"italiano" redirects here. for other uses, see italiano (disambiguation).
this article is about the italian language. for the regional varieties of standard italian, see regional italian.
italiano, lingua italiana
italy, switzerland (ticino and southern canton of graubünden), san marino, vatican city, slovenian istria (slovenia), istria county (croatia)
italy, ticino and southern graubünden, slovenian littoral, western istria
67 million native speakers in the european union (2020) l2 speakers in the european union: 13.4 million c. 85 million total speakers
latin (italian alphabet) italian braille
italiano segnato "(signed italian)" italiano segnato esatto "(signed exact italian)"
official language in
slovenian istria (slovenia)
istria county (croatia)
an order and various organisations
sovereign military order of malta
recognised minority language in
accademia della crusca (de facto)
former official language
presence of italian-speaking communities
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this article is part of italian language
accademia della crusca
dolce stil novo
accademia degli arcadi
the last letters of jacopo ortis
i promessi sposi
literature and other
italian (italiano[itaˈljaːno](listen) or lingua italiana[ˈliŋɡwa itaˈljaːna]) is a romance language of the indo-european language family. italian descended from the vulgar latin of the roman empire and, together with sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the romance languages. italian is an official language in italy, switzerland (where it is the main language of ticino and the graubünden valleys of calanca, mesolcina, bregaglia and val poschiavo[note 1]), san marino and vatican city. it has an official minority status in western istria (croatia and slovenia). it formerly had official status in albania, malta, monaco, montenegro (kotor) and greece (ionian islands and dodecanese), and is generally understood in corsica (due to its close relation with the tuscan-influenced local language) and savoie. it also used to be an official language in the former italian east africa and italian north africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the americas and australia. italian is included under the languages covered by the european charter for regional or minority languages in bosnia and herzegovina and in romania, although italian is neither a co-official nor a protected language in these countries. many speakers of italian are native bilinguals of both italian (either in its standard form or regional varieties) and other regional languages.
italian is a major european language, being one of the official languages of the organization for security and co-operation in europe and one of the working languages of the council of europe. it is the second most widely spoken native language in the european union with 67 million speakers (15% of the eu population), and it is spoken as a second language by 13.4 million eu citizens (3%). including italian speakers in non-eu european countries (such as switzerland, albania and the united kingdom) and on other continents, the total number of speakers is approximately 85 million. italian is the main working language of the holy see, serving as the lingua franca (common language) in the roman catholic hierarchy as well as the official language of the sovereign military order of malta. italian is known as the language of music because of its use in musical terminology and opera. its influence is also widespread in the arts and in the luxury goods market.
italian was adopted by the state after the unification of italy, having previously been a literary language based on tuscan as spoken mostly by the upper class of florentine society. its development was also influenced by other italian languages and to some minor extent, by the germanic languages of the post-roman invaders. the incorporation into italian of learned words from its own ancestor language, latin, is another form of lexical borrowing through the influence of written language, scientific terminology and the liturgical language of the church. throughout the middle ages and into the early modern period, most literate italians were also literate in latin; and thus they easily adopted latin words into their writing—and eventually speech—in italian. its vowels are the second-closest to latin after sardinian. as in most romance languages, stress is distinctive and, unlike most other romance languages, italian retains latin's contrast between short and long consonants. almost all native italian words and syllables finish with pure vowels, a factor that makes italian words extremely easy to use in rhyming. italian has a 7 vowel sound system ('e' and 'o' have mid-low and mid-high sounds); classical latin had 10, 5 with short and 5 with long sounds.
Italian was adopted by the state after the Unification of Italy, having previously been a literary language based on Tuscan as spoken mostly by the upper class of Florentine society. Its development was also influenced by other Italian languages and to some minor extent, by the Germanic languages of the post-Roman invaders. The incorporation into Italian of learned words from its own ancestor language, Latin, is another form of lexical borrowing through the influence of written language, scientific terminology and the liturgical language of the Church. Throughout the Middle Ages and into the early modern period, most literate Italians were also literate in Latin; and thus they easily adopted Latin words into their writing—and eventually speech—in Italian. Its vowels are the second-closest to Latin after Sardinian. As in most Romance languages, stress is distinctive and, unlike most other Romance languages, Italian retains Latin's contrast between short and long consonants. Almost all native Italian words and syllables finish with pure vowels, a factor that makes Italian words extremely easy to use in rhyming. Italian has a 7 vowel sound system ('e' and 'o' have mid-low and mid-high sounds); Classical Latin had 10, 5 with short and 5 with long sounds.