Italian Language and Culture
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for Marlene
Learn Italian for Free - An Interactive Italian Course for Adults and Children
Lesson 1: Getting Started

Page 12 of 12 previous       vocabularies section

History and Geography of the Italian Language

Italian is the official Language in Italy and San Marino. Additionally, Italian is spoken in the Swiss Cantons of Ticino and Grigioni. In some parts of Canada, Italian is taught in school as the second language. And also in the United States and Great Britain, Italian ranks pretty high in terms of taught high school languages and comes right behind Spanish, French and German.

Map of modern Italy
The history of the Italian language is very complex. The actual Italian, as we know it today, developed only in very recent times. Of course, Italian descents from the old language of Latin (to be more exact from the Latin dialect also commonly referred to as Vulgar Latin). Since Italy's cities were mainly independent city-states until the 19th century (Venice, Florence, etc..), very different dialects developed from each separate city. Great credit for unifying all these dialects has to be given to Dante Alighieri, who lived in the 14th century. It is often said that the Tuscan dialect is the most original one, because it is closest to the Danteesque Italian.
Other than the dialects from the North of Italy (Tuscany, Venice, Rome), which were strongly influenced during the Middle Ages by the French, the Southern dialects (e.g. Sicilian) remained largely untouched from this influence.

Congratulations! This was the last page of your first lesson. We should now take a little break and then continue with memorizing the vocabularies of this lesson. You can reach the vocabulary section by clicking the blue transfer-button below.

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