5 Interesting Facts about the Italian Language

5 Things You Didn’t Know about the Italian Language

Are you planning a trip to Rome to see the Flavian Amphitheatre, or as it is more commonly known as the Colosseum? Perhaps you want to go to Venice to take a ride in a gondola. Either way, it could be time to brush up on your Italian. Although this language is often referred to as the language of the arts, it has many peculiar things about it. This article delves into 5 exciting things Italian is silently famous for.

The Number of Letters in the Italian Language

The alphabet is a collection of symbols that are given in a specified order to stand in for basic sounds of speech in a particular language. In English, there are 26 letters in the alphabet. However, there are languages with different sets of symbols. Generally, these characters are divided into two sound categories — vowels and consonants. Nevertheless, people, typically English speakers, confuse the five vowels — a, e, i, o, and u — for letters.

In any case, many languages have a varying number of consonants and vowels. Italian is no exception to this rule. Below are some facts about how Italian is structured.

  • In Italian, there are 7 vowel sounds. There are traditional ones that are also used in English. However, each “e” and “o” vowels have two of them.
  • In terms of consonants, the language has double, soft, and hard variations.
  • The language has 21 letters in their alphabet. The missing ones are j, k, w, x, and y. Still, borrowed words may contain these omitted letters.

Speakers of the Italian Language Are Over 90 Million People

When you search for the language with the most speakers, you will find Mandarin Chinese at the top of the list with a whopping 1.1 billion users. Italian barely makes it into the first 20 of the roster with, what is still, an impressive excess of 70 million native speakers. Mind you that these statistics were taken back in 2012. Furthermore, Italian occupies an official status in four European countries:

  • Vatican City
  • San Mario
  • Italy, of course.
  • And in Switzerland.

Outside the nation of Italy, Albania and the United States have the largest population of Italian speakers. Plus, it is also recognized as a minority language in Croatia and Slovenia. It is due to the significant community of the users in those countries. Due to the colonial era of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, the language has also gained a considerable population of speakers in South America and Africa. Since it is so widely used, Italian is among the most popular and marketable languages you can learn. Feel free to check out the English to Italian translation website and get started on the basics.

The Universal Language for Classical Music

During the rise of classical music, in the Renaissance and Baroque eras, Italian composers gained prominence and influence. Their works significantly changed the landscape of music to the extent of having Italian words associated with vocabulary in the field. Terms like tempo, alto, crescendo, and soprano are now typical jargon in the realms of classical compositions. These shared words confirm the inseparability of the Italian language from classical music.

The language is used in notations for music. The likes of Gioachino Rossini, Antonio Vivaldi, Niccolò Paganini, and Alessandro Scarlatti helped to popularize the use of Italian in defining musical aspects. Consequently, the language is now widely recognized as a significant factor in the scope of the classics.

Learning Italian Can Improve Your Proficiency in Other Languages

The Indo-European languages are a grouping of more than 445 languages used in Europe and Asia. These languages share some similarities in terms of their grammar. For example, in sentence structure could be subject-verb-object in a majority of these languages. Others may show variations in verb-subject-object and subject-object-verb. When it comes to tonal distinctions, these languages lack this aspect of speech. However, grammar that denotes gender is often absent in these kinds of pronouns.

Moreover, they share a lot in terms of vocabulary since you can find plenty of words that have the same root. Of course, language is ever-evolving. It means that it changes according to how people are using it, culture, environment, and socio-economic factors.

Consequently, learning Italian could potentially make picking up other languages less challenging. The shared vocabulary, grammar, and some ways of pronunciation might have more in common than you think.

How Italian Became an Official Language

You might have heard the joke that not all Italians speak Italian. It is because there are many different dialects of the language that are being actively used today. These kinds are so dramatically different that you can obviously tell from how someone speaks the Italian, the region where they spent their childhood. Furthermore, the differences are so vast that the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization classifies them as distinct languages of their own.

The history of how these different forms came about begins in the Middle Ages. At the time, the continent of Europe was wholly illiterate. Plus, the ones that could read and write employed Latin as their language of choice in communication. The rest of the population was left to their own devices — they used a local vernacular depending on where they lived. This Vulgar Latin evolved into the different variations of Italian along with the other European languages.

Indeed, many other things make Italian peculiar. Still, it is rightfully referred to as the language of the arts. The patronage extended by the language is truly invaluable to the creative sector.