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The Italian Language - Learn History, Facts and Words
The Italian language is one of five romance languages (Spanish, Portuguese, French & Romanian are the others) and the closest language to what is known as Vulgar Latin. With about 69 million native Italian speakers and about another 16 million speakers taking it on as a second language, Italian can be heard around the world. Many people enjoy speaking Italian whether it’s a first or second language or simply basic Italian for travel plans or professional needs.
Italian is considered an official language in:
- San Marino
- Vatican City
- Some parts of Croatia and Slovenia also call Italian its official language
Italian Is Spoken In Many Places
While Italian may only be considered “official” in a few different places, you’ll find many Italian speakers in places such as:
- Albania, Argentina, Australia
- Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil
- Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Egypt, Eritrea
- France, Germany, Israel, Libya, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg
- Malta, Paraguay, Philippines, Puerto Rico
- Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Tunisia
- United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, the United States, Venezuela.
Facts About The Italian Language
If you’re interested in more facts on the Italian language, here are a few more that may pique your interest:
- There are 34 spoken languages and dialects in Italy alone.
- Most of these dialects come straight from Vulgar Latin.
- Each region has its own unique dialect or features of the language, which makes the language different from people in other parts of Italy
- Today, what is considered “Standard Italian” stems from Tuscany, or the Tuscan dialect.
- Tuscan dialect was the chosen dialect for three of the major poets of the 1300s: Alighieri, Boccaccio and Petrarch.
- Italy was divided into states all under foreign rule, until 1861 when Italy was unified and the Tuscan dialect was made the official language of Italy.
- Dialects were falsely considered to be the language of the poor, and Tuscan the language of the bourgeoise for a long time. However in some areas, people know that many people speak in dialects, both the older and younger generation, despite socioeconomic class.
Italian Language Learning - Common Words and More
Now that you know some basic facts about Italian, if you’re considered enrolling in an Italian language learning course with Rosetta Stone, these common words and general information on Italian grammar will help you get started. Don’t be intimidated at the idea of learning Italian. Rosetta Stone makes it engaging with ten-minute, bite-sized lessons that are designed to have you speaking with confidence, whether you want to learn on your smartphone or desktop.
But first, let’s consider some Italian language basics with some simple grammar rules:
Unlike in English, Italian classifies nouns and adjectives as feminine or masculine.
- If a noun ends in an -o, it’s usually a masculine noun (Example: braccio-arm)
- If a noun ends in an -a, it’s a feminine noun (Example: ragazza-girl)
- If a noun ends in an -i, it’s a plural masculine noun (Example: bambini-children)
- If a noun ends in an e, it can be a plural feminine noun (Example: ragazze- girls) or in some cases, a masculine or feminine singular noun (Example: ambiente- environment is a singular masculine noun)
In Italian, articles are classified as feminine or masculine and singular or plural. This is vastly different than how we use articles in English.
Pronouns are also classified as singular or plural and in some cases, have masculine or feminine forms:
- Io - I
- Tu - You
- Lui - He/Him
- Lei- She/Her
- Esso - It (masculine) not frequently used
- Essa - It (feminine) not frequently used
- Noi- We
- Voi- You (formal)
- Loro - Them/They
- Essi - They (masculine)
- Esse - They (feminine)
Italian language learning really requires you to simply memorize new rules. Once you do, you’ll find yourself falling in love with Italian, and getting into a rhythm as you go through each Rosetta Stone lesson.
Italian Language Basics - Learn Simple Italian Words
To build up your word bank, here are some simple Italian words and phrases you’ll commonly use as you learn Italian.
- Sì- Yes
- No- No
- Ciao- Hello & Goodbye (informal)
- Salve- Hello (formal)
- Arrivederci- Goodbye (formal)
- Per favore- Please
- Grazie-Thank You
- Prego- You’re Welcome
- Scusa- Sorry (informal)
- Buongiorno- Good Morning
- Buonasera- Good Evening
- Bene- Good
- Male- Bad
- Quanti?-How Many
- Quanto?- How Much
- Andiamo- Let’s Go
- Dov'è?- Where is it
- Mi Chiamo- My Name Is
- Come Stai?- How Are You
These are just some of the Italian words and phrases you’ll learn as you start to converse confidently in Italian, with Rosetta Stone. From studying Italian words, to speaking with our native-speaking tutors, you’ll be ready for in-person, real life conversations in Italian.
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Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation.
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