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21 mildly interesting facts about the Italian language

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Whether you’re just getting started with Italian or approaching fluency, here are 21 odd, amusing and mildly interesting facts about a language known for its beauty, romance and musicality.
1. There are 21 letters in the Italian alphabet. That’s right: j, k, w, x and y don’t exist in Italian, except for in loan words, meaning ‘jeans’ is often the only entry under ‘j’ in Italian dictionaries. Some of the dialects do use these letters though, particularly ‘j’ and ‘k’, and for that reason they appear in some proper names of people and places.

2. Oops, did we say ‘dialects’? Strictly speaking, that’s wrong, because the regional languages of Italy are just that – languages. Dialects are variants of a standard language, but in Italy these different languages developed from Latin independently, before eventually people decided it made sense to settle on one common tongue.

Twelve Roman dialect words you should know
Nine handy Venetian words for a trip to Venice
Thirteen useful words from the Florentine dialect
3. The language we now call Standard Italian derives from 13th-century Tuscan, or Florentine, to be specific. This choice was made after a few centuries of disputes between linguists, and was down to a number of factors. Florence’s economic and cultural prestige played a part, particularly the works of the three great writers of the day (Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio), and perhaps most crucially, one keen linguist, Pietro Bembo, who created the first ever grammatical manual of the Florentine language. Having the rules written down meant it was easier to adopt Florentine as the national tongue, rather than relying on a variety which was mostly spoken.

4. When it comes to the other regional dialects, the most widely spoken is Neapolitan, with over five million speakers.

GET ITALIAN TRANSLATORS AND INTERPRETERS. CALL 080-3753-1249, 081-1445-6164
E-MAIL: hello@novatiatranslations.com.ng

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