Italian: The language with only 21 letters
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9 facts about the Italian language
Origin of the language
Italian emerged in Central Tuscany.
History of the language
It is believed that Italian originated in the 13th century.
Learning the language
An English speaker needs about 650 hours to learn Italian.
Italian language diversity
Italian is the official language of Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, and Switzerland.
Did you know?
The term “America” came from the name of an Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, who recognized that the continent British explorers thought was Asia was actually “The New World” (America).
Almost all Italian words end with a vowel; Italian has seven vowel sounds that differ depending on where they occur in a word.
Despite being derived from Latin, many dialects, including the Neapolitan and Venetian dialects, have changed drastically over the years and are almost unintelligible to each other and Latin speakers.
Italian borrows many words from other languages; for example, the word “cameo” which means a short appearance is an English word that the Italian language has adopted.
The Italian language typically uses a lot of consonants and double-consonants. The consonant “q” is, however, hardly used as a double or triple consonant in words, but this example, the Italian wordsoqquadro (upset), has a double consonant.
Italian language for beginners
Ten basic words to start learning in Italian:
Three things remain with us from paradise: stars, flowers, and children.
Poet and author
To tell the truth is revolutionary.
Social critic, politician, philosopher and author
Love is the crowning grace of humanity.
Poet and scholar
Fun facts about the Italian language
The word “volt”
Alessandro Volta created the first electronic battery in 1799; the word “volt,” a measure of current, is derived from his name.
Standardized Italian has numerous regional dialects, and they can vary in sound and intelligibility.
Italian is referred to as a literary language; many Renaissance poems and books were penned by Italians.
Easy to learn
Italian is relatively easy to learn because words are pronounced how they are written, eliminating extra confusion.
No word in the Italian language rhymes with the word fegato (liver); this is because the stress falls on the first syllable.
The longest word
The longest word in Italian is 30 characters long with 13 syllables; it is psiconeuroendocrinoimmunologia which means psychoneuroendocrinoimmunology.
1000-year-old written text
Placiti Cassinesi is the first written document in Italian; it consists of four documents written in Italian dating back to 953.
Protected by an organization
Accademia della Crusca, an organization in Florence, is dedicated to protecting the sanctity of Italian.
Italian is closely related to many other languages; it shares 89% of its vocabulary with the French language.
Italian is derived from a dialect of Florence called Fiorentino; it gained popularity with Dante’s work.