Italian (italiano [itaˈljaːno] (listen) or lingua italiana [ˈliŋɡwa itaˈljaːna]) is a Romance language. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. 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 (also due to the similarities with the Corsican language) and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina (along with 14 more languages) and Romania (together with 19 other languages). Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.
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. 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 has been reported as the fourth or fifth most frequently taught foreign language in the world.
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. 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. As in most Romance languages, stress is distinctive but, unlike most other Romance languages, Italian retains Latin's contrast between short and long consonants. 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.
|italiano, lingua italiana|
|Native to||Italy, Switzerland (Ticino and southern Canton of Graubünden), San Marino, Vatican City, Slovenian Istria (Slovenia), Istria County (Croatia)|
|Region||Italy, Ticino and southern Graubünden, Slovenian Littoral, western Istria|
|69 million native speakers in the EU (c.2012)|
90 million total speakers
L2 speakers: 24 million
|Latin (Italian alphabet)|
|Italiano segnato "(Signed Italian)" |
italiano segnato esatto "(Signed Exact Italian)"
Official language in
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
|Regulated by||Accademia della Crusca (de facto)|
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) were born from Vulgar Latin over the course of centuries, evolving naturally unaffected by formal standards and teachings. They are not in any sense "dialects of" standard Italian, that itself started off being 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.
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, 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.
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.: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 [va ˈbbːɛne] by a Roman (and by any standard Italian speaker), [va ˈbene] 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 [a ˈkkːasa] for Roman and standard, [a ˈkaza] 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 il Rinascimento in Italian, was seen as a time of "rebirth", which is the literal meaning of both renaissance (from French) and rinascimento (Italian).
During this time, long-existing beliefs stemming from the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church began to be understood from new a 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. 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 written in Latin, but after the Bible was translated, 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. 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.
Italian became the language used in the courts of every state in the Italian peninsula. The rediscovery of Dante's De vulgari eloquentia 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 questione della lingua (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 Floris italicae linguae libri novem 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 fifteen 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.
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.
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.
Italian is a Romance language, and is therefore a descendant of Vulgar Latin (the spoken form of non-classical Latin).[note 1] Standard Italian is based on Tuscan, especially its Florentine dialect, and is therefore an Italo-Dalmatian language, to which Sicilian and the extinct Dalmatian also belong, among a few others.
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. Lexical similarity is 89% with French, 87% with Catalan, 85% with Sardinian, 82% with Spanish, 78% with Ladin, 77% with Romanian and 70% with Portuguese.
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.
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 modestly declined since the 1970s. Italian is also used in administration and official documents in Vatican City.
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. 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. In Eritrea, Italian is at times used in commerce and the capital city Asmara still has one Italian-language school. 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.
Although over 17 million Americans are of Italian descent, only a little over one million people in the United States speak Italian at home. Nevertheless, an Italian language media market does exist in the country.
Italian immigrants to South America have also brought a presence of the language to that continent. Italian is the second most spoken language in Argentina after the official language of Spanish, with over 1 million (mainly of the older generation) speaking it at home, and Italian has also influenced the dialect of Spanish spoken in Argentina and Uruguay, mostly in phonology, known as Rioplatense Spanish.
Italian is widely taught in many schools around the world, but rarely as the first foreign language. Italian is the fourth most frequently taught foreign language in the world. 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.
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.
From 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.
Rioplatense Spanish, and particularly the speech of the city of Buenos Aires, has intonation patterns that resemble those of Italian languages because Argentina has had a continuous large influx of Italian settlers since the second half of the nineteenth century: initially primarily from northern Italy; then, since the beginning of the twentieth century, mostly from southern Italy.
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 football and especially, in culinary terms.
Throughout Italy, regional variations of Standard Italian, called Regional Italian, are spoken. 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", 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 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.:19-20
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 the contraction annà replaces andare in the area of Rome for the infinitive "to go"; and nare is what Venetians say 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.:21Although 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.: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.:37
Italian has a seven-vowel system, consisting of /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:
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.
Compared with most other Romance languages, Italian has a large number of inconsistent outcomes, where the same underlying sound produces different results in different words, e.g. laxāre > lasciare and lassare, captiāre > cacciare and cazzare, (ex)dēroteolāre > sdrucciolare, druzzolare and ruzzolare, rēgīna > regina and reina, -c- > /k/ and /ɡ/, -t- > /t/ and /d/. 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.)
Some other features that distinguish Italian from the Western Romance languages:
Standard Italian also differs in some respects from most nearby Italian languages:
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 ⟨x⟩ has become common in standard Italian with the prefix extra-, although (e)stra- is traditionally used; it is also common to use of the Latin particle ex(-) to mean "former(ly)" as in: la mia ex ("my ex-girlfriend"), "Ex-Jugoslavia" ("Former Yugoslavia"). The letter ⟨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 ⟨j⟩ may appear in dialectal words, but its use is discouraged in contemporary standard Italian. Letters used in foreign words can be replaced with phonetically equivalent native Italian letters and digraphs: ⟨gi⟩, ⟨ge⟩, or ⟨i⟩ for ⟨j⟩; ⟨c⟩ or ⟨ch⟩ for ⟨k⟩ (including in the standard prefix kilo-); ⟨o⟩, ⟨u⟩ or ⟨v⟩ for ⟨w⟩; ⟨s⟩, ⟨ss⟩, ⟨z⟩, ⟨zz⟩ or ⟨cs⟩ for ⟨x⟩; and ⟨e⟩ or ⟨i⟩ for ⟨y⟩.
|Before back vowel (A, O, U)||Before front vowel (I, E)|
|Plosive||C||caramella /karaˈmɛlla/ candy||CH||china /ˈkiːna/ India ink|
|G||gallo /ˈɡallo/ rooster||GH||ghiro /ˈɡiːro/ edible dormouse|
|Affricate||CI||ciambella /tʃambɛlla/ donut||C||Cina /ˈtʃiːna/ China|
|GI||giallo /ˈdʒallo/ yellow||G||giro /ˈdʒiːro/ round, tour|
Italian has geminate, or double, consonants, which are distinguished by length and intensity. Length is distinctive for all consonants except for /ʃ/, /dz/, /ts/, /ʎ/, /ɲ/, which are always geminate when between vowels, and /z/, which is always single. Geminate plosives and affricates are realized as lengthened closures. Geminate fricatives, nasals, and /l/ are realized as lengthened continuants. There is only one vibrant phoneme /r/ but the actual pronunciation depends on context and regional accent. Generally one can find a flap consonant [ɾ] in unstressed position whereas [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 /r/ as [ʀ], [ʁ], or [ʋ].
The voiced postalveolar fricative /ʒ/ is present as a phoneme only in loanwords: for example, garage [ɡaˈraːʒ]. Phonetic [ʒ] is common in Central and Southern Italy as an intervocalic allophone of /dʒ/: gente [ˈdʒɛnte] 'people' but la gente [laˈʒɛnte] 'the people', ragione [raˈʒoːne] 'reason'.
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 umarked 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.
|Definition||Gender||Singular Form||Plural Form|
Nouns, 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 (ts/ or /dz/), s+consonant, gn (/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.
|English (inglese)||Italian (italiano)||Pronunciation|
|Of course!||Certo! / Certamente! / Naturalmente!||/ˈtʃɛrto/ /ˌtʃertaˈmente/ /naturalˈmente/|
|Hello!||Ciao! (informal) / Salve! (semi-formal)||/ˈtʃaːo/|
|How are you?||Come stai? (informal) / Come sta? (formal) / Come state? (plural) / Come va? (general, informal)||/ˌkomeˈstai/; /ˌkomeˈsta/ /ˌkome ˈstaːte/ /ˌkome va/|
|Good morning!||Buongiorno! (= Good day!)||/ˌbwɔnˈdʒorno/|
|Good night!||Buonanotte! (for a good night sleeping) / Buona serata! (for a good night awake)||/ˌbwɔnaˈnɔtte/ /ˌbwɔna seˈraːta/|
|Have a nice day!||Buona giornata! (formal)||/ˌbwɔna dʒorˈnaːta/|
|Enjoy the meal!||Buon appetito!||/ˌbwɔn‿appeˈtiːto/|
|Goodbye!||Arrivederci (general) / ArrivederLa (formal) / Ciao! (informal)||(listen) /arriveˈdertʃi/|
|Good luck!||Buona fortuna! (general)||/ˌbwɔna forˈtuːna/|
|I love you||Ti amo (between lovers only) / Ti voglio bene (in the sense of "I am fond of you", between lovers, friends, relatives etc.)||/ti ˈaːmo/; /ti ˌvɔʎʎo ˈbɛːne/|
|Welcome [to...]||Benvenuto/-i (for male/males or mixed) / Benvenuta/-e (for female/females) [a / in...]||/beɱveˈnuːto/|
|Please||Per favore / Per piacere / Per cortesia||(listen) /per faˈvoːre/ /per pjaˈtʃeːre/ /per korteˈziːa/|
|Thank you!||Grazie! (general) / Ti ringrazio! (informal) / La ringrazio! (formal) / Vi ringrazio! (plural)||(listen) /ˈɡrattsje/ /ti riŋˈɡrattsjo/|
|You are welcome!||Prego!||/ˈprɛːɡo/|
|Excuse me / I am sorry||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)||(listen) /ˈskuːzi/; /ˈskuːza/; /mi disˈpjaːtʃe/|
|What?||Che cosa? / Cosa? / Che?||/kekˈkɔːsa/ /ˈkɔːsa/ /ˈke/|
|Why / Because||Perché||/perˈke/|
|Again||Di nuovo / Ancora||/di ˈnwɔːvo/; /aŋˈkoːra/|
|How much? / How many?||Quanto? / Quanta? / Quanti? / Quante?||/ˈkwanto/|
|What is your name?||Come ti chiami? (informal) / Qual è il suo nome? (formal) / Come si chiama? (formal)||/ˌkome tiˈkjaːmi/ /kwal ˈɛ il ˌsu.o ˈnoːme/|
|My name is ...||Mi chiamo ...||/mi ˈkjaːmo/|
|This is ...||Questo è ... (masculine) / Questa è ... (feminine)||/ˌkwesto ˈɛ/ /ˌkwesta ˈɛ/|
|Yes, I understand.||Sì, capisco. / Ho capito.||/si kaˈpisko/ /ɔkkaˈpiːto/|
|I do not understand.||Non capisco. / Non ho capito.||(listen) /noŋ kaˈpisko/ /nonˌɔkkaˈpiːto/|
|Do you speak English?||Parli inglese? (informal) / Parla inglese? (formal) / Parlate inglese? (plural)||(listen) /parˌlate iŋˈɡleːse/ (listen) /ˌparla iŋˈɡleːse/|
|I do not understand Italian.||Non capisco l'italiano.||/noŋ kaˌpisko litaˈljaːno/|
|Help me!||Aiutami! (informal) / Mi aiuti! (formal) / Aiutatemi! (plural) / Aiuto! (general)||/aˈjuːtami/ /ajuˈtaːtemi/ /aˈjuːto/|
|You are right/wrong!||(Tu) hai ragione/torto! (informal) / (Lei) ha ragione/torto! (formal) / (Voi) avete ragione/torto! (plural)|
|What time is it?||Che ora è? / Che ore sono?||/ke ˌora ˈɛ/ /ke ˌore ˈsono/|
|Where is the bathroom?||Dov'è il bagno?||(listen) /doˌvɛ il ˈbaɲɲo/|
|How much is it?||Quanto costa?||/ˌkwanto ˈkɔsta/|
|The bill, please.||Il conto, per favore.||/il ˌkonto per faˈvoːre/|
|The study of Italian sharpens the mind.||Lo studio dell'italiano aguzza l'ingegno.||/loˈstuːdjo dellitaˈljaːno aˈɡuttsa linˈdʒeɲɲo/|
|two thousand and eighteen (2018)||duemiladiciotto||/dueˌmilaˈditˈɔtto/|
|one million||un milione||/miˈljone/|
|one billion||un miliardo||/miˈljardo/|
... if the Romance languages are compared with Latin, it is seen that by most measures Sardinian and Italian are least differentiated and French most
L’italiano di oggi ha ancora in gran parte la stessa grammatica e usa ancora lo stesso lessico del fiorentino letterario del Trecento.
Associazione Calcio Milan (Italian pronunciation: [assotʃatˈtsjoːne ˈkaltʃo ˈmiːlan]), commonly referred to as A.C. Milan or simply Milan, is a professional football club in Milan, Italy, founded in 1899. The club has spent its entire history, with the exception of the 1980–81 and 1982–83 seasons, in the top flight of Italian football, known as Serie A since 1929–30.A.C. Milan's 18 FIFA and UEFA trophies is the fourth highest out of any club (joint with Boca Juniors), and the most out of any Italian club. Milan has won a joint record three Intercontinental Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup, seven European Cup/Champions League titles (Italian record), the UEFA Super Cup a joint record five times and the Cup Winners' Cup twice. With 18 league titles, Milan is also the joint-second most successful club in Serie A, along with local rivals Internazionale and behind Juventus (34 league titles). They have also won the Coppa Italia five times, and the Supercoppa Italiana seven.Milan's home games are played at San Siro, also known as the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. The stadium, which is shared with city rivals Internazionale, is the largest in Italian football, with a total capacity of 80,018. Inter are considered their biggest rivals, and matches between the two teams are called Derby della Madonnina, which is one of the most followed derbies in football.The club is one of the wealthiest in Italian and world football. It was a founding member of the now-defunct G-14 group of Europe's leading football clubs as well as its replacement, the European Club Association.Apulia
Apulia ( ə-POO-lee-ə; Italian: Puglia [ˈpuʎʎa]; Neapolitan: Pùglia [ˈpuʝːə]; Albanian: Pulia; Ancient Greek: Ἀπουλία, translit. Apoulía) is a region in Southern Italy bordering the Adriatic Sea to the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf of Taranto to the south. The region comprises 19,345 square kilometers (7,469 sq mi), and its population is about four million.
It is bordered by the other Italian regions of Molise to the north, Campania to the west, and Basilicata to the southwest. Across the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, it faces Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, and Montenegro. Its capital city is Bari.Atalanta B.C.
Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio, commonly known as just Atalanta, Atalanta Bergamo or the abbreviation Atalanta BC, is an Italian football club based in Bergamo, Lombardy. The club currently plays in Serie A, having gained promotion from Serie B in 2010–11.
They are nicknamed the Nerazzurri and the Orobici. Atalanta play in blue-and-black vertically striped shirts, black shorts and black socks. The club stadium is the 21,300 seat Atleti Azzurri d'Italia.
In Italy, Atalanta is sometimes called Regina delle provinciali (queen of the provincial clubs) to mark the fact that the club is by far the most consistent among Italian clubs not based in a metropolitan area, having played 58 times in Serie A, 28 times in Serie B and only once in Serie C.
The club won the Coppa Italia in 1963 and reached the Cup Winners' Cup semi-final in 1988, when it was still competing in Serie B. This is still the best ever performance by a non-first division club in a major UEFA competition (together with Cardiff City). Atalanta also participated in four seasons of UEFA Europa League (previously known as UEFA Cup), reaching the quarter-finals in the 1990–91 season.Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes or ARA (French pronunciation: [ovɛʁɲ ʁon alp] (listen), Arpitan: Ôvèrgne-Rôno-Ârpes, Occitan: Auvèrnhe Ròse Aups, Italian: Alvernia-Rodano-Alpi) is a region of France created by the territorial reform of French Regions in 2014; it resulted from the merger of Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes. The new region came into effect on 1 January 2016, after the regional elections in December 2015.The region covers an area of more than 69,711 km2 (26,916 sq mi), making it the third largest in metropolitan France, with a population of 7,695,264, second only to Île-de-France.Brigantine
A brigantine is a two-masted sailing vessel with a fully square rigged foremast and at least two sails on the main mast: a square topsail and a gaff sail mainsail (behind the mast). The main mast is the second and taller of the two masts.
Modern American definitions include vessels without the square sails on the main mast.Campionato Nazionale Primavera
The Campionato Nazionale Primavera – Trofeo Giacinto Facchetti, was an Italian football youth competition. It is organised by the Lega Serie A and the participating teams that take part in Serie A and Serie B: the first edition was held in the 1962–63 season, in place of the "Campionato Cadetti". Due to ceremonial reasons, the league is officially called Campionato Primavera Tim – Trofeo Giacinto Facchetti.
Torino have the highest number of titles, having won the Campionato Primavera nine times.
From the 2017–18 season, the league was replaced with Campionato Primavera 1 and Campionato Primavera 2.Comune
The comune (IPA: [koˈmuːne]; plural: comuni [koˈmuːni]) is a basic administrative division in Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality.Dante Alighieri
Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri (Italian: [duˈrante deʎʎ aliˈɡjɛːri]; Latin: Dantes), commonly known by his name of art Dante Alighieri or simply as Dante (Italian: [ˈdante]; English: , UK also ; c. 1265 – 1321), was an Italian poet during the Late Middle Ages. His Divine Comedy, originally called Comedìa (modern Italian: Commedia) and later christened Divina by Giovanni Boccaccio, is widely considered the most important poem of the Middle Ages and the greatest literary work in the Italian language.In the late Middle Ages, most poetry was written in Latin, making it accessible only to the most educated readers. In De vulgari eloquentia (On Eloquence in the Vernacular), however, Dante defended the use of the vernacular in literature. He would even write in the Tuscan dialect for works such as The New Life (1295) and the Divine Comedy; this highly unorthodox choice set a precedent that important later Italian writers such as Petrarch and Boccaccio would follow.
Dante was instrumental in establishing the literature of Italy, and his depictions of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven provided inspiration for the larger body of Western art. He is cited as an influence on John Milton, Geoffrey Chaucer and Alfred Tennyson, among many others. In addition, the first use of the interlocking three-line rhyme scheme, or the terza rima, is attributed to him. In Italy, he is often referred to as il Sommo Poeta ("the Supreme Poet") and il Poeta; he, Petrarch, and Boccaccio are also called "the three fountains" or "the three crowns".Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa (; Albanian: [ˈdua ˈlipa]; born 22 August 1995) is an English singer-songwriter. Her musical career began at age 14, when she started to cover songs by other artists on YouTube. In 2015, she signed with Warner Music Group and released her first single soon after.
Her self-titled debut studio album was released on 2 June, 2017. The album spawned seven singles, including two UK top-10 singles "Be the One" and "IDGAF" and the UK number-one single "New Rules", which also reached number six in the United States. In February 2018, Lipa won two Brit Awards for British Female Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act.
In April 2018, the single "One Kiss" by Lipa and Calvin Harris reached number one on the UK Singles Chart. In February 2019, at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, Lipa won Best New Artist and Best Dance Recording for the single "Electricity", a collaboration with British-American duo Silk City.Frazione
"Frazione" (Italian pronunciation: [fratˈtsjoːne]; pl. frazioni [fratˈtsjoːni]) is the Italian name given in administrative law to a type of territorial subdivision of a comune; for other administrative divisions, see municipio, circoscrizione, quartiere. It is cognate to the English word fraction, but in practice is roughly equivalent to "parishes" or "wards" in other countries.Italian Football Federation
The Italian Football Federation (Italian: Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio; FIGC), also known as Federcalcio, is the governing body of football in Italy. It is based in Rome and the technical department is in Coverciano, Florence.It organises the Italian football league and Coppa Italia. It is also responsible for appointing the management of the Italy national football team (men's), women's, and youth national football teams. The Italy national futsal team, also belongs to the federation.Lazio
Lazio (UK: , US: ; Italian: [ˈlattsjo]; Latin: Latium) is one of the 20 administrative regions of Italy. Situated in the central peninsular section of the country, it has almost 5.9 million inhabitants – making it the second most populated region of Italy (after Lombardy and just a little ahead of Campania) – and its GDP of more than 170 billion euros per annum means that it has the nation's second largest regional economy. The capital of Lazio is Rome, which is also Italy's capital and the country's largest city.List of Italian football champions
The Italian football champions (Italian: Campione d'Italia di calcio, plural: Campioni) are the annual winners of Serie A, Italy's premier football league competition. The title has been contested since 1898 in varying forms of competition. Juventus are the current champions, and have won a record of 34 titles. The first time the Scudetto (Italian: scudetto, "little shield", plural: scudetti) was used was in 1924 when Genoa won its 9th championship title and decided to add a little shield to their shirt as to reward and celebrate themselves as champions.
The finals of the first Italian Football Championship was decided in a single day with four teams competing, three from Turin and one from Genoa. The title was decided using a knock-out format between the finalists with Genoa, the inaugural winners. The knock-out format was used until the 1909–10 season, when a league consisting of nine teams was formed. The championship, which had been confined to a single league in the north of Italy, became a national competition in 1929 with the foundation of Serie A and Serie B.Neapolitan language
Neapolitan (autonym: (’o n)napulitano [(o n)napuliˈtɑːnə]; Italian: napoletano) is a Romance language of the Italo-Dalmatian group spoken across much of southern Italy, except for southern Calabria, southern Apulia, and Sicily, as well as in a small part of central Italy (the province of Ascoli Piceno in the Marche). It is not named specifically after the city of Naples, but rather the homonymous Kingdom that once covered most of the area, and of which the city was the capital. On October 14, 2008, a law by the Region of Campania stated that Neapolitan was to be protected. While the term "Neapolitan language" is used in this article to refer to the language group of related dialects found in southern continental Italy, it may also refer more specifically to the dialect of the Neapolitan language spoken in the Naples area or in Campania.
Neapolitan has had a significant influence on the intonation of Rioplatense Spanish, of the Buenos Aires region of Argentina, and the whole of Uruguay.Piedmont
Piedmont ( PEED-mont; Italian: Piemonte, pronounced [pjeˈmonte]; Piedmontese, Occitan and Arpitan: Piemont, Piedmontese pronunciation: [pjeˈmʊŋt]) is a region in northwest Italy, one of the 20 regions of the country. It borders the Liguria region to the south, the Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions to the east and the Aosta Valley region to the northwest; it also borders France to the west and Switzerland to the northeast. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres (9,808 sq mi) and a population of 4 377 941 as of 30 November 2017. The capital of Piedmont is Turin.Quaternary
Quaternary ( ) is the current and most recent of the three periods of the Cenozoic Era in the geologic time scale of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). It follows the Neogene Period and spans from 2.588 ± 0.005 million years ago to the present. The Quaternary Period is divided into two epochs: the Pleistocene (2.588 million years ago to 11.7 thousand years ago) and the Holocene (11.7 thousand years ago to today). The informal term "Late Quaternary" refers to the past 0.5–1.0 million years.The Quaternary Period is typically defined by the cyclic growth and decay of continental ice sheets associated with Milankovitch cycles and the associated climate and environmental changes that occurred.Sanremo
Sanremo or San Remo (Italian pronunciation: [sanˈrɛːmo]; Ligurian: Sanrému, locally Sanrœmu) is a city and comune on the Mediterranean coast of Liguria, in north-western Italy. Founded in Roman times, it has a population of 57,000, and is known as a tourist destination on the Italian Riviera. It hosts numerous cultural events, such as the Sanremo Music Festival and the Milan–San Remo cycling classic.Venice Film Festival
The Venice Film Festival or Venice International Film Festival (Italian: Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica della Biennale di Venezia, "International Exhibition of Cinematographic Art of the Venice Biennale") is the oldest film festival in the world and one of the "Big Three" film festivals, alongside the Cannes Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival. These three film festivals are nationally acclaimed, and give creators the artistic freedom to express themselves through film.Founded in Venice, Italy, in August 1932, the festival is part of the Venice Biennale, an exhibition of Italian art founded by the Venice City Council on 19 April 1893. The Venice Biennale, founded in 1893, is situated within the cultural sphere, covering work ranging from art, architecture, dance, music and theatre to cinema (the world-known Venice Film Festival). Today, the Biennale includes a range of separate events including: the International Art Exhibition; the International Festival of Contemporary Music; the International Theatre Festival; the International Architecture Exhibition; the International Festival of Contemporary Dance; the International Kids' Carnival; and the annual Venice Film Festival, which is arguably the best-known of all the events.
The festival in held annually in late August or early September on the island of the Lido in the Venice Lagoon. Screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi. Since its inception the Venice Film Festival has grown into one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, and it is still one of the most popular and fast-growing.The 76th Venice International Film Festival is scheduled to be held from 28 August to 7 September 2019.