Etymologie, Etimología, Étymologie, Etimologia, Etymology
IT Italien, Italia, Italie, Italia, Italy
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Visit our Steps courses for beginners in French, Spanish, German and Italian and sign up for the weekly email. On March 15th, we'll start sending you weekly tips on how to use the course with some encouragement to keep you going! The aim is for you to complete your Steps course in 3 months, with a free end of course assessment to see how well you've done.
As one of the Italo-Romance languages, Italian is most closely related to Sardinian, Corsican and the other dialects of the peninsula.
The official language of Italy, the Vatican City and San Marino, and one of the official languages of Switzerland, where it is used in the cantons of Ticino and Graubünden. It's also spoken by home speakers in Malta, Monaco, Slovenia and Croatia.
Roman alphabet, with the addition of acute and grave accents.
Modern Italian evolved from spoken Latin via literary Tuscan, and the first example we have is a 12th century naval register from Pisa.
Although modern standard Italian is used all over Italy, it is very few Italians' first language. Most speak one of the 15 regional dialects as their first language. In a fine display of the power of the pen over the sword, the Tuscan dialect established dominance not because Tuscany was a greater military or financial power than other Italian regions, but because the 3 great writers of the Middle Ages, Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarch, wrote in the Tuscan dialect.
Would you like to find out more? Then have a look at our Italian language resources!