Italy Official Language
The official language, the main language spoken in Italy is Standard Italian.
The Italian language is the main language of 58 million people, 95% of the population.
99% of Italians know and use it.
Then, we can find approximately 34 regional languages or dialects and some linguistic minorities as, for example, Albanian, Catalan, German, Greek, Slovene, Croatian, French (see graph below for further explanations about what language is spoken in Italy). Outside Italy other 28 million people are speaking Italian, as the language is spoken at least by 85 million people throughout the world.
Italian Language Origin
A brief history of Italian language is not really possible in the small space of a blog post.
The map here above explains the situation of different tribes, cultures and languages in Italy during the 6 century B.C, when the Romans were just starting to appear on the ‘battleground’.
Etruscans and Messapians languages are still mostly unknown to us.
More than 1,500 years should have passed for the Italian language to appear.
The first document in Italian vulgar language has been created in 960 AD.
It’s the Placido Capuano, a letter saying “Sao ko kelle terre, per kelle fini que ki contene trenta anni le possette parti Sancti Benedicti” – I know that the coven of St. Benedict owned those lands, sized by those boundaries”. The Placido Capuano is the letter presented during a trial. The judges decided to use a language that was understandable to witnesses and defendants.
Then, the main core Italian language origins date back in the High Middle Ages (1000-1250 AD).
Italian language origins in Florence
First Jacopone da Todi, an Italian Franciscan friar living in Umbria, composed his Laudi in Italian volgare, then Francesco Petrarca in his Canzoniere and Dante Alighieri in the Divina Commedia set the main trends in terms of sound and grammar. Dante’s Italiano volgare is worldwide appreciated for his evocativeness, with the use of rhetorical figures and bold lexical solutions, which combine musicality and storytelling skills.
Again Florence and the Tuscany region are crucial for what is considered to be the official starting point in the history of Italian language. A book called I Promessi Sposi, written by a non-florentine writer called Alessandro Manzoni and published in 1842. Manzoni lavò i panni in Arno – washed his clothes in the Arno river”. This means the main vocabulary of I Promessi Sposi comes from the Tuscany region and the city of Florence during the 19th century.
After Manzoni, the large-scale introduction of the television during the Sixties made the rest, taking Italian even in the deep countryside. Nowadays the clearest accent regarding the standard Italian language pronunciation is spoken nowadays in Milan. Accademia della Crusca is an institution devoted to defending and promoting the correct Italian writing, grammar, usage and pronunciation.
Italians and English Usage
It’s not a mystery that Italians are or, better to say, were amongst the worst English speakers around the world. Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian people have always struggled to get in touch with foreign languages. This happened due to many reasons – one of the most important is related to the fact in those countries movies have always been dubbed.
In recent years, something is changing. Even if still most Italians can’t speak English correctly, many of them are starting to understand it. Here at Italy Language, as we are working day by day with tools like Google Trends and Longtail Pro, we have noticed it from the search terms included in the queries. More and more English keywords are used by people living in Italy and this reflects also in the Google IT index.
While providing our clients with bundles and set of keywords they can build their content on, we are including also those English terms so that they can have more complete coverage.
Relevant English Terms Included in searches conducted through Google and Amazon Italy
The demand and usage of English terms in Google Italy are increasing constantly. The process is different regarding search terms entered on Amazon Italy in English. As we have discovered using the powerful tool called Merchant Words, there on Amazon Italy the number of English terms used is really impressive. This happens for many reasons – as we have told you, if a specific product is referred also with its English name, some smarter users can use it. They feel it is cool to act this way as the main language trends are confirming it. Then, we have to say that many product names, like children ones, do not have a specific translation in Italian.
In the end, we can say that this trend will be more and more relevant in the next future. When the new generations will increase the number of British or American English expressions included in their daily speaking.