Italian language

Italian (Italiano)
spoken in: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and regionally in some other countries
speakers: 70 million
official status
office language in: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatikanstadt, European union
language code
ISO 639 -1: it
ISO 639 -2: ita

Italian is a language from the Roman branch of the indogermanischen languages. Within the Roman languages the Italian belongs to the group of the italoromanischen languages. Under the large Roman languages the Italian language stands for latin in reading, vocabulary and grammar next.

Of approximately 70 million humans as native language or the second native language is spoken, on whom the largest part in Italy lives.As the second native language or as foreign language used near speak it among other things the Sarden, the Friauler, the south animal oilers and Trentiner Ladiner. For the German-language south animal oilers, the Albanian minority and other groups of peoples, like the Slovenes in the hinterland of Monfalcone and Triest, is it a foreign language.

Italian is office language in the following states:

outside of the national borders is spoken the Italian language and/or Italian dialects in the following regions:

Also several Italian sprachige enclaves in America , particularly in the USA , exist Argentina and Brazil. Besides Italian words flowed into different terminologies , e.g. in the musician language or the bank language.

Table of contents


howall Roman languages descends the Italian from latin . At the beginning of the Middle Ages, after the collapse of the Roman realm, latin remained the office language and the language of the church in Europe. Latin maintained ground besides as writing language.Was spoken however - also, when the Roman realm still existed - a language form deviating from the writing standard, which one calls also Vulgärlatein or speech latin. From this the protoromanische people language and the Roman single languages finally developed.

Thus developed in Italyand its neighboring countries new languages, e.g. the Oïl languages in north France, the degrees languages in Southern France and the Sì languages in Italy, so designated from Dante Alighieri after the respective name for „“.

The first written certifications of the Italian volume-refine originate from thatlate respected or early ninth century. First is a mystery, which was found in the Biblioteca Capitolare di Verona and as Indovinello veronese is designated:

SE pareba boves, alba pratalia araba, albo versorio teneba et negro semen seminaba.
[It]pushed cattle, a white plow black seed held and sowed cultivated white fields.
(The hand is meant; Cattle = finger, white fields = sides, white plow = feather/spring, black seed = ink)

the spreading volume-refine became by practical necessitiesfavoured. Documents, which concerned legal matters between persons, who did not control latin, had understandably are drawn up. Like that one of the oldest language documents of the Italian are the Placito cassinese from that 10. Century. The council of route recommended 813, the people language instead ofto use latin with the lecture. A further factor was arising the cities around the turn of the century, because the city administrations had to draw their resolutions up in a form understandable for all citizens.

For many centuries both the Italian people languages lived andlatin, which was used further by the education, next to each other away. Only in 13. Century begins its own Italian literature, first in Sicilies at the yard Friedrichs II (Scuola siciliana). Writers coined/shaped the further development of the Italian crucially, therethey only a supraregional standard created, in order to overcome the language differences between the numerous dialects. Primarily Dante Alighieri is to be called here, that an easily changed form of the florentinischen dialect in its works used. Large influence on thoseItalian language in 14. Century further Francesco Petrarca and Giovanni Boccaccio, one together with Dante the tre corone of the Italian literature had called.

In 16. Century became in the Questione della lingua over form and status thatItalian language discussed, relevant influence had here Niccolò Machiavelli, Baldassare Castiglione and Pietro Bembo. It finally became generally accepted a historisierende form of the language, on Toskani 13. /14. Century decreases/goes back.

The real standardization, particularly the spokenLanguage, took place however only due to the national agreement.

dialects and languages

the individual dialects of the Italian differ partly very strongly from each other, in some cases are their status than dialect or independent language also among the linguistsdisputed. All Italian dialects and in Italy spoken Roman languages decrease/go back directly to (Vulgär) latin. To that extent one - something exaggerated - could call also all Roman Idiome Italy “latin of dialects”. The Italian dialects place thus not degeneratedForms of the Italian, but have their own language history. One differentiates between north, central and southItalian dialects. The dialect borders are appropriate along a line between the coastal towns La Spezia and Rimini as well as Rome and Ancona. Some Italian dialects like that Sicilian ones or Veneziani can besides to their own literary tradition refer (the so-called Scuola siciliana at present Friedrichs II), why occasionally also a classification of these (and further dialects) is postulated as independent language. Also in sound formation and vocabulary that pointsSicilian so many peculiarnesses up that it is rather the Italian a language used near.

However the classification is for example Sardi or Ladini (dolomites, Friaul) recognized as single language in the linguistics meanwhile. Friauli stands differently than since Mussoliniofficially represented the French more near than the Italian.

phonetics and phonology

of vowels

the Italian possess 7 Monophthonge.

Monophthonge of the Italian
in front central in the back
closed i u
halfclosed e o
half-open ɛ ɔ
openly A


the Italian has 43 consonants. Of it 20 can seem long or briefly, the sounds to /z w j appears only short. The table shows only the short consonants.

The consonant Italian
bilabial lab IO
alveolar post office
palatal velar
Plosive p b t D k ɡ
Affrikaten ts dz
Nasale m n ɲ
Vibranten r
Frikative f v s z ʃ
Approximanten w j
lateral one l ʎ

source: SAMPA for Italian (English)

double consonants

double consonants in the Italian as long consonant are expressed: “mm” is clearly longer than “m”, “rr” has (in the stage Italian) four tongue notices opposite two with “r”. With the catch sounds one begins the discussion of the consonant stayed shortly thereafter, andsolves then the catch. With combinations with sibilants//and//one stays to the sibilant first briefly on the catch and solves the catch as well as the second component: /D-dĤ/,/t-tě/.

Work on []

Relationship sound letter

the Italian orthography reflects the Lautstand similarly as the Spanish or the Romanian to some extent exactly. The today's Italian uses 21 letters of latin of alphabet. The letters k, j, w, x, yoccur only in Latinismen, Gräzismen or foreign words. The j is in historical texts occasionally for (not written today any longer) a double i. Differently than in the Spanish the Italian does not know a continuous marking of the stressed syllable.Only with finalstressed words a grave becomes (`) (example:martedì, città, ciò, più), with e depending upon discussion an acute (´) or grave (`) set. (Example: perciò, perché). In very rare cases becomes alsowith A and o the acute set. The circumflex is occasionally in texts around the fusion of two i to indicate, to ex.s. i principi (the princes, of principe) vs. i principî (the principles, out principii, of principio). To the claritythe accent now and then used for meaning distinction, partly also in dictionaries or on maps.

the letters g, C and letter combinations with sports club

the following letter combinations of the Italian orthography are to be particularly considered:

  • Follows after thatLetter g an e or a i, then this g becomes as dsch (IPA: []) expressed
  • an e or a i follows after the letter C, then this C becomes as tsch (IPA: []) expressed
  • directly a further vowel should follow, remains it mutely after the i - it leads to the change of the g described above and/or. the C, however even not spoken
  • the h remains always mute, therebyz can. B. the described effect of e or i to be waived: D. h. Spaghetti is expressed/spaˈ ą et-ti/. Spagetti (without h) would be expressed like/spaˈ et-ti/.
  • g and C before A, o, u become as [ą] and/or. [k] expressed.
  • The aforementioned rules apply also in case of the double consonants (see there) gg and for CC: bocca/'bok ka/, baccello/baˈt těąl lo/, bacchetta/baˈk ket TA/, leggo/ˈleg go/, leggio/ˈled dĤo/
  • something similar behaves it with the letter combination sports club (h): scambio/'SKAM bio/, scopa/ˈskopa/, scuola/ˈskwþla/, pattern/ˈskąma/, schivo/ˈskivo/, but: scienza/ˈěąntsa/, sciagura/ěaˈgura/. [ě] corresponds to the German letter combination sch.
  • The letter sequence gl corresponds to a mouillierten “l”, (just Italian language), a close fusion of the sounds [l] and [j] (IPA: [Ħ]), about as in “bri ll ant ", “Fol IE “.
  • The letter sequence gn corresponds to a mouillierten “n” (“ñ” Spaniards), a close fusion of the sounds [n] and [j] (IPA: [Đ]), about as in“Ko gn AC ".


Camilli, Amerindo, Pronuncia e grafia dell'italiano Firenze, 1965 (3. Edition). Lichem, Klaus, Phonetik and Phonologie of the today's Italian, Berlin, academy, 1970.

to grammar

see Italian grammar.


  • Blasco Ferrer, Eduardo, Handbuch of the Italian linguistics, Berlin, Schmidt, 1994.
  • Katz shrubs, Dieter, Grundlagen of the Italian linguistics, Regensburg, house of the book, 1999.
  • Pfister, max, Lessico etimologico italiano, Wiesbaden, enriches, 1979ff.

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