The Italian language is a member of the Romance group of the Italic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages. Italian first started to appear in written documents during the 10th century in the form of notes and short texts inserted into Latin documents such as lawsuits and poetry. Modern Italian has developed from the Florentine dialect, which was used in the XIV century A.D.
Considered a single language with numerous dialects, Italian, like the other Romance languages, is the direct offspring of the Latin spoken by the Romans and imposed by them on the peoples under their dominion. Of all the major Romance languages, Italian retains the closest resemblance to Latin.
Interesting Facts About Italy and the Italian Language
- Aiuole (garden beds) is the shortest Italian word that contains all the five vowels
- There are 14 volcanoes in Italy and four are relatively active, Etna, Stromboli, Vulcano and Vesuvius, over 75% of Italy is considered hilly.
- Famous Italian inventions include the thermometer, the name of electricity (Volt from Alessandro Volta in 1779), the piano, barometer, wireless telegraphy, cologne, ice cream, eyeglasses, espresso machine and typewriter.
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Where Is Italian Spoken?
Italian is a Romance language spoken by about 60 million people in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, the Vatican City, Malta and Eritrea. There are also Italian speakers in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Canada, the USA and the UK.