worldwide
The Italian language is very much one of the most beloved and influential languages in the world. It is the primary, native language of around 65 million speakers who live in the EU, and the second language of another 15 million people. Italian is one of the official languages of Switzerland, San Marino, the Vatican City, and Istria. Over 85 million people around the world speak Italian.
If you have a college task or an academic assignment related to the Italian language, most paper writing services will write how many speakers the language has. However, if you want to do in-depth, you have to include the number of speakers outside the country. The numbers are actually quite astounding.
3. The Italian alphabet has only 21 letters
Most foreign language learners are interested in the basics before they start: what’s the lettering system, how do the pronunciation system and phonetics work, how easy it is to learn… So, let’s mention a very interesting fact about Italian: the (really) small number of letters it has in its alphabet!
Italians love to keep things simple, so yes, it’s true, the Italian alphabet contains only 21 letters, excluding k, j, w, x, and y. These letters are all shared with the English alphabet, but they are not pronounced the same way. Some of the dialects use these letters though, particularly ‘j’ and ‘k’, because of their appearance in names or places.
4. Language of music
You have probably heard about terms like crescendo, alto, soprano, or tempo, right? But have you ever wondered where these terms originate from? You guessed it, Italian! It’s no wonder why this language has such a powerful influence on the art of music.
These adjectives and adverbs connected to music are a beautiful expression tool for other contexts outside music. You can use these words to express yourself and wow the people you’re talking to. This is especially important on a job interview or college interview where a good way with words can get you very far!
5. The 4th most studied language in the world
It’s not surprising that the Italian language has always been very important worldwide. For centuries, Italian has been used in artistic and literary creativity, scientific communication, and the language of choice practiced in theatres, courts, and academies of Europe. Italian is in the top five most studied languages in the world, but more popular than Italian are English, French, and Spanish.
The numbers are constantly on the rise, too. Because of the increasing number of students who are applying to study or volunteer in Italy, plus the ease of learning online with helpful tools and apps, there have never been more people learning this language.
Depending on your native language, some students will have a harder time learning Italian, while for others, it will be a breeze. For example, Indian students in Italy have to tackle a language that is entirely different than their own. That goes for everything from the phonetic system to the syntax. French or Spanish speakers, on the other hand, should not have a lot of issues with quickly learning Italian. If you’re a native speaker of one of these Romance languages, you just have to beware of false friends between your language and Italian.
It’s good to know that the Italian language has always been very important worldwide. It’s an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, in some parts of Croatia and Slovenia, and there is a relatively sizeable number of Italian speakers in other countries.
Italians are always using the word Bello (beautiful) for everything that’s good because, for them, beauty is the most important. Probably because this language was created by poets, Italian, as we know it today, still manages to charm.
Dorian Martin is a full-time writer and editor working with some of the best writing services online. He provides personal statement help for students who are applying for university or going after a scholarship. Dorian works as a digital nomad and travels the world while documenting it all on his personal blog.