The Languages of Italy
Italian is the commonly used language in Italy, the Vatican City State and San Marino. Furthermore, it is one of the official languages of Switzerland and an official regional language in Slovenia and Croatia. All together, Italian is spoken by 67 million native speakers and 13.4 million speakers, who aquired it as a second language. Italian immigrants spread the language in many other European Countries and all over the world. The biggest communities outside of Europe exist in Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the United States. In some regions of Italy, co-official languages subsist like French in Val d’Aosta or German in Trentino-Alto Aelige.
Most Italians are native bilingual speakers of Italian and their regional dialect. Some of the dialects are unintelligible between each other. They are a significant factor of the development of variation in the areas of phonetic, prosody and vocabulary.
Features of Italian:
- Italian is a Romance language and descended directly from Latin. Some features of Latin were retained in Italian. For example, it kept the contrast between long and short consonants or the distinctive feature of stress. In addition, Italian has the biggest vocabulary, whose stems are the direct descendent of Latin.
- Just the pronouns are declined for the case. Nouns and adjectives inflect only for gender and number. Gender just includes masculine and feminine.
- Derivation is very productive and the main process for the creation of new words.